Beside safari experience and enjoying amazing herds of wild elephants in their real habitat there is one more ‘must thing to do’ in Sri Lanka – TRAIN RIDE!
A train ride through the central highlands of Sri Lanka (from Kandy to Ella) is definitely one of the most scenic and beautiful journeys in the world! The Railway system in Sri Lanka was built by the British in 1864. Since then nothing has changed. Step back in time with a train ride! Old trains are very slow so you can easily enjoy the views on endless green tea plantations and local villages.
Train rides are not just the most scenic but also the most affordable way of journey in Sri Lanka. I took the train from Nuwara Eliya (Nanu Oya station) to Ella. For 4 hours journey I paid only 110 Rupiah which is less than 1 EUR in 2nd class. Here are tips for train ride in Sri Lanka:
1. Travel in 2nd or 3rd class
If you want to experience the real thing take a ride in 2nd or 3rd class! Meet local people there, talk with them, play with children and enjoy in their positive energy! It’s not just about the stunning views from the train, locals make every train ride special!
2. Find a door
Find an open doorway, take a seat on the floor and enjoy the ride, baby! At first I was afraid a bit, but trains are really slow so don’t worry, it’s not dangerous at all, just watch your legs if you put them out of the train (you don’t want to finish like Alan’s giraffe in Hangover 3, right?)
3. Stick to the right
On both sides views are great but it seemed on the right hand side of the train views are more beautiful, diverse, green and spectacular. You will also have better photo opportunities. So if you are able to find a door or window on the right side, go right!
4. Book ticket in advance, no necessary
You don’t need to book in advance 2nd or 3rd class. Just come on a station half an hour before train departure and buy a ticket. Only for a 1st class ticket it is recommended to book ticket in advance (2 or 3 days before your trip).
5. Train Schedule
For train schedules visit here. Don’t worry if your train is 10 – 15 minutes late, you are in Sri Lanka, everything is slow and ‘not on time’.
6. Train ticket
Don’t throw your train ticket away. You’ll be asked to show your train ticket when getting off and leaving the train station.
You have toilets on the train, it’s not so bad. Just pack some wet wipes or antibacterial gel for your hands.
8. Snacks & drinks
You can buy local snacks and drinks in the train but if you are traveling more than 3 – 4 hours bring some food with you, just in case.