Getting Around Sri Lanka

There are many excellent transportation alternatives available for moving around Sri Lanka.

In Sri Lanka, trains, buses, and tuk- tuks are by far the most common modes of transportation.

The easiest method to visit Sri Lanka and save money if you’re planning a trip there on a tight budget is to travel around using the bus and train networks.

However, a lot of tourists also choose to hire a driver to show them about the nation.

Trian Travel

From Colombo, trains depart for all the major locations, including Kandy, Galle, Trincomolee, and Jaffna.

At every train station, tickets can be reserved up to a month in advance. Alternatively, you can take a risk on the day by purchasing an unreserved ticket that goes on sale an hour before each trip.

The railway schedules are available online here.

We advise buying your ticket online through an agent like for major routes like Kandy to Ella because reserved tickets do sell out.

Bus Travel

The real workhorses of the nation are buses. Buses are the most affordable way to travel around Sri Lanka. They go everywhere, including remote mountain villages, small towns, and cities. However, they can also become very congested.

Buses may be quicker than trains for travel on major routes like those connecting Colombo to Kandy, Negombo, and Galle.

But in the Central Highlands, trains are preferable, especially for the picturesque train ride from Kandy to Ella, as buses frequently take much longer (and the roads are much windier).

The only times you should steer clear of using public transportation in Sri Lanka are during each month’s Poya (full moon) and during religious holidays.

Cars With Private Drivers In Sri Lanka

Hiring a driver in Sri Lanka is a very popular choice for traveling around Sri Lanka, particularly for first time travelers to Sri Lanka, families and those short on time. They are probably the best way to travel around Sri Lanka with young children.

Hiring drivers in Sri Lanka is very easy. You can choose to hire one driver who will take you through your whole journey or you can organize a driver (often through your accommodation) as required to take you point to point.

Hiring a driver in Sri Lanka gives you complete control over your time and schedule. But it is by far the most expensive option. Prices are dependent on the distance and typically ranging from around $60 – $100 USD per day.

Local Trip By Tuk Tuk

In Sri Lanka, taking a tuk tuk is a must-do activity! The ideal way to get around town when sightseeing, when leaving railway stations with luggage, or for short trips between towns is on a three-wheeler.

Two people, two children, and no luggage can all fit in a single tuk tuk. A car is preferable for groups of three or more people with luggage.

The cost will vary according to the distance and your negotiating skills. Use the PickMe app & Uber  to reserve and pay in the bigger cities.

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