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A Scenic Train Ride from Kandy to Ella: All You Need To Know

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A Scenic Train Ride from Kandy to Ella: All You Need To Know

If you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka and want to experience one of the most scenic train rides in south Asia, you should consider the journey from Kandy to Ella. The nine-hour train journey takes you on a journey past lush green hills and mist-shrouded tea plantations, and is considered one of the country’s great train rides. Here is everything you need to know before taking the Kandy-Ella train ride.

What is the Kandy-Ella Train Ride

The Kandy-Ella train ride is one of Sri Lanka’s most scenic train rides and takes you along a curving and breathtaking route. The nine hour journey begins in the island’s second largest city, Kandy, and ends in the small rural town of Ella. The train follows the tracks of some of Sri Lanka’s oldest railway lines, meandering through lush green rice paddies, terraced tea fields, rainforest-clad mountains, scenic gorges and towering waterfalls.

What Can You Expect on the Kandy-Ella Train Ride?

The journey from Kandy to Ella offers several spectacular views. You can expect to pass picturesque countryside villages and bustling marketplaces as the train rolls on through northern Sri Lanka. As you leave Kandy behind, the lush greenery of the hills and river valleys come into view. The journey will also take you through tea plantations, with views of mist-covered hillsides as far as the eye can see. After a few hours, you will reach some of Sri Lanka’s most dramatic approaches, such as the “Nine Arches Bridge’ which spans the spectacular Demodara Valley. Throughout your journey, you will have plenty of time to take in these views as you slowly ascend upwards towards Ella.

How to Buy Tickets

Getting tickets for the Kandy-Ella train ride is a straightforward process. You can buy tickets from any of Sri Lanka’s railway stations or you can purchase tickets online at GetYourGuide. Tickets cost around 600 Rupees (3.50 USD) for second class; 750 Rupees (4.50 USD) for third class; 1500 Rupees (9 USD) for first class; and 2500 Rupees (13 USD) for observation coach class.

Experience Tips

If you opt to buy tickets online, make sure to arrive at the train station at least 30 minutes before departure time. This will give you enough time to get your tickets checked and boarded onto the train with enough time to spare. When buying tickets offline, it is best to purchase them the day before your journey as tickets tend to sell out quickly during peak season. Before you buy tickets, make sure to check what class you are purchasing as each coach is often made up of a variety of compartments (sleeper, reserved seat only etc.). When aboard the train, keep your belongings close by you as pickpockets are known to frequent public transport across the country. Whenever possible, it is also advisable to book an entire compartment if you want some extra privacy.

Takeaways from the Kandy-Ella Train Ride

Taking the Kandy-Ella train ride is an amazing experience that immerses travelers in a landscape of stunning natural beauty. The nine hour journey features beautiful visits to tea plantations, valleys, gorges and waterfalls—all from the comfort of your seat or bench! If a scenic train ride through stunning scenery is your kind of thing, make sure to book a ticket for the Kandy-Ella train ride with GetYourGuide and enjoy what may be one of the most beautiful train rides in all of Asia!

An Insider’s Guide to Kandy, Sri Lanka

Kandy, the last capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom, is a charming city located in the central hills of Sri Lanka. It is famous for its cultural heritage and scenic beauty. Home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, the city is a spiritual hub for Buddhists and a cultural delight for tourists. In this insider’s guide, we will explore some of the best things to do in Kandy, including local attractions, dining, cultural experiences, history, and off-the-beaten-path suggestions.


Kandy is home to several iconic tourist attractions. The most famous of them all is the Temple of the Tooth Relic, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple houses the sacred tooth relic of Buddha and is visited by thousands of devotees and tourists every day. Other must-see attractions include the Kandy Lake, the Bahirawakanda Temple, and the Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya.

Dining Spots

Kandy has a diverse and exciting culinary scene with an array of restaurants, cafes, and street food vendors. The city offers local delicacies such as Kandyan curries, hoppers, and kottu roti along with international favorites, including pizza, burgers, and pasta. Some of the top dining spots in Kandy include Balaji Dosai, Slightly Chilled Lounge Bar, The Empire Cafe, and Cafe Secret Alley.

Cultural Experiences

The city of Kandy is rich in culture, tradition, and history. One of the best cultural experiences that cannot be missed is a traditional Kandyan dance performance. The performance showcases various dance forms, including fire dances, which are accompanied by drumming and other traditional music. Visitors can also witness the vibrant festival of Esala Perahera, which takes place in July or August and is a cultural spectacle that celebrates the tooth relic.

Local History

Kandy is steeped in history, and there are plenty of historical sites to explore. The Royal Palace of Kandy, which was once the residence of the Sinhalese monarchs, is now a museum that displays artifacts and exhibits related to the Kandyan Kingdom. The Ceylon Tea Museum is also a must-visit attraction, where visitors can learn about the history of tea production in Sri Lanka and sample some of the finest local tea.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Suggestions

For visitors looking for something unique, Kandy offers plenty of off-the-beaten-path suggestions. The Hanthana mountain range, just outside the city, is a perfect spot for hiking and trekking. The Knuckles mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is another off-the-beaten-path destination where visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of Sri Lanka. Visitors can also experience a homestay with a local family, which is an excellent way to immerse oneself in local culture and traditions.

In conclusion, Kandy is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage, stunning natural beauty, and exciting culinary experiences. From ancient temples and palaces to traditional dance performances and scenic mountain ranges, this city has something for everyone. Visitors can enrich their Sri Lankan experience by exploring Kandy’s attractions, culinary delights, cultural experiences, history, and off-the-beaten-path suggestions to make memories that will last a lifetime.

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A Scenic Train Ride from Kandy to Ella: All You Need To Know

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!