The ‘cloud train’ ride from Kandy via Nanu Oya (Nuwara Eliya) to Ella is one of the most scenic train journeys on earth. Do not miss a chance to aboard the train in the early morning to travel through clouds and misty lush landscapes of the Central hills of Sri Lanka, with phenomenal views unfolding along the way. For those seeking a truly authentic experience of a different culture and to enjoy the best of nature along this route we recommend the 2nd and 3rd class carriages, where seats cannot be pre-booked and which are without air-conditioning but open windows with the air gushing through. One can relish a wide vista of the surrounding scenery of boundless tea plantations, majestic misty mountains, lush greenery, hilly wilderness, small waterfalls and villages that stretch out along the way as the train climbs up the Central hills.
The duration of the train ride from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya is about 4 hours, and from Nuwara Eliya to Ella takes another 2.5 hours. The most scenic component of the route is found between Talawakelle and Haputale.
There are 5 daily departures depending on the day of the week available from Kandy and Peradeniya stations to travel via Nanu Oya (Nuwara Eliya) to Ella. The government railways introduces extra trains at its discretion during peak holiday times. The best times to take the Kandy to Ella train could be recommended as the 8.32 am departure from Peradeniya (8.47 am from Kandy station) as well as the 10.55 am departure from Peradeniya (11.10 am from Kandy station).
The railway system was initially built by the British during the colonial era, in order to transport tea and coffee produce from the hill country to Colombo for shipping purposes. The famed Udarata Menike Express Train and Podi Menike Express Train are two main Express Trains that travel from Colombo to the Central hills. Seats are available in 1st Class, 2nd Class and 3rd Class, with 1st Class Sleeper available on few overnight trains which carry sleeping-berths.