This isn't the popular way around to do the journey and when I was researching all I could find was posts about travelling from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya BUT train tickets are notoriously hard to book in Sri Lanka and getting them at the train station is pretty chaotic, although not impossible. If you want to travel first class or observation car then you need to book in advance and as soon as tickets are released - use an agent in Sri Lanka to do this (we used Paradiso Travels or there are specialist agents).
We missed the slot for our original plan to travel to Nuwara Eliya but it made no difference really. The journey back to Kandy was just as stunning and I loved every minute of it. So don't be put off!
We had two second class tickets booked, we couldn't even get seats booked together so that was a bit of a worry then our plans changed and our daughter was with us for this trip. Queue lots of confusion to (a) pick up our booked tickets and (b) get a third ticket sitting near us.
All I can say is thank goodness we had our driver Vicky with us to help. He knew the system and he spoke the language. We'd have given up and got into the mini-van to travel back to Negombo! I had no idea what was going on at the station!
I am so glad we persevered though. It was totally worth it. Although I suspect we did end up travelling on just two tickets. But the carriage wasn't full and sitting together wasn't a problem.
But we did spend a large part of the journey doing what the locals do and hanging out of the doors and windows! It was just too fascinating not to. Too much of an experience not to do it. My husband was rather concerned for our safety though. But we had to get that ultimate photo for ourselves.
The trains are old, they are rickety, slow and basic. The toilet facilities are holes in the floor - I didn't use them, I managed to wait for four hours! But the carriages are clean and second class wasn't crowded. Third class is very busy though and I suspect more than just people travel, I am sure there is the odd chicken or other animal! The signalling system and controls are ancient but it all works although the odd derailment isn't so uncommon. The journey is slow but then with views like that to see it doesn't really matter.
At some stations we had quite a long wait. Locals would board the train selling their wares or appear at windows with baskets full of fresh produce balanced on their heads. It was another good opportunity to watch daily life and I loved it. Anyone that knows me personally and especially my family are totally shocked that I did this, and that I loved it, I am known for loving my comforts, for preferring luxury. I have never been a traveller (in the backpacking sense) but for some reason I embraced it in Sri Lanka. Okay I didn't backpack and I didn't stay in hostels but I did travel about and I did enjoy it!
If you go to Sri Lanka, don't miss the experience of train travel. We got off at a station just before Kandy and met our driver to do the final journey by road back to Negombo.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and only a very small selection of photos and details of what we saw, if you want to find out more then please do message me or get in touch with Paradiso Travels in Sri Lanka.
Do take a look at my other posts about my Sri Lanka itinerary (slowly adding to them) where I go into more detail about what we did and share my thoughts:
Sri Lanka | Where shall I start?
Sri Lanka | Three Week Itinerary
Sri Lanka | South Coast, Whale Watching and Elephants
Sri Lanka | Kandy and the Tea Plantations
Train Nuwara Eliya to Kandy
Negombo and Colombo
Helping good causes in Sri Lanka (Dogstar Foundation and Yawajeewa School)
29 really useful things you need to know when travelling to Sri Lanka
What to wear in Sri Lanka
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my 50s. I started this blog in 2016 with the purpose of helping other women at this stage of life. I’m delighted that my blog has grown to over 13k visitors per month. Visit my Work with Me page and request my Media Kit for details of product reviews, blogging services and social media content creation.
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