The train journey from Nuwara Eliya to Ella was one of our favourite ever train rides on our travels, rivalling our experience with the Trans Siberian railway.
A beautiful Sri Lankan train journey through the clouds and through many mountain tunnels
NUWARE ELIYA: WELCOME TO ‘LITTLE ENGLAND’
Our journey began at Nuwara Eliya, a city at the heart of Sri Lanka’s popular tea industry, surrounded by many tea plantations.
Nuwara Eliya is nicknamed “Little England” because It was established by the British in the 1840s as a as a base for the colonialists and still retains some of the British quirks, like the famous red post box:
A very British post box in Nuwara Eliya also nicknamed “Little England”
Another very British influence in the area is tea. The large number of plantations surrounding Nuwara Eliya account for a large chunk of this popular Sri Lankan export.
We visited the nearby Pedro tea factory to get a flavour of freshly brewed Sri Lankan tea. We had to wear these gorgeous hats and aprons to enter the factory, but unfortunately, they would not let us keep them.
In Nuwara Eliya we visited the Pedro tea factory where we had to wear these sexy hats and aprons
THE SRI LANKAN RAILWAY NETWORK
The railway network in Sri Lanka was initially introduced by the British Colonial government in 1864, mainly to transport the tea (and coffee) from the hill country in places like Nuwara Eliya to the capital, Colombo.
Since the advent of road travel, the train network in Sri Lanka declined heavily after the the 1970s. Recently, the Sri Lankan government launched a 10 years Railway Development Strategy investment programme to upgrade and reignite this industry: a blessing for what we found to be one of the most scenic train journeys we’ve ever taken.
A view from the clouds as our train from Nuwara Eliya to Ella powers on
THE TRAIN RIDE FROM NUWARA ELIYA TO ELLA
This was one of our favourite ever train journeys because of the incredible views across the southern Sri Lankan hill country as the train passes in and out of numerous mountain tunnels through tea plantations, eucalyptus forests and nearby villages. The low lying clouds add to the beautiful scenery.
Our favourite ever rain journey through the clouds in the heart of the Sri Lankan hill country
A stunning train journey through the clouds in Sri Lanka’s hill country
The train journey through the clouds makes the scenery quite dramatic
Sebastien admiring the views of the Sri Lankan hill country from the train
COST OF TRAIN TICKETS FROM NUWARA ELIYA TO ELLA
The closest train station to Nuwara Eliya is Nanu Oya, around 8km away from Nuwara Eliya.
The distance from Nuwara Eliya to Ella is only around 60 kilometres, but the journey itself takes around 3-4 hours because it has to cross many mountain ranges.
We arrived early in the day to get our tickets in 3rd class. We paid 60 rupees each for our 3rd class tickets (around 30p / $0.45) instead of the pricier 1st class seats costing 1,000 rupees (around £5 / $8). There is no 2nd class on this train.
The train from Nuwara Eliya to Ella is small with only two carriages: 1st and 3rd class. The front carriage is the ‘observation deck’ 1st class with guaranteed seats and air conditioning. The back carriage is the cheaper 3rd class with no air con.
The view from 3rd class: get in there early and just stay by the door for the best views throughout
As soon as we got onto the carriage, we stashed our backpacks above the seats then sat by the open door throughout the entire journey watching the views unfold before us.
“Quick quick Sebastien – get back on the train before the train leaves and DON’T forget the camera…!”
At every station we had to move from our seats by the door to allow passengers to get on and off the carriage
This was one of our favourite memories from Sri Lanka and possibly our best ever train experience: all for less then £1 for 2!
The beautiful view of the Sri Lankan hill country from our train which will forever stay in our minds