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Hill country by Rail

Blessed with some of the world’s most beautiful railway journeys, Sri Lanka’s railway network was constructed by the British to provide easy access to its highlands for tea and coffee cultivation.  This was considered to be one of the greatest railway engineering feats of the day with the construction of the Kadugannawa Railway Pass to Kandy in 1867 through steep inclines and huge boulders.

In 1894, the line was extended from Kandy to the tea estates in the hill country and is still the highest broad-gauge railway line. Its summits the highest point at 6227 feet above sea level near Pattipola in the hill country and has 44 tunnels from Colombo till the end of the line at Badulla.

The coastal line which was built in 1895 runs parallel to the coastline for most of the way from Matara to Colombo. It too provides a spectacular railway journey on your return to Colombo from the South. Luxury carriages are booked on availability with other seats in Observation, First Class, Second Class reserved respectively according to preference. This journey is recommended for those who wish to experience the great railway routes of Sri Lanka. The transfers from Colombo to Kandy, Kandy to Hill Country and The Southern Beaches to Colombo are done by rail with excursions and other city transfers by private vehicle.

Locations visited on this tour

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

The Islands most visited attraction which gives the visitor an up-close experience with the Sri Lankan Elephant.

Kandy

A beautiful town considered to be the gateway to the hill country surrounded by mountainous terrain and lots of quaint reminders of colonial era Ceylon.

The Hill Country by Train

Towering and beautiful mountain ranges covered with lush green tea plantations, panoramic landscapes and amazing misty waterfalls that are best experienced by Rail.

Yala National Park

Sri Lanka’s most famous National Park and one of the great national parks of Asia, is world renown for being the best location in the world to spot Leopards given their high concentration of numbers in the wild.

Galle 

The Old Dutch Fort which safeguards a perfectly preserved town full with over 200 historic colonial buildings.

Important note about this tour

There are two luxury carriage operators, Expo Rail and Rajadhani who have carriages on the express trains to the hill country and the coastal line. We try our best to get our clients booked on one of these based on availability. Given its demand, even early booking does not ensure guaranteed seat reservation as these luxury carriages are extremely popular with tourists.

November-April

This tour is run clockwise during these months in combination with a beach stay in the South West or Deep South Coast Beach Stay

May-October

During these months, the tour is run anti-clockwise with an East Coast Beach stay

 

 

 

 

Day 1 – Mount Lavinia 

Welcoming you at the Bandaranaike International Airport, a representative of Steuart Holidays will take you to Mount Lavinia. 

Highlight – the city of Mount Lavinia is a part of the Colombo District. Set within accessible distance of the main city of Colombo, Mount Lavinia is essentially a coastal region. However, it is not without story. Participating in Colombo’s colonial history, Mount Lavinia unfolds a story of romance and forbidden love.  

Check in to the hotel and relax by the pool until dinner is served by the hotel.

Overnight stay in Mount Lavinia. 

Day 2 - Kandy 

After a quick breakfast, you will be taken to the Fort Railway Station in Colombo. Here you will take the express train to Kandy - the culture capital of Sri Lanka. Your journey will be an interesting one with vivid images of a change of location. 

Highlight – a region that has reserved its old-world charm is the glorious city of Kandy. maintaining its own identity, the traditional art found in temples and complexes is beautiful. Its tranquil surroundings complement its culture conscious ambience. A stroll around in the city will help you understand its majestic features.

At the Kandy train station, a representative of Steuart Holidays will meet you and let you resume your tour. You will be taken to the famous Temple of the Tooth. 

After your visit to the Temple, you will be driven to the hotel. Check in to the hotel and refresh in the privacy of your own room. 

Relish a scrumptious dinner before retiring to your spacious room. 

Overnight stay in Kandy. 

Day 3 – Kandy 

Tuck in to a warm breakfast while you enjoy the splendour of the Kandy. You will spend the day visiting the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Gem shopping, and a stroll in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya. 

Return to the hotel to relax and recharge before heading for dinner. 

Overnight stay in Kandy. 

Day 4 - Haputale 

Energise yourself with a quick breakfast. You will be driven to the Peradeniya train station where you will take the train to Haputale. Take pleasure in the vivid panorama on your invigorating journey. 

Once you arrive at the train station, you will be met by a representative of Steuart Travels and taken to the hotel. 

Highlight – lush green valleys, acres and acres of tea estates are only a few of the breath-taking features of Haputale. The cool winds merging with a range of misty mountains is a visual bliss. Maintaining a colonial charm, the architecture of the houses here resembles old English cottages. 

Unwind amidst the cool atmosphere of the region. Then indulge in a scrumptious spread before calling it a night and heading to bed. 

Overnight stay in Haputale.

Day 5 -  Yala 

Gorge on a generous breakfast. Resume your tour afterwards and be on your way to Yala. Once you arrive at the hotel, prepare yourself for an exciting safari.

Highlight – reigning the second largest forest reserve in the country, the Yala National Park is a fascinating retreat for wildlife lovers. Boasting of a unique bio diversity, the park is marked as an important site for naturalists. Better yet, the gallant Sri Lankan Leopard is an inhabitant of the park. 

Conclude your invigorating safari and return to the hotel to refresh and ready for dinner. 

Overnight stay in Yala.

Day 6 – Day 10 – Beach Holiday 

Breakfast at leisure. Afterwards you will be transferred to the beach of your choice and to the hotel of your choice. After checking in its nothing but fun under the sun. 

Highlight – Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has a number of picturesque beaches. The choice is endless. Surfers choice is Arugam Bay in the East Coast, Diving and snorkelling lovers should head to Passikudah, Whale watching can be done in Mirissa in the south of the Island…. the list is endless!

Dinner and overnight stay in the hotel.

Day 11 – Mount Lavinia 

Power up with a tasty breakfast. You will be taken to the nearby railway station, where you will take the train to Colombo. At the fort railway station you will be met by a representative of Steuart Holidays and then driven to Mount Lavinia. 

Dine at ease before returning to your room for a good night’s rest.

Overnight stay in Mount Lavinia.

Day 12 - Departure

Savour a hot breakfast. After you had your meal you would be taken to the Bandaranaike International Airport to catch your return flight back home. 

 

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