Sri Lanka is a small island in the Indian Ocean with very good road network including many main roads and large number of smaller roads. People of Sri Lanka also enjoy the convenience of highways.
Average road condition in the island is satisfactory but there can be traffic jam in major cities such as Colombo, Kandy and Gampaha due to increasing number of vehicles. There are many ways of travelling around the country during your holiday in Sri Lanka and some of them are discussed below.
Hiring a Private Vehicle in Sri Lanka
Hiring a private vehicle with a driver is the best and most safe option to travel around the island for foreign travellers. It can be hired for a day or several weeks depending on the requirement. It might be the best option when it comes to doing a round tour in Sri Lanka.
Most hotels have their own fleet of vehicles with drivers for in-house guests and you can book a vehicle with your hotel. Otherwise, book a vehicle and a chauffeur with a travel agent as this is the best and stress-free option to explore the country.
You can save lot of time because these drivers are well aware of the attractions in the country. The chauffeurs employed by travel agents are well trained and knowledgeable about the country and its people. These drivers are required to have a permit from the state authority for tourism in order to work as a chauffeur guides.
You need to hire a driver with national tourist board license if you want to have accurate information about the country. Their knowledge of English and other languages is a plus.
Most holiday makers prefer to hire and use this type of vehicles for their round tours of the island.
Should I Hire a Self-Drive Car?
There are many companies where you can rent vehicles while in Sri Lanka. You need to have an international driving license and the passport to rent a car. The company may require cash deposit in some cases.
I cannot recommend a foreigner to drive a hired car.
Sri Lanka drivers have their own set of rules on the road that most tourists are not familiar with. Sri Lanka has left hand drive traffic but drivers overtake other vehicles on both left and right sides. They usually do not check for the oncoming traffic or obey the traffic lights. The behaviour of drivers are changing fast in Sri Lanka as to the traffic rules. The increase in number of road accidents prompted the government to add more police patrolling the road. This measure help minimize the damage caused by vehicles on the road all over Sri Lanka.
Should I use a Taxi?
Hiring a taxi is advisable if you need the vehicle for a short journey. It is the easiest way to arrange a vehicle in Sri Lanka as you can just make a call and have it within a short period of time.
Unlike other type of vehicles, taxis do charge the waiting fee, therefore, it is not a good choice if you leave the vehicle parked during the journey. Taxi drivers are not a source of accurate information about the island and cannot act as your guide. This is for the reason that they are not trained as such.
The rate to hire a taxi depends on the company. The basic rate of 45 Rs can go up for added features.
Should I use other type of Transport?
There are many other options to travel in Sri Lanka other than what is mentioned earlier.
Buses, trains, inland flights and Tuk Tuk are some of the popular transport for tourists. Tuk Tuk is a mini vehicle with open sides and can be a good solution for a short trip but is not a convenient way to travel.
Hiring a motorcycle is also an alternative means of transport in Sri Lanka but there is more risk due to the driving habit of Sri Lankan drivers. You can hire a motor bike if you want to see more of the island but you have to be extra careful to avoid accident.
Buses and trains are not very convenient and you have to allow more time to reach your destination. They are cheaper than other means of transportation.
Inland flight is another option if you you have a hectic schedule. Flying is the best and quickest way of reaching your destination.
You will be reading more of Sri Lanka as I continue writing in this blog. Read my articles for additional information on places to go to make your holiday in Sri Lanka memorable.
Sanjeewa is a freelance software engineer, national tourist guide lecturer and part-time blogger from Colombo, Sri Lanka. He has been travelling around Sri Lanka since 2000 as a licensed tourist guide and want to share his knowledge about his country.