A trip to Sri Lanka would not be complete without taking one of the most scenic train rides in the world between Ella and Kandy. Amazing misty mountain views, rice fields, and tea plantations as far as the eye can see. As it’s an extremely popular attraction in Sri Lanka, we created this article, to help you book your tickets, which class to choose and to give you some extra useful tips to enjoy world’s most epic train ride. Let’s go.
How to book your tickets from Ella to Kandy?
Having said that this train ride is one of the most popular things to do in Sri Lanka, be sure you book your tickets in advance. There are two ways for it:
- simply go to the train station right away when you arrive in Ella. The station can be found right in the center, on a small side street of the main street. Grab a tuk-tuk via the free travel app PickMe or use Maps.me for the right direction. See also: The 10 best and free travel apps every traveler needs for more useful apps.
- Or pre-book your train tickets from Ella to Kandy online before you get to Sri Lanka to avoid the hustle at the train station (you can book train tickets 30 days prior to the traveling date)
There are two express trains a day, departing from Ella with a fixed schedule which you can check here. You can also do this train ride the other way around, from Kandy to Ella. It’s the same route with the same beautiful sceneries. Book your train tickets from Kandy to Ella here.
Which class to book?
There are four types of classes you can book for the train, simply named: 1st, 2nd, 2nd reserved seats, and 3rd class.
- 1st class: numbered seats, can be booked in advance, super comfortable with a lot of privacy, compartments have air conditioning, no open windows to hang out (but you can walk to 2nd class easily)
- 2nd class reserved seats – tickets we’ve booked: numbered seats and can be booked in advance, seats are super comfortable, windows and doors are open (great for pictures)
- 2nd class: same as 2nd class reserved seats but not numbered. (no seat guarantee) They can only be bought on the day of travel.
- 3rd class: wooden benches, not numbered, most cheap option and great for those who want to sit or stand in between the locals
Extra useful tips
- Do like we did and take the train from Ella to Kandy and not in a reverse way. Why? Less crowded, a better chance for taking pictures, plenty of seats free, same scenic views!
- Keep your ticket until you get off the train. You need to show it when exiting the station.
- Bring toilet paper, sanitizer, a lot of snacks and water with you
- You’ll have great views no matter where you sit (right or left)
- Think about taking the train that only stops at Peradeniya station and not Kandy station. The train is much quieter and offers you a better chance of getting a seat. (We didn’t know we booked this train, but can only highly recommend it. The station is a 10-minute drive from Kandy and you can easily take a tuk-tuk or a taxi from there)