Shut your eyes and picture you’re sitting by the window of a prepare. A tea picker wearing a vibrant sari turns and waves. You hear the laughter of kids, the chatter of passengers. Your nostrils choose up the scent of scrumptious deep fried lentil snacks and candy tea. The prepare gently rocks because it rounds a bend, the comforting sound lulling you into a cheerful silence.
Sri Lanka’s Ella to Kandy prepare experience may simply be one of many world’s best railway journeys!
On this journey tip, we’ll share:
• The perfect time to go to Sri Lanka
• Find out how to get to Ella
• The perfect issues to do in Ella
• Find out how to get tickets for the Ella to Kandy prepare
• The perfect issues to see on the Ella to Kandy prepare
When is the very best time to go to Sri Lanka?
When planning a visit to Sri Lanka, a very powerful factor to contemplate is the timing of the 2 main monsoons, plus the inter-monsoonal interval between:
- Yala monsoon: April-September rains within the west/south west coasts and the hill nation (together with Ella)
- Maha monsoon: November-March rains within the east coast.
- Inter-monsoonal: October/November heavy rainfall and thunderstorms can happen anyplace throughout the island.
So, for journeys to the west/south coasts and importantly, this Ella to Kandy prepare journey beginning within the hill nation, the very best time to go to is April, October and November.
What’s extra, by travelling in shoulder and low seasons, you’ll assist unfold the influence of vacationers and travellers on native locations.
Take a look at our itinerary for 8 days in Sri Lanka.
Find out how to get to Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is an island within the Indian Ocean. So, the one viable approach to get to Sri Lanka is by aircraft!
You’ll land at Bandaranaike Worldwide Airport, about 30km north of the capital Colombo. Be prepared for a gradual journey into Colombo metropolis centre which may take over an hour.
Seek for flights to Sri Lanka here.
Find out how to get to Ella?
The beautifully-named city of Ella or ‘waterfall’ is located about 200km east of Columbo within the district of Badulla. Surrounded by misty inexperienced hills, verdant tea plantations and placing waterfalls, Ella is simply over 1000m above sea degree, and has a cooler local weather than the lowlands. It’s certainly one of Sri Lanka’s greatest locations to loosen up and luxuriate in nature.
Ella could be reached by highway (bus, personal automobile/van with driver, shared taxi/minibus) from a variety of places. You may also get the prepare from Colombo through Kandy if you wish to do the prepare journey in reverse, however it is a lengthy day’s prepare journey.
- Colombo – Ella: approx 5 hours by highway; 327 km
- Galle/Mirissa – Ella: 3.5 hours by highway; 200 km
- Uda Walawe Nationwide Park – Ella: 2 hours by highway; 100 km
- Batticloa – Ella: 4.5 hours by highway; 176km
- Colombo – Ella by public bus: c. 9 hours; take the bus heading to Badulla and get off at Kumbalwela junction. From right here, it’s a brief tuk-tuk or native bus experience to Ella.
- Uda Walawe – Ella by public bus: c. 3 hours. Take a bus from Uda Walawe to Thanamalwila then change for the bus to Ella. Some ready time; ask for assist to seek out the suitable bus.
Greatest issues to do in Ella
There are many nice issues to do in and round Ella, so that is only a taster of what’s to return should you spend just a few days on this gorgeous spot.
• Stroll to Ella Rock for views of Ella Hole and gorgeous countryside (3-4 hours spherical journey).
• Take pictures galore at iconic 9 Arch Bridge, an engineering feat to not be missed.
• Stroll as much as Little Adam’s Peak for views of Ella Rock and Ella Hole (2 hours spherical journey).
• Learn to cook Sri Lankan-style in one of many native cooking colleges.
• Take a look at thundering Rawana Falls simply out of city by tuk tuk on the highway to Wellawaya.
The place to remain in Ella?
Two first rate mid-range choices embrace The Chillout, located at first of the path to Little Adam’s Peak, only a brief stroll from the centre of Ella. Comfortable rooms, a tasty breakfast and a big balcony for these views.
Even nearer to the trailhead is the well-kept Ella Flower Garden Resort, with a spread of well-appointed rooms and chalets to select from with TV and terrace. Pretty gardens, nice views and an on-site restaurant.
If you wish to splash the money and keep within the midst of neatly spaced tea bushes, you could possibly strive the 98 Acres Resort. You get fashionable luxurious rooms with swimming pool and in home spa plus fabulous views so that you can get pleasure from over your breakfast.
The place to eat in Ella?
Ella has a variety of good locations to eat and drink. Certainly, you could possibly say that is the closest you’ll get to a little bit of (light) nightlife!
We significantly preferred Adam’s Breeze, a down-to-earth, pleasant place on the highway to the path to Little Adam’s Peak. Attempt the Kotthu Roti, curries and juices.
One of many nicest choices on the primary drag is Cafe Chill, which does every part from espresso to tasty native and Western dishes to a beer within the night.
Numerous individuals eat their visitor home or homestay, which is a superb possibility for genuine Sri Lankan meals. Allow them to know prematurely if you wish to eat.
Find out how to get tickets for the Ella to Kandy prepare?
There are a number of choices for securing your prepare tickets in Sri Lanka and it is dependent upon how fastened your itinerary is and the way relaxed you’re about having a selected seat.
In the event you prefer to guide forward, one of many best methods to safe your most popular seat and sophistication of carriage is to guide with 12goAsia and choose up your tickets once you arrive in Colombo. You possibly can solely guide tickets for 37 days or extra prematurely through this route.
In case you are comfortable to decide once you arrive, you should purchase tickets from any Sri Lankan prepare station as much as 30 days earlier than you journey, both in Colombo or one other most important station like Galle.
In case you are completely relaxed, you possibly can take your likelihood a lot nearer to the time, both the day you arrive in Ella and even the day of departure. The first and 2nd class will almost certainly have bought out, however you should purchase a 3rd class ticket (both reserved if attainable, or unreserved that are uncapped) and take your probabilities.
Which prepare class ought to I journey when in Sri Lanka?
We suggest journey in 2nd class reserved seats. We purchased the tickets on arrival in Colombo a few week forward, met native households travelling in 2nd class, had entry to coach distributors for snacks and didn’t have to face, which meant we might benefit from the surroundings and loosen up!
What are the prepare instances for the Ella to Kandy prepare?
The primary prepare within the morning from Ella leaves at 6.40am and arrives in Kandy simply after 1pm. You may go for this selection should you’re late to purchase tickets and/or eager to see probably the most scenic a part of the route within the early morning. Simply beware the morning mist and fog, which could imply you don’t see what you have been hoping for.
We might suggest the second departure at 9.24am, arriving in Kandy simply earlier than 4pm. The sunshine was nice throughout probably the most scenic part of the route from Ella via to Haputale and on to Nanu-Oya. There have been loads of meals distributors on the prepare for a lunchtime snack and we arrived in Kandy at an ideal afternoon time to examine in and get our bearings earlier than solar set.
You possibly can examine extra prepare instances and choices on the Sri Lankan Railways web site.
What to search for on the Ella to Kandy prepare journey
There are round 20 stops in whole between Ella and Kandy, however relying in your prepare, you gained’t name at each cease. A full route map could be discovered right here. You’ll both be on a blue or purple prepare relying on the service you’re taking. The journey ought to take round 7 hours barring any mechanical points.
- Ella to Haputale | The primary section from Ella via to Haputale is especially attractive, as you slowly transfer alongside the slender ridge and thru the misty hills and velvet blanket of inexperienced forest. Look out for landmarks like Ella Rock and the native waterfalls.
- Haputale to Nanu-Oya | From Haputale, you begin to transfer into full-on tea plantation nation. Hold your eyes peeled for tea factories and villages as you roll as much as Nanu–Oya, the cease for famed Nuwara Eliya, the retreat for the colonial tea growers. Rolling tea meadows, well-tended gardens and an air of colonial grandeur abound. You’ll additionally see numerous the tea pickers of their vibrant saris, working arduous to get the very best leaves
- Nanu-Oya to Hatton | The prepare then leisurely makes its approach in direction of the tea capital of Hatton, traversing the gorgeous Horton’s Plains (near the cease of Ohiya) on the way in which. Hold a watch out for Adam’s Peak amongst the views of untamed grasslands, waterfalls and lakes.
- Hatton to Kandy | The part from Hatton to Kandy has fewer sights, however the views of misty inexperienced hill nation stay dreamily fairly till you attain the outskirts of Kandy, when the buildings become visible and also you rejoin bustling Sri Lankan life at its most interesting.
High ideas for the Ella to Kandy prepare journey
• Be sure to’re in the suitable spot to your carriage class on the station earlier than the prepare goes (simply ask the station grasp) and don’t be too well mannered when the prepare arrives, particularly should you’re in third class. Be agency and assured and snag your seats.
• Convey your personal dry snacks and water to be sure you can graze for the size of the journey, particularly the early phases should you didn’t handle to seize breakfast!
• Don’t be afraid to check out the road meals bought on the prepare by skilled hawkers, resembling scrumptious fried dhal balls or vadai (deep fried doughnut-shaped snacks), nuts and fruit.
• Keep in mind to goal to sit down on the left of the prepare coming from Ella and on the suitable should you’re beginning your journey in Kandy. It’s additionally greatest to get your compulsory photograph from the open door early on, because it will get a lot busier when you get in direction of Nanuoya.
• Benefit from the alternative to take as many photographs as you need, however don’t miss out on the expertise of being on the prepare and having fun with the views for the pure pleasure of it!
• Retailer your backpacks and small baggage within the overhead racks should you can. When you have bigger circumstances, goal to get them in behind the final row if seats or tucked into the doorway.
• Be prepared for the bathrooms. They’re positive, however they are going to be squat bathrooms and also you’ll want your personal bathroom paper and trusty hand sanitiser!
• Respect the locals: Take the possibility to work together with native households and people travelling on the prepare, however be respectful. If you wish to take somebody’s photograph, ask politely and present them the outcomes.
Time to Journey Higher
To complete, shut your eyes as soon as extra. Drop your shoulders. Breathe. Pause. Replicate. It’s time to decelerate. To re-think journey. To journey higher. What higher place to start out than Sri Lanka’s Ella to Kandy prepare experience – one of many best railway journeys on the planet.
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