It’s definitely no secret that one of the most picturesque and unique ways to traverse the coastline is Sri Lanka’s Coastal Line Train, which sets out for its journey from Colombo and wraps up its journey at Galle way down South. It’s one of Sri Lanka’s oldest train lines and somewhat contradictorily, one of the fastest lines too.
A trip to Sri Lanka can rarely be called complete without a ride on this historic train line and it’s the perfect way to make your way Down South after your stay in Colombo.
Speaking of stays in Colombo, there’s many an easy and convenient option for your experience in Colombo. However if jumping on this train line is something you’re adding to your itinerary, short stay rooms in Colombo are the way to go as they are convenient and can be the perfect way to get some rest and relaxation before your upcoming journey down south. Of the many options, Steuart by Citrus is an obvious choice because of its close proximity to the Colombo Fort Railway Station where the train line sets off from.
But the journey down south doesn’t have to be about just the train trip. Along the way, the Coastal Line Train makes many a stop at many an iconic city that will afford you easy access to some major sights and attractions on the way. Read on for some of the must-see stops as you travel down south.
The Colombo Fort Station is a sight to behold in and of itself, being one of Sri Lanka’s older standing train hubs. It’s got all the charm of British Colonial Architecture and all the frenzy you’d expect of a train station smack dab in the middle of Colombo’s main commercial district. Three trains depart on the Coastal Line from Colombo Fort daily while two have a special schedule. Catching an early morning train is definitely the way to go as it allows you ample time to enjoy the sights along the way and arrive at your final destination with enough time to rest and recover from a long-ish journey too.
Just the fifth stop on the Coastal Line once you’ve set off from Colombo Fort, Dehiwala is home to the Dehiwala Zoo, which is located a mere 2 km from the train station. Opened to the public in 1936, the Dehiwala Zoo has a history as one of the oldest zoological gardens in all of Asia. The Dehiwala Zoo is impressive in its boasting an incredible variety of wildlife species, over half of which are native or endemic to Sri Lanka. A quick sojourn to this national zoo is a treat.
Just the next stop over from Dehiwala is Mount Lavinia Station. Mount Lavinia beach, at a distance of just 2.2 km from the train station still stands as one of the most popular and instantly recognizable beaches in Sri Lanka. From the iconic ‘Golden Mile’ of beach line to the fabled history of how the area got its name, Mt. Lavinia is a must-do for any history and beach buff.
Closing out the quick trio of back-to-back stops is Rathmalana Station. A mere skip of just 3.7 km from this train station is the Rathmalana Air Force Museum, Sri Lanka’s only museum dedicated to showcasing the history of Sri Lanka’s aviation force. It boasts some spectacular aircraft from Sri Lanka’s colonial era, including some famed fighter jets used during World War II and is a wonderful way to learn about the history of Sri Lanka’s Air Force.
A couple of stops over from Rathmalana is Moratuwa Station. Sitting 3.7 km away from the station is Bolgoda Lake, one of Sri Lanka’s largest sources for fresh water in the western region of the Island. Uniquely, because of its proximity to the coastline, it’s a lake that consists of part fresh water and part brackish sea water. Nonetheless, the great natural beauty surrounding the lake is famous and recent efforts to conserve the environment around the lake has only added to its beauty.
The 13th stop on the Coastal Line Train is Panadura station. Panadura Beach stands just 1.2 km from the station and is a must-see for a few reasons, primary of which is the Panadura Break Water at the Northern End of the Beach where the Bolgoda River empties out into the sea after it’s short stop at Bolgoda Lake. Panadura Beach is one of Sri Lanka’s more popular beaches and well worth the quick sojourn to enjoy.
To close out the first leg of your journey on the Coastal Line Train, make the stop at Kalutara, one of Sri Lanka’s most popular commercial beach towns. Here is where the Kalu Ganga, one of Sri Lanka’s major river systems and the 10th longest one which originates at Adam’s Peak, lets out into the sea. Despite being a beach town, Kalutara’s proximity to the Kalu Ganga also means you can enjoy a variety of eco-destinations focused around the Kalu Ganga, the most popular one being canoeing on the river. At just 4.8 km from the Kalutara Station, this is definitely a standout on the Coast Line Train itinerary.
Photo courtesy: Minura Wijesena via Unsplash