Travelling Around Sri Lanka
Travelling around Sri Lanka doesn’t have to be boring and can be part of your experience of seeing the country. Whether it’s taking the scenic train ride from Kandy to Ella or speeding through the hills on a local bus there is something for everyone.
There are three common types of transport which are available from place to place. These are taxi/private mini bus, tuk tuk and local bus. Sometimes you will be able to catch the train also.
Each have their pros and cons and which one you choose will be different for everyone. If you are time rich and money poor then the local buses are the best option. But if you have limited time and a good budget then you can go for the more convenient taxi/private minibus.
It pays to shop around and the first price is never the real price so don’t be scared of bartering as this could save you a lot of money.
An example of some prices are as follows in September 2017
Pasikuda to Uppuveli on the east coast:
Private car- 2 hours, 10,000 rupees (£50) per vehicle. Will include air con and you’re guaranteed a seat
Tuk tuk- 2.5 hours, 5,000-6,000 rupees (£25-£30) per vehicle. No air con but the sides will be open to keep you cool. Guaranteed a seat can fit max of two people with bags.
Local bus- 3 hours, 168 rupees (£0.85) per person. No air con but the windows and doors will be left open to keep you cool. Can be very busy depending on times and journeys. Not always guaranteed a seat but generally you can get one. (bare in mind if your accommodation isn’t near a bus stop you will have to get a tuk tuk to the bus stop so this will be a cost to take into account)
In some places semi luxurious buses are available which are smaller and have air con. They will usually be double the price of a local bus and you will have to pay an extra fare for your baggage. But they are still an affordable way of travelling with some extra comfort.
If you are limited on time and money then a good way of maximising your time is starting your journey early. If you set off on a local bus around 6-7am. You can sleep on the bus there and you should get to your destination at a reasonable time.
Getting on a local bus is a fantastic experience rubbing shoulders with the locals whilst Sri Lankan music blares out of the speakers. The wind rushing through your hair and the driver with his foot to the floor most of the way.