Charming Sri Lanka: the island by train

Sri Lanka is an amazing island where you can feed turtles at Hikkaduwa beach and walk on Ceylon plantations, to conquer the peaks of the Small Adam’s Peak and Ella Rock, to catch a wave on the spot Mirissa and get the pleasure of riding on trains.

Railways — the most convenient, inexpensive and very scenic way to travel around the island. There’s no traffic (from Kandy to Colombo can be cheaper), you can get to almost any city, but the main thing — the views during the trip. From the open train window you will see the nature of the island with its rolling hills, forests, plantations, beaches and villages where you can observe the life of locals.

Want to Sri Lanka

Очаровательная Шри-Ланка: по острову на поезде

In this article, we’ll show you how to build a 14-day trip on the train to see the most beautiful places of the country.

Trains have three classes of service. We recommend 2: in cars of this class opens the Windows open, a fan, and you can sit down. The ticket price varies from 1.5$ to 8$. In the 1st class soft seats and air conditioning, but the Windows cannot be opened, and therefore to get maximum pleasure from the trip will not work. In the 3rd better not to fall, will ride standing up, but still unable to Rob.

Train timetables can be viewed on the website of the national carrier.


Очаровательная Шри-Ланка: по острову на поезде

You arrive in Colombo. Spend a lot of time in the capital we would not recommend: the city does not reflect the charm of the island. Go immediately to the station and buy a ticket to Kandy. It takes about three hours.

The city where once lived the kings, located in the center of the island and is the cultural and religious heart.

What to do

  • Visit the Temple of the Tooth relic, which is a complex that includes museums and temples. Divine tooth is kept in a Golden casket. If you are planning a trip in August, will be able to attend Esala Perahera — the festival of the Holy Tooth. Music playing, everyone dancing, and strolling through the streets of dozens of decorated elephants. The tooth shall be put on public display. Sri Lankans believe that this ceremony will contribute to the Affairs of the country.
  • Climbing the hill to the huge statue of Buddha Vihara Bahirawakanda and admire the panorama of the city.
  • Walk around Kandy lake. It is an artificial lake with a length of about a kilometer appeared on the orders of the last king of Kandy Sri Vikram Rajasinghe in the early nineteenth century. On a small island in the middle of the lake housed the harem of the ruler. You can also see the monastery and the Royal baths. Around the pond you can meet geese, pelicans and herons.
  • To walk in udawattakele sanctuary to meet Lankan fauna and flora: 300 years of the vine, a palm-rattan, orchids, lianas, Ceylon macaques, porcupines, mongoose, parrot and emerald dove.

The ticket price for the train from Colombo to Kandy in the second class 2$. In order to have time to explore the city, we recommend you to stay for one night.

Hotels: accommodation in a hostel for one person will cost from 132 rubles, in 3* hotel — from 693 rubles.

Nuwara Eliya

Очаровательная Шри-Ланка: по острову на поезде

From Kandy take the train to Badulla and get off at NANU OYA. Go about 4 hours. From here a bus to Nuwara Eliya. “Little England” in the forest of the center of the island. The lovely houses of the Victorian era in the midst of plantations and mountain ranges.

What to do

  • Take a boat ride on lake Gregory. This lake was designed by the British Governor of Nuwara Eliya, in order to provide the city with electricity, but quickly turned into a place of rest. Now locals and tourists have picnics, boating in the form of swans, kayaks and bicycles, walk on the scenic paths.
  • Take photos about one of the highest waterfalls of the island of St. Clare, which was named “Little Niagara” by waterfalls of varying heights.
  • Stroll through the highest altitude Botanical garden in the world — Hakgala.
  • Sri Lanka famous for its tea, so you should visit the local plantations, for example, Pedro estate, to learn how it is produced.

The ticket price for the train from Kandy to NANU OYA in the second grade of 1.5$. If you come early in the morning, you can go and evening, but better to stay overnight to one day to quietly watch garden, lake and waterfall and the other to devote to the plantations.

Hotels: accommodation in a hostel for one person will cost from 349 rubles, in 3* hotel — from 1444 rubles.


Очаровательная Шри-Ланка: по острову на поезде
Photo: @florianreichelt / @backpackdiariez /

Again at the station. Today you will see one of the most beautiful roads in your life.

Take a ticket to Badulla (the end station), but go out in Ella. Go about 3 hours, but worth it, the views will open up stunning. You can sit down, legs dangling in the doorway. It is better to plan the trip on a weekday, as weekend tourists will increase local and find a comfortable place will not be easy.

Ella is a small town in the mountains, where all the action is. In the afternoon everyone goes to the mountains to admire the panorama, and in the evening gather at a local cafe and share experiences.

What to do

  • Ella — a city for Hiking. There are several routes. The shortest — to the cave of Ravana, sung in the ancient Indian epic “Ramayana”. According to legend, the king of India was a beautiful wife SITA, the king of Sri Lanka Ravana kidnapped her and hid in this cave. From the top wonderful views of the mountains.
  • Leisurely walk to little Adam’s Peak. It will take 45 minutes and another 15-20 minutes will take to climb.
  • If Small Peak for you — a childish prank and you prefer Hiking over longer distances, the Ella Rock is the mountain bigger. First, the distance is more. Secondly, the path is more tranquil and unspoilt, unlike the well-organized paths to Small Adam’s Peak. Ascent and descent will take 4 hours, you can take a guide.
  • Walk to one of the main attractions of the island — Debateroom bridge, the longest in Sri Lanka. In addition, it was built without using steel, but at the expense of brick, volcanic stone and cement. Bridge height of 92 meters is hidden among lush forests. Daily about it and there are hundreds of tourists to make gorgeous photos.
  • 10 minutes from the city lies the Ravana falls. If the weather is hot, it will help to freshen up.

The ticket price for the train from NANU OYA to Ella in the second grade of 1.5$. To enjoy the city, we recommend you to spend two nights there.

Hotels: accommodation in a hostel for one person will cost from 251 ruble hotel 3* — from 990 rubles.


Очаровательная Шри-Ланка: по острову на поезде

After Ella will have a difficult path on the coast. Unfortunately, the train to the coast from here does not go, but to do the reverse hook through Colombo is a waste of precious time. You can use Uber or take the city bus No. 31 (Bandarawela-Matara), feel the atmosphere.

What to do

  • Take a stroll around the headland Dondra, on which stands the temple of the God Vishnu. This Hindu sanctuary, and the active seaport with the majestic white lighthouse.
  • To swim to the island crow. Take a walk in the wild, if you go to the amusement Park, Crow Island Beach Park.
  • Visit the Weherahena temple. They built it underground to pray in secret from the colonialists, and later outside put a big statue of Buddha.
  • Stroll through the tranquil, unlike many others on the island, the beach of Matara.

The ticket price for bus 31 from Ella to Matara — 2$. It is better to go early morning as the time on the road for five hours. The ride from Uber will cost about 90$, you can find other travelers and split the amount. It is better to go early in the morning to the afternoon to be in Matara, to spend in the city the rest of the day and travel to Mirissa late in the evening.


Очаровательная Шри-Ланка: по острову на поезде

From “the mountaineer-traveler” in this city is to switch to “surf zagoranski”. From Matara buses to Colombo or Galle. Warn the driver about stopping in Mirissa.

Sri Lanka is known for its perfect surf waves, so if somewhere in my dreams you cut the sea, it’s time to turn their dreams into reality.

After sunset beach institution, laid out the fresh catch on ice. Your task is only to choose between crabs, various fish and seafood.

Train to Mirissa from$ 1. Better to stay here for a few days.

Hotels: accommodation in a hostel for one person will cost 330 rubles, in 3* hotel — from 825 rubles.


Очаровательная Шри-Ланка: по острову на поезде

You can get a bus to Galle.

The perfect place to sunbathe, Royal drink coconut, take pictures, “I’m on a gorgeous beach” and try Sri Lankan cuisine. If you have never stood in the surf, then the most suitable spot, as the waves are quite small. But you can still go diving.

Bus to the city of 0.5$. You can stay for a few days.

Hotels: accommodation in a hostel for one person will cost from 231 rubles in hotel 3* — from 359 rubles.


Очаровательная Шри-Ланка: по острову на поезде

The fortress town of Galle famous for its Fort built by the Dutch and included in the world heritage list of UNESCO.

What to do

  • Stroll along the Fort wall to take a photo of the lighthouse and clock tower on the background of a stormy sea.
  • Look at Dutch architecture, wandering through the narrow streets inside the Fort, looking in souvenir shops.
  • To go to the national Maritime Museum.
  • Compare All Saints ‘ Church, Dutch Church, mosque Meera Mosque.

The cost of the bus to Galle to 0.5$. The day will have time to see the city, and in the evening you can go to the next town.


Очаровательная Шри-Ланка: по острову на поезде

If the prospect of lying on the Board waiting for the perfect wave is not very happy, recommend you to go to Hikkaduwa. This Lankan village, favored by the Russians. There are clean beach, clear water and palm trees bowed over the water. The atmosphere can only be broken traders pareo and masseuses. The massage is better to go to a salon.

If you go to the beach, you can see large turtles, sailing for food. They know what they are waiting for tourists with prepared treats and cameras, so have chosen this place. For dinner go to one of the restaurants and taste the freshest crabs.

If we have time, we recommend you to visit one of the sacred cities of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura, Museum complex of Sigiriya and Yala national Park.

The cost of the ticket on the train from Galle to Hikkaduwa in the second grade of 0.5$. How much to stay here, depends on your thirst for recreation and vacation days.

Hotels: accommodation in a hostel for one person will cost between 396 rubles, in 3* hotel — from 914 rubles.

*Prices quoted at the time of writing of the text. The cost in material, and the final price may vary.

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