Seethawaka Odyssey | Sunday Observer

Seethawaka Odyssey

13 August, 2023
Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena, Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong and Vietnamese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Ho Thi Thanh Truc arrive at the Waga Railway Station Pix by Gayan Pushpika

The Odyssey (by Greek poet Homer) is a work of literature widely read by modern audiences. The word Odyssey itself means a long and eventful or adventurous journey or experience.

The story is about the Greek hero Odysseus, and his journey home after the Trojan War.

When urban folk here and abroad read a travel guide and see the words – “Seethawaka Odyssey”, fantastic images come to their mind. They want to leave their urban environment and experience something exotic. This is something Seethawakapura can give them in abundance. It is a land of lush vegetation, mountains and laid back villages.

The A/C ‘Seethawaka Odyssey’ train now operates from Colombo Fort to the Waga Railway Station on Saturdays and Sundays.

This is a concept of Minister of Transport and Highways and Mass Media, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena who saw a great opportunity and potential for a luxury train service on the Kelani Valley (KV) line that would appeal to both local and foreign travellers. He made it happen in a few months. The power sets and compartments are brand new.

So far the Seethawaka Odyssey has been operating on Sundays. But last Saturday for the first time, it began its voyage because of great demand.

Landmark achievement

Last Saturday, Dr. Gunawardena led a large group comprising media personalities, foreign dignitaries and tourists to Seethawakapura on board the new train. The beauty of the environs was not lost on anyone.

Minister Dr. Gunawardena, said that this is a landmark achievement in the transportation sector in Sri Lanka.

“This train service will allow local and foreign tourists to thoroughly enjoy themselves in Seethawakapura. This is an initiative that will certainly develop tourism in Sri Lanka. This will definitely be a popular tourist destination,” said Dr. Gunawardana. Dr. Gunawardena added that in January 2023, this project started as Seethawaka Odyssey Sunday Train Service. This train service was designed to enable people to enjoy the beauty of Seethawakapura.

“Because of the huge turnout we have now decided to make this train service available on Saturday as well. Many people in Colombo have not experienced the opportunities and possibilities Seethawakapura has to offer. That is why I am leading this retinue here into Seethawakapura. Our intention is not only to promote tourism but also to promote the livelihoods of the people of Seethawakapura. This will increase their income. It will serve to uplift them. We want to make Seethawakapura a tourist zone.”


Chairman of the Tourist Board of the Western Province, Sugath Hewapathirana said that because of the overwhelming success of the Sunday train service, they had decided to make the train service available on Saturdays too.

“We have heavily promoted tourism in this zone and it has been a success. There are now luxurious hotels that can accommodate local and foreign tourists. Owing to this Saturday train service, tourists can enjoy the unique features of Seethawakapura on a Saturday and return home on a Sunday. We want to attract foreign tourists from all parts of the world.

We will meet this challenge. Sri Lanka is facing an economic crisis but we do not need to beg from other countries. We have abundant natural resources. We can bring in foreign exchange through tourism. This will solve most of our problems.

Our train service is ready to welcome all tourists. We have to help Sri Lanka come out of this abyss,” said Hewapathirana.

Vietnamese Ambassador Ho Thi Thanh Truc who spoke to the media said that the trip to Sri Lanka and Seethawakapura was an enriching experience for her. A Russian diplomat had only two words to describe Sri Lanka, but they were powerful. She said that Sri Lanka is a unique paradise.

“Sri Lanka certainly has a lot to offer. Sri Lankans are so hospitable and friendly. I have very much enjoyed the trip. I will do my best to strengthen the relationships between our two countries,” said the Vietnamese Ambassador.


Advance tickets for the luxury train service can be booked online or obtained from the counters at the Colombo Fort Railway Station. Booking ahead is recommended as the demand for seats is high on this short but scenic route.