Riding the Tea Train and Yala National Park

February 6th ~ Nuwara Eliya to Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

Ravana Falls, the wildest falls in the country

We had some free time this morning to wander around Nuwara Eliya. Tim and I took a Tuk Tuk into town. I think it cost 200 Rupees (approximately $1 USD).

A few things caught my eye.

Lottery tickets are for sale on the street

Treats for sale

Colorful busses

Having a morning to just walk around and explore the town on our own and at a slower pace gave us a nice break from our hectic schedule. Then it was time to once again load onto the bus for a short drive to the train depot.

Any guesses as to what this sign means?

“Rest your Cell Phone while using the footboard”?? Gary spotted this sign at the train depot and we had to ask our guide, Heshan, what it meant. He looked puzzled by our inquiry, as he calmly explained that we should not be on our cell phones, but paying attention as we stepped onto the train.

Of course, now it makes perfect sense. Kind of like “Mind the Gap” in London…

Taking the Tea Train from Nuwara Eliya to Ella added to the more relaxed mood of the day. The scenery was pretty spectacular as we sailed past green hillsides terraced with one tea plantation after another.

Hillsides covered with terraced tea tree gardens

The jungle was dense and a misty fog set in for part of the journey.

A mist has settled in along the route on our train journey

The train ride can take anywhere from two to four hours, depending upon which train you take. We ended up on a brand new express train so our trip was on the short side.

Scenery along train ride

I think I would have preferred the longer version as the views were special.

Our driver, Susantha and our bus assistant, Thilina, were there to meet us, and we piled back on board. We still had several more hours to go before reaching our destination at Yala National Park for the next two nights.

During monsoon season, the heavy rains can cause devastating mudslides. Repairing the roadways is an ongoing project. They are trying to prevent future problems with an innovative netting/concrete system being built along certain sections of the roads.

Roadside construction to help prevent mudslides

Men hang by cables as they work on retaining walls

Ravana Falls

Gary and Jan in front of Ravana Falls

Time for another photo stop and a chance to stretch our legs. The falls made for a beautiful back drop.

Dick and Karen

More shots from the bus:

This jumbo playing hide-and-seek beside the road

Harvesting rice

Cinnamon Wild Yala

Our lodgings were in roomy bungalows, each with a private deck. The bed had mosquito netting over it.

Our bungalow room with mosquito netting

Being inside the park, we were surrounded by wild animals that frequently wandered right through the hotel grounds. There were some STRICT rules to be followed. Our guide went over them with us before we arrived, the receptionist reviewed them upon our arrival and we were also given a printout to read.

Rules to follow for our safety

The most important thing was to NEVER walk outside after dark without one of the park/hotel guides escorting us. That meant that to go to dinner we had to  dial “0” on our room phone, ask for an escort, and wait to have someone knock on your door. They were very prompt, and arrived within a minute or two.

The guide then would walk ahead of you with a flashlight, checking the pathway and along the side of the path, each step of the way.

After dinner, in the main lodge, we had to again be escorted to each of our individual bungalows.

They were watching for elephants, wild boar, water buffalo, monkeys, snakes (they have cobras, python, and vipers), crocodiles, scorpions and tarantulas, amongst other critters.

A large wild rabbit was the only encounter we had on our nighttime stroll.

The buffet meals were abundant and once again allowed us to sample a great variety of Sri Lankan foods with several different curries. My favorite curries on this trip were the potato curry and the pineapple curry. They were milder, heat wise, and the flavor was superb.

Overnight: Cinnamon Wild Yala

Coming Next: Safari drive through Yala National Park

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for an opportunity to see more of the lush scenery of Sri Lanka. The train ride was a treat.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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24 Responses to Riding the Tea Train and Yala National Park

  1. K.L. Hale says:

    Thank you for sharing! Beautiful pictures! I’ll dream of my future….


  2. Jet Eliot says:

    Thanks for taking us with you to see the hillsides and tea fields of Sri Lanka — wonderful.


  3. Terry says:

    Wonderful trip but as you said hectic. This is why when we traveled we did it on our own. She couldn’t have kept up with a set hectic schedule. Although this is why we did this only in Europe and didn’t venture to these countries. Man I’m jealous and your very fortunate to experience this.


    • Terry, there are certainly pros and cons to organized tours. I love that you get to see SO MUCH in a short amount of time. The tour manager tells you where to be, what time to get on the bus, and gives historical insights. They take all the planning and organizational efforts and do it for you. The down side is that the schedule can be exhausting and sometimes I wanted to spend extra time seeing/doing something. The ideal would be perhaps combining doing some planned tours broken up with time on your own. Or choosing a longer, more expensive tour that schedules more free/independent time. I know that most of the time I am pleased to see the most I can in the limited time I have in a country. That being said, some of my favorite trips have been when I have gone to one city (Barcelona, Paris, & London come to mind) and spent two weeks just there exploring on our own or the two week train trip we did on our own through Switzerland. We have also taken a tour and then extended an extra week in a country to do more independent traveling.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, those tea plantations are so beautiful. In fact, you got some beautiful shots and another lovely hotel. 😉



  5. Got to watch out for those large, wild rabbits! 🙂 The walkways were always fun at night when I lived in Africa, especially during the rainy season when things like large snakes and army ants were also making use of higher ground. No one ever offered to show us the way, however. Grin. –Curt


    • HaHa! Lucky for us, not so much for you. We did see some very large ants. Not sure what kind they were, but looked like they could have carried us off…


      • Laughing, Joanne. It isn’t the size of the army ants so much as the size of their pinchers. The big males link legs and create a tunnel with their pinchers facing out when they cross a trail. The women and kids then use the tunnel. I once touched one of the tunnels with a stick to see what would happen. The soldiers came dashing up the stick with me as the prize. I gave them a flying lesson. It could be that they are still trying to get back to their colony. –Curt


      • How interesting – and frightening to see them form a tunnel.


      • They earn their ferocious reputation Joanne. I know that personally since they invaded our house!


  6. Merrill says:

    Thanks for your informative posts. I knew nothing about Sri Lanka.


  7. K.L. Hale says:

    Yes! I visualize constantly ~and that seems to help things cons to fruition 👏🏻


  8. Widdershins says:

    Heh, heh, heh … ‘Untamed crocodiles’ … does that mean the tame ones are OK? 😀


  9. Pingback: The Stilt Fishermen of Weligama Bay and Galle Fort | A Note From Abroad

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