Taking the train from Galle to Colombo was the perfect way to end our time in Sri Lanka. 120km and three hours along the coast and just as amazing as the train ride from Colombo to Kandy. Trains are definitely my favourite way to travel in Sri Lanka.
Pre-digital train timetable display.
Brand new train carriage. Each pair of seats comes with a dedicated air-conditioning unit (fan) and local pop music plays for the entire trip for the entertainment of passengers. Luckily, it’s mostly drowned out by the sound of the train whilst moving but the 30min wait before departure was tough. Train tickets were only 180Rs per person.
At some stations, trains don’t necessarily have a platform for passengers to disembark. The accepted practice was to walk through neighbouring trains and get to the platform from there.
After arriving in Colombo we decided to continue by train onto Negombo where we would be staying for our last night in Sri Lanka. Negombo is located by the beach and only 7km from the airport and 38km from Colombo.
We bought some very, very cheap tickets (3rd class 20Rs = 0.15 USD) and stood at the platform for what we thought would be a 30min wait.
Train stations are great for people watching, however, after an hour of waiting, at which point the platform had become completely jam-packed with people also waiting for the train, we started to get worried and considered leaving to get a taxi.
But then the train arrived and we had to push to make sure we could get on. Really push. We had our bags and souvenirs (including big ceramic salad bowls each!).
So what happened next? 38km, hundreds of people crammed onto the train, us standing in the middle of a carriage clutching our bags for 1hr40min while being stared at and gossiped about the entire time!
It was a slow train which resulted in a very long and very uncomfortable ride. To make matters worse, it was hot and dusty and all the windows and doors were wide open and we seemed to be stopping every few hundred meters. By the time we arrived in Negombo we were covered in dust and completely exhausted.
Though now we can say that we experienced every class of train in Sri Lanka and in peak hours too!