Traveling in Sri Lanka gives everyone an amazing experience as it is a beautiful picturesque country. Especially hill country situated in the center of the island is really interesting with breathtaking views of mountains, waterfalls and tea fields with greenery stretching as far as the eye can see. Luckily anyone can explore Sri Lanka’s stunning scenery with ease through the great public transport network spread over island-wide. Public transport in Sri Lanka can open your travels to a whole range of new experiences all whilst saving you money as you travel the country and so it’s very easy to use.
The public transport system is not only a great way to save money but also it gives you an insight into the daily lives of locals around you. Sometimes you’ll find yourself some elderly ladies deep in conversation or young men or women who are on their daily traveling to work or groups of school children with unlimited chatting and laughing. You don’t need to be fearful or nervous in using public transport in Sri Lanka as if you couldn’t find the exact place you should go. If anything troublesome happens you can directly ask from a local or the conductor or driver of the vehicle you’re travelling. Sri Lankans are incredibly polite and friendly, so feel free to ask anything from them, they’ll definitely give you a solution to your problem. Taking public transport in Sri Lanka is very simple. Once you’ve taken a couple of journeys, you’ll feel at ease and will be able to easily navigate the country with its great network of buses and trains or any other public transport service.
Major Public Transport Services in Sri Lanka
Public buses in Sri Lanka is budget-friendly and is the only alternative to traveling by train. Local buses go to most places, including villages outside main towns. Bus fares vary depending on your route and the distance but still very reasonable price. Buses run from the very early hours until darkness – the same way most things seem to operate in Sri Lanka. Overnight buses also exist within the capitals and main cities in Sri Lanka. Sometimes you may need to take more than one bus to reach your final destination. The interiors of Sri Lankan buses are beautifully decorated with lights, posters of Buddha and decorations. With this, expect very loud Sri Lankan music for the entire journey, as well as music videos, is there is a TV on the bus. Though Sri Lanka is known as a tropical country, inside the buses don’t get too warm as the windows are always open so that it helps to let in fresh air from the outside to keep a comfortable temperature.
There are two kinds of public buses in Sri Lanka such as government (SLTB) which is red in color and private which may have any color or name which is mentioned in the outside of the bus in huge letters. These two types not much difference for the passengers but the thing is SLTB buses tend to follow a timetable more strictly while others do not. Furthermore, in the private sector, there is a gliding scale of speeds/types/prices with as many types such as; Normal bus, Express bus, Semi-luxury bus and AC bus.
Train journeys in Sri Lanka is something you shouldn’t miss. They offer some phenomenal breathtaking experiences and are the cheapest mode of long distance transportation in the country. The country has a great rail network which is much more reliable and affordable. Travelling by train is also one of the best ways to see the country, especially in the hill country as you will experience the endless greenery mountains and tea or any other plantations throughout the journey. The trip between Kandy and Ella is considered to be one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world, and also ticket prices available from as from very little prices.
Sri Lankan trains typically have Reserved First Class, Reserved Second Class and Reserved Third Class carriages. Whichever you decide upon will influence the level of comfort for your journey. There is little information about the difference between classes mentioned in the stations, so it will be more useful to have an understanding before arriving to buy tickets. Not every train will have First Class carriages and the trains on the Colombo – Galle line only have Second and Third Class carriages.
The main advantage of paying more for 1st class seats is that all tickets include a seat reservation. Unfortunately, the majority of train services in Sri Lanka don’t actually offer a 1st class carriage. In 2nd class, while some seats can be reserved in 2nd class, some tickets are sold without a reserved seat. Seats in 2nd class aren’t as comfy as 1st class, but are more comfy than 3rd class. 3rd class is the cheapest option to travel in a train. Seat reservations are not possible in here.
Tuk Tuk or Taxi
Tuk tuks or taxis are alternatives to public transport in Sri Lanka. Normally having a tuk tuk or taxi can be much quicker option, but alternatively will cost more. But this will be the most
valuable option when you’re in a rush to go somewhere. Three-wheelers known in some countries of Asia as tuk tuks, are a real novelty in Asia and you have to take one at some point during your trip to Sri Lanka. Tuk tuks are basically a three wheeled truck with motorbike-like handlebars to steer, accelerate and brake. In Sri Lanka they come in all colors. Only some are metered (mostly in Colombo), but over longer distances their prices are comparable to those of three-wheelers, and they provide more comfort and security.
Sri Lankan taxis are common in all sizable towns, and even some villages. Hotels and restaurants can usually get you a ride for a modest cost. In Colombo you can count on taxis dispatched via apps such as Uber. However, taxis are more comfortable and faster but costlier than tuk-tuks.