Colombo-Ella-Arugam Bay by Train and Bus


This route is the longest of all but probably the most rewarding due to the spectacular views of the Sri Lankan hill country. The final part from Ella to Arugam Bay must be taken by road, and will involve 2 or maybe 3 buses. Depending on waiting times this part can take over 5 hours so it might be worth staying overnight and starting again early the next day.


Departure Times

There are multiple departure times from Colombo Fort; 5.55am, 8.30am, 9.45am and 8pm. The journey to Ella on average takes about 9 or 10 hours. The first train is recommended so that you see the final part of the journey (the most picturesque) during daylight hours.

Ella or Badulla

As the train arrives in Ella about one hour before Badulla and they are both a similar distance from Arugam Bay it is not really worth travelling to Badulla. For more information on the train options available visit (opens in a new window).

From Ella

The bus station in Ella is a 600m walk from the railway station; just turn left when you reach the main road. There are frequent departures to Monaragala (see the Latest Ella Bus Timetable) but you can also take two buses via Wellawaya if that bus is leaving first. From Monaragala you can take a direct bus to Pottuvil or, even better, one to Panama which stops in Arugam Bay. See the Colombo to Arugam Bay by Bus page for more information on arriving in Arugam Bay by bus.

Advance Booking

See Reserve a Train Seat in Advance for more information.

Quick Links

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4 years ago

The bus from Monaragala to Arugam is 150. Me and other backpackers paid 250, and he was trying to charge me 300 more for the surfboard but paid no more. Don’t allow them to rip you off

4 years ago

Many thanks for all this helpful information! I’m planning to take the bus from Ella to Arugam bay – any idea what total cost would be for this trip?

Rachel Napper
5 years ago

Any idea on the bus time table from monaragala to Ella? Hoping to travel from Arugam Bay to Ella on the 31st of July.

5 years ago

Hey Guys
I’ll arrive in Colombo on the 2nd of June. I wanted to know if the busses/trains run at the moment or not because of the heavy rains and floods.
Is it problematic to get to ABay at the moment?

3 years ago
Reply to  John

Good Morning John. You seem to be a man in the know. Is the kandi -Ella train working currently. I know there are strikes; just wanted to see if these are resolved. Traveling to kandi tomorrow from up north and hoped to get the train? Many thanks. Alex