Silly me. I thought a 6-hour train journey from the city of Kandy to Ella would have us squished on a local train surrounded by the beautiful tea picking country folk of the Hill Country. Wrong! This journey is no well-kept secret. Yes, it is firmly on the beaten tourist path, but it didn’t matter to us one little bit. The Kandy to Ella train is one of the most scenic journeys in the world for a good reason and it doesn’t matter how you do it, just make sure you do.
For the equivalent of a couple of pounds, get yourself on a train to Ella, situated in the Hill Country of Sri Lanka. You might be a little squished (we were in 3rd class) but the train is generally full of tourists who want to hang out of the doors with cameras set to the highest shutter speed possible. So don’t worry if you can’t book an advanced train ticket, just jump on and enjoy the scenery.
With scenes like these, you won’t be worrying about your comfort levels and those 6 hours will fly by as you let the beauty of this land mesmerise you.
If we were to give any tips for the trip – take some snacks and some antibac for loo visits. There are Western-style toilets on board the train which are rustic but perfectly adequate. Also, be prepared for a large temperature change in the train carriage. The hot dusty climate of Kandy is a world away from the misty cool breezes in the higher altitudes, so keep a jumper on you so you don’t have to dig it out of your luggage. No wonder the tea grows so well here!
For up to date details on rail times and prices, we always use The Man in Seat 61.