Train journeys in Sri Lanka were some of our favourite from our travels in Asia.
We stayed in Kandy (500m) for a few days then took the train up through the Sri Lankan hill country to Nuwara Eliya (1,868m):
THE CITY OF KANDY
Kandy is the geographical, cultural and religious heart of Sri Lanka and the last stronghold of the Sinhalese kings, falling to the British in 1815. The town itself is famous for the Temple of the Tooth (housing the alleged tooth relic of Buddha) – a must for anyone Buddhist or into Buddhism.
Kandy has a pretty lake with some cheeky monkeys who stole our mangos as we stopped to admire the surroundings.
HOW TO GET TRAIN TICKETS IN KANDY?
We were advised to take trains early in the day in Sri Lanka before the midday mist sets in.
It is better not to buy tickets in advance because trains are frequently cancelled if the weather is too extreme (weather in Sri Lanka is extremely unpredictable). So you only know the night before if the train is still scheduled.
We turned up early on the day of departure to buy tickets and had at least 2 different groups of people offering us their pre-ordered tickets in 2nd/3rd class for free!
Sebastien with his train ticket at Kandy station posing with a map of Sri Lanka
Obviously we were happy to accept a free ride in 2nd class (the difference with 1st is the presence of air conditioning). It turned out the 1st class tickets (which they wanted) are only available to buy on the day of departure and not in advance.
So people buy (non refundable) 2nd class seats (around £4 / $6) in advance to at least guarantee their seat on that train and then buy 1st class (around £10 / $15) on the day of departure when they are made available.
if you managed to get free tickets like us, let us know, we would be curious to find out!
THE TRAIN RIDE FROM KANDY TO NUWARA ELIYA
Kandy was a base for us to start our scenic train journey through the Sri Lankan tea plantations to Nuwara Eliya (1,868m).
The view of the tea plantations from the train going from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
On this train journey we passed a lot of tea plantations and saw the many Tamil workers in the fields close up.
View from the train: Tamil lady working in the tea plantations
View from the train: Tamil worker in the tea plantations