Sri Lanka is a fantastic island where you can feed turtles on Hikkaduwa beach, walk on Ceylon plantations, conquer the peaks of Little Peak Adam and Ella Rock, catch waves on the spots of Mirissa and enjoy riding trains.
Railroads are the most convenient, inexpensive, and very scenic travel option on the island. There are no traffic jams (from Kandi to Colombo, there can be terrible traffic jams), you can get to almost any city, but, most importantly – the views that open up during the journey. From the open window of the train, you will see the nature of the island with its hills, forests, plantations, beaches, and villages, where you can observe the life of the locals.
This article will tell you how to build a 14-day train route to see the most beautiful places in the country.
Trains have three classes of service. We recommend the 2nd: the cars of this class open windows, there is a fan, and you can sit down. Tickets range from $1.5 to $8. In the 1st class, soft seats and air conditioning do not open the windows, so getting the maximum pleasure from the trip will not work. In the 3rd, it is better not to get. You will go standing and even can rob.
The train schedule can be viewed on the national carrier’s website.
You’re flying to Colombo. We would not recommend spending a lot of time in the capital: the city does not reflect the island’s charm. Go straight to the station and buy a ticket to Kandy. It’s about three hours to go.
This city, where kings once lived, is located in the island’s heart and is its cultural and religious heart.
What to do
- Visit the Temple of the Tooth of Buddha, which is a complex that includes museums and temples. The divine tooth is kept in a gold box. If you plan a trip for August, you can get to Esala Peraher, the festival of St. Tooth. Music plays, everyone dances, and dozens of decorated elephants walk the streets. The tooth itself is put on public display. The Lancians believe that such a ceremony will contribute to the country’s affairs.
- Climb the hill to the massive statue of Buddha Bahirawokanda Vihara and admire the panorama of the city.
- Walk around Lake Kandy. About a kilometer long, this artificial lake was ordered by the last King of Kandi Sri Vikram Rajasinghe in the early 19th century. On a small island in the middle of the lake was the harem of the ruler. You will also see a monastery and royal baths. Around the pond, you can meet geese, pelicans, and herons.
- Take a walk through the Udawatkale Nature Reserve to get to know the Sri Lankan flora and fauna: 300-year-old vines, mini rattan palms, orchids, vines, Ceylon macaques, porcupines, mongooses, emerald parrots, and pigeons.
The cost of a train ticket from Colombo to Kandy in the second class is $2. To have time to see the city, we recommend staying for one night.
From Kandi, take the train to Badullah and take it to Nanu Oya. It’s about four hours to go. From here by bus to Nuvara-Elia. “Little England” in the forest more often the center of the island. Cute Victorian houses amid plantations and mountain ranges.
What to do
- Take a boat ride on Lake Gregory. The British governor of Nuwara-Elia designed this lake to supply the city with electricity but quickly turned it into a resting place. Now local and tourists here arrange picnics, ride boats in swans, kayaks, and bicycles, walk along the picturesque paths.
- Take photos near one of the highest waterfalls of St. Clair Island, which was called “Little Niagara,” due to cascades of different heights.
- Take a walk through the world’s highest botanical garden, Haqgala.
- Sri Lanka is famous for its tea, so it is worth visiting local plantations such as Pedro Estate to find out how it is produced.
The second class train ticket from Kandi to Nanu Oya in the second class is $1.5. If you arrive early in the morning, you can leave in the evening, but it is better to spend the night seeing the garden, lake, and waterfall in one day, and the other to devote to plantations.
Today you will see one of the most beautiful roads in your life. Take a ticket to Badullah (the final station), but go out to Ella. The ride is about 3 hours, but it’s worth it. The views will open stunning. You can sit with your legs in the doorway. It is better to plan a trip on a weekday, as, on weekends, tourists will be added local, and find a convenient place will not be easy.
Ella – a small town in the mountains, where life boils. During the day, everyone goes to the mountains to admire the panoramas, and in the evening, gather in local cafes and share their impressions.
What to do
- Ella is a city for hiking. There are several routes here. The shortest is to the cave of Ravana, sung in the ancient Indian epic “Ramayana.” According to legend, the King of India had a beautiful wife, Sita, King of Sri Lanka Ravana kidnapped her and hid her in this cave. From the top, there are stunning views of the mountains.
- It’s not a rush to reach Adam’s Little Peak. It’s going to take 45 minutes and another 15-20 minutes to get up.
- If Small Peak is a child’s prank for you and you prefer hiking for longer distances, then Ella Rock will be an enormous mountain. First, the distance is longer. Secondly, the trail is quieter and more untouched than a well-organized path to Adam’s Small Peak. The ascent and descent will take 4 hours. You can take a guide.
- Walk to one of the island’s main attractions, the Nine-Story Bridge, the longest in Sri Lanka. In addition, it is built without the use of steel, only due to bricks, volcanic rocks of stone, and cement. The 92-meter-high bridge is hidden among a lush forest. Every day near it and on it are going hundreds of tourists to take gorgeous photos.
- Ravana Falls is 10 minutes from the city. If it’s hot outside, it’ll help you freshen up.
The cost of a train ticket from Nanu Oy to Ella in the second class is $1.5. To enjoy the city, we recommend spending two nights there.
After Ella, we will have a hard way to the coast. Unfortunately, the train to the coast from here does not make a reverse detour through Colombo – a waste of precious time. You can use Uber or take the city bus number 31 (Bandaravela Matara), feel the atmosphere.
What to do
- Take a walk along The Cape of Dondra, where the temple of the god Vishnu stands. It is both a Hindu sanctuary and an active seaport with a majestic white lighthouse.
- Swim to Crowe Island. Take a walk in the wild. If you’re with your kids, go to Crow Island Beach Park.
- Visit the Temple of Vecherachen. Residents built it underground to pray in secret from the colonizers, and later outside put a giant Buddha statue.
- Walk on the tranquil, unlike many others on the island, the beach of Matara.
The price of a bus ticket 31 from Ella to Matara is $2. It is better to leave early in the morning, as the road is five hours. A ride on Uber will cost about $90. You can find fellow travelers and split the amount. It is better to leave early in the morning to be in Matara in the afternoon, spend the rest of the day in the city, and go to Mirissa late at night.
From the “traveler- mode” in this city, it is necessary to switch to a “surfer-lighter.” There are buses to Colombo or Halle from Matara. Warn the driver about the stop in Mirissa.
Sri Lanka is known for its perfect waves for surfers, so if you cut the sea spaces somewhere in your dreams, it’s time to make your dreams come true.
After sunset, beach establishments layout a fresh catch on the ice. Your task is only to choose between crabs, various fish, and seafood.
Train to Mirissa from $1. It’s better to stay here for a couple of days.
You can get there by bus to Halle.
The perfect place to sunbathe, drink royal coconut, take photos of “I’m on a posh beach,” and try Lankan cuisine. Suppose you have never stood on the surf, then the most suitable spot, as the waves are pretty small. You can also go diving.
Bus to the city from $0.5. We can stay for a couple of days.
The fortress city of Halle is known for its fort built by the Dutch and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
What to do
- Walk along the fortress wall, take a photo of a lighthouse and a clock tower against the backdrop of the raging sea.
- A look at Dutch architecture, wandering through the narrow streets inside the fort, looking into souvenir shops.
- Visit the National Maritime Museum.
- Compare The Church of All Saints, the Dutch Church, the Meera Mosque.
The cost of the bus to Halle is $0.5. In a day you will have time to see the city, and in the evening you can go to the next town.
If the prospect of lying on the board in anticipation of the perfect wave is not very happy, we recommend going to Hikkaduwa. There is a clean beach, clear water, and palm trees bent over the water. Only pareo and masseuse traders can disturb the atmosphere. It is better to go to the salon for a massage.
If you go to the beach, you can see giant turtles coming for food. They know that tourists with prepared treats and cameras are waiting for them here, so they have chosen it. For dinner, head to one of the restaurants and taste the freshest crabs.
If there is time left, we recommend visiting one of Sri Lanka’s holed cities, Anuradhapura, the Sigiriya Museum Complex, and Yala National Park.
The cost of a train ticket from Halle to Hikkaduwa in the second class is $0.5. How much to stay here depends on your thirst for rest and days on vacation.