Transport in Sri Lanka, how to travel around the country

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Sri Lanka has an extensive system of intercity and urban buses. Intercity buses are the main mode of intercity transportation in the country. Most intercity buses at the same time is urban or suburban, i.e., they can drive part of the route through the city. To buses to virtually any place in the country, albeit not always quickly and not direct. The main bus center of the country is Colombo. So if you don't know how to get to something directly, you can always drive to Colombo and then change the bus to the right place.

Read more about buses in Sri Lanka and how to use them, read here...


Коломбо, Шри-Ланка The most fashionable tuk-tuk in Colombo
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The main public transport throughout the country are tuk-tuks. The impression that the locals are much more willing and likely to use tuk-tuks than buses, because the prices for them are very low. For tourists, tuk-tuks are also the best way to move short distances, but prices for tourists is much higher than for local.

Tuk-tuks are metered without them. To use a tuk-tuk with a meter much more profitable, but not so easy to find Tucker, ready to drive tourists to the counter. They go to all sorts of tricks, assuring that the meter is not working, and offer the trip at a bargain price. Better in this case to find another tuk-tuk.

However, tuk-tuks with meters occur not everywhere, but only in major cities. When traveling at a bargain price Tucker initially always call rates at least twice as expensive than the local, and have a very hard bargain. If you do not know the price, we can offer the price in two times less than claimed and traded up. If you know the distance to the desired location, it is possible to calculate the approximate cost of the trip for bargaining based Maxim RS 50 (refer to the currency of Sri Lanka's exchange rate) per kilometer. However for very short trip, this calculation will not work, because it is usually less than 150 rupees tuk-Tucker won't even take off with a tourist. Be sure to negotiate the price in advance and only pay after the trip.

It should be borne in mind that tuk-tuks – the transport is not the safest and not always convenient. Obviously, they are not air-conditioned and dusty. In the tuk-tuk comfortably fit two people, but you can squeeze and four.

Common rent a tuk-tuk at the contract price for the whole day for a sightseeing tour. In this case, the negotiated price or depending on the route or time. Many tuk-tuks offer their own interesting places and routes to visit. However, Tucker found a huge number of rogues, who, under the pretext of cheap travel sites is starting to carry tourists to tame places (restaurants, jewelry factories and exhibitions, etc.), where they receive tourists for Commission. So don't too rely on their suggestions of routes.


Бюджетное такси в аэропорту Коломбо, Шри-Ланка Budget taxi at Colombo airport

Car taxis in Sri Lanka are not particularly common. To find cars only in major tourist cities and airports. Just to see the car-a taxi on the street is not easy, more often it must be booked in advance by phone (easier to take the help of the hotel staff, i.e. to ask to the front Desk to order). The fare is quite reasonable and corresponds roughly to the cost of travel in the Russian provincial towns.

There are taxis on the meter, and travel at a fixed price. Better for short trips use a taxi with a meter, but for long trips, like a trip to your resort from airport or Vice versa, it is better to use a fixed cost.

Recently Sri Lanka has a new budget Taxi budget Taxi. Small Indian-made car can accommodate up to three passengers and no Luggage, cost about 30 percent less than a regular taxi. There is only one but when using them: if you have huge suitcases, you are with them just not to get into such a car.

Air transport in Sri Lanka

Air transport in Sri Lanka is developed very poorly, and is not needed, because the country is very small. The country has only a few domestic airlines, but most of them offers Charter flights on small planes or helicopters. Regular flights are very few.

Here is the flag carrier of Sri Lanka and their websites:


In Sri Lanka there is a network of Railways and well-developed routes. The cost of moving is high. But "convenience" of movement of trains are still inferior to buses. First, to get far from at any place, and second, the trains go very often crowded, so you just have to hang on to the handrail. But to use the train as a tourist attraction in Sri Lanka is very worth it. We are talking about trains the Central highlands of Sri Lanka (Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Badulla), during a trip on which the eyes of travellers stunning scenery. If you still use the train on its route in Sri Lanka you can not refuse, it is highly recommended to book tickets, high-class, or tickets to a special tourist trains or wagons. Are these tickets in any way inexpensive, but provide much more comfort.

The schedule of all trains in Sri Lanka can be found on the official website of Railways

To purchase tickets in advance via the Internet or inexpensive commuter and local trains is not possible. But there are special tourist trains and wagons, which you can book on sites or

See more about trains in Sri Lanka and how to use them here...

Rent a car

The cost of renting a car in Sri Lanka starts from $ 30 a day (more discounts). If you have no experience and acquaintances on the island, it is best to rent a car from international car rental office, which you can do via the Internet. Not always the price includes unlimited mileage (on average 100 miles a day), and for the additional kilometers will have to pay extra. Insurance is included in the price. It is possible to rent a car in one location and return in another.

To rent a car in Sri Lanka legally no driver's license in its pure form, even international ones (those in the form of booklet), will not work. Sri Lanka does not recognize any law but their own. But for foreigners invented two options:

  • On the basis of your international rights (in the form of a booklet) to obtain the so-called endorsement (Endorsement by the Automobile Association (AA)). This document can be issued independently to Colombo, and can be done from your home by ordering this service from the rental company (about $ 20) by sending them a scan of your documents.
  • Another option is to obtain a temporary permit Temporary Sri Lankan Driving License for a period of 30 days on the basis of national/u (this is our plastic or old law) and certified translation. This procedure will have to be done independently to Colombo.

Given those challenges, as well as a rather unusual style of management on the roads, many tourists instead of self driving rent a car with driver. This service costs a little more, but saves you from many problems. In addition, many drivers act as guides and even conduct tours of the sights to look for a rental is not the rental offices, and travel agencies or via acquaintances.

And yet, driving in Sri Lanka is possible only when you turned 21.

Rent a motorbike (scooter)

Мотоцикл на пляже в Шри-Ланке

Rent motorbikes (scooters) in Sri Lanka is fairly common, but finding such a service is possible only in the most popular tourist areas on the coast. In the center of the country to rent a bike very difficult.

The rental price starts from $ 6 (RS 700) and reaches up to 10 per day. With the high price should bargain. Also be sure to ask for a discount if you take the bike for a few days: the longer the period the bigger the discount. Rental includes unlimited mileage and helmets.

With regard to driving licences, while officially Sri Lanka and does not recognize international and national driving licences of the new sample, the police are condescending. If you have in the new model and open category "A", you are in the helmet and never broke the rules, problems with the police most likely will not have that checked us (authors) repeatedly in practice. Just be confident, and provide all the necessary documents, and smile. Even if the police do not settle for this, the problem is solved on the spot small "fine". In addition to the motorcycle needs to be insured and proof of payment of taxes offered by the owner of the motorcycle. If these documents do not prove, the problem will be not only the owner, but you.

Read more about motorcycle rental in Sri Lanka read here...

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 - ...