A beautiful view from within central Kandy-mobile

How to get from
Colombo to Kandy

Colombo to Kandy Trip Overview

Distance83 km (51.9 miles)
Price range$4-$119
Ride Duration Range2h 20m-4h 40m
Earliest Departure18:30
Latest Departure23:30

Find up-to-date information on departure times, schedules, and prices so you can easily compare and book your tickets.

Travel Schedule Options from Colombo to Kandy

Taking a bus from Colombo to Kandy

Fastest bus: 4h

Cheapest bus: $16

The fastest: 4h

The cheapest: $16



The fastest: 2h 20m

The cheapest: $4




Reclining Seats

The fastest: 2h 40m

The cheapest: $12




The fastest: 2h 50m

The cheapest: $41



English Speaking Staff

A beautiful view from within central Kandy

Planning your journey from Colombo to Kandy 

After spending some time in the large, sprawling port city of Colombo, it’s time to head inland to Kandy. 

As the second largest city in Sri Lanka, Kandy isn’t short of things to do with bustling streets, ancient temples, colonial architecture and, of course, the starting point for one of the most extraordinary train journeys in the world. 

To move between these two locations, you have a number of options to choose from, including a train, minivan, or car. 

Depending on which option you decide on, the journey will take between 2 hours and 30 minutes and 4 hours and 40 minutes. 

What to do in Kandy 

Below are some of the best activities to include in your itinerary:

  1. Visit the Botanical Gardens: Here, you will find the most extensive botanical gardens in Sri Lanka. As you wander around, you will see over 4,000 species of plants and trees. Keep a look out for the popular orchid garden.

  2. Wander the streets of Kandy: Taking a walk through any new city is always recommended, as it is a wonderful way to get a feel for the place. In Kandy, you’ll find old colonial buildings and street vendors. Grab a fresh coconut from one of the many colorful fruit stands. 

  3. Visit the Temple of the Tooth: This golden-roofed temple houses the most important Buddhist relic in Sri Lanka — a tooth of Buddha. You won’t be able to see the tooth. It’s enclosed inside several golden stupas. Visit early in the morning so that you can skip the crowds.

  4. Stroll around Kandy Lake: With a circumference of 3 km (1.86 miles), this artificial lake is a lovely place to wander around. In the backdrop, you will see the Temple of the Tooth and the Udawattakele Forest Reserve, so there is plenty of wildlife to spot.

  5. Take the Kandy to Ella train ride: If you love photography, don’t miss this epic train ride. The iconic shot to capture is hanging out of the train doors while passing the tea plantations. Keep in mind the train ride is between six and seven hours, so you should only do this if Ella is the next stop on your Sri Lanka trip.

  6. Lion Rock: For an easy day trip from Kandy, head to Sigiriya, three hours away by car. This area is home to Lion Rock, one of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites

How to travel from Colombo to Kandy 

Option one: Train 

Travel time: From 2 hours 30 minutes to 4 hours 40 minutes 

One of the easiest and most beautiful ways to travel between Colombo and Kandy is to take the train. Sri Lanka Railways is the primary company offering this route. 

On your day of departure, make your way to the Colombo Fort Train Station, where all the trains depart from. 

You’ll arrive at either the Kandy Train Station or the Peradeniya Train Station, a 12-minute car ride from the town center. 

When booking your ticket, there are a few different classes to choose between:

First Class

You’ll have air conditioning, sealed windows, reclining cushioned seats, small television monitors and a toilet. You may also have an observation deck. This option is great for those who want to avoid crowded carriages. 

Observation Class

These cabins are air-conditioned, with seats looking out to the scenery and rail tracks.  

Second Class

You’ll have pretty spacious reserved seating and toilet facilities. The main difference between the first and second classes is that you can experience hanging out of the windows and doors (not for the faint of heart!). There is no air conditioning. 

Third Class

There are not many differences between the second and third classes. The seats are slightly less comfortable, but otherwise, they are relatively similar.   

There are multiple departures per day. Prices start around $3. 

Option two: Minivan 

Travel time: 2 hours 40 minutes to 3 hours 40 minutes 

If you prefer the comfort of traveling at a time of your preference, then a minivan may be the perfect option for you. 

There are a few companies to choose between: Magical Sri Lanka, Lanka Holidays and Real Lanka Holidays. 

Below are the main differences between the three companies:

Magical Sri Lanka: This company offers shared and private minivan transfers for up to five guests. You can choose between a departure from Colombo Bandaranaike Airport (CMB), any hotel in Colombo City, or the World Trade Center. Travelers can carry up to 20 kg of luggage on board, and you will enjoy the comforts of air conditioning as well as bottled water. 

Lanka Holidays: This company offers private transfers for up to four people from CMB to any hotel in Kandy. You can depart at any time of the day. Inside the vehicle, you will have air conditioning and be able to travel with a 30 kg bag and 7 kg of hand luggage per person.  

Real Lanka Holidays: This company operates private transfers for up to eight guests. You can choose between leaving from the CMB or any hotel in Colombo City. Each guest can travel with two bags. 

Shared minivans start at $12 per person. Private minivans start around $45; the price is per vehicle, not per person. 

Option three: Car

Travel time: 2 hours 50 minutes to 4 hours

Traveling by car is one of the most convenient options if you are traveling in a small group of up to three people. 

Why? Because you’ll be able to enjoy the luxury of being picked up from the airport or your hotel in Colombo before being dropped off at your accommodation in Kandy. 

You can also choose your time of departure. 

There are four companies offering this method of transportation: Magical Sri Lanka, Lanka Holidays, Travel Lanka and Real Lanka Holidays. 

About the journey from Colombo to Kandy 

As you move inland from the coastal city of Colombo, you will not be short of things to take in. 

You’ll pass by the outer suburbs, smaller colorful towns and rice paddies. Take in the views of the breathtaking forests and jungles as you snake your way through the countryside, rolling up and down before making your final ascent into the hill country. 

It will be a welcome surprise in comparison to the bustling Colombo metropolis. 

The best time to visit Kandy 

As Kandy is situated towards the middle of the country, the area typically experiences a slightly cooler and wetter climate than most of the country. 

So, if you want the most optimal weather conditions, plan your trip between mid-January and March. This is typically the driest time of the year when temperature averages are between 19°C (66.2°F) and 32°C (89.6°F). 

Otherwise, July and August are also great months to visit. 

It’s probably best to avoid May to July and October to December, as these are the monsoon seasons. 

Companies Operating from Colombo to Kandy

Average time

2h 20m - 2h 40m

Average price



Average time

2h 40m - 3h 30m

Average price

$12 - $14


Average time

3h 30m - 3h 40m

Average price

$41 - $55


Average time


Average price



Popular stations and stops in Colombo and Kandy

Departure stations in Colombo

Colombo Bandaranaike Airport (CMB)

Colombo Fort Train Station

Bastian Mawatha Bus Station

World Trade Center

Colombo - Any hotel

View more

Arrival stations in Kandy

Kandy - Any hotel

Kandy Train Station

Peradeniya Train Station (Kandy)

Kandy Goods Shed Bus Stand

Kandy Bus Stand

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