With enormous coconut trees, dense forests, legendary history, traditional tribal folk culture and pristine beaches, this teardrop island in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is incredibly beautiful. In fact, Sri Lanka is more than just a place, it is a city full of experiences, adventures and vibrant emotions which makes it among one of the most fascinating and enchanting tourist destinations. One of the best ways to explore the beauty of Sri Lanka is through its train journeys. Yes! Train journeys in Sri Lanka provide heaven-like experience.

Booking your Sri Lanka flight tickets and experiencing the Sri Lankan train journey with picturesque views sounds exciting, right?

Well, the trains in Sri Lanka were manufactured during the British colonial era to transport coffee from one place to another. Not only are they comfortable, but the train journeys in Sri Lanka are also a time-saving means of transportation, especially for tourists who want to visit many new places during their tour. It surprises you with the spectacular views of the diverse landscape, the scenic beauty all around, the beautiful weather and many more things. It is a surreal experience which you should be a part of when you plan your Sri Lanka tour with an easy online process for Sri Lanka Visa.  

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Here, we have come up with some of the best scenic train journeys in Sri Lanka to make your experience more picturesque and your memories more memorable.

1. Colombo to Galle

In the railroad car on the way to Galle from Colombo
In the railroad car on the way to Galle from Colombo

A train journey in Sri Lanka from Colombo to Galle is all you need, if you want to enjoy both the city and the countryside. Starting from the capital of Sri Lanka, following the coastal landscape where the Indian Ocean washes up to the railroad tracks, you can enjoy the coastal breeze and while tasting a local snack box of Sri Lanka.

The railroad line joins the south coast of Galle Face Green, the capital’s largest city park, and it passes through almost the entire journey. You can also disembark at beach towns such as Moragalla (via Hettimulla Station), which has the opportunity to snorkel surrounded by coral reefs, and Hikkaduwa, where you can ride the waves and drink smoothies at beachside cafes.

As you approach the Galle, you can catch a glimpse of traditional stilt fishermen with wooden sticks. When you reach the Galle, be sure to visit the Galle Forts, it was built by the Portuguese in 1558, fortified by the Dutch in 1649, and placed under British control in 1796.

2. Kandy to Badulla

Idalgashinna Railway Station located on the way from Kandy to Badulla
Idalgashinna Railway Station located on the way from Kandy to Badulla
Image Credit: Ruwan Walpola

The exciting ride from Kandy to Badulla takes about 7.5 hours and is often referred to as the most beautiful train journey in the world. It is advisable that you should book a seat in the panoramic carriage to be amazed by the swirling twisted tea plantation, the clean fringes of lemon grass and canna bushes which add decorative prosperity to the edges, while the Rainbow Saris tea picker creates a brightly coloured flash of light in the emerald sea waters.

To get the most out of the scenery, sit on one of the open train doors with your feet hanging in the air to witness so many amazing picturesque views in the entire journey. Many travellers end their trip at Ella, but it’s worth going down at Badulla.

The final stages from Ella to Badulla are quite dramatic and include the brick and stone nine-arch bridge, a 19th-century engineering wonder. The rail track turns across the bridge before going around the Demodara Loop, creating a breath-taking photo opportunity. If you don’t go to the end, jump on Ella and hike to the point of view around the bridge.

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3. Anuradhapura to Jaffna

Train travels on paddy fields at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Train travels on paddy fields at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The beautiful train journey in Sri Lanka from Anuradhapura to Jaffna has a turbulent history. Due to the civil war in Sri Lanka between the LTTE and the Sinhalese-controlled government of Sri Lanka, the railroad was not in service from 1990 to 2014. And then in 2014, when Yal Devi Express returned to Jaffna with the shiny new tracks of its generation for the first time, the high-pitched cheering of locomotives was returned. After decades of conflict, the route was restored from the ancient capital of Sri Lanka to a prominent Hindu colonial city.

Trains are often full of pilgrims and religious believers because Jaffna is known as the city of temples. Be sure to visit the UNESCO ruins of Anuradhapura before you commence your train journey. According to historical records, the city was founded in the 10th century BC which is also one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Today, you can get a glimpse of completely different Sri Lanka in a three-and-a-half-hour drive from the ancient Buddhist city of Anuradhapura to Jaffna.

4. Colombo to Kandy

Colombo to kandy Train Journey
Colombo to Kandy Train Journey

The train route from Colombo to Kandy was first established in the 1860 to transport coffee and tea from Colombo to the coast to promote the economic objectives of the British Empire. The 3-hour ride from the official capital to the spiritual capital passes through rolling hills, rice fields, sweltering forests and quaint villages.

Some Part of the services on this line connection continues to Badulla, but pausing the journey at Kandy and exploring the temple of the legendary sacred tooth relic, which is said to contain the actual teeth of the Buddha makes it all worth it.

Also Read: Sri Lankan Food: Heaven in Seven Dishes

When you leave the hot coastal plain due to the warmer climate of the hills, you will also enjoy the cooler breeze throughout the beautiful train journey in Sri Lanka.

The experience of a train journey is quite interesting and unmissable, especially when in Sri Lanka. With its scenic beauty, sharing knowledge with locals and exploring the beauty all around you makes it all worth it. With a short and scenic train experience to the hills, these are some of the popular train journeys in Sri Lanka for all the tourists which provides a convenient introduction to Sri Lanka’s train culture.

Do share your experience of train journeys with us in the comment section below.

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