Travelling by train through the tea country of Sri Lanka is a fantastic experience especially if you are lucky and the train runs to time! It is also the best value journey we have made during our entire round-the-world trip… you get to see superb scenery in relative comfort for around £0.50 each for 2.5 hours!
We made two train journeys in this part of Sri Lanka; first from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya and then from Nuwara Eliya to Ella.
Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
Kandy Station is centrally located in the town and we purchased our train tickets for this section of the journey a day in advance. There is one First Class carriage but as this was fully booked we opted for ‘Second Class Reserved’ seats. The cost for these two tickets was under £4.
The 11:10 train was around 20 minutes late and the 2nd class reserved carriages are located at the front of the train i.e. you need to stand at the far end of platform 2!
Much of this journey was cloudy, overcast and rainy but still offered stunning views. Due to the time of our visit being low season the train wasn’t full and there was plenty of seats available.
Nuwara Eliya to Ella
For this section we decided not to pre-book our seats. Partly because the station which serves Nuwara Eliya (Nanu-oya) is around 10 km away and partly because of the low season and less tourists.
We found that the 09:30 train is the ‘slow’ train which takes 4 hours to do the (approx) 60 km journey whereas the 12:43 train takes only 2.5 hours. We therefore decided the latter train would be the better option! When we arrived at Nanu-oya station at around midday, the 09:30 train was just leaving… apparently this train is notoriously late so even more reason to recommend the 12:43…
As mentioned above the 2nd class unreserved tickets were only 110 Sri Lankan rupees (50 p) each for this part of the journey.
This train was also late but only by about 15 minutes… when it did depart at 13:00 we had a fantastic journey… there was plenty of seats so we could see the stunning views from both sides of the carriage. All carriage windows had large openings so we could take unobstructed photos. The weather was sunny and got warmer as we travelled towards Ella. All in all it was a wonderful experience.