Travel Diaries - Train from Kandy to Ella, Sri Lanka

tggr
tggr @tggrMay 2019 ยท 5 min read

Possibly the second most known experience in Sri Lanka is to take the train between Kandy and Ella. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful train routes in the world with its magnificent views along the way.

Many travel blogs will recommend you to go to the station before Kandy - Peradeniya Railway Station since Kandy Railway Station can get very busy and chanches on getting on a train are low to none.

Tickets are very cheap and can be purchased at the station entrance. The amount of first-class tickets is limited to the number of seats, but the second class is not. Keep in mind that getting a ticket does not mean you will get on the train.

Peradeniya Railway Station is an easy 30min TukTuk ride away from Kandy and assuming you'd be trying to catch the first train, there is not that much traffic in the early morning and getting to the station should not be much of a problem. Once we arrived at the station we realised that lots of people have had the same idea and were waiting for the first train. No one knew what to expect so they all looked relaxed and not particularly worried. Until the first train actually arrived.

Packed with people hanging out of the windows and doorways, there weren't many of the travellers waiting with us who managed to squeeze themselves on the train. Without luggage, one could possibly hang off the train for the short trip to Kandy where most people would get off and getting a seat would be a good possibility. However, with a big backpack on your shoulders, you would not risk it.

This train was on it's route to Kandy and would be coming back the same way to continue towards Ella. We'll probably get on when it comes back. Wrong again! I believe the train was even more packed than the first time it passed us. You could see people starting to get a little restless and anxious. You could count all the people who managed to squeeze themselves on the train with your one hand.

It's rather difficult to get any useful information from the station staff as their English seems to be as limited as to their knowledge of train schedules. From talking to other desperate people, we managed to piece together that it was some special day and are unusually busy. The good news was that they had one extra train going to cope with the demand, but after two full trains, we did not want to risk waiting for the last train.

We did manage to get closer and eavesdrop a little group of as desperate people as we were who had managed to communicate with one of the station staff enough for him to assist this little group in getting on a train that would go half way to Ella. Tailgating does save lives! Even if we do not manage to get on a connecting train, we could get a shared car or a taxi with others in the same boat. From that much closer to our destination, the price for the car would be way cheaper than all the way from Kandy. Plus it was the experience we were here for, not just getting from point A to point B.

Much of the surprise to us as well, we did manage to get on this train. It got so packed, but who cares as long as we're on it? These trains do not boast of luxury, therefore, air conditioning could not be expected. There were a few oscillating fans in the ceiling that circulate the air at least. Could be worse, we could still be waiting on the platform for the next train not knowing if we are going to get on or not.

With every following station, more and more people, mostly locals, were getting off and access to the windows and doorways became available. All this nervewracking experience was finally paying off. We were finally getting the full experience we came here for. We were getting all of those photos what makes this train ride such a fun thing. Hanging out of a moving train and what not.
Not recommended as it is dangerous!

Every new twist and turn brought another breathtaking view you just had to take a photo of. I must've taken hundreds of photos just of the views - there was just no end to how beautiful the tea plantations were; how tourists were hanging out of the train to get their own perfect photo; how local people are standing by the railway to wave for people and resume their everyday life once the train has passed.

Finally, we made it to the midpoint where we were meant to transfer onto another train. While waiting for it, the platform was getting busier and busier with tourists. There were people who had clearly come for just for the joyride - they had no luggage and were a little older than your regular backpacker, not to mention the local tour guides who were trying to push them onto the train. Great! More competition! To be honest, by that point, the weather had turned and all we cared of now was just getting to our destination and calling it a day. It had been a long enough ride - 6hours to that point and not counting the time we were trying to get on previous trains.

This train was a lot newer and fancier and was lacking the same character we saw on the red train all the way to the middle point. The views had already started to melt into one and we did not care to see through the rain. We were just happy to be on our way once again and most of all we were happy, we didn't have to pay for any additional transportation.


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Kewl Post. You've got my vote! :)

Wishing you the greatest success.

@cadawg
Like CEO or sumin?
~ Team Plankton


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tggr
tggr @tggrMay 2019

Thank you so much! Your support is greatly appreciated ๐Ÿ˜‰


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You know i already told you I went there too but seeing the blog makes me want to go now. A tip try to put a picture with you in the blogs it makes it more personal


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tggr
tggr @tggrMay 2019

Thank you for the tip, I absolutely hate photos of me and I tend to avoid getting myself on one. Having my fingers on the first photo is already more than I feel comfortable with. I prefer being behind the lens rather than in front of it. I'll see what I can do in the future though ๐Ÿ˜‰


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I saw this in the Plankton Discord, after scanning through it, I cannot afford to not vote it 100%. I envy your travel around this place, looks like the place is all about green. Stay safe and enjoy your wandering! Thanks for supporting Plankton Token.


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tggr
tggr @tggrMay 2019

Thank you for your support! It's definitely an amazing place to wander around. There's so much rawness in this country what's difficult to find anywhere else.


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I'm happy that you got the ride you wanted, it surely would have been really disappointing if you have missed the train after waiting that much time. The photos are amazing :) thank you for sharing them with us, best regards.


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tggr
tggr @tggrMay 2019

Thank you. Definitely, I know people who did not manage to get on the train for one or the other reason and regret not trying harder. It's worth every hour and every minute - either waiting or commuting/travelling.


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Train travel is such a wonderful experience, these trains are packed as is happening in our country now. Have not been on a train in the last 30 years so really enjoyed this scenic ride.

Waiting at stations a frustration all of it's own, I hope you look back and smile enjoying the memory of the beautiful countryside @tggr


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tggr
tggr @tggrMay 2019

You're right, looking back at it I consider the waiting as part of the whole trip. It's different and if waiting and the unknown would've been something I don't want to deal with, I probably would've loosened the purse strings a bit and paid for some other more comfortable but not as a scenic option. No regrets whatsoever. I know people who did not manage to get on the train and they are looking back wishing they could've done the journey.


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how you shot the photos? With the gimbal? Some places are so shaky that it was near not possible


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tggr
tggr @tggrMay 2019

All photos are taken with a phone. There's plenty of shaky photos and some of them downright unusable. This bunch was just the better ones what are worth illustrating my little story. Even these are not perfect plus I haven't done any editing nor straightening on them just to keep it as real and raw as I can.


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Fantastic photos of your train adventure! It certainly is beautiful.


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tggr
tggr @tggrMay 2019

Thank you! Unfortunately, I feel like these photos do not do justice to the actual scenery.


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I just had to find the prequel to your Ella post, and I've found it!

These blogs are fantastic. Reading them I can feel the heat, smell the food, hear the clackety-clack of the trains, and hear the chatter of the people in the carriages.

:)


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tggr
tggr @tggrMay 2019

I am so happy you did. I have been thinking about writing my travel blog for a very long time, but never got around to do it. This is my first try and so far I am loving the feedback. People here actually take a moment to look through it and leave comments. It means a lot.

Sri Lanka is an amazing country and I hope people will not dismiss it because of the recent events. Local economy deserves the tourist money and would find it difficult to survive without it.

You should check out the whole series so far: Sigiriya,
Dambulla and of course Kandy.


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