While Jo and I almost always travel by plane between countries(and often in premium cabins thanks to travelhacking), the opposite is true when we travel between cities in-country.
As we mentioned in our video post “How To Travel Long-Term”, one of the best ways to make your travel fund stretch is to use ground-based transport whenever possible.
Aside from the economic benefit, you will often get to see an amazing picture of the country that would be impossible to see even from a premium class window seat in a plane.
One of the loveliest train rides we’ve been on is the one in Sri Lanka, between the holy city of Kandy and the upcountry, where the nation's world famous tea plantations are found.
There is also a bus that travels between the two destinations, but it travels on a paved highway that has no scenery to speak of.
For just a few dollars and a commitment to traveling for about 7 hours, the old train that travels through the valley along the edge of the hills is without question the only way to properly travel to the upcountry.
Be prepared for a slightly bumpy ride in an open-air cabin which will likely have other tourists onboard.
Lack of air conditioning won't be a problem. The weather is mild in the higher elevation, and besides...a sealed compartment would take away your ability to get some incredible photos.
I should mention that this ride isn't for the time-pressed traveler. The train travels at a snail's pace relative to other modes of transport. This is desirable if you'd like to snap photos of your journey.
If you're on an "Amazing Race" styled itinerary and just have to get to the upcountry in record time, I suggest the bus or a private car.
That said, you'll be missing out on some incredible scenes of life working on the tea plantations right next to the train tracks, along with the incredible vistas of the upcountry.
There might many more scenic train rides around the world. But as far as we have traveled, I'd venture to say this is the best $2 train ticket we have ever bought!
More photos from this ride are found in Our Galleries.
Here's a video clip we made of the ride: