Getting From Colombo to Kandy

Explore the beautiful trip from Colombo to Kandy in Sri Lanka. Find out how to get there by train, bus, or car and enjoy the stunning views.

Colombo to kandy

Explore the beauty and history of Kandy, Sri Lanka’s cultural capital. From its busy streets to ancient temples and scenic lake, Kandy is a must-visit city nestled in lush green hills.

Getting from Colombo to Kandy is easy and budget-friendly, with options like trains, buses, or private transfers. Our guide helps you choose the best way to experience Kandy’s charm without breaking the bank.

So, book your tour here now!

Traveling from elsewhere in Sri Lanka? See the full Sri Lanka Guide

What to expect on Kandy

You’ll see busy streets, ancient temples, and colonial buildings. Don’t miss the peaceful Kandy Lake. Explore local markets and enjoy the green hills around the city. Kandy offers a unique blend of tradition and modern life, making it an exciting place to visit. 


Embark on an unforgettable train journey from Colombo to Kandy, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking scenery and a hassle-free travel experience. Here’s a detailed guide to help you plan your trip smoothly:

1.Booking Tickets Online:

Before you embark on your journey, consider booking your train tickets online for convenience. This allows you to secure your seats in advance and avoid last-minute hassles.

You can conveniently purchase your train tickets online via platforms like 12Go or Bookaway!

2.Routes and Departure Stations:
Trains depart from Colombo Fort Train Station and arrive at either Kandy Train Station or Peradeniya Railway Station.Approximately 7 to 11 trains operate daily on this route, offering flexibility for travelers.The journey takes you through dense jungle and picturesque villages, offering scenic views throughout.

3.Travel Time and Ticket Prices:
The travel time from Colombo to Kandy by train ranges from 2.5 to 4.5 hours, depending on the route and train type.
Train ticket prices are budget-friendly, typically ranging between $7 and $12. Choose from various classes, including first, second, or third class, based on your preferences and budget.

4.Scenic Highlights:
The train journey from Colombo to Kandy is renowned for its stunning scenery, comparable to the famous Kandy to Ella train route.
Enjoy lush greenery, rolling hills, and charming villages along the way, making it a memorable experience for all passengers.

5.Departure Schedule:
Trains depart from Colombo Fort starting as early as 6:55 am, with the last departure at 7:30 pm.

Suggested Tours

Train Guide to Classes Available

First Class:
Luxuriate in first-class comfort, equipped with WIFI, air conditioning, and plush seats, ensuring a relaxing journey.Ideal for travelers seeking a premium experience with added amenities for a comfortable ride.

Book your first-class reserved ticket securely here.

Second Class:
Experience the journey with allocated seating, providing a designated spot throughout the trip.Enjoy the breeze through open windows and doors, although WIFI and air conditioning amenities are not provided.Suitable for passengers looking for a balance between comfort and affordability.

Book your second-class reserved ticket securely here.

Third Class:
Choose budget-friendly travel with basic seating arrangements, offering a no-frills experience. While WIFI and air conditioning are not available, third-class tickets provide an economical option for budget-conscious travelers. 

Book your third-class reserved ticket securely here.

It’s recommended to book your tickets at least 30 days in advance of your train ride. Secure your tickets now by booking here.

Look online for special events: Occoasionally there are special events, with a higher cover charge.

colombo to kandy taxi/Private transfer

Traveling by taxi or private transfer in Sri Lanka is not only affordable but also incredibly convenient, especially if you’re carrying luggage. Here are several options to consider for booking your ride:

1. Book your transfer through Bookaway, where you’ll find various car types, including minivans suitable for larger groups. Booking through Bookaway allows you to pay with a card, providing ease and flexibility.

2.Many hotels and guesthouses in Sri Lanka offer “house taxis,” which are reliable options vetted by the establishment. You can arrange a taxi through your hotel, typically paying in cash in Sri Lankan Rupees upon arrival.

3.Utilize Uber for your transportation needs in Sri Lanka. While it tends to be more expensive than other options, Uber is widely used and provides transparent pricing. You can pay conveniently through the app.

5. Another popular ride-sharing app in Sri Lanka is PickMe. PickMe often offers more affordable rates compared to Uber and provides a variety of vehicle options. You can choose to pay by card or cash. While tuk-tuks may not be available for longer journeys like Colombo to Kandy, PickMe remains a reliable choice for your transportation needs.

Other options

If you prefer to arrange a taxi locally in Sri Lanka, you can ask your hotel reception or locals for recommendations. They often have trusted contacts for taxi services. Additionally, you can consider reaching out to Kangaroo Cabs, a reputable taxi service in Sri Lanka. You can contact them at +94 11 2 588588 for booking inquiries.

colombo to kandy tuktuk

To fully explore Kandy’s top attractions, having transportation upon arrival is essential. Renting a tuk tuk from Colombo to Kandy is a thrilling and convenient option. The tuk tuk journey takes about 4-6 hours, and renting one in Sri Lanka costs only $22 USD per day, based on our experience of a 2-week rental.

Travel like a local and enjoy discounts by using our code  on 

colombo to kandy flight

Flying from Colombo to Kandy is a convenient option for those looking to save time, but it comes with considerations:

But first, Purchase your train tickets online using 12Go or Bookaway!

1.Airlines and Booking: Cinnamon Air and Sri Lankan Airlines operate flights between the two cities. Booking directly with the airlines is advisable due to potential schedule changes.

2.Flight Duration: The flight typically lasts around 30 minutes, offering a quick way to reach Kandy.

3.Airport Locations: Departures are from Bandaranaike International Airport, located about an hour away from downtown Colombo. Upon arrival, you’ll land at Victoria Reservoir, which is approximately 25 kilometers (16 miles) from Kandy city center.

4.Cost Considerations: While the flight is short, it can be expensive compared to other modes of transportation. Be sure to factor in the cost when planning your travel budget.

Book in advance to get discounts, book here

5.Transportation to and from Airports: Plan for transportation to and from the airports, considering potential traffic and distance. Taxis or private transfers are commonly used for this purpose.

6.Luggage Restrictions: Check with the airlines regarding luggage restrictions and allowances to avoid any inconvenience during your journey.

colombo to kandy bus

If trains aren’t your cup of tea or you’re watching your wallet, hopping on a public bus from Colombo to Kandy is a breeze.

Get bus tickets HERE NOW! 

The bus journey offers stunning views as it winds through the countryside, making its way up to the hill country of Kandy. But brace yourself for a long haul through the suburbs of Kandy towards the end.

Where to Find the Bus Station: Pettah (Bastian Mawatha) Bus Station sits right in downtown Colombo, next to the bustling Pettah Markets. It’s easily accessible from anywhere in Colombo and serves as a major hub for various transport options.

Ticket Prices:
Public Bus: A one-way ticket from Pettah to Kandy (bus #1) costs around LKR 155 (approximately $0.50 USD). This is for a non-air-conditioned service.
A/C Bus: Opting for the air-conditioned service will cost you around LKR 3,300 (about $9 USD) for a one-way ticket.

Departure Times:

Public Bus: Departure times vary, but buses run frequently 24/7. Simply head to the station, and you’ll likely find a bus departing soon. Be prepared for a journey of 4+ hours with frequent stops and crowded conditions.

A/C Bus: Scheduled departures from Pettah Bus Station to Kandy are at 00:15, 10:00, 11:00, 15:00, and 17:00. Expect the journey to take around 4 hours for the 160km distance.

Booking Your Ticket:
Public Bus: Tickets for the Number 1 bus can be purchased directly from the conductor on the bus, so no need to book in advance.

Remember to purchase travel insurance! SafetyWing is my preferred choice for all my travels.


I generally prefer hostels, as its a great way to meet others.

Kandy Back Packers Hostel & Funk Bunks are two popular backpacker hostels.   Looking for more comfort? Check the options below.


In conclusion, traveling from Colombo to Kandy presents a variety of options, each catering to different preferences and budgets. Whether you choose to embark on the scenic train journey, opt for the convenience of a private transfer or taxi, or explore the budget-friendly option of taking a public bus, you’re bound to encounter breathtaking landscapes and immerse yourself in Sri Lanka’s rich culture along the way. With careful planning and consideration of your travel priorities, your journey from Colombo to Kandy promises to be an unforgettable adventure.


The average cost of a taxi from Colombo airport to Kandy is €60 (LKR 22,200), but if you’d prefer the peace of mind that comes with a fixed rate fare, you can book in advance with Welcome Pickups instead.

Yes, you can catch a train from Colombo to Kandy! Trains operate every three hours between the two cities. The earliest train departs at 05:55 in the morning, while the last one leaves Colombo at 17:45 and arrives in Kandy at 20:55. These trains run directly with no transfers needed and typically take around 2 hours and 53 minutes on average.

Absolutely! Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, Kandy stands as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka Sri Lanka.

Start Planning Your Sri Lanka Trip Now!

Book Your Flight:

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flights. A travellers favorite way to book flights, as it searches websites and airlines around the world with one click.

Book Your Bus or Transportation Within Sri Lanka:

There are two ways to book your transporation, ask your hotel or hostel, go to the local bus terminal, or book online, for a less stressful trip using CheckMyBus or

Book Your Accomodation: 

Find the best hotels or hostels at HostelWorld,, Perks include with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out and Free cancellations.

Dont Forget Your Travel Insurance:

Two popular choices are SafetyWing and WorldsNomads. A traveler should buy traveler’s insurance to protect themselves against unexpected events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and lost or stolen baggage. It provides peace of mind and financial protection in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Useful Apps

Pick me- Local Transportation

Airbnb & Booking – Accomodation

PickMe Food – Food Delivery


Want More Information On Sri Lanka?

Be sure to check out my nomad travel guide on the Sri Lanka for even more tips

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

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Justin Gonzalez

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