How to get from Kandy to Dalhousie

It’s a tricky one that; how to get from Kandy to Dalhousie. And that’s for two reasons:

  1. There is another much bigger and more popular Dalhousie in India, which comes up in every internet search.
  2. Dalhousie in Sri Lanka is tiny and, despite being the gateway to Adam’s Peak, is little-known.

Dalhousie in Sri Lanka doesn’t even come up on google maps. You have to search for Nallathanniya instead. Click here for map.

black market train tickets sri lanka

Magnificent tea plantations between Kandy and Hatton

Train to Hatton

From Kandy, the first step to get to Dalhousie is to take the train to Hatton. There are three trains a day from Kandy to Hatton: the 08:47, the 11:10 and the 12:30 (the 12:30 leaves from Peredeniya Station, not Kandy Station).

To understand how difficult it is to get reserved seats for these trains, read here.

If you are unable to get reserved seats on the train, don’t worry. We were under the impression that the train journey from Kandy to Hatton was the most beautiful in the country. It is not. The most beautiful train journey in Sri Lanka is between Haputale and Pattipola. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.

If you can’t get a reserved seat you can get a non-reserved ticket between Kandy and Hatton, which can be bought on the same day from the station in Kandy. As it’s a busy route, this means you’ll probably stand up. The journey is about 2.5 hours.

Arrival in Hatton

When we arrived in Hatton, we disembarked from the train knowing that there was a bus that would take us from the train station (rather than us having to find the bus station) direct to Dalhousie.

So now we just had to find the bus at the train station.

Tuk Tuk?

As usual when you arrive at a new place, we were mobbed by tuk tuk drivers and people offering accommodation. It was stifling hot and our backpacks were heavy. We just wanted to find the bus and get to Dalhousie. We knew that it was another hour’s journey by bus. And this time we wanted a seat.

There was a persistent tuk tuk driver who insisted that we go with him to Dalhousie. We explained that we wanted to take the bus and to our surprise, instead of ignoring us or continuing to try to get us in his tuk tuk, he helped us find the bus that we were looking for and made sure we got on alright.

This is one of the memories of Sri Lanka that I took back home with me: the people are the friendliest and most helpful I have ever come across. And that tuk tuk driver who knew he had nothing to gain with us gave up his time and his potential to find other customers off the train to help us. And we hadn’t even asked for his help.

The tuk tuk driver directed us to the right bus. Despite there being no driver around and a crowd of tourists waiting by the door, he indicated that we should climb aboard and pick our seats. Which we did.

Two minutes later the driver appeared, waved the rest aboard and set off.

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That driver stopped for nothing and no one.

Ride of hell through the gorgeous Hatton landscape

The views from the bus were a mixture of lush green countryside and heavy jungle with the odd glimpse of a lake or waterfall thrown in for good measure.

A journey that should have been a relaxing two hour drive was a hair-raising one-hour dash with a driver that stopped for no one and seemed hell-bent on throwing himself and his bus full of scared passengers over the sheer hillside as we flew around bends on the narrow road barely keeping two wheels in contact with the ground.

I guess I should have been used to the buses in Sri Lanka now after my previous experiences, but fearing for my life is just not something I’m comfortable with.

I was more than happy to climb down from the bus in the dusty square in Dalhousie and retrieve my backpack.

Then we set off on wobbly legs in search of somewhere to stay and somewhere to eat just as it began raining…

To continue with the story, read the next installment of my Sri Lanka trip here.

I would like to remind you that all the photos used on are my own unless otherwise stated.
You can see my whole collection of Travel Photos here.

Filed Under: asiafeaturedSri LankaSri Lanka Hill Country


About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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