Sri Lanka pt. II: the train ride from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
If you’re a train freak like Sheldon, I suggest you book a ticket to Sri Lanka right this instant – ’cause this particular train ride is one of those things you’ll never forget. After reading many positive things about it online and in travel guides, I was pretty excited for this part of the trip. Even though there was a slight hiccup in the plans (we went to the station the day before to get our ticket and they told us that all trains were cancelled because of the rain and landslides), we decided to try our luck again the next day and as you can see that ended pretty well. In fact, it was the first train that was available again after two weeks that day – so hooray, hooray!
The original plan was to take the train all the way to Ella, but the furthest it could go was the fairly nearby Nuwara Eliya, and I was glad to experience at least part of the ride. The landscapes are lush, green and beautiful and you pretty much go from tropical vibes to misty mountains – which also includes a slight temperature adjustment. It was tempting to keep on snapping pictures every second of the way, but instead I told myself to sit back and relax for a while as well. I read that the remaining part of the trip (from Ella to Badulla) is supposedly the most beautiful, but you’ll have to try that for yourself to see if it’s true!
Tips & tricks
– If possible, buy your ticket at least a day in advance at the train station. When everything’s running normal or especially during high season, they tend to sell out rather quick. Don’t forget to ask for a window seat.
– Buy a ticket in second class. It’s even cheaper, still comfortable and you can open the windows to take pictures – which is not an option in air-conditioned first class. A ticket in first class costs 1000 Sri Lankan Rupees, which is about 6,5 Euros.
– Buy some snacks and drinks beforehand. During the train ride (which takes about three to four hours), there will be an occasional vendor but it’s better to come prepared. Luckily my boyfriend thought of that and bought some delicious local snacks in Kandy (note: probably for his own safety since he know how “hangry” I can get. Oops.)
– The train station in Nuwara Eliya is actually called Nanu Oya.
– Enjoy the view and do take pictures along the way, but hold on tight to your camera or phone. The movement of the train can be quite shaky, and one passenger wasn’t so lucky when his camera fell down in the green mountains somewhere.