One of the worlds most beautiful train rides, the journey up to the pretty town of Ella, Sri Lanka is one to cherish. Look forward to around seven hours of therapeutic travel across lush tea plantations, silvery waterfalls, verdant hills covered in tall pines and deep valleys dotted with little homes. The best route is the Ella to Kandy trip or vice versa. Sounds good? Here's how to plan the Ella train ride.
1. Sri Lanka's Most Popular Train Ride
Train rides to Ella is an attraction on its own in Sri Lanka. One of the most rewarding journeys you will enjoy on the island, the journey is dotted with beautiful sights from vintage bridges to smiling locals and charming little villages, all cocooned within the best of nature. Ella is located in the highlands. A short distance from the cold climes of Bandarawela, Diyatalawa or Nuwara Eliya. The area is highly conducive for exploring, relaxing and rejuvenating mind, body and soul and is home to many a fine attraction. Once in Ella you can climb to the summit of Little Adams Peak, a short hike up the hill will treat you to marvellous views of the surroundings. Then there is the world-famous Nine Arch Bridge built by the British, and of course the famous Demodara rail line which loops around to travel under the station through a tunnel carved into the hill.
Ella being a popular tourist resort is also where one can be a foodie to their heart's content. Every type of street food is available there for your indulgence. You can learn more about Ella attractions and also the best places to visit in Sri Lanka by exploring informative websites such as, Truly Sri Lanka which will update you on hidden gems and the islands best allures. And since Ella is such a huge attraction on its own, its best to book the Kandy to Ella train ride and enjoy a few days in the charming little town.
2. Train Travel In Sri Lanka
Train travel in Sri Lanka is one of the most affordable forms of transport on the island. The Ella to Kandy train ride is about 9 hours and is quite comfortable leaving you with enough freedom to read, listen to music, watch the scenery or even chat to fellow passengers. As the train stops at each station, a bevvy of trader's board during the short time spent at the station, they board selling all sorts of bites, such as fresh slices of mango or pineapple coated in chilli and salt, roasted peanuts, corn on the cob with salty butter, fried crisp's made Sri Lanka style and more.
3. Purchasing Train Tickets In Sri Lanka
Check out the Sri Lanka Government Train Railway Information website for all information with regards to train routes, time tables and ticket prices. You can choose which carriage or class you wish to travel in depending on your budget and expectations. Following are the types of seats you can book on Sri Lanka trains.
• Book 1st class Observation Car – this carriage is available on trains plying main lines during the day. The Kandy to Ella observation car is very popular due to its capacity to offer travellers a full view of the surrounding scenery and is generally located at the rear or at times behind the engine at the front.
• 1st Class Air-Conditioned Seats – This type of carriage is available on all inter-city trains and are very comfortable
• 1st Class Sleeper Berths – Ideal for overnight long train journeys
• 2nd Class Seats – All Inter-City trains offer this category of seat. The seats may be booked as reserved or unreserved. These compartments have fans and the windows may be opened
• 3rd Class Seats – All trains offer this category of seats and as the cheapest seats on offer, third class is usually very crowded and offers basic facilities
While 1st class trains are air-conditioned and comfortable you cannot open the windows and those of you handy with the camera will find it difficult to capture those envious train photos.
You can purchase train tickets from any station within the island, regardless of the route. For example, if you first arrive in Colombo, the commercial capital, head over to the Fort train station and purchase your tickets for your Ella to Kandy, in advance, ride there.
Tickets for all government-run trains can be purchased 10 to 30 days in advance. Tickets for the Ella to Kandy route are offered 30days in advance.
4. Carrying Luggage On Board Your Train
There is no restriction on luggage. Whatever you can carry onboard will be accommodated. There are overhead racks for luggage and if you cannot lift your bags, you will have to ask for help. Bigger luggage can be kept by your seat.