There are many mode of transportation in Sri Lanka such as public busses, trains, taxies
and three wheelers are the most common means of transport for the public. Public
transportation is based mainly on the road network which is centered in the Colombo.
These are linked to all major tourist locations and cities such as Anuradhapura, Kandy,
Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, etc,. The widespread railway network largely a legacy of British
colonial rule and is less appropriate for the present requirements of the transportation.
Vehicles move on the left hand side of the road and there are speed limits according to
traffic and locations. Generally for small vehicles such as cars and vans the speed limit is
56 km per/hour and for motor bicycles it is 72 km per/hour in many areas.
Anybody who wishes to know about road rules and road signs called ‘The Highway
Codes’ can easily get from the ‘Automobile Association of Ceylon’.
The highways and roadways spread throughout the Colombo are in good condition and
being upgraded frequently by the government. As there are many method of
transportation available for visitors to get around the country, public transport system in
this small island leaves you with plenty of options to choose.
Sri Lanka’s national carrier is ‘Sri Lankan’ Airlines and there are many international
flights connecting the island to various destinations. All the international travelers arrive
to the Bandaranaika International Airport, located 22 kilometers north of the Colombo as
this is the only port of entry to Sri Lanka for the international air passengers.
Sri Lankan Airlines offers excellent service of Seaplane journeys for many locations
within the country, such as Galle, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, etc,. These are really worth for
photographers, as they can get a bird's eye view of the island. Main advantage is, it saves
your time to get to a destination than using the road transportation.
Also Aero Lanka offers a best domestic flight service from Colombo - Ratmalana, Jaffna
This is the main transportation system in the country. The average speed limit within the
cities is 50 to 60 km per hour, but it may up to 80 to 85 km per hour on highways. For
tourists who are holding international driving license can drive on these roads without
The cheapest transportation mode is public busses and trains. But the most convenience
and easiest way is three wheelers. Three wheelers are government approved
transportation system in the country. These three wheeler taxies do not have meters to
charge according to the distance, therefore please negotiate with the driver before get in.
The thumb rule for bargaining is the rate of 50 to 60 rupees per kilometer; this will help
you if you are aware of the distance of your journey.
These are available for self drive and with drivers. It is recommended for the tourists who
are not familiar with right hand side driving to go with the option of car with a driver.
Also it is advisable to rent a chauffer-driven car or coach. These are easily available
facilities will help up to double up as your guide to the land, its culture and people. Most
of these vehicles are air conditioned and offer a comfortable ride.
Public bus transport in Sri Lanka ranks as one of the cheapest in the world. There are two
type of bus service, Government own buses and Private buses. Government buses (CTB –
Ceylon Transport Board) are comparatively cheaper than private buses. Express bus
services, which are little more expensive than the normal buses offer a more comfortable
and faster means of transportation. These are fully air conditioned and run within major
Public transport buses are bit crowded during office rush hours (morning 7.30 am and
evening around 4.30 pm). However it may cost you about 200 rupees ($1.5) to get half
way around the country by using the general public buses.
For more information about bus routes and timings,
Central Transport Board – 009411 2 581120 / 0094112 328081
The rail way network covers all the major cities and most of the famous tourist places
across the country. This network is a legacy of British rule. This is very picturesque when
travelling to hill country. Especially the Badulla Nanu Oya rail line gets attractive to most
of the tourists due to the winding tracks along the mountains. There is special
Observation saloon carriage fixed to the end of the train for tourists, to be able to witness
the stunning view of the hills as the train makes its way around gorgeous waterfalls and
verdant tea gardens.
These long trip trains offer air-conditioned coaches, restaurant, sleeping berths, own
smoking lounge and modern toilets. These are typically more comfortable than the other