Colombo to Kandy Train, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka may only be a small country, but it manages to pack in some epic rail journeys. One of the most epic, and a must-do on any itinerary, is the three-hour trip from Colombo to Kandy, travelling 115 kilomteres from the coast to the hill country. The train whisks passengers away from the bustling capital Colombo to Kandy, Sri Lanka’s spiritual capital and home of the legendary Temple of the Scared Tooth Relic. On just a 2-3 hour journey, passengers are treated to views of rolling paddy fields, tropical forests and the genteel tea plantations of Sri Lanka’s luscious countryside.
Prices from: Rs 1,000
Departing from: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Journey length: 2-3 hours
Colombo to Kandy route
The route was first established in the 1860s bringing tea and coffee from inland down to the coast, but today passengers travel in the opposite direction. The train travels away from Colombo and the baking coastline into the cooler, greener hill country, where the city of Kandy lies. Trains departs from Colombo’s Fort Station throughout the day (between 06:00 and 17:00), taking between 2 and 3 hours, depending on the train.
The journey itself is cinematic, departing from the busy city and venturing into the genteel countryside passing tea plantations, paddy fields of mango and coconut trees and colourful farmlands. Once in Kandy, travellers should visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic – where a supposedly genuine tooth of Budda is enshrined.
Colombo to Kandy train
Many different trains operate along this line, each with different classes of carriages, some and with or without air conditioning. The observation carriage is the most premium travel option, with fans on the ceiling and toilets. The train also stops along the way for vendors to sell their produce to passengers (think ice cream, drinks, king coconuts). Along with observation carriages there are also standard first- and second-class carriages, which usually run on one of the new Chinese-built blue trains.
Why we love it
Everything about this journey. From the bright blue train to the luscious greenery rolling past its windows. Riding this train ticks off some of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful sights (like fields of fruit trees, the Hill Country and tea plantations) and allows you some time in Kandy – an amazing, spiritual city with countless sights.