Kandy To Ella Train Journey Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Guide

Kandy To Ella Train Journey Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Guide

A trip to Sri Lanka would not be complete without taking the scenic Kandy to Ella train. So here’s everything you need to know, plus our own experience.

Kandy To Ella Train Journey Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Guide

Jump To:
Train Times
Ticket Prices
Booking Tickets
Top Tips
Our Experience
Where To Stay

Kandy To Ella Train Times

There are 3 trains that depart from Kandy towards Ella everyday.

Times: 3.30am, 8.47am or 11.10am.

We heard that the 8.47am train is the best to catch because naturally, fewer people want to get up early. Plus it’s good to hit the road (well tracks) before the mid morning fog sets in.

Kandy To Ella Train Tickets

Prices:

3rd class – 150 rupees
2nd class – 250 rupees
1st class – 1000 rupees.
Air con being the big difference.

If you can get a guaranteed seat then that’s a bonus. Chances are you’ll be fighting everyone on the platform just to get on the train, let alone sit down, so don’t worry too much.

Kandy To Ella Train Booking

You cannot book tickets in advance at the station!

So the only options are to try and pre-book online, which we couldn’t seem to do. Or just turn up on the day an hour before departure, which worked perfectly for us.

You’ll be greeted by a queue of people doing the same. Although there doesn’t seem to be a limit on the amount of tickets sold so don’t let that be a worry.

Also keep hold of your ticket until you arrive! The ticket inspector WILL ask you for it when you get off in Ella.

Kandy To Ella Train Tips

Sit on the left! – We heard so many different things before getting on the train but we can now speak from experience. Sit on the LEFT when heading into Ella for the best views!

Grab a spot near the doorways early and hold it! – One of the girls we were with squeezed through to the doorway and sat for the entire journey. If you can hold down a spot and master when to let people past to exit without losing it then you’re onto a winner!

Our Experience On The Kandy To Ella Train

The Journey

So we were up nice and early. Just in time to have our poached eggs on toast, before catching a tuk tuk to the station.

We’d heard it was a struggle to make the train, purely because of the sheer amount of people that flock to the now tourist attraction. Well sure enough the queue was out of the door when we arrived at 7.50am.

Wanderers & Warriors - Kandy To Ella Train Sri Lanka - Kandy Railway Station

Kandy Railway Station – where it all begins

Wanderers & Warriors - Kandy To Ella Train Sri Lanka - Kandy Railway Station

People literally queuing out of the doors!

It soon died down though, and before we knew it all 6 of us were piling through the turnstiles, ready and waiting on the platform for the incredible views to begin.

Wanderers & Warriors - Kandy To Ella Train Sri Lanka - Kandy Railway Station

Kandy Railway Station pre madness

After a lot of debating as to which side to wait on, and how we were ever going to make it onto the train with all these people, we decided to pull up a pew and chill for half an hour to prep ourselves for the mad rush.

Wanderers & Warriors - Charlie & Lauren UK Travel Couple - Kandy To Ella Train Sri Lanka - Kandy Railway Station

Lauren and the crew waiting on the platform

The train eventually arrived, full of locals from its departing station in Colombo, and on we jumped. It was cramped, hot and smelly but we were on! Next stop Ella! But not before some breathtaking scenery…

Wanderers & Warriors - Kandy To Ella Train Sri Lanka - Views

Kandy to Ella train views

So here comes the real honest part, the first 4 hours were a nightmare. Maybe it was because we happened to travel on a weekend or maybe it was just always that full, but we were up and down like a pogo stick looking for spots to try and snatch a glimpse of the view. Luckily enough the first few hours were nothing special and in the end we took a locals advice that after Nuwara Eliya most passengers would disembark and space would be created. So we held on for a while and snacked on some veggie samosas to see us through.

Wanderers & Warriors - Charlie & Lauren UK Travel Couple - Kandy To Ella Train Sri Lanka

Lauren making friends with a family from Toulouse, France

Eventually, around 3 and a half hours in, the crowd did in fact die down and we managed to get some awesome seats next to the window between a French family. So the six of us spread out between the coach seats and the doorways and enjoyed the main part of the show.

The Views

The trees and mountain views were definitely worth waiting for! We guess being on a train you don’t realise how much you’re ascending but suddenly we pulled out into views from such height that were so green and clean…beautiful would be an understatement.

Wanderers & Warriors - Kandy To Ella Train Sri Lanka - Views

The Kandy to Ella train views were worth the wait

We chilled and took it all in, and to be honest nothing we write in this blog will do it justice. But if you decide to skip the train journey from Kandy to Ella then don’t say we didn’t warn you! It’s certainly an experience!

When you finally arrive in Ella make sure to check out both The INSANE Nine Arches Bridge and Ella Rock Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Ella Rock Hike Guide.

Wanderers & Warriors - Charlie & Lauren UK Travel Couple - Kandy To Ella Train Sri Lanka - Hanging out of the train

Charlie hanging out of the Kandy to Ella train

Where To Stay In Kandy & Ella

Kandy Hotels

Luxury – Santani Resort & Spa – This place has it all. With private chalets and a spa and wellness centre if you’re looking to fully unwind in Kandy Santani has got you covered.

Mid-Budget – Chaminrich – Beautiful views and family vibes. Great food and great people!

Backpacker – Kandy City Hostel – If you’re looking for cheap and cheerful then we have to shout out our guys at City Hostel. You can read about our stay with them in Kandy here.

You can also check out the prices of other places to stay in Kandy here.

Ella Hotels

Luxury – Ella Planters Bungalow – Absolutely beautiful apartments in the middle of the mountains. Modernly furnished and giving you your own piece of private heaven in Ella.

Mid-Budget – Morning Dew Hotel – One of the best sellers in Ella this centrally located hotel will cover all of your needs during your mountain stay.

Backpacker – Ella – Hangover Hostels Ella – A super chilled and cheap set up set amongst the mountains.

You can also check out the prices of other places to stay in Ella here.

More Sri Lanka

Ella Rock Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Ella Rock Hike Guide

Ella Rock Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Ella Rock Hike Guide

Udawalawe Safari – The Best Sri Lanka Safari

The Best Of Sri Lanka – A Route & Trip Guide


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4 Comments

  1. October 18, 2017 / 6:18 pm

    Visited Sri Lanka 🇱🇰 but only did south. Look forward to doing handy and central. Helpful tips though. Thanks for the information. Happy travelling ✈️

    • October 20, 2017 / 3:30 am

      Thanks so much! Yes Kandy is beautiful and Ella the mountain country. Such an amazing country 🙌🏼🇱🇰

  2. Sandra
    October 19, 2017 / 10:05 pm

    Oh wow I’ve been mentioned here yaay! 😀 really nice writing, safe travels guys <3

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