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Haputale perched up high

The Sri Lankan Hill Country is spectacular, with huge mountains, valleys and ridges running through the centre of the Sri Lankan island. Haputale is a small village/town nestled on the top of one of these ridges. It is generally used as a gateway to Lipton’s seat, but Haputale itself really is worth a visit.

Not more trains

Now just about experts on the use of trains, we looked up the timetables on the Sri Lankan railway site and decided that the 9.30 train was too early, but that the 10:55 train would be perfect. Allowing us time in the morning to get to the station (about 30/40 mins), buy tickets and some snacks and then to be poised to launch ourselves onto the train.

The station was empty, everyone else knew the deal

We should have known it was too good to be true, to have such a perfectly timed train. So when the ticket office told me that the 10:55 was reserved seats only we were a little disappointed, but hardly surprised. We were only then able to get the next train two hours later. The real stinger was that we were at the station at about 9.45, so we could have caught the early train if we had got moving quicker in the morning.

Don’t try this at home

Not too disheartened we enjoyed some snacks from the shops (sugar bun, bread and rice cakes). We then sat down, wrote some of the blog and waited for our train. Once it arrived, it was very busy again. But we managed to push our way into the main carriage and find a place behind some chairs to deposit our bags. Luckily this was only a 1.5 hour journey this time. So standing up in the carriage wasn’t too bad.

Search anywhere online about “Ella railway” and you will find photos of people leaning as far out of a train as possible whilst the train winds up steep sided valleys or over tall bridges spanning deep ravines. This, I believe, is the shot one of our fellow passengers was looking for. As we came towards a large iron bridge, he leant out of the doorway with his friend in the next doorway looking down the train ready to catch the shot. Unfortunately, they didn’t see the large sign careering toward them.

The doors stay open for the entire journey

The train dramatically came to a stop as guards came running through the train. He had fallen off, quite dramatically, as the train had started crossing a really tall bridge, narrowly avoiding death. He was shaken, as was the rest of the train, and we were then a lot more careful with our future selfie snapping.

The bridge that almost took the life of one of our passengers

Haputale ridge

Eventually, we pulled out of a tunnel high up in the hills and the clouds and fog descended, so much so that we could hardly see the signs around the train. As I mentioned above, Haputale is a very small town/village located on the top of a mountain ridge, with steep hills falling down each side of the train station. In the fog though, we couldn’t see any of this!

The fog descended rapidly

Already having travelled quite enough for a day, we made the short 300 metre walk to our hotel, the “Grand View Guest House”. What a hotel this place is. The people were so lovely, they brought us tea on arrival which we enjoyed on the balcony which overlooked the tea plantations. This is the same place where we were able to enjoy breakfast. And most of all the WiFi was incredible! Faster than the broadband we had in London, until we saturated the connection that is…

We never got tired of this view outside our bedroom window

That’s it really

We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the brilliant view. Then walked into town to eat. We found a place called ‘Spice Hotel and Bake House’ where we had an excellent curry to share. The whole meal including drinks only cost 500 LKR (< 2.50 GBP) and was absolutely delicious (and not just because of the price!).

Today’s easy day should prepare us for the long slog tomorrow.

See you tomorrow.



New Feature: Spending reports, see below.

Day 8 (23/03/2019): spending report

 Total Spent todayTotal Spent in Sri Lanka
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Rob & Jenny

About Rob & Jenny

We are a married couple from London taking a break from the 9-5 to travel the world and soak up new experiences. Follow us to find out more about the places we go, the things we see and the experiences we have.
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2 thoughts on “Haputale perched up high

  1. Wow, can’t believe that a guy actually fell out of the train taking a photo! I have seen a lot on Sri Lanka’s trains but that’s new. We also ended up practically wasting the whole day just taking the train between Haputale and Ella – something that shouldn’t have surprised us by that stage in the trip… Isn’t that mystical fog around Haputale amazing, how it descends and clears so dramatically? Looking forward to reading more x

    1. Thanks for the message. Yes the fog is incredible. A sight to see! I am trying to get more posts out. Though it’s hard to balance with the travelling and the planning for the days to come. We’re off to India next week for a baptism of fire I think! X

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