AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Sri Lanka by Rail

Sri Lanka by Rail

Sri Lanka by Rail Overview

Sri Lanka is considered to boast one of the finest rail journeys in the world in terms of engineering marvel and breathtaking scenery. The amazing diversity of landscape, climate, geographical elevations and mist clad mountains, valleys and waterfalls are found all along the route. Enjoy the wonderful views as you travel on our chartered train.


Day 1 – Flight to Colombo

Overnight flight from London Heathrow to Colombo.

Day 2 – TI Railcar to Hotel

Our privately chartered T1 Railcar will take us from the airport on a journey that runs alongside the Indian Ocean to our beach front hotel. We will be served refreshments en route and have a welcome dinner at the hotel this evening.

Day 3 – Viceroy Special Train to Kandy

Board Sri Lanka’s only steam train, the 75-year old Viceroy Special to Rambukkana. This section of the train journey is relatively flat, but delivers fabulous views as you pass rice fields, coconut palms and charming villages. During our stop at Rambukkana we make a visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. We continue with a diesel engine to Kandy climbing 1400ft in13miles. Our journey on the Viceroy Special includes photo stops to capture some great images and lunch is served on board.

Day 4 – Kandy

A free day in Kandy to explore or join our optional visit to Matale by public train. Late afternoon we visit the Temple of the Tooth, a monumental building complex that is an outstanding example of Kandyan timber architecture which has a distinctive design and dates from the Gampola period. The colourful paintings and wooden architecture that represent the unique Kandyan tradition can be seen here. This evening we enjoy a cultural dance performance at the Lake Club.

Day 5 – Scenic Rail Journey to Nuwara Eliya

We board our Viceroy Special Charter Train and will be hauled by diesel loco to Nanu Oya. This is the first part of the train ride which ascends into the hill country and is considered to be one of the finest train journeys in the world in terms of engineering marvel and breathtaking scenery. You will be amazed by the diversity of landscape, climate and geographical elevations as we pass mist-clad mountains, valleys and waterfalls en route. Again photo stops will be made at suitable locations and lunch will be served on board. We transfer by coach to Nuwara Eliya in time for a city tour.

Day 6 – Unforgettable Rail Journey

An early start this morning as we travel by coach to Badulla railway station for the epic train journey to Nanu Oya on our Viceroy 2 luxury rail carriage where lunch will be served on board. The journey sees the impressive Demodara Nine Arch Bridge connecting two mountains and was constructed solely out of solid rock, bricks and cement without using iron or steel. The railway spiral near Badulla is an impressive and memorable part of the route. The scenic train journey climbs into the mountains to reach the summit at Pattipola at 6226ft - the highest altitude achieved by a 5’6” broad gauge mainline anywhere in the world. A visit to Pedro tea plantation and factory is included.

Day 7 – Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Travel to Habarana by coach, visiting a local spice garden en-route. The main feature of the day is to venture to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. It is one of the best-preserved sites where the layout of the buildings and gardens is still clearly evident and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1982. We depart Sigiriya site late afternoon to arrive at the Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, 12km away. We stay 3 nights at this hotel situated in 27 acres of woodland and rural surroundings outside the village of Habarana.

Day 8 – Jeep Safari and Polonnaruwa World Heritage Site

We enjoy a morning Jeep Safari at Minneriya National Park. It provides excellent opportunities to see herds of elephants all year round and the park is also home to other species like wild buffalo, deer, the purple faced leaf monkey and lovely endemic birdlife. After the safari we visit Sri Lanka’s former medieval capital Polonnaruwa, now a World Heritage site. Lunch at a local restaurant in Polonnaruwa and then visit the ruined city.

Day 9 – Trincomalee and Beach

Day excursion to Trincomalee, which boasts the fifth largest natural harbour in the world. We travel by T1 Rail Car and then proceed by coach to Nilaveli Beach Hotel. Enjoy lunch in the hotel and there will be time to relax on the beach. Situated 15km north of Trincomalee, Nilaveli is home to one of the most pristine beaches in Sri Lanka.

Day 10 – Dambulla Cave Temple

Morning visit by coach to the Dambulla Cave Temple. This is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. After the temple visit, we return to Habarana before boarding the T1 Rail Car to return to Colombo/Mt. Lavinia. Lunch is served on board the railcar.

Day 11 – Viceroy II to Galle

Early departure to board the Viceroy II which will be attached to the public service train and leave Mt. Lavinia Railway station at 7am for Galle. The railway station is within easy walking distance of the hotel. We journey along the picturesque coastline, running past golden beaches fringed by palm trees, mangrove-lined lagoons and waves of the Indian Ocean. After arrival at Galle, we proceed to the Galle Fort. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Galle before returning to our hotel arriving early evening.

Day 12 – Flight Home

Late morning transfer to Colombo Airport for our flight home.


  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airline
  • Private T1 Rail Car Colombo Airport/Mt Lavinia, Habarana/Trincomalee return, Habarana/Colombo
  • Special steam charter Colombo/Rambukkana, Rambukkana to Kandy by diesel engine
  • Special Viceroy Diesel Charter Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
  • Private Viceroy II Colombo to Galle attached to public train
  • Third class ticket Kandy to Matale return
  • Evening cultural dance
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Special welcome dinner & 9 lunches
  • Private coach travel
  • Entrance fees and Excursions as detailed
  • A bottle of mineral water per person per day
  • Gratuities
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour plus local English-speaking Guide
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