The World’s Most Beautiful Train Trip ?

Train Trip 4

You are staying in one of the many luxury villas that Sri Lanka Je t’aime offers in the Hillside Country but you want to have one of the most beautiful experience in Sri Lanka ? For sure, you have to do one of this magical train trip across the tea plantations and giant eucalyptus between Kandy and Badulla.

The railway system in Sri Lanka was initially built by the British in 1864. The main reason was to transport tea and coffee from the Hill Country to Colombo for shipping internationally. Today there is a great railway network between some of the biggest cities in Sri Lanka.

Taking the train is probably the safest and the most comfortable way to travel . You can walk around whenever you want, have some food, meet other travelers and locals, read, listen to music, relax and watch the landscape go peacefully by. Train travel in Sri Lanka is both a beautiful and affordable way to see the country, and no trip is more scenic than the Expo-rail from Kandy to Ella!

Train Trip 5Train Trip 3 Train Trip 6Train Trip 1Train Trip 2 Train Trip 6Train tri2Train tri1

Departing from Kandy , the line gradually rises to a summit at 2024m before descending again to Ella at 1041m. The train is significantly slower, but makes for a quintessentially Sri Lankan experience, as the carriages bump and grind their way painfully up the interminable gradients towards Nuwara Eliya (and occasionally lose traction and slither a yard or so back downhill again). Along the way the scenery is breathtaking, with a particularly beautiful section coming between Haputale and Badulla.

From Hatton, the scenery is the most spectacular, passing St Clair and Devon waterfalls on the left hand side and many tea plantations. Look out for Adam’s Peak in the distance on the left. After about seven hours, you will arrive at Nanu Oya station and from here there is a 15 minute drive to Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya is a town nestled in the middle of the tea plantations, in the hill country of the Central Province. Located at an altitude of 1.868 m, this picturesque place provides a temperate climate all year round and is known to be the coolest place of the country. It is also considered to be the most important location for tea plantations in Sri Lanka. It’s worth to spend 2-3 days there having a trek along the falls which irrigate the tea plantations, visiting a tea estate or having a cup of tea in The Grand Hotel, an Elizabethan-era manor house built in 1828. Then it will be the time to continue your journey to the final destination : Badulla.

Station Train Trip 7Station2

The rail route from Nanu Oya (Nuwara Eliya station) to Badulla climbs slowly through pine and eucalyptus forest into a stylized landscape of immaculately manicured tea plantations which periodically open up to reveal heart-stopping views through the hills, nowhere more so than above the village of Dimbula, at the centre of a famous tea-growing area, where the line passes high above a grand, canyon-like valley between towering cliffs. As you will arrive around 7 PM, It’ll be too late to visit the impressive Duhinda falls. With its 64 meters high, Duhinda waterfall is probably the most beautiful and spectacular falls of Sri Lanka. There are a few accommodations in Badulla but you can also find plenty of nice guesthouses in Ella which is situated 25 km away. Ella is surrounded by hills covered with cloud forest and tea plantations. In the morning, have a climb to Ella Gap from where you can have amazing views across the Southern plains of Sri Lanka. Of course, don’t miss to visit the Duhinda falls. There is another falls just 30 minutes from Ella named Rawana Falls. You can easily see it along the road if you head to Southern Sri Lanka. Whatever you decide, it is very important to prepare and book your train trip in advance. Train information, timetables and ticket prices can be found on the Sri Lanka Government Railway Information web side.

Railway MapDemodera Station1
Nanu Oya Station2

Most trains have different government-run classes:

  • 1st class sleeper carries sleeping-berths and are provided on a few overnight trains.
  • 1st class observation car is available on certain daytime trains, mostly on the Main Line, and is very popular among tourists. The observation car provides wide views of the scenery and is normally at the rear of the train but occasionally behind the locomotive.
  • 1st class air-conditioned seats are available on occasional inter-city express trains.
  • 2nd class seats are provided on all inter-city trains and are available as either unreserved seats or reserved seats, where a passenger is allocated a specific seat.
  • 3rd class seats are available on most trains. This class can get very crowded and carries only basic facilities.
  • There are also two privately run services addition to the above government-run; The Exporail & Rajadhani Express which operate on the most popular stretches.

    Colombo-Badulla Time Table

    Badulla-Colombo Time Table

    Exo : Exporail
    Raj : Rajadhani Express
    ICE : Intercity Express
    O: 1st Class Observation Car
    1 : 1st Class air-conditioned reserved seats
    2 : 2nd Class seats
    3 : 3rd Class seats
    R : Restaurant/Buffet car