Buses in Sri Lanka

General information about buses in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka there is a very extensive system of intercity and urban buses. Generally, buses are the main form of passenger transport in the country. Most intercity buses is the city, i.e. they can drive part of the route through the city. To buses to virtually 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 you just don't get on the bus. 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 by bus: 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.

How much is the fare

Местный автобус в Шри-Ланке

The fare is very low (even ridiculous) depends on the distance. Tickets not purchased in advance, payment is happening inside the bus conductors. The tickets are sometimes given, sometimes not. 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, "forget" to give change, but even with these "tattoos" the fare is more than acceptable. For example, travel from the city of Galle (Galle, Galle) to Unawatuna in December 2013, was worth taking into account "without putting" 25 rupees, and it is only 7.5 rubles (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) – 19 RS.

Schedule, time

Расписание автобусов на станции в Шри-Ланке

Almost all the buses in Sri Lanka do not go according to schedule (although maybe it is). They go very 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, the frequency decreases.

Night buses don't run (with a few 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", well, a little bit more.

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 is going there.

The first few rows of seats in front of the buses are 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
Elena 1207 26 may 2017, 00:28
Sorry, I bought the plane tickets there and back, November 11 in Colombo and 11 December from Colombo. Thought wrong, turns out I'm leaving for 31 days. A visa for 30 days, what should I do? ...
admin 26 may 2017, 06:13
Hello! You can extend your visa while in the country for another 60 days, it is done in Colombo. But, IMHO I would not bother was the more to pay for 1 day. With high probability on the road this one will not even pay attention; and if you draw the problem to try to solve on the spot. But this is my personal opinion, of course you decide. ...
Elena S. On 27 may 2017, 06:32
Hello! How to get from Anuradhapura to Mihintale? Approximately how much is the fare of science-tuk? With respect. ...
admin 27 may 2017, 13:28
Hello! Here we have everything about how to get to Mihintale - https://nashaplaneta.net/asia/srilanka/ ... e#dobratsa ...
наташа86 22 Nov 2017, 04:55
fly on tour package tour to Goa, is it possible to get to Goa to Sri Lanka, whether for earlier to do a visa? ...
admin 22 may 2017, 11:03
Hello! From India to Sri Lanka can only be reached as from any other country, any simplified procedure no including visa. So you need to buy tickets from India to Sri Lanka, and to issue an e-visa ETA. On the other way. ...
Paul M 15 Dec 2017, 00:15

I can't find a website where you can buy a ticket from Ella to Hikkaduwa on any train or bus.

Also wanted to ask about the local mobile operators. Necessary mostly the Internet. Suggest some kind of network? Just there to buy a SIM card (Colombo) and what the price would be for a package where a few minutes, but a lot of the Internet?

Thanks in advance ...
admin 15 Dec 2017, 09:49
Hello Paul! And you will not find such a site. First, there are no such websites, electronic ticketing on trains and buses in Sri Lanka does not exist; and secondly, from Ella to Hikkaduwa can be reached only with a change in Colombo. Generally you do not see this as a big problem, tickets for 2 and 3 class will be able to buy on the spot right before the departure. Timetable here https://eservices.railway.gov.lk/schedu ... on?lang=en If you definitely want to travel first class in observation car, then it is better to buy in advance the plot of Ella-Colombo, but not necessarily. Available in advance through special sites to the Agency with a large wrap, but it will not be an e-ticket and the paper that you get in the place.
On the Internet today, not to advise, has long not been there, but in General without problems to buy and use. If English little own in any shop with SIM cards explain what you need, you will be offered options. ...
Lauryn 15 Dec 2017, 17:33
Good evening!
Going to Sri Lanka in the second half of January. If I'm on the ETA, do not tell me when it's ready? (including the upcoming NG) Or is it better to do it at the airport on arrival? I read that this is possible. Is this true? Thank you for your answer. ...
admin 15 Dec 2017, 17:38
Do not see the advantages of what to do at the airport. First of all expensive and secondly have at the airport to spend more time, you need it. Make from home a few days everything will be ready. ...