Why you would love a train journey in Sri Lanka
It might follow a pre-determined track but the sense of freedom you experience when you travel by train is hard to explain. A train journey in Sri Lanka is extra special because the country has such a diverse terrain that takes you from the coastal belt to up-country splendor and everything in between. Train travel is very affordable and you can get to almost all the interesting destinations in Sri Lanka. Spend your time watching the scenery, reading, writing or planning your trip. It provides the perfect time for reflection alone or with your travel companions. You can either plan your train journey around your holiday plans or plan your holiday around your train journey!
Chaotic, convenient and cheap
Train travel in Sri Lanka is cheap and convenient though it may not always be the most comfortable. Yet it is a great way to get around the island if you are not too fussy and up for impromptu adventures. Roads in Sri Lanka can get congested making journeys seem longer. Traveling by train helps you appreciate the natural beauty of the country and gets you to your destination at a steady and rhythmic pace. You might initially find the railway system chaotic, but people are very helpful and trains do generally stick to scheduled timetables. You can book your tickets early and avoid any last minute mad scrambles because stations are very busy in Sri Lanka.
To book sleepers and seats you would have to book first or second class tickets, which are still very reasonably priced and budget friendly. First and second class compartments are generally air conditioned and you can reserve your seat. The first class sleeping-berths are comfortable and clean and perfect if you are travelling by overnight train. If you are going to the scenic up country area be sure to book a seat at the observation car for a direct view of the beautiful scenery that change into lush green misty beauty, as you travel further into the hill country.
If you are looking for a new experience you can travel third class which may not always guarantee you a seat. It can be crowded and noisy but is definitely a genuine, lively and interesting experience.
Some of the routes you should experience
First travel to Sri Lanka’s beautiful up country or hill country region. The railway system was introduced by the British who needed a convenient way to transport tea to Colombo for shipping. The Ella railway station will take you back in time with its quaint picture-book look.
You will definitely love the scenic coastal train journey from Colombo to Galle in down south Sri Lanka. Get a window seat and breathe in the fresh salty air as your eyes take in the golden sand against the aquamarine water. You can also nibble on fresh fruit and snacks that are sold on the train. Bliss.