Overview Compare Train Bus Taxi
How to get from Kandy to Ella
The best way to travel the 140 km distance from Kandy to Ella is by train. This train journey takes 6-7 hours and starts at 310 Rs ($3.70) for a 2nd class seat. Alternate options include taking a bus (5 hours) and taking a taxi (3.5 hours).
3 ways to get from Kandy to Ella
|Train||6-7 hours||310 Rs ($3.70)||Check train tickets|
|Bus||4h 50m||3 Rs ($44.00)||Check bus tickets|
|Taxi||3h 30m||11 Rs ($130.00)||Book a taxi|
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 as scenic, the bus will take you at least one hour faster to Ella than the train.
Travelling in 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 11 Rs ($130.00).
Kandy to Ella by Train
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 Bear 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 railway station, they might be sold out. If you miss the chance of booking a reserved ticket, be prepared to stand a part of this 6-hour journey. You can get a 2nd class unreserved ticket for 310 Rs ($3.70).
Online tickets are more expensive, but worth it if you want to be assured of a good seat. First-class cabins are air-conditioned and tickets cost 5 Rs ($63.00). If you prefer open windows for your photo ops, you can go for second-class cabins at 3 Rs ($37.50).
Trains depart from Kandy Railway Station and arrive at Ella Railway Station. Both stations are in the city centre.
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 Rs ($63.00)|
Check Train Tickets
|2nd Class Train||08:47-15:14|
|3 Rs ($37.50)|
Check Train Tickets
*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 centre
- Arrives at 18:27 at Ella Railway Station in the city centre
- Tickets cost 7 Rs ($88.00). You can book your Viceroy II ticket via 12go.Asia or in the link below.
Check Viceroy II Train Tickets
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 ($1.50) while 2nd class seats cost 230 Rs ($2.70). 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
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 Rs ($44.00). 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 centre
- Arrives 12:50 at 39 Passara Road, Ambagollapathana, at Ella city centre
Kandy to Ella by Taxi
The taxi from Kandy to Ella will cost around 11 Rs ($130.00). You can order one online on BookAway or use one of the taxi apps.
Ordering a taxi with Uber costs a bit lower at around 10 Rs ($120.00), but fares can be slightly cheaper or more expensive depending on availability. If you want to do everything in order to find the cheapest rate, you can also check the taxi apps PickMe and TaxiGo, 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!
Our favourite places to stay in Ella
Will Guest Homestay - Budget Friendly
An exceptional homestay with stunning mountain views. You will feel right at home here with the friendly and welcoming staff. Bike and car rentals are available on-site and breakfast is included with your stay.
The rooms are clean and comfortable, and the views are absolutely breathtaking. You won’t want to check out of this homestay!
- Breathtaking mountain views
- Breakfast included
- Clean and comfortable
- Extremely friendly and helpful staff
Private room starts at $23 per night
Ella Travel Guides
Things To Do In Ella and How to get There
Most popular routes in Sri Lanka
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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.