Colombo to Kandy

How to get from

Colombo to Kandy

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3 ways to get from Colombo to Kandy

Taking a bus from Colombo to KandyDuration: 4h
Know before you go

There is 1 operator that run from Colombo to Kandy, with 2 departures per day. If you decide to take a bus, you can take the Standard and Economy options.

Most popular rides
Taking a car from Colombo to KandyDuration: 2h 30m
Know before you go

There is 1 operator that run from Colombo to Kandy. If you decide to take a car, you can take the Standard option.

Most popular rides
Taking a train from Colombo to KandyDuration: 1h 30m
Know before you go

There is 1 operator that run from Colombo to Kandy, with 2 departures per day. If you decide to take a train, you can take the First Class, Second Class, and Panoramic options.

Most popular rides

About the ride from Colombo to Kandy

Sri Lanka’s commercial capital buzzes - with people, traffic, and LIFE! Set off on a walking tour of Colombo’s charming neighborhoods, the Fort area and Pettah. To give your legs a break, hop on a tuk-tuk; you’ll find them everywhere in the city! Evenings call for lazy strolls along the Galle Face Green promenade, the perfect spot to watch the sun go down. 

A city of mountains and tea plantations, Kandy is, literally, a breath of fresh air. And the best place to fill your lungs with oxygen is the Botanical Garden, a sprawling arboretum with 4000+ species of plants. Visit the Temple of the Tooth to view the legendary tooth relic of the Buddha. Later, wander the streets of Kandy center, lined with atmospheric colonial buildings, and cool off with a refreshing coconut water drink. A must-do day trip from Kandy is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sigiriya.

There are multiple ways for travelers to cover the 75 miles (120 km) distance from Colombo to Kandy. Trains are very popular as the route is a scenic one and the travel time is the shortest of all options, around two and half hours. Buses and minivans are another economical choice and offer plenty of departure timings. If you are looking for a little more convenience and flexibility, private taxis are available for hire too.

 

What to see when traveling from Colombo to Kandy

Sri Lanka’s train journeys are touted as some of the best in the world, and the ride from Colombo to Kandy is no exception. This route takes you past lush green hills and verdant paddy fields. As the train chugs past charming little train stations and in and out of tunnels, it gives you a first-hand experience of the country’s natural beauty.

While not as picturesque as the train ride, the journey from Colombo to Kandy by bus or car takes through small towns and tree-lined roads; perfect sights to relax to. 

 

How to get from Colombo to Kandy

Taking a train 
Taking a train from Colombo to Kandy is one of the most popular ways to travel from Colombo to Kandy for various reasons. With a travel time of two and a half hours, it is the fastest way to travel. With around eight departures every day, you can pick a time that’s most convenient for you. 
Depending on your budget, you can pick from second class, panoramic, first class, and luxury options. But by far, the No.1 reason most people choose the train is for the experience itself. A scenic ride, it is also a fantastic way to get to know locals too.
While the second class coach is not air-conditioned with basic yet comfortable seating, the panoramic and luxury carriages are air-conditioned and have cushioned, reclining seats. Some even have WiFi and  TVs. The Panoramic car has large glass windows that allow you to appreciate the scenery outside. Ticket prices range from $16-$20 per passenger. Food is available for purchase on the trains while some tickets include a meal. 
Sri Lanka Railways and Blueline Express Train are two of the most popular choices. The trains depart from Fort Railway Station and arrive at Kandy Railway Station. Please note that tickets tend to sell out fast, so it is recommended to purchase or book your tickets a month before or even earlier from your travel date. 

 

Taking a bus
With ticket prices starting from $13, buses are the most cost-effective option to travel from Colombo to Kandy. Buses from Colombo to Kandy are frequent and run through the day and night, which allows you plenty of options to choose from. Travel times range from around three to four hours. 
There are many bus options to choose from - public buses, private buses, and intercity air-conditioned buses. Standard buses are the cheapest across all modes available, making them a good choice for backpackers and budget travelers. Do note that these buses do not have air conditioning, and the seats are quite basic.
If you are looking for a more comfortable option, you could consider traveling with an Intercity air-conditioned bus. These buses have better seating options too. This might be a wise option if you are traveling in the summer as Sri Lanka can get quite hot and humid during the hotter months.
Most buses start from the Colombo Bus Station though you could also catch one directly from Colombo Airport or Negombo. The buses make stops along the way to provide for restroom breaks.  

 

Taking a minivan
Those traveling as part of a group can consider renting a private minivan. Perfect for small groups and families traveling together, the minivans offer travelers the convenience of hotel pick up and drop off. The minivans are air conditioned and come fitted with comfortable, cushioned seats. 
The travel time is similar to those buses; around four hours. Since this is a private service for a group, departure times can be decided based on your convenience. The minivans make stops along the way to provide for food and restroom breaks. Depending on the operator and capacity of the vehicle, booking a private minivan costs around $100 per vehicle.   

 

Taking a private taxi
If you prefer a more comfortable ride with more legroom and flexibility in departure times, then booking a private taxi might be an excellent choice. Perfect for single travelers, couples, and families with young children, they offer point-to-point pick up and drop off services. 
These vehicles are air-conditioned and take around three hours to cover the distance from Colombo to Kandy. You could, of course, make stops, along the way, for food, restroom breaks, or if some sight catches your fancy. Depending on the size of the vehicle and operator, the cost of booking a private taxi could range anywhere from $60 to $150. 
This is an excellent choice if you are looking to travel from Colombo Airport to Kandy. My Travel Partner and Kandy Budget Taxi are two popular providers. 

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Reviews of the ride from Colombo to Kandy

3.0

Based on 13 reviews from Bookaway users who traveled from Colombo to Kandy

  • R
    R
    Great train ride, lovely scenery and very comfortable.
  • V
    V
    Amazing experience. It is really worth to use it.
  • S
    S
    Bumpy train ride, but charming. Train seat in 1st class Royal Saloon compartment was very comfortable. Tea and snack included on the journey. It cost an extra €15 to use this company, but honesty it seems well worth for peace of mind and convenience. Train was in perfect time. Took a little time to figure out which carriage we were in, but all worked out.
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Your questions, our answers

Bookaway's customers prefer First Class train by Sri Lanka Railways

Standard car 2 PAX by Kandy Budget Taxiwhich usually takes 2h 30m

BUSSLTB

CARKandy Budget Taxi

TRAINSri Lanka Railways

66 Km (Air)

Second Class train by Sri Lanka Railways starting at US$11