COLOMBO TO KANDY TRAIN – Everything You Need to Know

One of the best ways of traveling through Sri Lanka is without a doubt by train. You meet locals, you can look outside of the window or doors to enjoy the variety of landscapes and taste the local food sold by train vendors calling ‘wade wade’. It may not be the quickest way of transporting from A to B, but it definitely is the most memorable, cheapest and at some points most beautiful way of experiencing Sri Lanka. During our time in Sri Lanka we traveled several times by train. In this blogpost you will find all the information about the Colombo to Kandy train.

Best Sri Lanka tours

If you are looking for a designed tour to explore the best of what Sri Lanka has to offer, then these are the best guided tours. All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.

  • 2 day Southern Sri Lanka tour including whale watching. Visit Galle, Mirissa, Hikkaduwa, Bentota beach, Unawatuna beach and go whale watching during this 2 day tour to the Southern Sri Lanka coast.
  • From Colombo: 8-Day Private Tour of Sri Lanka with Transport. Explore Sigiriya, Dambulla Cave temple, Minneriya, Kaudulla, and Hurulu national park. Kandy and Nuwara Eliya including waterfalls, Yala National Park, Mirissa and Galle on this private trip from Colombo.
  • Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour. Experience the wonder of Sri Lanka with this tour to Sigiriya, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the Peradeniya Royal lush tea farms in Ella, and an elephant safari in Udawalawe National Park.
  • From Colombo: 5-Day Private Wildlife Photography Tour. The perfect trip for (wildlife) photographers. This 5 day photography tour take you to Sri Lanka’s best wildlife sanctuaries, including Yala National Park. Take photos of exotic animals and stay in environmentally friendly accommodation.
  • Sri Lanka: Honeymoon in Paradise Island All-Inclusive Trip. Book this exclusive and all-inclusive 8 night honeymoon trip tailor-made to give you a journey of a lifetime. Explore Negombo, Kandy, Ella and Galle during this unforgettable honeymoon trip.
  • From Colombo: Hikkaduwa Village Tour with Boat Ride & BBQ. The ultimate one day tour to experience the Sri Lankan village life in Hikkaduwa and enjoy the pristine beaches of Sri Lanka. You will be served a locally prepared barbecue dinner that includes fresh catches from the Indian ocean.
  • Whale watching in Mirissa. Get a chance to see blue whales, sperm whales, and fin whales as they swim in their natural habitat in Mirissa. A once in a lifetime experience!
  • Sri Lanka: 7-day Island Highlights Tour. See all the most important highlights of Sri Lanka on this 7 day, 6 night tour. Travel in comfort in a modern, air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced driver/guide to see wildlife, discover nature, and visit Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, and Yala.
  • Yala safari experience with lunch at campsite. Experience a private full-day tour. Be collected from Galle or Mirissa to Yala National Park to witness leopards, bears, elephants, deer, crocodiles, and many more. Then enjoy a 4-course lunch with beer at Leopard Nest campsite in the jungle.

About the Colombo to Kandy train

In the Colombo to Kandy train are three classes available. First class, which includes WIFI and A/C and comfortable seats. 2nd class, with allocated seats, but no WIFI or A/C, just open windows and doors. And 3rd class seats , no A/C, no WIFI and basic seats.

The train leaves from Colombo Fort Railway station where you can buy your train tickets at the desk. Make sure to arrive early at the Colombo Fort station and that you’re well prepared with enough water and food or snacks. There are train vendors selling peanuts and wade, but you might want to eat a proper mail before leaving or get a take a away somewhere in Colombo. 

The scenery on the way is breathtaking. From the craziness of the city of Colombo, into the rural hinterland, through the jungle, and finally into the mountains of Kandy. The views and landscapes vary a lot through this trip and you will get a good feeling of what Sri Lanka has to offer.

Arriving in Kandy after the intense heat and chaos of Colombo really feels like entering a different part of the island. However, Kandy still is a busy city, but nowhere as crowded as Colombo.

Read here about all the things to do in Kandy

Colombo to Kandy distance

The distance between Colombo and Kandy is 121 kilometer. The total time it takes the train to get from Colombo to Kandy is about 3,5 to 4 hours. But there is also an intercity train which is an hour faster than the normal train. But take into account that public transport like trains and buses are often delayed in Sri Lanka.


Train schedule Colombo to Kandy

There are different seats and types of trains by the Sri Lanka railways available:

  • 1st class sleeper: This is the best option in case you want to travel overnight. A booking by this train comes with a sleeping bed.
  • 1st class observation car: This train is only available on specific daytimes, mostly on the Main Line and is very popular amongst vacationers or families.
  • 1st class air-conditioned seats are available on occasional intercity express trains
  • 2nd class seats: Available on all intercity trains and obtainable as unreserved and reserved seats
  • 3rd class seats: Available on most trains and the most cheapest way of traveling. This class can get very crowded, especially with locals. But take into account that this class only has basic facilities.

The train schedule may vary per season, so always make sure to check the most up to date time table here

Colombo to Kandy train tickets price

The train ticket prices for the Colombo to Kandy train depend on the ride class and train type. As said before, there is a normal ‘slow’ train going to Kandy but also an intercity train. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka railway does not provide online bookings for 1st class seats and 2nd class seats. However, you can do your booking for the Colombo to Kandy train through a Sri Lankan travel agency which can book tickets for you. Or you can use 12Go Asia to book train tickets online in advance for a hassle free trip!

At the desk of  Colombo Fort station the 2nd class seats costs LKR 230 and 3rd class seats costs LKR 125. 

Sri Lanka train traveling is super convenient and cheap, but you have to have enough time to get from A to B. 

Definitely put the Kandy to Ella train experience on your to do list for Sri Lanka. That is one of the most beautiful train rides of the world!


More Sri Lanka travel inspiration

I hope this complete guide about the Colombo to Kandy train helped you plan your journey.

For more Sri Lanka travel inspiration, head over to our other Sri Lanka travel guides:

20 best things to do in Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Guide

11 best Sri Lanka beaches – The Ultimate Guide

14 best waterfalls in Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Guide

Best things to do in Nuwara Eliya – The Ultimate Guide

Sigiriya best things to do

11 best things to do in Trincomalee

Best things to do in Galle – The Complete Guide

15 best things to do in Ella – The Ultimate Guide

Best thing to do in Kandy – The Complete Guide

Lion Rock hike – The Complete Guide

Sri Lanka Safari – The Ultimate Guide

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