How to Get Around Sri Lanka for Cheap

Your different options for making your way around this beautiful island.

How to Get Around Sri Lanka for Cheap


I remember when I first jumped on a bus from the Colombo to Kandy- about 4 hours- and paid less than $1! Transportation is so cheap in this country that you barely even need to factor it into your budget. Just make sure that you have small notes with you since they don’t like to give change.

When researching Colombo I couldn’t find a lot of information about bus routes ect. However, when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there is pretty much a bus going anywhere that you want to go. The buses leave very frequently, I can’t remember ever having to wait for more than 5 minutes for a bus to come. You simply leave you bag at the front of the bus with the driver and then take a seat (if there is one) until you reach your destination.

How to Get Around Sri Lanka for Cheap
It’s rare that you will ever find a bus as empty as this


The train works a little bit differently than the buses since there are only about 4 a day and they can be very crowded. Since they are so crowded it doesn’t actually matter if you purchase 1st, 2nd, or 3rd class because none guarantee you a seat. The only way to really make sure that you get a seat is to purchase the most expensive ticket (about $16 compared to $1) in the observation deck.

Contrary to common sense, the trains actually take longer. However, they offer more scenic journeys. The train ride from Kandy to Ella is famous for being beautiful. Read here how I made that jouney into one of the most memorable moments of my trip.

How to Get Around Sri Lanka for Cheap


Tuk-tuks are EVERYWHERE. You will have a tuk-tuk- driver pulling over to you every 5 minutes asking where you are going and if you need a ride. After about a week this can get very annoying. However, you don’t need to worry about getting lost because you know that wherever you wander off to there will always be a tuk-tuk to bring you back.

Whenever I was in a city they were usually small enough that a tuk-tuk wasn’t necessary. Occasionally, you mind find them handy for when you arrive in a new city and need to find your accommodation. I never had to pay more than $2 for a ride.

How to Get Around Sri Lanka for Cheap


A lot of the times there will be small towns/cities near enough to each other than you can bike to a different city for a day to explore it. For example my friend and I biked from  Mirissa beach past the next beach down, Weligama, where we stopped for lunch. Then we continued on to more beaches along the coast.

In Tissamaharama we used bikes to explore the area and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my trip.

A bike can be a great way to go out and explore the road less traveled.

How to Get Around Sri Lanka for Cheap

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How to Get Around Sri Lanka for Cheap

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