Hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful train rides the train from Kandy to Ella is top of most traveler’s lists when they travel to Sri Lanka. Not wanting to miss out on the adventure, we made our plans to get from Kandy to Ella by train. And it did not disappoint!
But it was not all smooth going, getting tickets for the Kandy to Ella train was more complicated than we thought and managing to sit-down to enjoy the views was a mixture of luck and being prepared with our Kandy to Ella Train Hacks.
If you are looking for more Sri Lanka inspiration read our full Sri Lanka Itinerary.
We didn’t book any tickets before we arrived in Sri Lanka and in Peak Season (January) the train to Ella was booked out weeks in advance, before we even arrived in the country.
But through a bit of research and good timing, we secured four seats to enjoy the stunning views and relax on the picturesque seven hour trip. If you are travelling from Kandy to Ella train is the best way to get there.
Read on for all the details of how to book Sri Lankan train tickets in advance or give yourself the best chance of getting an unreserved seat on the Kandy to Ella rain.
The Train has just started its journey from Badulla, some 20km away, it is not that crowded. Nevertheless everybody rushes to try and get the best spots next to the window and in the travelling direction.
Even though you have great views also in the opposite directions, and you can always stand up to go and take pictures from the open doors, if you really want to secure a good seat, try to get one on the left hand side of travel. Indeed after a shot stretch throughout which the tea plantations are on the right side, the best view is on the left for the majority of the journey (so for the opposite journey Kandy – Ella, right hand side would be the best.)
We wonder how the locals see us, acting like crazy running up and down the aisle.
We refuse to fight with 4 Chinese guys who are constantly taking pictures and monopolizing almost 2 carriages of doors and windows hoping that eventually our time will come!
We would recommend 2nd class for long trips, where you might want to sit back and relax after a couple of hours.
Learning out of the doors is a true feeling of freedom! The view is so beautiful, staring out of the window is a must. Hours fly, only towards the end the sky becomes cloudy while we approach Kandy. It really is a marvelous journey, would take a 6 hour train ride like this all day compared to any bus trip or flight.
The Best option is the observation car which looks amazing with panoramic windows and some that open for photography. However, this train arrives when it’s dark, meaning you miss the last part of the views and the carriage travel backwards.