Last updated: Feb 15, 2020

Contents

Overview | Train | Bus | Private Car | Flight

 

How to get from Kandy to Colombo?

The best way to travel the 115km distance from Kandy to Colombo is by train. This train journey takes around 2.5 hours and crosses a very scenic route. Train tickets start from $15.50 when booked online. Alternate options include taking a bus or private vehicle (around 4 hours) and taking a plane (30 minutes, excluding taxi transfers).

We highly recommend travelling by train from Kandy to Colombo for a comfortable and scenic journey. When you’re excitedly looking out the window for the most part of your trip, you wouldn’t notice the 3-hour journey pass by. Note that you need to book train tickets at least a month before your travel date when booking online!

In case you are on a budget and trains are fully booked, you can also take a bus from Kandy to Colombo for $2. Buses run day and night and the journey takes around 4 hours, depending on traffic. It is a nice way to travel like a local, but it is not as comfortable as taking the train.

Travelling with a group or want an easy and quick journey? Consider renting a private car or minivan starting at $74. It’s not as scenic as the train route, but you have the advantage of being able to ask your driver for impromptu stopovers to take photos.

Taking a flight is the fastest at 30 minutes, but also the most expensive at $157. However, that does not yet include the taxi ride to and from the airports. If you add the transfers, total travel time would be closer to 2 hours. Also, for short-haul flights like this, we suggest travelling by land instead. Short-haul flights are extremely polluting because of the high emission involved with taking off and landing.

 

Schedule from Kandy to Colombo

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Train2.5 hours2,810 Rs ($15.50)Check train tickets
Bus4 hours350 Rs ($2)No reservation
Private Vehicle4 hours13,470 Rs ($74) – 16,560 Rs ($91)Rent a car
Flight30 min, excl. transfers28,470 Rs ($157)Check flights

 

train icon

Kandy to Colombo by Train


Duration: 2.5 hours
Costs: 2,810 Rs ($15.50)

For the train route from Kandy to Colombo, you have three choices when booking reserved seats online. These are Sri Lanka Railways, Blueline Express, and Viceroy II.

Sri Lanka Railways

Sri Lanka Railways offers several trips daily and you can choose between 1st and 2nd class trains. First-class trains take 2.5 hours and cost 5,100 Rs ($28). Second-class trains take 30 minutes longer but will save you about $10.

Trains depart from Kandy Railway Station and arrive at the Fort Railway Station in Colombo. Both stations are at the city center and are a short tuk-tuk ride to your hotel.

You can find the train schedules below as well as a booking link to BookAway for easy reservation. Remember that you should book a month before your desired travel date when booking this train online.

Train ClassDepartureDurationCosts
1st Class Train06:15-08:52
12:38-15:27
15:00-17:36
15:30-18:50
15:49-18:57
2h 37m
2h 49m
2h 36m
3h 20m
3h 8m
5,170 Rs ($28.50)
2nd Class Train12:50-15:57
15:49-18:57
3h 7m
3h 8m
3,090 Rs ($17)

Check Sri Lanka Railway Tickets

*Notice that train 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

Blueline offers royal saloon class seats for 2,810 Rs ($15.50). This price already includes food & drinks. The good thing about Blueline is you can book a reserved ticket online even a few days before your trip, if there are tickets still available.

  • Departs every 06:15 and 15:00 from Kandy Railway Station
  • Arrives at 08:45 and 17:30 at Colombo Fort Railway Station. You can book your tickets below.

Check Blueline Express Train Tickets

Viceroy II

This restored train features posh interiors, comfortable seats and soft lighting. The Viceroy II train from Kandy to Colombo operates on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The only downside of this train is that it only runs in the evening, so you will miss out on the beautiful scenery (18:15-20:10).

  • Departs at 18:15 from Peradeniya, a suburb located west of Kandy’s city center
  • Arrives at 20:10 at the Fort Railway Station in Colombo
  • Tickets cost 2,550 Rs ($14). You can book your Viceroy II ticket via 12go.Asia in the link below.

Check Viceroy II Train Tickets

Unreserved seats

If you failed to book train tickets online a month before, there is still the last resort of taking the train with an unreserved seat. Note though that the line from Kandy to Colombo can be very busy and there’s a risk you will be standing for a huge part of the journey.

Unreserved tickets are unlimited and available at the train station on the day of your trip. Fares start at 125 Rs ($0.70) for a 3rd class seat and you can check other train schedules on Sri Lanka Railways.

If you don’t want to take that risk and are willing to pay a few more dollars, you can buy reserved train tickets from agencies even a few days before your trip. For more details and other booking options, visit our post on How to Book Train Tickets in Sri Lanka.

 

Bus icon

Kandy to Colombo by Bus


Duration: 4 hours
Costs: 350 Rs ($2)

Travelling by bus is the cheapest option at 250 Rs ($2) for an air-conditioned bus. Although far from being as comfortable as taking the train, it is a very affordable alternative.

Even cheaper are the ordinary buses, with tickets priced at 175 Rs ($1). However, these buses offer only wooden seats. They also make a lot of stops, making the travel time longer.

Bus #1 operates several buses from Kandy to Cambodia daily. You have two options to get on this bus:

  • Go to the Central Bus Terminal west of the city center
  • Ask your hotel to guide you to the nearest bus stop where buses bound for Colombo pass by

Note that buses can be a bit crowded, especially during rush hour. Also, expect a lot of traffic as these buses pass through very busy roads.

 

private vehicle

Kandy to Colombo by Private Vehicle


Duration: 4 hours
Costs: 13,470 Rs ($74) – 16,560 Rs ($91)

If travelling in a group of 3, you can rent a private car for 13,470 Rs ($74). If you split the cost, that would just be 4,490 Rs ($24.50) per person. Even cheaper than a first-class train ticket ($28).

The ride takes around 4 hours and you can book a 3-seater car in the link below.

Rent a Private Car

Kandy to Colombo by Private Minivan

If travelling with a bigger group of up to 8 persons, you can also rent a minivan for 16,560 Rs ($91). Splitting the cost would mean only 2,070 Rs ($11.50) per person.

Rent a Private Minivan

 

Flight

Kandy to Colombo by Flight


Duration: 30min, excl. transfers
Costs: 28,470 Rs ($157)

Taking a flight from Kandy to Colombo might look like the fastest option, but it is also the most expensive at 28,470 Rs ($157), excluding taxi transfers. And worst of all, short-haul flights are really polluting for the environment (up to 10x more polluting than trains or buses).

Apart from being unsustainable and expensive, it also wouldn’t be that fast if you count the travel times to and from the airports. You will be leaving from Polgolla Reservoir Airport, which is 5km north of Kandy city center and you will arrive at Diyawanna Oya Airport, which is 12km south of Colombo city center.

Considering the traffic, especially in Colombo, the time to reach the airport could range between 45 minutes to 2 hours.

The upside of taking a flight from Kandy to Colombo is the view. You will be taking a small plane and will have a very good view of the Tea Country. If you book at least 60 days prior to your departure, Cinnamon Air also offers a 25% discount.

You can book a flight in the link below.

Check Flights on Skyscanner

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