Train

Things to see on holiday in Sri Lanka.

Online Train Tickets in Sri Lanka. How and where?

Online Train Tickets in Sri Lanka. Where can I buy them?

Online Train Tickets in Sri Lanka.

Where can I buy them?
How do I find the train schedules?

Here’s what you need to know.

At GlenMyu Estate, we are often asked about how and where guests can buy tickets for the incredible train journeys between Kandy and Haputale and Ella.

We do not have connections with Sri Lankan railways ourselves and cannot source tickets.

However, here is some information that may help you secure that elusive train ticket for one of the most beautiful train rides.

As far as we know there are three methods to buy your tickets.

  • Directly from the Official Website on line in advance.
  • Buy on the day (or a few days before) in person at the railway station.
  • Through an agent.

Clearly buying in advance  online or at the station are the cheapest ways to buy your train tickets.

Save money and buy train tickets online at the official Sri Lanka railways site.

Avoid booking fees from agents by booking directly on the official site for Sri Lankan Railways.

Press the button to be redirected to the “Seat Reservation” section of their website.

Please read the terms and conditions for purchasing your ticket at the bottom of the page on the Sri Lankan Railways website.

Be Quick! Buy on-line up to 30 days before you travel.

You will see when you visit the Sri Lankan Railways website that you can only book tickets a maximum of one month in advance. 

We would suggest that you diary forward 30 days before you travel and get straight onto the website. 

Please be aware that if you wait, you may well miss out.

Where do I find a train schedule?

When you are on the Sri Lankan railways website and select your date a lots of the trains running that day, where tickets are available will be presented.

You can also look at the Train Schedule section of the Sri Lankan Railways Website. 
Please press the button for the Train Schedules.

Website Malinda Prasad also provides train schedules in Sri Lanka.

SLT Trains website also provides a train schedule.

1st, 2nd or 3rd Class - where should I choose to sit?

If you are fortunate enough to be able to buy a ticket and have the options of 1st, 2nd or 3rd classes you have a big decision to make.

1st class is likely to be full of tourists and you may really want an authentic Sri Lankan experience by choosing one of the other classes. 

Lots of people say that 2nd class is the best way to travel because there is more of an atmosphere and you are more likely to be sitting with some local Sri Lankans. 

In 3rd class you will be mainly travelling with local people. It is not uncommon for Sri Lankans to share their food, sing and entertain themselves on their train trip.

There are no train tickets left!

What happens if there are no train tickets left when I want to buy my tickets online?

Unfortunately this is a regular occurrence.

As Sri Lanka’s tourist numbers increase there will be even more demand for train tickets.

You have a few options where you might be able to get one of those elusive tickets with a seat.

Some travellers turn up at the railway station and take a chance that a ticket is returned or available to purchase.

This is probably okay for a short trip where you don’t need a seat.

Please don't stand!

If you are taking a short journey for less than an hour there are no seats available, perhaps standing is an option of you are able. 

However, please don’t buy a ticket without a seat between Kandy and Ella. If you do you may regret it. How do you think the you will feel if a seat is not vacated on the way to relieve your numbing legs. 

The journey from Kandy to Ella is around 6 hours, so this may wee spoil your holiday.

Through your travel agency

If you have booked your holiday through a reputable travel agency they may be able to source train tickets for your journey.

No doubt a premium will be required to be paid however the uplift in costs shouldn’t be too much.

Ask your hotel whether they can source tickets.

Some of our guests at GlenMyu Estate have been successful in sourcing tickets through the hotels that the stay at in Kandy.

I don’t know where they source their tickets and don’t know what mark up they will charge for this service.
However, it may be worth trying this is you are desperate for train tickets.

Unfortunately we do not have connections at GlenMyu Estate to source tickets.

Ask your driver

Some tourist drivers are quite resourceful and have good contacts and they may be able to source tickets for you. 

I would expect a premium to be paid in this instance.

Agents - I'd rather not but.....

We try to avoid agents if at all possible. If yous arch the web I’m sure that you will find agencies offering tickets with a large mark up in price.

However, if you have to then you can take a risk and find an agent online.

We do not have any recommendations for agencies so the risk is yours!

Alight the train at Haputale or Ella and stay at GlenMyu Estate.

The nearest train station to GlenMyu Estate is Haputale. You can also go to Ella and then take a train back to Haputale or alternative take a Tuk Tuk to the estate.

A stay at GlenMyu Estate as you explore the Sri Lankan Hill Country and see sights like Horton Plains National Park is a unique experience.

We only have three bedrooms and you will need to book early during the peak holiday season.

The estate is usually within an hours drive of the major sightseeing locations such as Nine Arch Bridge, Ella Town, Upper Diyaluma Waterfall, Lipton’s Seat, Bambarakanda Waterfall and many more,

GlenMyu Estate is listed on Booking.com and Airbnb.
Contact us by the WhatsApp button on our website for direct booking rates.

Online Train Tickets in Sri Lanka. How and where? Read More »

A selfie at Nine Arch Bridge, Demodara, Ella, Sri Lanka

Our Day Trip to Nine Arch Bridge

Our Day Trip to visit Nine Arch Bridge, Ella, Sri Lanka

We experienced a fabulous day trip to visit the famous Nine Arch Bridge located in Demodara, Ella in Sri Lanka during June 2023.

Here we share our thoughts and experience of our day and hope that it will inspire you to visit this must do place to see in this paradise island.

About Us

Ru and I are a Sri Lankan-British couple that have been living in Sri Lanka for the last seven years. We live at GlenMyu Estate which is a 3 bedroom boutique hotel based near Beragala/Haputale in the Sri Lankan Hill Country. Nine Arch Bridge and Ella Town are around one house and fifteen minutes drive from the estate. This provides us with the opportunity to do day trips to visit some of the fantastic sights to visit in Sri Lanka.

Lots of our guests have hired a Tuk Tuk with a guide and taken a day trip to visit the sights in and around Ella Town. We thought it was about time that we did the same! So here is how our day went and a few tips on what to do when you visit this famous tourist site in Sri Lanka.

Normally we recommend that you leave early ....but!

Whilst on holiday in Sri Lanka I always recommend to our guests that they should visit the sights early in the day. There are many reasons to do this including:

Getting the best light for videos and photos.

To miss the crowds.

Avoiding the heat of the midday sun.

You can read more about why we recommend getting up early in Sri Lanka in our article “The 6 Best Reasons for Getting Up Early“.

As we were taking my wife’s parents we drove to Ella. It takes around one hour fifteen minutes to get to the town however we went on a few detours suggested by Google Directions which led to a few extra kilometres! 

We followed Google Directions to one of the start points to get to Nine Arch Bridge. Having parked outside a shop we would then need to hire Tuk Tuks to take the remaining kilometres to get to the bridge.

My wife decided to check with the Tuk Tuk driver who normally takes guests on a tour to Ella from GlenMyu Estate and he advised that we could go to another entrance and park quite near to Nine Arch Bridge. He said that the road was carpeted and it would be okay for me to drive the car.

So, off we went back out of Ella and to the alternative entrance point to Nine Arch Bridge.

Nine Arch Car Park is where we parked our car.

This is where you should go if you want to travel by Tuk Tuk to Nine Arch Bridge.

I get a little bit nervous!

Although I have been driving in Sri Lanka for several years now I pick and choose what roads I will drive on. Unfortunately this decision came about when my wife “encouraged” me to drive down a narrow road that I was not comfortable on. I managed to hit an edge and take out my tyre wall in the most inconvenient place to replace the tyre with the spare.

After that day, and the unwanted cost of a brand new tyre, I swore that I would not drive on narrow roads and it would be cheaper to hire a Tuk Tuk in future. 

I think that Sri Lankan drivers are much more courageous than I am when it comes down to tackling some of the terrain in the country. A Tuk Tuk is good for certain roads and I believe that by using them from time to time I am supporting a local business. I would rather relieve the stress and nervousness and hand over to someone else at particular times!

My experience still says hire a Tuk Tuk!

I feel that I have done a service to anyone that is considering driving a hire car or their own vehicle to visit Nine Arch Bridge. The road was carpeted and narrow and I did make it to the parking spot near the bridge enabling my in laws to walk the five minutes to see the bridge. 

However, I would not have enjoyed meeting another larger vehicle on this road. Therefore my hearty recommendation is that you drive to a point where you can park your car and take a Tuk Tuk for the rest of the way. I can hear Sri Lankan shouting at me that it is not necessary, but that’s my advice!

Here is the signboard on the route we took by car to visit Nine Arch Bridge.

We parked our car at this shop near to Nine Arch Bridge. It was only about a five minute walk from this point. There was a charge for parking however we were always going to buy something from the shop anyway. We thing that it’s just right to purchase something and have a chat to support the business.

We had some tea and corn on the cob which had been heated on a wood fired pan.

Approaching Nine Arch Bridge

Here is a video that I took as I reached the bridge.

We arrived around midday and therefore there were lots of local and foreign tourists waiting for the train.

At popular tourist attractions - get there early!

This is the second time we have visited Nine Arch Bridge.The first was many years ago when there were not as many tourists around and we did get there a little earlier in the day. We trekked a bit to get to the bridge and it was really nice having a chat with some other tourists whilst we awaited the train.

Several years on and Nine Arch Bridge has become a really popular tourist destination and a must see when you are in the area. 

I have read lots of blogs about when to visit the bridge and getting there for sunrise looks like something special to do. Even if you are staying in Ella you will have to get up pretty early to catch this sight.

Here is a video by Lucie who enjoyed the peace and tranquility of seeing Nine Arch Bridge really early in the morning.

It was still exciting to see the Nine Arch Bridge later in the day.

Although we were later than planned and there were lots of people waiting to see the train, it was still a really great experience.

It’s amazing that so many tourists that come from countries that have lots of trains and lots of bridges rush to see this sight. However, the history of the bridge, the beauty of the arches and the pace of the train make it a really enjoyable experience. 

Here comes the train!

I really enjoyed the atmosphere created by all the people waiting for the train to come. The noise of the train, the beautiful backdrop and the people on the carriages made it all worthwhile.

 

Make sure that you know when the trains are due.

One major benefit of getting a Tuk Tuk to Nine Arch Bridge is that they will know when you need to be there to ensure that you see a train. It’s worth the cost of the hire. Trains in Sri Lanka don’t run on time very often and these Tuk Tuk drivers have ways to find out when a train will be crossing the bridge.

Would we recommend visiting Nine Arch Bridge?

We had a really good time and interesting day getting to Nine Arch Bridge and seeing the train cross the bridge filled with passengers.  

At GlenMyu we normally plan a day trip to Ella for our guests to see Nine Arch Bridge along with one or two other sights.

There are lots of other activates to do a see around Ella which are worth a visit. On our day trip we also visited Ravana Waterfall which is a distance outside Ella Town. You can read about our experience at Ravana Waterfall at the following article. 

Here are some more videos I shot on our day trip.

What else is there to see and do around Ella?

There are lots to see and do around Ella and we would suggest picking two or three things that you are interested in.

Hiking
Ella Rock
Little Adam’s Peak

Waterfalls
Ravana Falls
Ellawala Waterfall

Tea and Spices
Ella Tea Factory
Ella Spice Garden 

Cultural
Ravana’s Cave
Dowa Rock Temple

Food and Drink
There are lots of places to eat, drink and people watch in Ella’s main street.

Here are a few to try:
Cafe Chill
Rainbow Cafe
The Barn
Mandala Cafe & Bar

Please do a little research before you visit.

We would always recommend doing a little bit of reading before you visit the sights in Sri Lanka as it amazing what you will learn. 

Did you know that there is a rumour that there was no steel used in the construction of Nine Arch Bridge as the steel that was to be used was redeployed as it was needed for material used in the war in Europe.

The bridge was completed in 1921.

If you visit Ravana Waterfall we would recommend that you read about Ravana.

The importance of reading something more about the places you plan to visit before you get there hit me on one of my early trips to the Island.

On our visit to Sigiriya Lion Rock we were amazed that there was effectively plumbing around 400 AD creating fountains in the Kings palace.

When we visited the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy I really knew very little about Buddhism. Fortunately we hired a guide for the tour who was able to “enlighten me” a little and it made the tour much more real.

Why stay at GlenMyu Estate Hotel and not in Ella?

Well, it’s all a matter of preference. If you are looking to stay in a less touristy place then GlenMyu Estate may well be the place for you. We think that there are lots of people that really enjoy staying in and around Ella Town and enjoying the nightlife and being closer to the tourist sights. However, we have had lots of guests stay with us a GlenMyu Estate who have found Ella too touristy and being able to do a day trip and getting back to our little piece of paradise suits them well.

What is at GlenMyu Estate?

GlenMyu Estate – Summary

3 Kingsize Double Bedrooms with Spectacular Views

2 Spacious Lounges with views over the hills below the house

A Natural Spring-Fed Infinity Swimming Pool

5 Acres of land to explore

Delicious bespoke meals freshly prepared by the host

A selection of places to dine

A place to relax and be closer to nature

Within reach of the following tourist sites

GlenMyu Estate is listed on Booking.com and Airbnb. You can also contacts directly for our best rates.

Our Day Trip to Nine Arch Bridge Read More »

Haputale Railway Station

Ella Odyssey

New Luxury Train 'Ella Odyssey”

The Ella Odyssey Train will now travel from Colombo to Badulla on weekends which will provide another option to get to GlenMyu Estate.

The luxury train service commenced in March 2022 and only ran from Kandy to Ella.

Now operating on Weekends!

Now operating on the weekends from Fort Station in Colombo it now gives a solution to tourists to start their journey by rail from the Capital City.

The section of the journey from Kandy to Ella is considered one of most scenic and beautiful train journey in South Asia. The tracks climb through lush green tea estates, pass along by waterfalls and through tunnels which makes the journey interesting and provides opportunities to make those instagram moments. 

There is a high demand for the Kandy Ella train from both local and international travellers but there were only few daily trains operated and the Ella Odyssey train will be a great addition to the Sri Lanka tourism.

This train journey is considered as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world

It is also one of the top tourist attractions in Sri Lanka.

Photo Opportunities!

During its journey to and from Badulla, the train will stop at several selected tourist attractions allowing passengers to alight to take photos and videos at these stops.

What Time does the train leave?

The ‘Ella Odyssey’ will leave Colombo Fort at 05.30 am every Saturday and is scheduled to reach Badulla at 3.55 pm.

Every Sunday the train will leave Badulla at 09.50 am and reach Colombo at 07.20 pm.

News Flash - Now running on Thursdays and Friday!

Railways Deputy Operations superintendent V.S. Polwattage announced that the additional train journeys will commence on Thursday, 8th of September 2022.

He said that the “Ella Odyssey” will travel from Colombo to Badulla every Thursday and will return from Badulla to Colombo every Friday.

What is the Train Number?

Train Numbers are

Fort to Badulla – 1041

Badulla to Fort – 1042 

How long is the journey?

The total train journey from start to finish is just over 10 hours.

This may be hard to grasp as a tourist however driving from Colombo to Badulla would take at least 6 hours and would cost substantially more.

You also would not experience the spectacular views that you will be able to see by train.

Where does the train stop?

The train will stop at:

Gampaha

Veyangoda

Polgahawela

Rambukkana

Peradeniya

Mahanuwara

Nawalapitiya

Nanu Oya

Haputale

Diyatalawa

Bandarawela

Ella

Badulla

What will my ticket cost?

At the launch of this service in August 2022 a first class reserved ticket between Colombo Fort and Badulla of this special train is Rs.5,000.

A second class reserved ticket is Rs.4,000 and a third class reserved ticket is Rs.3,000.

These prices are subject to change and we would recommend that you check the price when purchasing them.

Where can I get my tickets?

You can get to the Sri Lanka Railway by clicking here Sri Lanka Railways Official Site 

Can I buy food on board?

Can I buy food on board?

The train is with restaurant car and you may able to purchase some selected foods on board.

What class of tickets are available?

There are only 1st and 2nd class seats available on the Ella Odyssey Train.

How many seats are on the train?

There are around 176 air-con first class seats plus over 144 second class seats.

What will I see on the way?

During the journey the train will stop at interesting sightseeing spots including 

St. Clair Falls

Great Western Railway Station

Elgin Falls – 

Pattipola Summit Level

Idalgashinna Railway Station

Demodara 9-Arch Bridge, and Demodara Bridge & tunnel.

Can I get off the train to take my photos?

The train will only stop at these stations for a few minutes for tourists to enjoy the scenery and capture photos and videos.

Alight at Haputale Train Station for GlenMyu Estate.

The nearest station to GlenMyu Estate is Haputale.

Haputale Railway Station

Ella Odyssey Read More »

GlenMyu Estate
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