Sri Lanka has a well-connected national network of roads consisting about 116,113 kms. Almost all the roads are metalled and/or carpeted and they cover all the cities and places of tourist interest. Therefore, any part of the island can be reached within a few hours. Driving in Sri Lanka is on the left.
A variety of bus services are readily available in Sri Lanka: normal, intercity, semi-luxury and luxury buses in which you can travel to any part of Sri Lanka.
Luxury buses operate from the Central Bus Stand in Colombo to selected destinations such as Galle, Kandy, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya, Jaffna, Trincomalee etc. The highway buses to Galle start from Maharagama junction. These buses are air-conditioned with comfortable seats and provide entertainment to the passengers. They could also accommodate a fair amount of luggage.
Air-conditioned intercity buses travel from one city to another with limited stops to make the journey fast and comfortable to the passenger. In these buses only a limited space is available for luggage. Intercity bus service is available in almost all the major cities of Sri Lanka.
Operated by both public and private sector, Normal buses that are non A/C with fewer facilities stopping at every halt to pick and drop passengers, have an island-wide coverage. Most of the Sri Lankan people use these buses for daily travelling from one city to another. They are operated from morning to late night.
Sri Lanka’s rail network is operated by Sri Lanka Railways, linking Colombo with almost all the popular tourist destinations and the other populous cities across the island. A number of train services are available: Inter-City Trains with unreserved 3rd Class, reserved 2nd Class and Observation Saloon seats, offer express service between main cities such as Colombo-Kandy, Colombo-Batticaloa; Fast Passenger Trains with unreserved 2nd and 3rd Class seats, reserved 2nd and 3rd Class seats, reserved 1st Class Observation Saloon, and reserved 1st Class Sleeping Berths, offer semi-express service between Colombo and other major outstations. Reserved 1st Class Air-conditioned service is offered only on some routes. A Deluxe Coach with TV, wi-fi, catering etc. is also available for groups of 20 — 35.
There are a number of airlines currently operating domestic flights within Sri Lanka offering scheduled flights, scenery flights as well as charter flights. In Sri Lanka are about 10 domestic airports covering the whole island, the Ratmalana airport being the main domestic airport. A lot of seaplanes are also operated from Colombo to many cities across the island.
A lot of hot air ballooning flights are available in Sri Lanka with world’s top quality balloons and well-trained balloon pilots. Tourists can enjoy balloon excursions drifting over villages, jungles, rivers, lakes etc while watching the amazing beauty of the island.
Your travel agent/tour operator would provide chauffeur-driven or self-driven cars/vans or else coaches according to your preference.
The rates for A/C coaches depend on the capacity, make and condition of the coach. Mini coaches have a 26-seat capacity and larger coaches have a 40-seat capacity. Non A/C coaches are cheaper. Any type of coaches can without any hassle be hired from rent-a-car service providers.
Airport transfers in Sri Lanka are handled by travel agents. Fare for transfers from the airport to Colombo city is approximately from Rs 2,500 onwards with A/C for only four persons. But some operators offer cheaper rates.
Radio-controlled taxi services (Call-up cabs) that are safe and provide value for money are available in Colombo and the suburbs. The prices are metered. There is no call-up charge. These cabs could be hired for long distance travels too.
Most suited for short distance journeys, these taxis are readily available anywhere in the island and a tuk tuk can accommodate only three persons. Most of them are metered. If not metered, it is recommended that a fare be negotiated before starting the journey.
Self-drive A/C cars could be hired at rates ranging from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 per day depending on the make of the car and the number of days required. A refundable deposit ranges from Rs 20,000 to Rs 35,000. Some rent-a-car companies do not charge a deposit.