Colombo Fort to Kandy Railway

I had only two ‘must do when in Sri Lanka’ on my list: take a train and see the tea plantations.

I’ve always wanted to experience travelling by train in India (having read so much about it) and figured that Sri Lankan trains would be close enough for now, especially the legendary line from Kandy to Colombo.

This railway was built in the 19th century by the British when they ruled Ceylon (what they called it back then) and took nine years to complete.

Traveling up into the mountainous region of Kandy through the stunning scenery was a pleasure. Fresh air was coming through open windows and doors and it was wonderful after a day in hot dusty Colombo. The views were beautiful and the landscape was stunning.

It was not a smooth ride, though. The seats were large and comfortable but we were constantly bounced from side to side. I had to hold on to my arm rests as not to injure Joanna when we were thrown agains each other. We were comparing the ride at one point to a rollercoaster – except that in a rollercoaster you’re safely strapped in! Most definitely the bounciest ride ever. Lots of fun, though and a good laugh.

The 115km trip from Colombo to Kandy took 3hrs18min.

Trains to Kandy leave from Colombo Fort Station.

The engine of our train.

Smiling Joanna.

Only 24 seats in the observation carriage. No air-conditioning but instead there was a wonderful breeze coming through the open windows. We were the only foreign tourists on the train. Women in our carriage kept smiling at us and the kids stared at us more than the scenery.

Passing local train. Lots of people handing from the doorways because of a lack of space.

Traditionally dressed elderly villager.

Tunnel chiseled in solid rock. We went through many of these.

First sight of Sigiriya. The further away we got from Colombo, the more spectacular the views.

Max speed: 25km per hour.

It was so much fun hanging out of the doors and watching the world go by. I took photos, watched people at the train stations and the beautiful scenery go by.

Joanna barely left her seat. She said she was keeping an eye out for me sprawled outside on the ground (when I fall off the train from hanging out of the door) so that she could grab our bags and jump out too. This was the best spot to watch out for lost tourists.

One of many provincial stations with (mostly) men waiting for the train to Colombo.

Surrounded by lush greenery.

Sree Pada (Adam’s Peak). Sri Lanka’s highest mountain (at 2234m) and most visited pilgrimage destination.

Kandy, after a 3hour train ride.

We found trains in Sri Lanka to be a great form of transport, a fantastic experience and also very cheap and safe.

First Class Observation: Rs 360.00 (3USD)
Second Class: Rs 220.00 (2USD)
Third Class : Rs 150.00 (1USD)

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