There’s something magical about train travel. While most visitors to Sri Lanka usually opt for more time efficient private car transportation, there’s something to be said about skipping the convenient way and, chasing an adventure by rail. Many find this to be a highlight of their time in Sri Lanka, and it is easy to see why. Having the freedom to read a book, listen to music or simply watch the whimsical landscape unfurl from your window seat is a true luxury—and, of course, an entirely different experience from driving a car.
Starting in Colombo, travellers can climb aboard a classic red train to head south along Sri Lanka’s golden coastline. This stretch will showcase an array of coconut palms, aqua glimpses of the Indian Ocean and a variety of wandering vendors who move from carriage-to-carriage selling tasty roti snacks and tropical fruits.
Alternatively you can turn inland to Kandy, where the train lines have been connecting the hill country tea estates to the ports of Colombo for nearly 150 years. Nowadays these lines are considered to be one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. The country’s beauty increases with the altitude as trains very slowly wind their way up the mountainous slopes, hugging the green hillsides of the tea plantations with an old-world ease.
Though time consuming, the journey truly exhibits Sri Lanka’s scenic wonders. With the day-to-day crunch of a fast paced routine, traveling by train forces slower sensibilities and implores the traveller to absorb the winds as they rush through open doors and contemplate the ever-changing views.
Simply watching places go by is a wonderful experience. With a book in your lap, fresh cut mango in your hand and spectacular scenery in all directions, you may just feel like staying aboard and heading all the way back again.
Words & photos by Tosca Wilson, our front desk here at Sunshinestories. Follow her Sri Lankan life on her instagram.
Travel with surfboard on train in Sri Lanka
It’s not impossible, not at all.. And you are allowed to bring your surfboard. Many surfers do it, mostly short boarders. It requires some patience. In fact it’s often easier to bring the surfboard on the train than traveling with a surfboard on one of the Sri Lankan buses, where you will get one chance and one chance only to try to fit it in the trunk otherwise the stressed bus driver will continue it’s journey without you.. Show up in time for the departure. Jump in and put it on the hatrack or if it’s super crowded stay just inside the door and have it upright. It’s not to recommend to travel with a 9 feet log like I did when we took this shots above. My board is a 9’2 and I had to travel with it horizontal in the hallway..
Photos of me & Petter by Sodalime.
This post is such a relief as my husband, our two daughters, and I will be traveling to Weligama from Colombo in April along with a coffin board bag. I’ve heard many mixed reviews about bringing boards on the train and I so desperately want to take the train down rather than a more convenient hired car. Do you have any tips? Our daughters are 5 and 6 years old so I will be in charge of hoping to grab seats for them leaving my husband to fend for himself and his boards. Thanks!