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Sri Lanka Transport
Sri Lanka Transport

Transportation in Sri Lanka is based mainly on the road network which is centered on Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo. There is also an extensive railway network, but it is largely a legacy of British colonial rule and is less appropriate for the modern transport requirements of the country


Roads are the backbone of the transport sector in the country. They are vital for the movement of people and goods and play an important role in integrating the country, facilitating economic growth, and ultimately reducing poverty. National roads carry over 70 percent of the traffic in Sri Lanka.

Roads are extremely important for the large majority of Sri Lanka’s people who live in the villages - some 65 percent of the country’s population.


Sri Lanka has an extensive network of roads reaching to all parts of the island. Buses plying on these roads connect all parts of the country. Two main types of buses in Sri Lanka are: Central Transport Board buses and private buses.

Rental cars

Most hotels recommend specifically rented cabs, which usually turn out cheaper. Other modes of transport include renting cars (which often come with their own drivers). Often the automobile itself is free, whereas the driver will charge a small fee for his services.

Hire a Car

Cars are available for self-drive and also with drivers. Renting a car does not require lengthy credit checks. However, to avoid all the hassle and make the best use of your time, it is advisable to rent a chauffer-driven car or coach. These are easily available facilities will help up to double up as your guide to the land, its culture and people.


These are available as local transport in Colombo and many provincial towns. They do not have meters so it is best to settle with the driver on the fare before you get on.


There is also an extensive railway network but it is largely a legacy of British colonial rule and is less appropriate for the modern transport requirements of Sri Lanka.

Over 70% of the nation's traffic traverses the country using the good network of roads that exist here. The average speed limit of traffic within city limits is 50 – 60 km per hour, while it is up to 80 km per hour up on the highway.

There are four main rail lines, across this island, and this network covers all the major towns and important tourist spots across the country.

The first line extends from Colombo to Matara along the west coast.

This line also branches out to Kandy and is probably the most picturesque journey that you can take.

The third and northern line runs to Anuradhapura, the ancient city capital. Fourth rail line runs from Colombo to Batticaloa, the East coast.


The only international airport in Sri Lanka is Bandaranaike International Airport (airport code CMB; 011-225 2861) at Katunayake, 30km north of Colombo. There are 24-hour money-changing facilities in the arrivals and departures halls.

There are 14 airports in Sri Lanka.

Helicopters are also available for hire. Helicopters can be booked and land anywhere outside restricted areas.


There are four international ports in Sri Lanka including Colombo, Talaimannar, Trincomalee and Galle. Some cruise liners running around India and Maldives, or on longer cruises from Singapore to Dubai port in Colombo. Others start at Colombo and head for Indonesia via Malaysia and Singapore.

Sea planes from Sri Lankan offer the most convenient way of travelling around the country, which reduces the travelling time.

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