The Railway system in Sri Lanka was initially introduced in the year 1864 by the British Colonial Government to transport tea and coffee from the hills to Colombo however nowadays, there are train tracks in between some of the main towns in the country and it is an extremely affordable way to see the beautiful countryside of Sri Lanka.
Out of all the train trips, the most scenic and famous stretch of train trip would be the Kandy to Ella scenic train trip or the reverse train trip from Ella to Kandy! It is considered to be one of the famous tourist attracted activities in the country and one of the most scenic train trips in the world as well.
Taking the train is the most comfortable and easiest way to travel in Sri Lanka especially considering the traffic on the road. Also when you travel long distance you do not have to keep sitting all the way but you can walk around the carriages whenever you want, go to the washroom (has very basic facilities though), buy snacks from vendors on the train, meet the locals and most importantly witness the beautiful landscape go by peacefully outside.
During the Kandy to Ella Scenic Train Trip, the views on both sides of the railway are incredible & breathtaking! You will witness amazing green hills, mountains covered with tea plantations, wonderful old bridges, waterfalls, and beautiful countryside. The highlight of this train journey is the Nine Arch Bridge in Demodara and the fascinating 441 feet long Demodara Loop where the railway track passes under itself and comes out from the tunnel; a magnificent feat in railway construction in Sri Lanka.
To enjoy these train journeys, buying tickets online or through agents in advance and reserving your seats is the highly recommended method but you can buy your ticket directly at any railway station too. If you pre-book a ticket in the first class also known as the observation carriage, you will get your comfortable seat throughout the journey and a full view of the scenery. Since the first class is air-conditioned, you cannot open the windows. However, it is more fun being in the third class that is crowded most of the time and has basic facilities, but you can hang around with the locals and have a chat with them and can get to know more things about their typical lifestyle. If you are willing to take photos out of the window, you should go to the second class where you will get your own reserved/ unreserved seat but since it is not air-conditioned, you can open the windows.
Even though the journey is 6- 7 hours long, it is the most spectacular train journey ever!