THE TRAIN FROM KANDY TO ELLA
Some say, in fact, most say it is the world’s most scenic train journey. The journey is about seven hours, but if you are traveling in Sri Lanka you will probably be ok with that. The train system was set up to transport tea from the the hills to the capital city of Colombo in 1864 by the British Colonial Government. It is a must do if you are in Sri Lanka, and should be on your bucket list . You begin in the lively town of Kandy and slowly ascend to the majestic tea region of Ella. The landscape changes slowly, and throughout the journey you have much to observe, contemplate and reflect. I like to think this journey is like a little life, compacted into seven hours. Therefore, if you consider this adventure a mini reincarnation, what would you do with your time if given a second chance? Enjoy it and take it easy.
DO. THIRD CLASS
Coming from Colombo where we spent one night, our fabulous and kind driver Akilla who can be hired here via Malkey Car Services , picked us up and drove us to the Kandy Railway Station. However, instead of going first class which most tourists do (and is totally boring and gentrified) we had the luxury of giving Akilla our suitcases so that he could drive to Ella with them and we got third class tickets from Kandy to Ella. Going third class is an amazing experience, you see school children get on and off, experience the local people, there were even teenagers playing drums. DO THIS. Experience this, its much better than playing it safe and if you have Akilla he can take your suitcases and you do not need to worry. You may have to sit on the floor at some points but who cares, wear thick pants.
ONCE YOU GET ON THE TRAIN IMMEDIATELY SIT DOWN ANYWHERE, OTHERWISE IT’LL BE THE FLOOR.
Once you find your place, settle into the motion of the train. Then you can choose your favored activity, people watching, reading, journaling, or take photos just remember to stay in the present and appreciate this magical ride.
You will begin to ascend into the hills, stopping at different stations and passing trains.
This station was translated to Great Western, which was almost too cinematic for me.
Have you ever even been on a train where the doors remain open on the sides? Well if you haven’t, and even if you have, wait your turn and sit on the edge while the train passes through the vibrant and verdant green tea fields. The color is so alive its psychedelic. It is also scarier than you expect and always be sure to hold on and watch the sides. When the train makes turns take care, as it does sometimes become narrow and you will enter tunnels. However, be calm and confident and slip your toes back inside. No sudden movements.
There is something about the motion of a train.
We took this journey during the Olympics and met two nice guys from South Korea who were seated across from us. They did not speak any english but we managed and translated into some kind mash up of the languages. It is amazing how humans can commune if we only try.