Taking at least one train journey appears obligatory for a trip to Sri Lanka and for good reason. We took the 8.47am from Kandy to Ella, a six and a half hour journey through the most stunning landscape. Snacks and lunch consisted of triangular vegetable roti parcels, egg rolls and samosas purchased at the train station and on board from roaming vendors washed down with deliciously sweet and milky tea. Necessary after that much fried food.
What you might need to know
Book way in advance. We were in 1st class, which was all seated, but our friends in 2nd told us that crowds of people without reservations had to stand in corridors for the entire journey. We later met a couple who’d jumped ship a few stations early and taken a car the rest of the way as they couldn’t stand any longer.
Take warm clothes if travelling in 1st. The air conditioning is brutal!
There is limited luggage space. If you’re travelling with a small case or rucksack you can put it on the overhead racks but large suitcases may need to stay alongside you in the corridor. Not ideal.
What I’d do differently
Although you can see the view from the window in 1st, it’s obscured by thick windows that don’t open – since it’s air conditioned. On a cooler day, as it was when we were there, a seat in 2nd with an opening window probably would have provided better photo opportunities.