Welcome to the picturesque island of Sri Lanka, where lush green landscapes, misty mountains, and captivating train journeys await. One of the most renowned train routes in the country is the Kandy to Ella train, offering a mesmerizing experience through rolling hills, tea plantations, and charming villages.
The Kandy to Ella train ride has gained international acclaim for its scenic beauty and has become a must-do activity for travelers visiting Sri Lanka. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a nature lover, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of untouched landscapes, this train journey is sure to leave you spellbound.
This article aims to provide you with everything you need to know about the Kandy to Ella train journey, including the route and scenic highlights, timetable and schedule, ticket options and booking, tips for a comfortable journey, and suggestions for accommodation and activities in Ella. So, hop aboard, sit back, and let’s embark on this incredible adventure together!
Overview of the Kandy to Ella Train
The Kandy to Ella train route is considered one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, winding its way through the beautiful central highlands of Sri Lanka. The train covers a distance of approximately 112 kilometers and takes around 6 to 7 hours to complete the journey. The slow pace allows passengers to soak in the breathtaking views and experience the charm of the countryside.
The train passes through a variety of landscapes, including lush green tea plantations, cascading waterfalls, misty hills, and quaint villages. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to spot vibrant wildlife, such as monkeys, birds, and even occasional elephants grazing near the tracks.
This train journey is renowned for its picturesque vistas, with highlights including the Nine Arch Bridge, a stunning piece of architectural marvel hidden amidst the hills, and the Ramboda Falls, a cascading waterfall that adds to the natural beauty of the route. The panoramic views and the refreshing mountain air make the Kandy to Ella train experience truly unforgettable.
It’s important to note that the Kandy to Ella train route can get crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. Therefore, it’s advisable to book your tickets in advance to secure a seat and enjoy an unobstructed view of the scenery. Additionally, be prepared for occasional delays as the train journey is subject to weather conditions and occasional railway maintenance.
Now that you have an overview of the Kandy to Ella train, let’s delve deeper into the route and explore the scenic highlights along the way.
Route and Scenic Highlights
The Kandy to Ella train route takes you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Sri Lanka, offering panoramic views that will leave you in awe. Here are some of the scenic highlights you can expect along the way:
- Tea Plantations: As the train departs from Kandy, you’ll soon find yourself surrounded by rolling hills adorned with endless tea plantations. The emerald green tea bushes create a picturesque backdrop against the blue skies, providing a glimpse into the country’s thriving tea industry.
- Ramboda Falls: Approximately 32 kilometers from Kandy, keep an eye out for the majestic Ramboda Falls. Cascading from a height of 109 meters, this waterfall is a sight to behold. The train crosses a bridge near the falls, giving passengers a perfect vantage point to admire its beauty and capture memorable photographs.
- Tunnel Network: Curving through the mountains, the train passes through a series of tunnels that add a sense of adventure to the journey. These tunnels often create dramatic moments as the train emerges into open air, revealing stunning vistas of valleys and hills.
- Nine Arch Bridge: Arguably the most iconic landmark on the Kandy to Ella train route, the Nine Arch Bridge is a true marvel of engineering and natural beauty. This stone bridge with its nine majestic arches is nestled amidst lush greenery, creating a scene straight out of a fairytale. Capture the perfect Instagram-worthy photo or simply marvel at the train passing over this architectural gem.
- Haputale: As the train approaches Ella, it passes through the charming town of Haputale. Known for its panoramic viewpoints and tea estates, Haputale offers breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys. If time permits, consider making a stop here to explore the enchanting landscapes and witness the glorious sunrise or sunset.
These are just a few of the many scenic highlights you’ll encounter during the Kandy to Ella train journey. Each turn and curve in the track presents a new postcard-worthy view, enveloping you in the natural beauty of Sri Lanka’s central highlands.
Now that you have an idea of the route and scenic highlights, let’s dive into the timetable and schedule of the Kandy to Ella train.
Timetable and Schedule
The Kandy to Ella train operates daily, offering several departures throughout the day. The train journey takes approximately 6 to 7 hours, subject to possible delays due to weather conditions or maintenance work on the railway tracks. Here is a general timetable for the Kandy to Ella train:
- Morning Departure: The first train usually departs from Kandy around 8:47 am and arrives in Ella around 3:35 pm.
- Afternoon Departure: There is another train that departs from Kandy in the afternoon, around 11:10 am, and arrives in Ella around 5:45 pm.
- Scenic Observation Car: For a more comfortable and enhanced experience, you can also opt to book a ticket for the scenic observation car. This special carriage provides large windows and panoramic views, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes along the way.
It’s essential to note that the Kandy to Ella train is a popular route among both tourists and locals. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to book your tickets in advance to secure a seat, especially during peak tourist seasons. You can book your tickets online through the Sri Lanka Railways website or visit the nearest railway station in person.
Be sure to check the official Sri Lanka Railways website or consult a reliable travel agent for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the timetable and schedule of the Kandy to Ella train.
Now that you know about the timetable and booking process, let’s explore the different ticket options available for the Kandy to Ella train journey.
Ticket Options and Booking
When it comes to booking tickets for the Kandy to Ella train journey, there are a few different options to consider. Here are the main ticket options available:
- Second Class: Second Class tickets are the most common and economical option for travelers. The seats are comfortable, and you’ll still be able to enjoy the stunning scenery. While these seats are not reserved, finding a seat shouldn’t be a problem if you board the train at the starting point in Kandy. However, if you’re boarding from a station further down the route, it’s advisable to arrive early to secure a seat.
- Scenic Observation Car: For an enhanced experience, you can upgrade to the Scenic Observation Car, which offers large windows and panoramic views. These are reserved seats, and the ticket price is slightly higher than the second class. It’s recommended to book these tickets in advance, as they tend to sell out quickly, especially during peak seasons.
- First Class: While not available on all trains, some do offer a First Class compartment for a more luxurious and private experience. These tickets come at a higher price and provide additional comforts such as air conditioning. If you prefer a more exclusive journey, inquire about the availability of First Class tickets when booking.
It’s highly advisable to book your tickets in advance, especially during the peak tourist seasons (December to March). The Sri Lanka Railways website offers an online booking system, allowing you to reserve your tickets conveniently from anywhere in the world. Alternatively, you can visit the nearest railway station in person and book your tickets directly.
When booking your tickets, make sure to have your passport or identification card with you, as it may be required for the booking process.
Now that you have an idea of the ticket options and booking process, let’s move on to some essential tips for a comfortable and enjoyable journey on the Kandy to Ella train.
Tips for a Comfortable Journey
Embarking on the Kandy to Ella train journey is an exciting adventure, and with a few handy tips, you can make the experience even more comfortable. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey:
- Book your tickets in advance: As mentioned earlier, it’s crucial to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak seasons. This will help you secure a seat and avoid any last-minute disappointments.
- Arrive early: If you want to grab a seat of your choice, be it a window seat or a seat in the Scenic Observation Car, it’s recommended to arrive at the station early. This is particularly important if you’re boarding from a station further down the route.
- Dress comfortably: The train journey can be long, so it’s best to wear loose, comfortable clothing. Layering is also a good idea as the temperature can vary during the journey.
- Carry snacks and water: While the train journey offers a dining car where you can purchase meals, it’s always a good idea to carry some snacks and water with you. This ensures you have something to munch on during the journey.
- Bring camera and binoculars: Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the picturesque landscapes and memorable moments along the way. Binoculars are also great to get a closer look at the breathtaking vistas and wildlife.
- Engage with fellow passengers: The train journey provides a wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with fellow travelers. Strike up a conversation, exchange travel stories, and make new friends along the way. It adds to the overall experience and makes the journey more enjoyable.
- Be respectful of local customs: Remember that you’ll be traveling among local passengers, so it’s important to be respectful of their customs and traditions. Avoid being too loud or disruptive and dress modestly.
- Carry a book or entertainment: While the scenery is undoubtedly captivating, it’s always a good idea to carry a book or some form of entertainment to keep yourself engaged during the long journey.
By following these tips, you can ensure a comfortable and memorable journey on the Kandy to Ella train.
Now that you’re prepared for the train journey, let’s move on to what you can expect during the ride itself.
What to Expect on the Train
The Kandy to Ella train journey offers a unique and unforgettable experience, and knowing what to expect will help you make the most of your time on board. Here’s what you can expect during the train ride:
- Breathtaking scenery: As the train traverses through the central highlands of Sri Lanka, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of tea plantations, misty mountains, and verdant valleys. Keep your camera ready to capture the stunning landscapes that unfold before your eyes.
- Friendly locals: The train journey provides an opportunity to interact with friendly locals, both travelers and locals commuting between towns. Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation, as Sri Lankans are known for their warm hospitality and are often eager to share stories and insights about their country.
- Vibrant wildlife: Keep a lookout for wildlife sightings during the journey. From monkeys swinging from tree branches to colorful birds soaring across the sky, you may even be lucky enough to spot elephants near the tracks. It’s a wildlife enthusiast’s delight!
- Occasional hawkers: During the journey, you might encounter vendors selling local snacks, fruits, and even handicrafts. It’s a unique experience to taste some of the local delicacies offered by these vendors as they pass through the train cars.
- Local culture and lifestyles: The train journey offers a glimpse into the local culture and lifestyles of the people residing in the central highlands. You’ll witness villagers going about their daily routines, children playing in the fields, and locals traveling to and from various towns.
- Comfortable seating: The second-class seats provide a comfortable journey, allowing you to relax and enjoy the scenery. The Scenic Observation Car, with its large windows, offers an even more immersive experience and is ideal for those seeking uninterrupted views of the landscapes.
- Occasional stops: The train makes stops at various stations along the route, allowing passengers to stretch their legs and explore the surroundings for a few minutes. Be mindful of the duration of the stops and ensure you return to the train before it departs.
Enjoy every moment of the train journey, savoring the incredible views, immersing yourself in the local culture, and creating lasting memories along the way.
Now that you have an idea of what to expect on the train, let’s move on to exploring the charming town of Ella and the activities it has to offer.
Accommodation and Activities in Ella
Ella, a small town nestled in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, serves as the final destination of the scenic Kandy to Ella train journey. Despite its size, Ella offers a range of accommodations and activities that cater to every traveler’s needs and interests. Here’s what you can expect in terms of accommodation and activities in Ella:
Accommodation: Ella is home to a variety of accommodation options, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury boutique hotels. You can choose to stay in cozy cottages with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains or opt for accommodations situated amidst tea plantations, allowing you to wake up to the fragrance of fresh tea leaves. Some popular options include guesthouses such as Ella Mount View Guest Inn, 98 Acres Resort and Spa, and Ella Jungle Resort.
Hiking and Nature Trails: Ella is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. One of the most popular activities in Ella is hiking to the iconic Ella Rock, which offers spectacular views of the valley below. The hike to Little Adam’s Peak is also a favorite among visitors. For those seeking a less strenuous option, exploring the Rawana Ella Falls or taking a leisurely stroll through the tea plantations are equally rewarding experiences.
Visit the Nine Arch Bridge: As mentioned earlier, the Kandy to Ella train journey passes over the iconic Nine Arch Bridge. Getting off at Ella Railway Station, you can trek to the bridge and witness the train passing through its charming arches. Timing your visit to coincide with a train crossing adds to the allure of this architectural marvel.
Experience Tea Plantation Tours: Ella is surrounded by lush tea estates, and exploring these tea plantations is a must-do activity. Many tea estates offer guided tours where you can learn about the process of tea cultivation, plucking, and production. Don’t forget to savor a cup of freshly brewed Ceylon tea while enjoying the panoramic views of the tea-covered hills.
Relax in Ella Town: The town of Ella itself is quaint and charming, with a laid-back ambiance. Take a leisurely stroll through the town, visit the local market, and browse through the boutique shops for souvenirs. There are also several cafes and restaurants where you can indulge in delicious local cuisine or international fare.
Admire the Sunset at Ella Gap: Ella Gap, a vast valley surrounded by lush mountains, is the perfect spot to witness a breathtaking sunset. Hike up to the viewpoint or simply find a comfortable spot to soak in the mesmerizing hues that paint the sky as the sun sets behind the mountains.
These are just a few of the many activities and attractions that await you in Ella. From adventure-filled hikes to serene moments surrounded by tea plantations, Ella offers a perfect blend of nature, culture, and relaxation.
As our journey through the Kandy to Ella train route comes to an end, let’s conclude our exploration of this enchanting destination.
The Kandy to Ella train journey in Sri Lanka is a truly remarkable experience that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. From the moment the train departs from Kandy to the final stop in Ella, you’ll be mesmerized by the breathtaking landscapes, picturesque tea plantations, and charming villages that unfold before your eyes.
Whether you embark on this journey for its natural beauty, cultural immersion, or the sheer joy of train travel, the Kandy to Ella train does not disappoint. The route takes you through a stunning tapestry of sights, including the iconic Nine Arch Bridge, cascading waterfalls, and lush green hills that seem to stretch on forever.
While the train ride itself is undeniably the highlight, Ella offers the perfect conclusion to this adventure. With its range of accommodation options, from cozy guesthouses to luxurious resorts, you can unwind and relish your time in this tranquil town. Explore the tea estates, hike to breathtaking viewpoints, and indulge in the flavors of Sri Lanka’s cuisine.
The Kandy to Ella train journey provides you with a unique opportunity to soak in the beauty of Sri Lanka’s central highlands, connect with friendly locals, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re a nature lover, adventure seeker, or simply someone in search of a magical experience, this train journey is sure to captivate you.
So, pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the heart of Sri Lanka. Allow yourself to be swept away by the charm, beauty, and serenity that awaits you on the Kandy to Ella train route.