Buses in Sri Lanka

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General information about buses in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka there is a very extensive system of intercity and urban buses. This is the main form of passenger transport in the country for locals and a great way to cheaply travel around the country and resorts for tourists. Most intercity buses is the city, i.e. they can drive part of the route through the city. To get them at almost any place in the country.

Unfortunately, in some cases, to travel by bus is not very comfortable because of overcrowding, especially during peak hours. Sometimes even you just don't get to the salon. It is also very difficult to move inside a crowded bus, because the aisles between the rows of seats are very narrow. And, be ready for this extreme when traveling: local drivers are real "Schumacher" and can easily overtake everyone, even the tuk-tuks and motorcycles. Overall, it's not very safe mode of transport.

The country ply red state and blue private buses. On one route, usually work and there prices are the same. Red buses are older and less comfortable, but the locals prefer and recommend to use them as they are considered more secure.

How much is the fare

Местный автобус в Шри-Ланке

The fare is very low, depending on the distance. Tickets not purchased in advance, payment is happening inside the bus conductors. The tickets are sometimes given, sometimes not, but theoretically should be given always. You need to tell the conductor your destination (city, district, some well-known place), and he will tell you the fare. In some cases, the conductor to take tourists the cost is several times higher than the local, or "forget" to give change. Such cases are rare, but even with these "tattoos" the fare is more than acceptable. For example, travel from the city of Galle (Galle, Galle) to Unawatuna in 2019 worth taking into account "without putting" 30 rupees (12.21 RUB, refer to the currency of Sri Lanka, the exchange rate). Also, for example, travel from dehiwala-mount Lavinia (Mt Lavinia) in Colombo to the city centre of Colombo Fort (a distance of almost 13 kilometers) – 20 rupees.

Schedule, time

Расписание автобусов на станции в Шри-Ланке

In General, when planning journeys on buses is to understand such a common thing during the day and can be reached by bus from any part of country to any other, possibly with transfers, you only need to plan the route and leave early. To find out exactly how best to go ask for help to the local people, it is better to ask several. Also at the bus stations of many major cities have information Windows, where they will tell you all about routes and connections, it is only necessary to raise the question of where you want to go. Moreover, it is better to doing the previous day before the trip, because on the rare destinations flights can leave early in the morning, such as 3 or 4 am.

Almost all the buses in Sri Lanka do not go according to schedule (although maybe it is). I go often, even on long routes, but trying to catch the bus on time – a waste of time. You more time to spend on figuring out this issue than it waiting at the station. Buses daytime buses run very often, especially in the daytime. In the evening after dark (this is after 18 hours), the frequency decreases.

Night buses do not go with rare exceptions, for example – airport bus to Colombo. Some routes continue to work until midnight, but it is not to count on it, and it is better to complete all of their moving around town or between cities to 20 hours.

What are the different buses

Фирменный автобус в Шри-Ланке

Buses can be simple and quick. The latter are often air-conditioned, first ever. Express trains are faster and cost about twice as expensive as simple. Distinguishable often can size: is a small bus like our "Gazelles" or a little more. The Express trains do not go across the country, but mainly in the Western and South-Western coast.

There is a separate category of buses that can be called as our branded buses. They go on the very popular long-distance routes, including to Colombo airport. They are more comfortable and air-conditioned, they only seated, as opposed to any other (including multiples) who stuffed people like barrels of herring. The prices are also very reasonable. For example, the fare on this bus from the bus station Negombo to Colombo for a distance of almost 40 kilometers an hour and a half in December 2013 cost 195 rupees (about 50 rubles).


Вот такими желтыми табличками обозначаются маршруты на автобусных станциях

Buses in Sri Lanka are numbered. Continuous numbering throughout the country, i.e. there are no different routes in different cities with the same number. Even on the windshield there is information about the starting and ending point of the route, which is quite often duplicated in English. International buses are specified in the city, and for city buses usually specified area.

To understand all the intricacies of difficult routes. But you can always use the help of locals or jigs that will answer, whether to the right place for the bus. Feel free to go to the first stop the bus and call the place where you need: driver, conductor or passengers will answer you. Most importantly, correctly and clearly to name the place that you need. Just don't expect everyone knows the name of the shopping Mall or hotel that you need, so it is important to know at least the name of the city or district.

How to use the buses. Stations and stops

Автобусная остановка в Шри-Ланке

Buses strictly on the stops, which are marked either just marks, or are fully equipped. Entry and exit is sometimes produced almost on-the-go: the bus slows down, not completely stop while the passengers jump out and swing by.

Intercity buses start and end their routes at the bus stations, which are in every major city or area. Sometimes these stations represent a huge building, and some where just a large Parking lot. But the principle is everywhere the same: you come into the station, find your desired bus, and just sit in it. There are no cash registers and pre-bookings are not required, all payable to the bus conductor. To find the right bus at the bus station, you can either walk and see the information on the signs at Parking places where they are, and a small station you just need to ask the bus drivers or passers-by where the bus there and then.

The first few rows of seats in front of the cabin is designed for pregnant women and religious leaders (monks), what are warning signs-stickers on the Windows or the ceiling of the bus. But if neither the one nor the other in the bus no, you can safely take, and if necessary to make room for them.

Comments / recent posts on the topic on the forum
admin 10 November, 2019

What is the link? ...
Светлана123456 15 January, 2020
The most important thing is not specified in the description - distance from the airport. ...
admin 15 January, 2020

Hello Svetlana! Thanks for the comment, but it is not quite clear what the distance, if you update, be sure to add. ...
mextto 28 January, 2020
Good afternoon. Going in February to Kalpitiya in the hotel's LAGOON CHALETS DEV SETH. Do you have any info on this hotel. Unfortunately couldn't find anything in Russian. Want to hear the opinion of our countrymen. Thank you ...
admin 28 January, 2020

Well on booking this hotel the reviews are very well quoted, so all is good. Only place there is a real wilderness in the square. ...
Владимир123344545 February 2, 2020

need an international driver's license. if the mind, somewhere else, must assure. I rented a car, stopped, showed the right and had no problems. a moped with no problems, if chase had just called around. if not And prepare a money. If stopped by a cute smile, don't be rude, pretend you don't understand. Rights without categories And it is better not to show at all. Agree on the fine on the spot, the size of which depends on your abania and the greed of the COP. And generally be careful on the roads, Beware of the BUSES!!!! ...
admin 3 February, 2020
Polynkin 8 February, 2020

We are currently staying here and your hotel next to us! The hotel is great! Better than our 10 times) with the house on the lagoon for kiters, you can walk on the ocean-about 300 meters)) ...
Alexey Kiev 8 February, 2020
My wife was in Ceylon about the year 2012... in Kalutara.
Four stars - with Breakfast-dinner, beautiful kitchen and even a piano-pianist. From wandering through the territory of the lizards and chipmunks in the bushes. NO MONKEYS!!!
The tour was taken at the reception - minibus with air-condition, four (together with us) tourists 10 seats in the cabin. Visit tea plantations, stone Siguiri, different monasteries, overnight in Kandy, the Royal Palace, Botanical garden, elephant trekking and extreme return in the night in a hotel during a tropical storm and flooding!!! The guide was our driver.
Amazing culture, tragic history of the Royal dynasty, charming nature, unique Souvenirs from craftsmen, gold people, almost understandable for Ukrainians Sanskrit.
Of the shortcomings - a problem with alcohol... not even beer to buy hard liquor only in the supermarket and very expensive, local landmark, home purchased in Duty - Red Rum - muck rare!!! ...
admin 9 February, 2020

Alex, I disagree about the beer and alcohol. No problem everything can be found, you just need the right look, there are restrictions of course. All about alcohol I wrote in a separate article, be sure to read all tourists before the trip on SHL - https://nashaplaneta.net/asia/srilanka/art-shri-lanka-alkogol-i-cigarety. ...