Robert Louis Stevenson once said that “To travel is better than to arrive”. The train journey from Kandy to Ella -or vice versa- put a new meaning into that quote, as this journey is said to be one of the most beautiful train rides in the world.
Try to spot the tea pluckers
As soon as the train departs from Kandy, it continues to rise higher and higher through the mountains. Initially, you will pass through the thick forest. This landscape will soon change into sprawling tea plantations; try to spot the tea pluckers hard at work in the fields. As the train ascends and clears the areas of tea plantations, tiny villages will start to appear along the way, backed by a backdrop of beautiful mountain ranges.
Before reaching the highest station of Pattipola, your eyes, as well as your camera lens, will be treated to a view of sheer ravines and valleys, quite a daunting thing to see. Expect the weather to change along the way as well. One moment you will find yourself above the clouds and soon after you will be surrounded by thick mist. Still, for all, the pièce de résistance of the journey would have to be the last hour.
The train descends back into the vast tea fields and passes over many bridges and hamlets. Gradually you will see a combination of waterfalls, valleys, and ridges on both sides of the railway track until you eventually reach your destination, Ella. The entire Journey itself lasts around 7 hours but it is worth it. Your appetite will surely develop over this time but don’t fret as hawkers will step aboard at every station. They sell a range of items from rice and curry parcels to buttered corn and even fresh cuts of pineapple sprinkled with chilli powder.
If you wish to experience this spectacle of a railway journey, tickets should be bought at the railway station in advance. While there are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class seats on offer, for a proper experience, it is best if you go for 2nd class as you will be free to walk around the train. You will also have the chance to interact with the locals too.
All that’s left to say now is Bon Voyage!