Rail Tours Sri Lanka

Trains in Sri Lanka are a very adventurous travelling option and also the best way to explore the natural beauty of the country. The Sri Lankan railway network is a government owned organization and is a very affordable way to travel around the country. Recently a privately owned company introduced luxury and express train services only to popular holiday destinations around the country to make rail tours in Sri Lanka more comfortable.

When inside a train, you have the comfort of walking around, you are free to use the toilet whenever needed, you can converse with other travellers and locals, eat food, read a book or simply look outside the window and indulge in the dramatic landscape of Sri Lanka while listening to some enjoyable music in your ears.

If you are interested in an adventurous rail tour Sri Lanka experience, simply let us know when and with whom you wish to travel and we will make the relevant train seat bookings according to your itinerary.

 

Sri Lanka Rail Tour Itinerary – Option 01 (Hill Country and South-west Coast)

Duration

08 Days

Plan your holiday in Sri Lanka in an adventurous manner with a one-of-a-kind itinerary including train journeys to some of the most beautiful destinations in the country. This exciting 08 day holiday itinerary focuses on exploring the country via the railway network wherever possible. In this package, you will cover Colombo, the hill country (Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella), Yala, Mirissa and Bentota with a combination of car and train journeys, making your holiday a memorable and thrilling experience. We can customize the duration of this trip without any hassle depending on how many days you have to spare and which destinations you would like to spend more time at.

Price range

To enjoy this unique rail tour Sri Lanka experience, get in touch with us through email and we will send you a detailed itinerary with relevant price ranges for the package. When you write to us, kindly give us details of how many passengers are travelling as well as the travel dates. This information will help us prepare an accurate quote for you.

Who can go on this tour?

Almost everyone can choose to go on this tour. Only those who are physically disabled in a way where they find it difficult to get on and off trains should stay away from this rail tour. Apart from that, there is no reason any adult or child should refrain from reaping the benefits of this exciting rail tour Sri Lanka. We would encourage families with young children to opt for this tour as children often like to travel in trains and may thoroughly enjoy this tour.

The hotels we have selected for your accommodation during this tour have luxurious amenities, along with amazing food and a family friendly atmosphere. Hence you do not have to worry about whether or not the accommodation will be convenient for families with children.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Colombo to Kandy (by Car)

On the way to Kandy, you can visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage in the morning hours and watch how the elephants bathe and eat their food. It is an interesting sight indeed, particularly for those who are fond of animals.

Next, you can visit the Royal Botanical Gardens, which is just a few kms from Kandy. Here you will find a wide range of flora including orchids, spices, medicinal plants, palms and much more. This is an enjoyable picnic spot for many locals and foreigners alike.

A Kandy city tour is a must, including a visit to the Kandy lake and other important sites in Kandy. In the evening, you can enjoy a cultural show with traditional Kandyan dancers to entertain you.

We will then take you to Earl’s Regency for your overnight stay in Kandy. Next morning, before you depart to the central highlands, you will be taken to the Temple of the sacred Tooth Relic to obtain blessings from the Buddhist priests.

Day 2 – Kandy to Nanu Oya (by train)

You will then proceed to the Kandy railway station for your first train ride in this rail tour Sri Lanka. Your destination from Kandy by train will be to Nanu Oya. This is a ride during which you must do nothing but sit back, relax, and enjoy the most breathtaking scenery ever! From Nanu Oya, a car will drive you to Heritance Tea Factory hotel in Nuwara Eliya. On the way, you will pass Nuwara Eliya town, where you can enjoy an evening boat ride on Gregory Lake.

Day 3 – Nanu Oya to Ella (by train)

In Nuwara Eliya, we have scheduled a tea factory visit where you can learn about the manufacturing process of tea and partake in an exciting tea plucking experience the traditional way. After a tour of Nuwara Eliya town, you will be driven to the Nanu Oya train station for your next train ride to Ella. This is another journey during which indulging in the beauty outside is a must. In Ella, you will stay at a luxury hotel known as the 98 Acres Resort and Spa.

Day 4 – Exploring Ella

In Ella, it is advisable to begin your day at the crack of dawn if you want to hike to Little Adam’s Peak and get the best view at the Ella Gap. The Nine Arch Bridge is another attraction that you can visit in Ella before you return to your luxury hotel for another night.

Day 5 – Ella to Yala (by car)

From Ella, you will be driven to the southern city of Yala and on your way you can spend some time at the beautiful Ravana Waterfall. Upon reaching Yala, a jeep safari at the Yala National Park is a must. Jetwing Yala is the hotel we have selected for your accommodation in Yala.

Day 6 – Yala to Mirissa (by Car)

Moving further towards the southern coast, Mirissa is a popular beach destination in Sri Lanka. Here you can spend plenty of time enjoying the exotic beach. Imagine Villa is where you will spend a night in Mirissa. A visit to the Weligama fish market is optional in this Sri Lanka rail tour itinerary.

Day 7 – Mirissa to Bentota (by train)

Early next morning, enjoy an adventurous whale watching experience in Mirissa and then head towards the train station for your next train ride to Bentota. On this ride, you will see completely different scenery to what you saw in the hill country.

Once in Bentota, visit the Turtle Hatchery and relax on a boat ride in the Madu river. You will also be taken to see the commendable architecture of Sir Geoffrey Bawa in Lunuganga, Bentota.  Your overnight stay in Bentota will be at Villa Bentota.

Day 8 – Bentota to Colombo (by train)

At the Bentota train station, you can get into any train going towards Colombo and get off at the Colombo Fort. Walk around the fort area and the Pettah trading market and shop for anything that you like. Then explore the Gangarama Temple to learn about Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka. You can also visit the Manning Market in Colombo for some tropical fresh fruits and vegetables.

During your Colombo city tour, don’t forget to visit the Galle Face Green, Old Parliament Building (Dutch colonial architecture), independence square and BMICH (an admirable conference hall).  Hotel Tintagel is where you will spend your last night in Sri Lanka, end your journey the next day and drive towards the airport at a suitable time, depending on the time of your flight.

Accommodation

Below is a list of extravagant hotels selected for your accommodation along with website URL’s which you can visit for further information regarding the hotel.

Sri Lanka Rail Tour Itinerary – Option 02 (Hill Country)

We also have a five day itinerary for rail tour Sri Lanka which focuses only on exploring the hill country. In this package, you will travel by train, beginning from Colombo Fort to Kandy railway station. In Kandy you can visit popular attractions such as the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and enjoy an evening cultural show with Kandyan dancers to entertain you. You have two nights to spare at Hotel Thilanka in Kandy and you can use your time to engage in other activities that interest you such as trekking, nature trails and a tea factory visit.

On Day 3 you will go to Hatton by train whilst enjoying the breathtaking scenery of the high altitude tea country. During your next two nights in Hatton at Daynish Rock Bungalow, you have the freedom to see the beautiful sights of the hill country. You could discover tea estates, climb the Adam’s Peak, visit Horton Plains National Park or simply relax and enjoy the view and weather in the cosy atmosphere of your hotel room.

On Day 5, you will end your journey with a train ride from Hatton back to the capital city of Colombo.

Accommodation

Please find below URL’s to websites of the two places selected for your accommodation in Kandy and Hatton.

Sri Lanka Rail Tour Itinerary – Option 03 (Jaffna)

 

In addition to the above two rail tour Sri Lanka itineraries, we can also arrange a rail focused journey to the northern city of Jaffna. Express and luxury classes are available to travel to Jaffna by train. In Jaffna you can look around and observe the ruins of the 30 year civil war and also visit the many Tamil, Catholic and Buddhist places of worship. Jaffna is also a popular beach destination with calm and swim safe waters. Authentic north Sri Lankan food is a must-try when you are in Jaffna. This tour can be customized based on your dates and duration of travel. Advance confirmations are necessary if you want good seats on the trains to Jaffna as this sector is often fully occupied on most days throughout the year.

The Sri Lankan Railway System

Initially built in 1864 by the British, rail tours Sri Lanka were mostly used for transporting tea and coffee from the hill country to Colombo for export purposes. Today, this network has expanded, connecting several major cities in Sri Lanka. Detailed information on trains, timetables and ticket prices are available on the website of the Sri Lanka Government Railways.

Train Carriages

  • 1st Class Sleeper: with sleeping berths, available on some overnight train journeys.
  • 1st Class Observation: popular among tourists; available on day time trains on the Main Line. Ideal for viewing scenery as it is located at the rear of the train or sometimes behind the locomotive.
  • 1st Class Air-condition: these seats are occasionally available on inter-city express trains.
  • 2nd Class: available on all inter-city trains as either reserved or unreserved.
  • 3rd Class: most common type of seats available on most trains and this carriage can get very crowded during peak hours.

In addition to these government-run carriages, two privately run sectors are also operating on the tourist bound stretches. These are known as the Rajdhani Express and the Expo Rail.

Booking procedure for Rail Tours Sri Lanka

For an exclusive rail tour of Sri Lanka, please write to us at letstravel@bluelankatours.com. Kindly add details regarding your travel and we will get back to you regarding pricing and a detailed itinerary for your tour. We urge that you confirm with us as soon as possible because with rail tours Sri Lanka, relevant train seats need to be reserved and last minute reservations for trains is difficult. We look forward to hearing from you with a confirmation so we can go ahead with booking arrangements.

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