Agent Tools & Info - Asia - Sri Lanka - Getting Around

GETTING AROUND SRI LANKA

Getting around Sri Lanka can be time-consuming as many roads are narrow, winding and not in the best of conditions.

Public transport by train and bus are quite cheap, but can be quite slow and often delayed. Domestic air travel will cut travel time considerably, allowing clients to see more of the country, but schedules are limited. The most popular and conveniant way of travel is to hire a car and driver.

TRAIN

Sri Lanka Railways runs the nation's railways, there are few overnight or all-day journeys to contend with.

There are 3 main rail lines:

South Rail Line - From Colombo through Hikkaduwa, Galle, Mirissa, and south to Matara city, a scenic route that runs along the coast. 

East Rail Line - From Colombo to the Hill Country of Kandy, Hatton, Nanu Oya (the closest train station to Nuwara Eliya), Ella, and ends in Badulla. The route goes through the green and lush jungle, mountain, and tea plantations of the area and is considered one of the world's most beautiful train journeys.

North Rail Line - From Colombo through Anuradhapura all the way up to Jaffna. The rail line branches off to Trincomalee or to Polonnaruwa & Batticaloa. 

Majority of trains feature second and third class carriages. Second class may be a little less overcrowded & offer a slightly more comfortable ride and can be reserved. Selected trains offer first class carriages, seats on inter-city trains and observation car on hill country trains, air conditioned carriages on select services and sleeping berths on overnight services.

Trains are slow and can often be delayed, so relying on them can be risky if passengers are needing to be in a destination to meet a tour or connection. 

BUS

80% of Sri Lanka's road network is covered by a bus route and the most popular type of transport of local Sri Lankan travellers. Most buses have no air conditioning and often overcrowded with travelers standing in the aisle, with little or no room for luggage. 

The government run buses are the Central Transport Board (CTB) and Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB usually painted red) run both long distance and local services. There are also a number or privately run bus companies whose vehicles are not as old and the intercity buses on major routes offers air conditioning. On the newly completed Southern Expressway between Colombo and Galle, has seen the introduction of express services on fully equipped air conditioned coaches.

CAR

Driving in Sri Lanka requires constant attention to the road. It’s acceptable for a bus, car or truck to overtake in the face of oncoming smaller road users,  many drivers overtake on blind corners or in other dangerous places. 

Hiring a private car and driver is the most popular and comfortable way to get around Sri Lanka. This offers flexibility and with a licensed chauffer-guide certified by the Sri Lankan Tourist Board, the driver will be able to awnser any questions passengers might have during their journey. Travelling by car offer guests an opportunity to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery, pass through local villages, discover unique sights and maybe come across an elephant or two crossing the road. 

AIR

Cinnamon Air offers a domestic air taxi service, operating from the Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport, offering a mix of scheduled flights to 8 key destinations including Kandy, Trincomalee and Hambantota. Charter flights to 6 other destinations such as Jaffna, Nuwara Eliya and Bentota are also available upon request. For guests wanting to discover all the sights that Sri Lanka has to offer, air travel is a quick, fast option.