Sri Lanka's Most Beautiful Train Ride - Kandy to Ella
Often referred to 'The most beautiful train journey in the world', and for very good reason. In the lead up to heading to Sri Lanka, you can imagine I was pretty damn excited to get on board.
Firstly I want to note, that photos do not to this train journey justice. I had looked at countless blogs, instagrams, travel magazine, you name it, I had stalked it, in the lead up to flying to Sri Lanka, but the landscape this journey takes you through is absolutely, beyond stunning.
Imagine tea plantations, waterfalls, rolling mountains, clouds and mist all mash up together over 6 hours, given how slowly you are travelling it goes extremely quickly! At each train station on the way, the train cabins were filled with sellers hustling treats like freshly cut pineapple and mango with cinnamon, corn with salty butter, freshly made rice and curry, chilli fritters and crispy papadums. Delish!
I was fortunate enough to be on tour with Gecko Adventures, so I didn't have to go through the hassle of reserving a seat and I could easily rock up on the day without any issues. But perhaps, if you are travelling solo or with friends these tips will get you better prepared.
Booking Kandy to Ella Tickets & Logistics
This particular train leaves on time and if you want to experience the views, with the best photo opportunities I'd advise pre-booking 2nd class tickets. Even the locals pre book, although you can rock up on the day and book on the spot, you'll risk not being guaranteed a seat.
If you're organised and have pre-booked tickets, turning up 5-10 minutes before the train departs is enough time to make the train. Try and get a window seat if you want great photos, the windows open up unlike in 1st class where it's shut off and air-conditioned.
Reserved tickets can be booked up to 30 days in advance but only in person. You can either try to book these when you arrive at Colombo or Kandy, or ask your accommodation to secure them before you arrive. Due to how competitive getting these tickets are, many agents will now bulk buy them when the 30-day window opens and then sell them at a more expensive price. Do your research and pre-book with a decent travel agent before your departure.