How to Book a Train Ticket in Advance in Sri Lanka

Reserve in Person

Go to any of these stations and buy the ticket up to 30 days before the date of travel:

Aluthgama, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Bandarawela, Batticaloa, China Bay, Colombo Fort, Diyathalawa, Ella, Galle, Gal Oya, Gampaha, Haputale, Hatton, Hikkaduwa, Hingurakgoda, Jaffna, Kalutara South, Kandy, Kantale, Kilinochchi, Kurunegala, Matara, Nanu Oya, Nawalapitiya, Pallai, Peradeniya, Polgahawela, Polonnaruwa, Thabalagamuwa, Trincomalee, Valaichchenai, Vavuniya, Welikanda, Wellawatte

If reserved seating is sold out it is always possible to buy an unreserved ticket in 2nd or 3rd class on the date of travel.

Book by Telephone

Use the Mobitel or Hutch number 365 or Dialog number 444 to book in advance up to 30 days before the date of travel. You must have a Mobitel, Hutch or Dialog sim to use this service. There are more details on their websites:

The text or email confirmation must be converted to a rail ticket at one of the stations listed above or in any Mobitel or Dialog branch. You must produce the same ID when collecting the ticket that you used to make the reservation.

Book Online

There are tour operators that will buy a ticket for you if you want to reserve before arriving in Sri Lanka. The cost is normally 2-3 times higher to reserve using this method.

They will reserve by telephone using the same method as above and forward you the text confirmation. See above for info on where to collect tickets. There are 24 hour Mobitel and Dialog counters at the airport.


People have reported problems when trying to obtain tickets at Mobitel counters that were booked online through travel agents. They were told that there was a computer problem that meant they could not issue the ticket and that the client should contact the travel agent. It is believed that this is a scam and that the tickets are then sold on to the black market.

Exporail and Rajadhani

Since early 2017 Exporail and Rajadhani operations have been suspended.

More Information

For more details on Sri Lankan rail travel and booking tickets in advance online see the Seat 61 website.

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Chay Ru
3 years ago

12goasia is UNRELIABLE! We requested and paid for tickets from Kandy to Nurwa Eliya 30 days ago and now they send us an email saying the train is fully booked. We should have had our hotel in Kandy buy the tickets for us.

4 years ago

Don’t use Visitsrilanka tours! I booked train tickets well in advance, and then last minute, when everywhere else was fully booked, they changed their mind and said no tickets! Still to see if I will get the refund. I want to warn others that they can’t be trusted!

4 years ago

I’ve booked 2 tickets for Kandy-Ella and it all went really well. It’s more expensive than the actual ticket, but you get your seats and the comfort of not having to worry anymore.
Be careful because paying doesn’t mean that you have the tickets, hey have to send you the confirmation via email. If there are no more tickets, they give you a refund.
We booked our tickets a month and a half before the date we wanted, and a few days before we went to the train station to pick them up 🙂
They printed them and it’s quite a big paper, so be careful with scams. The little tickets are just regular tickets and they don’t have a seat number!
All in all, really happy with our purchase.

3 years ago
Reply to  Nataia

Hi Nataia,
I am travelling in May in Sri Lanka and could you tell me which company you sealed with??
Thank you

4 years ago

The person who named (removed by Admin) is a cheater. He use his website to cheat money by selling srilanka train tickets. This person maintains a web site. It name is www visitsrilankatours co uk
He is selling srilanka 1st class train tickets for more than LKR 2500 but normal train tickets price is lkr 1000 maximum. Many people pay via paypal to this web site. sometimes he issue tickets, Sometimes cheat money. Many foreign tourists have been cheated by this man. This guy is disgrace. My sister also paid money for 2 train tickets. And this man hadn’t issue any tickets and he is a fraud. I’m also sent all the details to criminal investigation department(CID). Be careful paying money for this person.

4 years ago
Reply to  John

I paid and still i’m asking my money he didn’t pay. If you have any email. Give me. I’ll send proof.

4 years ago
Reply to  John

I filed case in paypal. I’ll show you all details and screenshots. Send me email

4 years ago
Reply to  John

I paid money for two tickets and they didn’t issue any tickets. I tried contact them many times. But they didn’t answer. Then i opened a case in paypal. Then they contact me. I asked tickets. They said not available any tickets. So i asked money. They said no refund. Then i said i’ll complain to police. Then they said paypal will refund me wait for it.
They never refund people’s money. They cheaters.vif i didn’t use paypal. I couldn’t ever get my money. Be careful from this site

4 years ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I also took my tickets on this website and no problem! I had them on the phone and they were very professionals. They can’t take me my last travel between Nuwara Eliya and Ella and refund me the money directly.