Polaroid of the week: Riding the rails in Sri Lanka

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Last Updated on December 8, 2014

polaroid of the week sri lanka train ride tea countryAfter a week of beach bumming around the south coast of Sri Lanka, it was time to make my way back north into the hillier regions of the country, the tea region to be precise. Sri Lanka’s tea country is known to be one of the prettiest regions of the country, and the best way to see it is to take the train. It was interesting to see how the scenery slowly changed from the palm-fringed coastline to the rice paddy-covered flat lands which finally turned into a hillier region.

The trains here in Sri Lanka usually have the doors open during the ride, which makes it easy to get good shots of the scenery. I love sitting in the open door, legs swinging outside of the train, looking out into the countryside we’re passing (and taking hundreds of photos!) The train ride from Kandy to the tiny village of Ella, where me and my travel buddies for the week, Becki and Travis, would get off for our first taste of the country, took nearly 7 hours, but with the stunning vistas and changing landscapes I never got bored. Coming from Germany, where high speed trains would allow me to traverse the entire country from north to south (and probably even beyond that), the pace of the trains here in Sri Lanka is quite different: you might think you’d cover a huge distance in 7 hours, but Kandy is actually only 100 miles (162 kilometers) from Ella. As the train line literally winds around hills and mountains, the trains don’t go faster than 15 to 20 miles per hour here.

While the start of our journey in the morning was sunny, the rains started moving in when we reached the mountains in the afternoon, making for a mystical atmosphere with low-hanging clouds and misty forests, which were finally replaced by tea covered hills towards the end of the trip. The best part of the train ride is yet to come though, the part between Ella and Badulla, where the train tracks ends. You can expect lots of photos of all my train rides in Sri Lanka soon!


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  1. You make riding a Sri Lankan train sound like so much fun! Sitting in the open door and watching the beautiful countryside roll by sounds like perfection πŸ™‚ Judging from your photo the scenery looks absolutely magical.

    1. It is, trust me πŸ™‚ And I am sure you’d love it, too, Justine… train rides are the perfect way to see Sri Lanka, IMO!

    1. Thanks, De’Jav – can’t wait to share a full photo post.. although I am not sure how I’ll pick a manageable amount of pictures out of the hundreds I’ve taken so far πŸ˜€

    1. Thanks, Scott! Highly recommend visiting Sri Lanka.. loved it so much and will be back soon πŸ™‚ Happy New Year to you and Julia!

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