A train ride through the Sri Lankan countryside

My time in Sri Lanka has been amazing so far. After travelling through Kandy, climbing the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya and checking out a cricket match between Sri Lanka and the West Indies I headed with some friends I made at my Kandy hostel to the Sri Lankan highlands. Kandy is such an excellent starting point for solo travellers in Sri Lanka, as it provides a great base to explore the surrounding areas and to meet fellow travellers as well. This proves handy as much of Sri Lanka in general isn’t well catered towards solo travellers, with hostels only being in a few select cities such as Colombo, Kandy and a couple of coastal beach towns. For many places your only options for accommodation are hotels and guesthouses, the latter of which can be just as cheap as a hostel when you’re with others.

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Looking out from the top of Sigiriya

I had the most incredible day today. Today I took the train from Kandy to the small town of Ella, known to be one of the most beautiful train rides in the world – and it was absolutely magical. It was a long 6-7 hour journey but every second of it was a delight, weaving around stunning mountain ranges, lush green hills and tea plantations as we sat in the door (or hanging out of it) taking in the scenery. I was staring out over the hills with stars in my eyes, and as we approached Ella it felt like we were arriving at the end of the world as the train travelled through an endless white fog.

On top of that I’ve met so many amazing new people today and even run into multiple sets of friends from our Kandy hostel by chance as we travelled here – on the tuk tuk ride to the station, on the train at another station, and even at a bar here in Ella. It’s amazing how often people’s paths can cross when travelling small countries such as Sri Lanka, it’s always such a joy to see familiar faces in unexpected places and it makes me feel like there’s more of a travelling community rather than everyone being on their own.

Today was just one of those days where everything was perfect and you kinda just fall in love with life. There is the slight problem of not having any electricity in our guest house for the night because a tree fell onto the power lines but everything else was so wonderful I don’t even care. Days like these are why I love travelling. Can’t wait for tomorrow!

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