How to get from Colombo to Kandy?
The easiest way to travel the 115km distance from Colombo to Kandy is by train. This is a scenic 2.5-hour train journey, with fares starting at 500 Rs ($2.70). Alternate options include taking a bus (4 hours), a taxi (2.5 hours), or a flight (30 minutes, excluding taxi transfers).
We recommend that you take a train for a picturesque journey from Colombo to Kandy. You can get a 1st class ticket at the train station for as low as 500 Rs ($2.70), although they are rarely available. If you really want reserved seats, you should book at least a month before online or via a local agency.
The cheapest option is to take a local bus, but not exactly the most comfortable. Also, the roads to Kandy are often very busy, which adds to the supposed 4-hour travel time. Still, it’s worth noting that an air-conditioned bus ticket costs only 350 Rs ($1.90).
Travelling with a group? You can rent a private car for 9,000 Rs ($49). Split it by 4 and you can get a door-to-door service that is cheaper than a 2nd class reserved train seat.
The flight is the last and most expensive option at 28,500 Rs ($157) for the flight alone, which takes 30 minutes. Note that totla travel time will be the same as the train/bus as you will need to take a taxi to and from Colombo and Kandy airports, which are both outside the city center.
Besides that, short-haul flights like this are extremely polluting for the environment and unnecessary for such a short distance.
Schedule from Colombo to Kandy
|Train||2.5 hours||500 Rs ($2.70)||Check train tickets|
|Bus||3 hours||350 Rs ($1.90)||Read article for info|
|Taxi||2.5 hours||7,000 Rs ($49)||Book a taxi|
|Flight||30 min, excl. transfers||28,480 Rs ($157)||Check flights|
Colombo to Kandy by Train
Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 500 Rs ($2.70)
A 1st class train ticket from Colombo to Kandy costs at least 500 Rs ($2.70) when you buy at the train station. However, these tickets sell out really fast, which is why you might want to book reserved tickets online a month before.
You can choose from 3 trains when booking online: Sri Lanka Railways, Blueline Express Train, and Viceroy II. They are more expensive, but they offer good seats.
Sri Lanka Railways
Sri Lanka Railways offers 1st class and 2nd class trips when booking online. Ticket prices are 3,080 Rs ($17) and 5,170 Rs ($28), respectively. Trains depart from Colombo Fort Railway Station and arrive at Kandy Railway Station.
We recommend booking a non-airconditioned 2nd class cabin so you can enjoy the fresh breeze from the open windows. Below are their schedules.
|1st Class Train||05:55-08:42|
|5,170 Rs ($28.50)|
|2nd Class Train||05:55-08:42|
|3,080 Rs ($17)|
*Notice that Sri Lanka Railway tickets are also sold on 12Go.Asia for a few dollars less. However, we recommend booking with BookAway as they don’t add a booking fee and time schedules & info are more reliable.
Blueline Express Train
If you want more comfortable seats in an air-conditioned car, Blueline Express Train has departures at 07:00 and 15:30 daily. Travel time is 2.5 hours and a ticket costs 2,810 Rs ($15.50). The fare already includes snacks and drinks.
Blueline trains depart from Colombo Fort Railway Station and arrive at Kandy Railway Station.
The Viceroy II is a whole other experience. It is a refurbished cabin that looks a lot like a Victorian saloon. With its posh chairs and dim lighting, you will feel like a British monarch travelling in Ceylon.
Note that Viceroy II only operates from Colombo to Kandy on Tuesdays, Thursday, and Sundays. A ticket costs 5,080 Rs ($28) and the journey takes 2hr 46min.
- Departs at 09:45 from the Fort Railway Station in Colombo
- Arrives at 12:31 at Peradeniya, a suburb located west of Kandy’s city center
The risk of unreserved seats
There is a very high demand for train tickets in Sri Lanka, especially for famous routes like this one. When booking online, you have to book at least a month before your travel date.
If you missed that, you can also buy unreserved tickets at the train station on the day of your trip, with ticket prices starting at 230 Rs ($1.30). Train schedules are available on the Sri Lanka Railways website. Note that because this is an unreserved seat, there is a huge chance you will be standing throughout this 2.5-hour journey.
If you don’t want to take that risk and are willing to pay a few more dollars, you can also try buying reserved train tickets from agencies even a few days before your trip. Check out our page on How to Book Train Tickets in Sri Lanka for more info.
Colombo to Kandy by Bus
Duration: 4 hours
Cost: 350 Rs ($1.90)
The bus is a cheap alternative if you missed the chance to book a reserved train seat and don’t want to spend the trip standing on a crowded train.
In that case, we recommend that you take an air-conditioned bus. Ordinary buses are too crowded, make a lot of stops, and can be quite uncomfortable for long journeys.
A ticket for an air-conditioned bus costs 350 Rs ($1.90). Look for Bus #1, which departs from Bastian Mawatha Bus Station. You can expect to reach Kandy in about 4 hours.
Colombo to Kandy by Taxi
Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: 9,000 Rs ($49)
The taxi from Colombo to Kandy costs at least 9,700 Rs ($53) if you book via BookAway.
You can also order a taxi with Uber for around 9,000 Rs ($49), although fares can be slightly cheaper or more expensive depending on availability. If you’re hoping to find cheaper rates, you can also check the taxi apps PickMe and TaxiGo. These are widely available in Colombo, but may not be easy to book for longer journeys.
PRO-TIP: Use the code “hpam1ue” or this link to order your first ride with Uber for free!
Colombo to Kandy by Flight
Duration: 30min, excl. transfers
Cost: 28,500 Rs ($157)
The flight looks like the fastest option at only 30 minutes of travel time. However, both Colombo and Kandy airports are outside the city center, making the total travel time at least 2 hours.
You can get a ticket for 28,500 Rs ($157). Sri Lankan Airlines operates only 1 flight daily, with a 10:30 departure.
Flights bound for Kandy depart from Diyawanna Oya, located 10km southeast of Colombo city. These arrive at Victoria Reservoir, situated 25km southeast of Kandy city center.
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