Railway Journeys in Sri Lanka



If there is one thing you must do in Sri Lanka is a train journey! We love to send our guests on the old fashioned carriages that ply the tracks in Sri Lanka, just to transport them back in time to old school rail travel that started on the island in the 1800s!



Buying Railway Tickets

Ayu in the Wild will make every attempt to reserve train tickets for guests who have confirmed tours with us. Securing train tickets can be a challenge. We usually manage to secure tickets but do not guarantee it. Bookings open for train tickets 30 days ahead of the travel date. Availability is based on demand and limitations imposed by the authorities on the supply of tickets, especially during local school holidays and peak tourist seasons.



Observation, First, Second or Third Class?

Our preferred choice of travel is in 2nd or 3rd class as you have the freedom to open the windows for better photography and fresh air.

  • Observation carriages have plush seating, are air conditioned, have sealed windows and with good toilet facilities. Some trains offer first class with no Observation carriages. Unfortunately regular luxury carriages which offer lunch and snacks have been discontinued.

  • First class is Air Conditioned while the 2nd and 3rd classes are not. Not much difference really, if you are taking the beautiful Ella, Nanu Oya, Kandy train journey in Sri Lanka as it can be quite chilly up in the mountains.

  • Reserved seating in 2nd and 3rd are wonderful, seats are comfortable with a nice table to set your belongings (on some train routes) and mostly, the open windows make the journey far more exciting. The bathrooms in all classes can be a bit of a hit and miss!



Exclusive and stylish train travel in Sri Lanka

Concierge by Ayu offers private journeys in the luxury Viceroy Rail Carriage powered by a beautiful steam or diesel engine. Board the stunning carriages refurbished with period fittings reflecting the 1920s and complemented by reclining seats with tables, fine dining, a bar as well as some essentials of the modern era including high-end sound systems and WIFI facilities. Your personal choice of meals are served on board. Customized private hires can be arranged by Ayu in the Wild.



What to pack for a train journey in Sri Lanka

  • A shawl or light jacket for train travel between Ella, Nuwara Eliya and Kandy.

  • Some snacks and water.

  • Ensure your camera batteries or phones are fully charged for your #travelgram.



History of Railways in Ceylon

  • Initially built to transport tea and coffee from the cool mountains of the Central Highlands to coastal Colombo for export to the rest of the world the off beat routes are an insight into everday island life. Embrace the slow travel. ..the sights (think stunning scenery, quaint small towns and beautiful old, really old railway stations ) ...the sounds (gram sellers selling hot boiled gram with coconuts salt and pepper) and mostly the people... from energetic school kids to friendly locals who love to know where you're going!


  • The old fashioned carriages that chug along the ancient railway tracks are a far cry from the speed trains that many travelers are familiar with but adults and kids love it.


For more FAQ’s, please visit our FAQ page

Harriet Hoult