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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What are the various ways to reach Colombo?

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So, are you all set to set foot on the distant, fascinating city of Colombo? Wait a bit. Have you planned your travel means and schedules? If you haven’t yet, we can’t blame you. Yes, perhaps you are too excited about your adventures in the city that you forgot to look for travelling options. Don’t worry. We give you an overview of the various modes of commuting available.


  • By Air

    The only international airport of Sri Lanka, Bandaranaike International Airport is at Katunayake, on the north coast of Colombo. The airport is connected to most of the major international cities of the world across Asia, Europe, Australia, the Americas, etc.

    Apart from the national airline Sri Lankan Airlines, other international airline services too ply to and fro from Colombo. Some of them include-
    Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Malaysia Airlines and Emirates.

    From the airport, you should look for the taxis-cum-mini vans available at the Taxi Counter at the airport. If you are looking to commute in a pocket-friendly budget, do book a taxi from the airport counter itself, which is preferred by the locals. To book online, visit http://www.colomboairporttransfers.com/book-online.php. The taxis outside arranged by various hotels are almost thrice as expensive though they have ACs, that is to say, the remaining journey from Katunayake to Colombo may cost you anywhere over LKR 2500. Outside the airport is also a Bus Depot (10-15 minutes’ walk away), from where you can board bus number 187 which goes to the iconic Colombo Fort. This big, white bus service charge about LKR 40 and ferries its passengers to their destination in an hour or two, depending on the number of places it halts en route. You might be charged a bit extra for the luggage you are carrying. However, don’t be duped and don’t pay more than LKR 50, if asked to. So, act smart.

  • By Train

    From Bandaranaike International Airport, you can also move to Katunayaka South railway station, which happens to be about 1 km away. It is advisable to take an auto (tuk-tuk) to the station which is likely to cost anywhere around LKR 100. You should try haggling for the fares.

    At the railway station, buy a ticket to
    Colombo Fort which should something like LKR 30 and will take you to the fort in an hour or so. However, do keep in mind that trains ply only once in a day to Colombo and the timings tend to change every day. So, do keep that in mind. You can check for the timings well in advance or else check at one of the free computer systems on the station.

  • By Bus

    The national bus service called Sri Lanka Transport Board is the most important means of travelling within the country. However, do keep in mind that they are likely to get over-crowded and foreigners who cannot speak Sinhalese might find it a little difficult to convey themselves. But it is not that big a hiccup and is usually easily sorted out. You simply need to tell them clearly where you wish to go and instruct them to tell you when your destination is here.

    From Bandaranaike International Airport, the Bus Depot is about 10-15 minutes’ walk away. However, if you have a lot of luggage with you, you must hop onto the free shuttle bus service that is available right outside the airport. Once out of the airport, turn left and walk a little to the end of the building where you shall these white buses reading Main Terminal.

    Buses are a cheap mode to travel to Colombo, provided you are comfortable with the crowd in them. The smaller buses with aircon are likely to be a little costlier than these state-run white buses.

  • Aren’t you by now already clear in your head as to which means of transport is going to be your preference and how exactly you are going to traverse the journey to Colombo?


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