The 110km journey from Colombo to Kandy provides a neat snapshot of Sri Lanka’s dramatic scenic contrasts, taking you within just three hours from sweltering coastal lowlands to cool inland hills. Many visitors make the journey by train, a classic rail journey (sit on the right-hand side en route to Kandy for the best views) along one of south Asia’s most spectacularly engineered tracks, first opened in 1867, which weaves slowly upwards through long tunnels and along narrow ledges blasted by Victorian engineers out of solid rock, with vertiginous drops below. Despite the pleasures of the train trip, however, the journey by road (another legacy of British engineering skills, completed in 1825) is in many respects more spectacular, as the main highway rolls uphill and down, before making the final, engine-busting climb up into Kandy, giving a much more immediate sense of the hills’ scale and altitude than the rail line’s carefully graded ascent – although the long slog through the interminable suburbs of Colombo and Kandy is a drag.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Sri Lanka features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

Elephants are born free, but are everywhere in chains – and it’s tourism which is increasingly to blame. Riding an elephant used to be on every visitor’s …

25 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
16 evocative pictures of Sri Lanka

16 evocative pictures of Sri Lanka

After a couple of weeks travelling across Sri Lanka, photographer Nori Jemil shares why this Indian Ocean island is a perfect subject. Here are 16 of her favour…

04 Oct 2016 • Nori Jemil insert_drive_file Article
10 Sri Lankan foods you need to try

10 Sri Lankan foods you need to try

The tear-shaped Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka is a true culinary treat. Through years of colonisation and trade, many cultures have influenced its cuisine, c…

12 Jul 2016 • Sarah Gilbert insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month