Want to know how to get from Kandy to Colombo? In this post, we’ll share a summary of the four ways to get there and compare each option on duration, costs and level of comfort. For each option, we go into more detail to help you decide which transport provider to book with and where to buy your tickets.
4 ways to get from Kandy to Colombo
There are four ways to travel the distance of 115 km (71 miles) from Kandy to Colombo: by bus (4 hours), taxi (4 hours), train (2h36m-3h20m) and flight (30 minutes, excl. transfers). The journey takes between 30 minutes - 4h and the quickest way is by flight. The lowest priced tickets start from 350 Rs ($1.00) for the bus.
Travelling by bus is the cheapest option at 250 Rs ($0.70) 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 ($0.50). 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 centre
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.
Kandy to Colombo by Train
Starts from: 3,090 Rs ($9.50)
Cost: 3,090 Rs ($9.50)
You can get a 1st class train ticket from Kandy to Colombo for as low as 500 Rs ($1.50). But that’s if you are able to avail them at the train station, where reserved 1st and 2nd class tickets sell out fast.
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 ($15.50). 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 centre 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.
*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 ($8.50). 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.
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 centre
Arrives at 20:10 at the Fort Railway Station in Colombo
Tickets cost 2,550 Rs ($7.50). You can book your Viceroy II ticket via 12go.Asia in the link below.
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 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 ($0.30) 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.
The taxi from Kandy to Colombo costs around 9,700 Rs ($30.00) when booked via BookAway.
Ordering a taxi with Uber costs around 9,000 Rs ($27.50), but fares can be slightly cheaper or more expensive depending on the availability. You can also check the taxi apps PickMe and TaxiGo if you’re hoping for cheaper rates. But, unfortunately, these apps have very limited availability outside the capital city, Colombo.
PRO TIP: Use the code “hpam1ue” or this link to order your first ride with Uber for free!
Kandy to Colombo by Flight
Duration: 30 minutes, excl. transfers
Starts from: 28,470 Rs ($88.00)
Duration: 30 minutes, excl. transfers
Cost: 28,470 Rs ($88.00)
Taking a flight from Kandy to Colombo might look like the fastest option, but it is also the most expensive at 28,470 Rs ($88.00), 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 5 km north of Kandy city centre and you will arrive at Diyawanna Oya Airport, which is 12 km south of Colombo city centre.
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.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.
Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.