A Kandy to Ella train guide

A Kandy to Ella train guide

The train to Ella from Kandy is often described as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. As you look out the window you’ll see views of endless green mountains, dense rain forests & waterfalls. Hear the chug of the train on the tracks, the mating calls of the koel birds and listen to the foreign chatter amongst locals. If you feel daring then hang out the doorway and feel the wind blow through your hair as you take in the smells of the surrounding rain forest. This train ride is truly like no other and one I won’t ever forget.

hanging out the Ella train doorway


Kandy Station

We got to the station around 7:30am and was already greeted with a queue. We joined the line on the left hand side for a 3rd class ticket. The train was due at 8:47am so after we got our ticket we waited on the left hand side of the platform. There are also trains at 11:10am & 3:30pm. Tickets for 1st class costs 1000 Rupees (£4.30), 2nd class costs 230 Rupees (£0.98) and 3rd class tickets will cost you (£0.65). Unfortunately you can’t book tickets online so make sure you get to the station early. When the train starts to approach stand closer to the platform edge and squeeze your way. Be careful as people will push.

Information correct as of Jan 2019

Tip: If you want a good photo DON’T get a seat in the last few carriages or you won’t have any of the train in the background of your photo ?

leaving Kandy train station

Where to sit

Sit on the left side as the view is absolutely breath taking. Get a 3rd class ticket so you can sit with the locals and experience a little Sri Lankan culture on your journey. No reserved seats, no air con, just the fans and the breeze from the windows. Sit back and enjoy the view or for a mini adrenaline rush hang out the doorway.

view from the Ella train doorway

Is it worth the 7 hour journey?

Absolutely! I hardly noticed the time due to all the excitement. No need to worry about food or drinks as locals hop on and off the train with plenty of snacks & drinks. There’s also a toilet on the train but be prepared for a squat toilet and a swaying train…

Endless photo opportunities

The train passes through many picturesque towns & villages. Locals wave in excitement and children run to see the train pass by. As you journey through the mountains you may catch a glimpse of the tea ladies at work or a stunning waterfall flowing through the valley. If you’re lucky you can watch the locals singing & dancing. Be sure to clap along, I promise you won’t stop smiling.

Be prepared for photos to be taken of you too as some of the locals love a selfie and a chat.

waterfall view from the Ella train

local man on Ella train

children on the train to Ella

When to get off

Many people will get off at Nuwara Eliya but don’t let that startle you. Well it startled me and thought we missed our stop! Thankfully we met two awesome ladies from Australia who we chatted to the entire way and they ensured us when we needed to get off the train. When the train pulls in to Ella, pretty much the entire train departs here except maybe a few locals. You’ll probably hear locals shouting Ella to prompt you.

going through the tunnel near Ella

Ella train station

Outside the station are many tuk tuks waiting to take you to your accommodation. Check on your map to see how far it is first as most are within walking distance. Be sure to haggle with your driver if you do decide on getting a lift as they will say higher prices than usual. You will also need to pay a few to exit the carpark. (I’m not entirely sure what it was for exactly as Max dealt with it and I also don’t know the price sorry.) Just ensure you have cash on you when you arrive 🙂

Where to stay

To see the latest deals on Ella accommodation click here


For more Sri Lanka guides click here





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