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Sri Lanka on a whim

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I bought some stupidly cheap tickets on air asia from Bkk to Colombo, no choice about the dates or length of stay, I'm going for 8 days last week of May.

Want to jump on a train and just troddle about. I'm thinking the line from Colombo to Badulla looks pleasant enough. I don't think I'm going to plan anything above a hotel room on arrival at Colombo and the first leg to Kandy which I booked already on the expo rail (just to ease into it, I'll be in 3rd class in no time).... I don't want to trek to any "vistas", I don't want to see any relics or temples (At least not on purpose) and I'm not a beach person. I love trains; when I'm not on it, I want to stroll about, take some pictures, eat street food and chill out.

On the Colombo to Badulla line, any recos where to step of the train for overnight or two or three?

Will I be okay without reservations that time of year?

If I'm in it purely for the train trip, is there a better route? Looks like the southern route isn't totally put back together yet and the hill country looks more scenic than the coast, yes?

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