The train that winds its way to Matara in Southern province offers mesmeric views of the beaches of the West Coast. The sights of Fishermen hauling their oru (traditional outriggers) with the day’s catch, the makeshift cricket grounds on the sand, Kalutara Bodhi, Kalu Ganga, coconut groves, numerous river crossings and friendly pedestrians near the city limits will greet the traveller. The train gives access to areas such as Galle, Hikkaduwa, Mirissa and other famous beachside destinations as well. It is a great alternative to the Southern Highway and an unparalleled way of travelling to the laidback south.
While the train journey to the south takes you through the west coast, the train that departs from Colombo and heading towards Badulla offers a different perspective of the country.
The east-bound train cuts across a rugged mountainous landscape and along the 290km journey, where passengers can obeserve the charming pristine hill country scenery. Some of the popular attractions of this journey include numerous tunnels through mountains and hills, cloud-covered mountain peaks, including Pattipola, the highest station in Sri Lanka, Nine Arches Bridge, Kandy, Peradeniya, Nuwara Eliya, Hatton and Ella.
The Yal Devi train, takes the passengers on a journey that lasts approximately ten hours from the city of Colombo to Kankesanthurai (KKS) in the Jaffna Peninsula. The train transitions from wetland to dry land terrain as well as the change in the landscape is gradual but unmistakable. Once past the city limits of Colombo, the land begins to transform into rocky terrain towards Kurunegala. As it reaches the heritage city of Anuradhapura, rocky outcrops are replaced by ancient temples, and passengers can glimpse the three main Stupas – Ruwanweliseya, Jetavanaramaya and Abhayagiriya. As the train reaches the Jaffna peninsula, one can immerse salty breeze blow from the Indian Ocean.
Train travel has been an integral mode of transportation in Sri Lanka, and it provides a different way of travel. It is a leisurely way to reach a destination that is as amazing as the destination itself.