Railways & the Hill Country

10 Nights

PRICES FROM £840 PER PERSON

Exploring Sri Lanka by rail can be a wonderful experience. It offers the chance to step back in time, interact with the Sri Lankan people and travel at a gentle pace through some stunning scenery.

It is important to note however that rail is not an ideal means of transport across the whole of Sri Lanka. In fact large parts of the country are not serviced by railway tracks. Therefore rather than trying to put together a full Sri Lanka tour using train travel, we decided instead to focus on the hill country and south west coast where train travel works well. We have combined this with some charming colonial style accommodation to set the mood and create a relaxing, affordable holiday.

Day 1 - Arrive in Sri Lanka

Land in Sri Lanka and transfer to the Galle Face Hotel to rest and acclimatize. Founded in 1864 this is the oldest hotel east of Suez and has hosted an endless list of political figures and Hollywood stars.

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Day 2 - Train Journey 1 - Colombo to Gampola

Rise the following morning and board the 09:45am train to the Kandy district. Disembark at Gampola just past Kandy and spend two nights at Ellerton.

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Day 3 - Exploring Kandy & the Temple of the Tooth

Your hosts at Ellerton will arrange a vehicle and guide to take you into Kandy to visit the Botanical Gardens, Temple of the Tooth and Commonwealth War Cemetery. In the evening we recommend a drink at the outrageous Helga’s Folly. Former guests of this eccentric abode include Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier and more recently the Stereophonics who wrote ‘Madam Helga’ following their stay.

Day 4 - Train Journey 2 - Kandy to Nuwara Eliya

From Gampola reboard the train to the colonial hill town of Nuwara Eliya. Here you will find a old British post office, race course and a number of hotels. The most traditional of these is the Hill Club where a time warp awaits you. Reminiscent of a old english boarding school, gents will need a jacket and tie for dinner and you will need to approach your stay with a sense of humour, but you will be rewarded with a cozy hot water bottle in your bed and a great experience.

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Day 5 - Train Journey 3 - Nuwara Eliya - Ella

Take the morning to explore Nuwara Eliya before boarding the 15:55 train to Ella. This is the prettiest stretch on the track and passes the most impressive view in Sri Lanka as you pass through Haputale. On arrival in Ella make your way to Waterfalls Homestay where you will be hosted by a lovely couple from New Zealand Karen and her husband. Take the morning to explore Nuwara Eliya before boarding the 15:55 train to Ella. This is the prettiest stretch on the track and passes the most impressive view in Sri Lanka as you pass through Haputale. On arrival in Ella make your way to Waterfalls Homestay where you will be hosted by a lovely couple from New Zealand Karen and her husband.

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Day 6 - Walking Tour in the Tea Country

After breakfast you will be met at your hotel by Neil our wonderful hill country walking guide. Neil knows the hill country in depth and will take you off the beaten track, along tracks that wind through the tea fields and to some lovely waterfalls.

Day 7: - Train Journey 4 - Ella to Kandy

Leave Ella on the 10:45 train and retrace your steps back down to Kandy. Once there spend a night in the Queens Hotel built over 160 years ago  and set besides the Kandy Lake.

Day 8 - 10 - Train Journey 5 - Kandy to Bentota

From Kandy you will catch the morning train down to Colombo and then change on to a southbound train to Galle. it is not possible to buy tickets in advance for the Galle train so you will have to purchase these at Colombo Station. The journey south is very pretty, skirting the coast and inland villages. Disembark at Galle Station and get a three wheeler to The Fort Printers Hotel inside the UNESCO Galle Fort. Here you will spend the next three nights, exploring the forts 16th century architecture and nearby beaches. On you final morning a driver will arrive to transfer you to the airport.

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