Considering that the total surface of Sri Lanka is about 65'000 km2, so a bit bigger than Switzerland, we could say that distances are not really vasts and getting around the island is cheap and easy.
First of all, get ready to experience local transports, as domestic flights are limited and expensive in this country, formerly known as Serendib or Ceylon. Public transports available are train and buses, which are cheap but most of the time crowded. Other ways to explore the country are on a bike, a rental car, even a three-wheeler…let’s discover some practical information about them!
When you think of Sri Lanka, one of the most typical images that comes to mind is a train, traveling through a jungle-like landscape. Trains are the most comfortable way to cross the country via public transport, compared to buses: they are actually slow, but the journey is more relaxed and you can find many information in English. The national railways are run by Sri Lankan Railways.
There is nothing more colorful, messy, loud and typical than a bus ride in Sri Lanka. You can find snacks and gifts, locals and tourists, all packed in a small bus. Bus routes cover about 80% of the nation’s 90’000km of roads. There are both public buses or buses from private companies which offer, at a higher price, a deluxe service. Don’t forget to buy a ticket for your bag, as usually luggage space is limited or nonexistent.
The best way to explore both historical sites and the less crowded roads of the Northern and Eastern part of the country, is to rent a bike. Enjoy the breeze and get lost in the natural landscape! You can rent a bike even in hotels and guesthouses all around the country.
Are you planning to reach specific off-road destinations and explore the country independently? In Sri Lanka, hiring a car and a driver is quite common, even if it is the less environmentally friendly way to travel. Be conscious about your footprint!
Even if we all love hitchhiking around, we ask you to be extremely conscious about it. Public transports are very cheap and they offer a direct way to get in touch with local culture. Do you still want to hitchhike? We highly suggest you to always keep your eyes open for potential scams.
In case of need, taxis are available in most towns and some villages. Most of the time they have a fixed price per km. We suggest to ask the driver for the cost of the ride before getting in. Usually, hotels and restaurant are a good channel to find taxis.
In Asia, these vehicles are called tuk-tuks, bajajs or autorickshaws and are a very common way to get around. Also in Sri Lanka, three-wheelers are waiting on every corner: take the opportunity to exercise your bargaining skills before you get in and be sure to walk few minutes outside of touristic sites before choosing your driver.
Whichever your chosen transport may be, Sri lanka is a place to explore: with countless natural parks and historical sites that testify its ancient history, the island is awaiting for you! Enjoy your journey!