Best way to travel around Sri Lanka

Handy Guide for Transport in Sri Lanka for Tourists

Transport in Sri Lanka for tourists is something that needs to be thoroughly researched before you plan your Sri Lanka itineraries. Both public and private sector modes of transport are available and depending on where you want to go, you can decide which is most suitable for you. Many tourists visiting Sri Lanka are unaware of the best way to travel around Sri Lanka. They end up paying extremely high rates on tuk tuks and other private modes of transport.

The public sector transport includes buses and trains, both of which are very affordable modes. Private sector transport is a little costlier such as tuk tuks, hired vehicles with drivers, self-drive rented vehicles and tour operators. Premium transport such as air taxi services are also offered by the private sector in Sri Lanka. Each of these modes of transport are explained in detail below and will help you in deciding the best way to travel around Sri Lanka.

Public Sector Transport Options

Bus :

Buses in Sri Lanka are managed by the Central Transport Board of Sri Lanka (CTB). They have implemented an uncountable number of buses on several routes across the island. Long distance buses usually follow a schedule while short distance bus routes in major cities, such as Colombo and Kandy, have buses operating 24 hours a day. For the convenience of tourists and locals alike, there are air-conditioned express buses also operating throughout the country. Main cities in Sri Lanka have central bus depots from which you can obtain further details regarding bus schedules.

Train :

The rail inter-city network in Sri Lanka is quite strong and connects major population centers in order to serve commuter traffic around the island. Operated by Sri Lanka Railways, the rail network is about 1450kms, with Fort – Colombo 01 being the main node.

Train services operate for passengers as well as goods, and express train options are available between major routes in the country. The railway department of Sri Lanka partners with the private sector to specifically cater to transport in Sri Lanka for tourists, offering a special compartment with air-conditioning, catering, television and Wi-Fi services. Train journeys also offer a unique view of the natural beauty that the country has to offer. Some of the best train journeys in Sri Lanka are those going towards hill stations such as Kandy, Ella and Nuwara Eliya.

See Also :

Best Places to Visit in Kandy

Best time to Visit Kandy

Kandy Itinerary

Places to Visit in Nuwara Eliya

Best Places to Visit in Hill Country

Private Sector Transport Options

Transport in Sri Lanka for Tourists

Tuk Tuk

Also known as auto rickshaws, these 3 wheeled vehicles are quite a thriller to travel in. With both sides open to fresh air, your view as you travel around the city remains absolutely clear. Standard tuk tuks can only accommodate three adults while the slightly larger ones can fit in four adults. Each auto rickshaw has its own meter so there is no fare bargaining and prices are fixed. In rural areas however, tuk tuks usually don’t have built-in meters and hence the fare has to be decided before the ride begins. 3 wheelers are the best way to travel around in Sri Lanka if you have to get somewhere urgently, provided the distance is not more than 10-15 kms at the most. PickMe and Online Cabs are a couple of private organizations that have digitalized their entire system. Now you can book a tuk tuk simply by downloading an app which will identify your location and send you the closest available vehicle.


Uber, Online Cabs and PickMe also have taxi services in a choice of mini cars, sedans and vans. Taxis are a good option for those looking for a car and driver in Sri Lanka and offer the comfort of air conditioned transport in Sri Lanka for tourists and locals. All you have to do is get into the vehicle and provide them with your destination. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

Self Drive rented vehicles

There are many transport agencies that rent out vehicles as a mode of transport in Sri Lanka for tourists, particularly for those who are on a road trip. You can pick your choice of vehicle and you have the freedom to drive to any part of the country at your own time and pace. With the help of Google Maps, self-drive is probably one of the best ways to travel around in Sri Lanka.

Tour operators

When planning your holiday in Sri Lanka, you would probably get in touch with a travel agency to prepare your Sri Lanka itineraries. These tour operators also offer private transport in Sri Lanka for tourists. Depending on the number of passengers, they will offer comfortable luxury vehicles for you along with a driver who will act as a guide as he drives you around the country. This is undoubtedly the best way to travel around Sri Lanka if you want the convenience of simply getting into a vehicle and enjoying your ride to the next destination.

See Also :

5 Sri Lanka Itinerary Ideas to Inspire you

Best Places to Visit in Sri Lanka

Best time to Visit Sri Lanka

Best Areas to Stay in Sri Lanka

Air Taxi

Enjoy a unique experience of observing Sri Lanka by air and avail the pricey, yet luxurious services of Sri Lanka air taxi offered by a variety of privately owned companies. For long distances such as Colombo – Batticaloa, Kandy, Jaffna, Hambantota, etc, not only is this the fastest mode of transport in Sri Lanka for tourists but it is also an unbelievably scenic ride. Air taxi schedules and more information are available on company websites.

How we can help planning your travel options in Sri Lanka

We have great experience in advising clients about what is the best way to travel around in Sri Lanka. We entertain tourists from UK, USA, Canada, Europe, Thailand, Singapore, Switzerland, Africa, India, Dubai and many more countries. Simply get in touch with us for planning your holiday in Sri Lanka and we will provide you with suitable transport options for your journey across the pearl of the Indian Ocean.