The train ride from Ella to Kandy is widely referred to as the most beautiful train ride in the world. This is all thanks to the gorgeous scenery you chug past, from lush tea plantations to winding hills and sprawling fields. If you find yourself in Sri Lanka, this is a must-do as it provides a fantastic way to see the country from the comfort of a seat while still allowing you to get up and walk around. We took this train after two days of hiking in Ella.
During peak travel season, you will be battling many other people to nab a seat on board. This can result in a long line at the ticket office, a crowded platform and elbow jabbing once on board. One girl near us began to cry because she was so overwhelmed. Be confident, but have some respect for space and you should be fine! You may think you'll get some great Instagram-worthy shots of you hanging out the train, as the locals do, but believe me you're going to want a seat for the seven-hour journey!
ELLA TO KANDY TRAIN RIDE DETAILS
Length: 7 hours from Ella to Kandy
Time: depart Ella at 6:45am (check schedules here)
Ticket price: 2nd class unreserved for 240 Rs per person
Classes: 1st class reserved, 2nd class unreserved, 3rd class unreserved
Where to sit: on the right side for the first half of the trek and on the left side for the second half
How to buy tickets:
Sri Lankan train tickets cannot be bought online at this time. Reserved tickets (where you are assigned a seat) can be bought in advance of the day of travel at the railway station. Be aware that during peak season, reserved tickets often sell out weeks early. Unreserved tickets can only be bought on the day of travel. If they're sold out, as they were for us, arrive at least an hour early before you plan to leave in order to get your tickets from the ticket counter. We arrived at 5am for the 6:45am train.
Note: unreserved tickets hardly ever sell out. This can result in crowded trains with more people standing in the aisles than are sitting. But hey, at least you're always likely to get on board! Always take the highest class available (it's really only a few dollars more).