Local Transportation in Sri Lanka

Allison Sodha

Last week, I received an email inquiry regarding local transportation in Sri Lanka. A Sodha Traveler, Richard, is traveling to the Emerald Isle in November on an independent itinerary. He asked our team, "What are the best options for traveling between destinations? Are buses available and safe? Is train travel suggested?" Here are Sodha Travel's suggestions for local transportation in Sri Lanka:

Train: Trains are the cheapest and perhaps the best way to see Sri Lanka. Trains are available to all major tourist towns, but few offer first-class or air-conditioned carriages. An inter-city express service connects Colombo with Kandy. Train services to Jaffna have been closed.

Bus: Sri Lanka has an extensive network of roads reaching all parts of the island. Buses plying on these roads connect all parts of the country. The two main types of buses in Sri Lanka are the Central Transport Board buses and
private buses. Although affordable, be ready to jostle with the crowds!

Auto Rickshaw in Sri Lanka

Taxi and Auto Rickshaw: You can avail taxis in most destinations, though it is difficult to find metered-taxis in smaller towns. It is advisable to discuss the price before departing for your destination. The three-wheelers or autorickshaws are found in all areas of the country. In tourist spots as well as outside the railway stations and bus stops, three wheelers are easily available. The rule of negotiating the price implies itself here, too.

Private Vehicles for Hire: Private vehicles can be hired for the day or a proposed itinerary. Although more costly compared to other modes of transport, a private vehicle offers more comfort and flexibility. Depending on the destination and season, A/C or non-A/C vehicles are available.

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Topics: Transportation, Sri Lanka

Allison Sodha

Written by Allison Sodha

As the President of Sodha Travel and author of Go! Girl Guides India, Allison has spent almost two decades exploring South Asia. She has a passion for creating experiences fueled by a deeper understanding of local communities.