How to get from Kandy to Ella?
The best way to travel the 140km distance from Kandy to Ella is by train. This train journey takes 6-7 hours and starts at 3,090 Rs ($17). Alternate options include taking a bus (5 hours) and taking a taxi (almost 4 hours).
The train ride from Kandy to Ella is considered one of the most beautiful train routes in the world. It is also the most crowded in Sri Lanka. Tickets sell out fast and it can be difficult to snag a seat in the unreserved cabins. Note that when booking train tickets online, you have to book at least a month prior to your trip.
If you fail to get a train ticket, we would still take the train as this is track is one of the highlights of Sri Lanka. Go out of your comfort zone and travel like a real local!
Still want to take the bus? Although the route won’t be a sscenic, the bus will take you at least one hour faster to Ella than the train.
Traveling with a group? Taking a taxi is the fastest option, but also with the taxi you will miss the beautiful train ride to Ella. You can rent an entire car for 9,800 Rs ($54).
Schedule from Kandy to Ella
|Train||6-7 hours||3,090 Rs ($17)||Check train tickets|
|Bus||4h 50m||3,640 Rs ($20)||Check bus tickets|
|Taxi||3h 45m||9,800 Rs ($54)||Reserve a taxi|
Kandy to Ella by Train
Duration: 6-7 hours
Costs: 3,090 Rs ($17)
The train ride from Kandy to Ella is the most beautiful in Sri Lanka. It is also the busiest. Aside from locals, many tourists compete for highly-coveted seats in this famous route.
Booking your train ticket online will secure you from a seat, but take in mind that you need to book train tickets in Sri Lanka at least one month before your trip, when you book them online.
Although it is often still possible to book your tickets a few days in advance at the railways station, they might be sold out. If you miss the change of booking a reserved ticket, be prepared to stand a part of this 6 hour journey.
Reserved cabins for 1st and 2nd class cabins are available daily at Sri Lanka Railways. First-class cabins are air-conditioned and tickets cost 5,180 Rs ($28.50). If you prefer open windows for your photo ops, you can go for second-class cabins at 3,090 Rs ($17).
Trains depart from Kandy Railway Station and arrive at Ella Railway Station. Both stations are in the city center.
PRO-TIP: This route is beautiful anywhere you look, but if you are free in choosing which side to sit, go for the right side when travelling from Kandy to Ella.
Train schedules from Kandy to Ella
|1st Class Train||08:47-15:14|
|5,180 Rs ($28.50)|
|2nd Class Train||08:47-15:14|
|3,090 Rs ($17)|
*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.
Another train option which is only available on 12Go.Asia is the more luxurious Viceroy II. It is not as adventurous as a 2nd class train but it is a scenic ride all the same.
Be prepared that Viceroy II costs twice the amount of a 1st class cabin from the regular Sri Lankan Railway train.
In return, you will get an air-conditioned train, soft seats, wi-fi on-board, and pleasant lighting, reassuring you will have a very comfortable 6-hour journey. It also has a fully-stocked bar, but as drinks are a quite expensive, think of bringing your own food and drinks for the journey.
Viceroy II operates from Kandy to Ella on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Departs at 12:35 from Peradeniya, a suburb located west of Kandy’s city center
- Arrives at 18:27 at Ella Railway Station in the city center
- Tickets cost 7,280 Rs ($40). You can book your Viceroy II ticket via 12go.Asia or in the link below.
If you missed all changes to book a reserved seat, you can also buy a ticket for an unreserved seat from Kandy to Ella at the train station on the day of your trip. You can find the exact schedules beforehand on the Sri Lanka Railways website.
Tickets for a 3rd class seat cost 125 Rs ($0.70) while 2nd class seats cost 230 Rs ($1.30). These are unlimited so buying a ticket should be easy enough.
PRO-TIP: For the best chances to get a seat, consider to board the train one station before Kandy, which is Kadugannawa. A lot of passengers are expected to get off in Kandy and when they do, you will be able to get their seats before the mass of passengers in Kandy station get inside the train.
Kandy to Ella by Bus
Duration: 4h 50min
Costs: 3,640 Rs ($20)
There are no direct intercity buses operating from Kandy to Ella. But Brown Tours offers bus trips on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
They’re a bit more expensive than taking the train and costs 3,640 Rs ($20). Still, taking the bus is a good alternative if you don’t want to risk standing on the train for 6 hours.
Also, Brown Tours can bring you from Kandy to Ella in less than 5 hours, that’s an hour faster than taking the train. You can easily reserve a bus seat through the link below.
- Departs at 08:00 from 702 Peradeniya Road, west of Kandy city center
- Arrives 12:50 at 39 Passara Road, Ambagollapathana, at Ella city center
Kandy to Ella by Taxi
Duration: 3h 45min
Costs: 9,800 Rs ($54)
If you’re travelling in a small group, you can also consider taking a taxi from Kandy to Ella. It is the fastest option and takes less than 4 hours. It also has the advantage of bringing you door-to-door.
To get a taxi, you can easily hail one from the street, ask your hotel to find one for you, or book one online. Metered taxis from Kandy to Ella cost around 9,800 Rs ($54) to 11,980 Rs ($66).
If you book via 12go.Asia, you get a fixed price of 14,000 Rs ($77). The advantage of booking a taxi online is you get to travel in a more spacious car.
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