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Self-drive car rental in Sri Lanka

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Norwich, UK
posts: 9
reviews: 1
Self-drive car rental in Sri Lanka

I'd really appreciate any recommendations on self drive rental companies in Sri Lanka. Casons Rent-a-car seem to have a good range; I was going to enquire about a 4x4.

Any helpful recommendations or experiences would be welcome. We don't have a tight budget.

I've read lots of "do not self drive in Sri Lanka" posts, so am aware of the dangers, but I am a very experienced driver and feel safer driving myself.

Look forward to your replies.

Thanks,

Dan

Edited: 5:19 pm, January 12, 2011
153 replies to this topic
Dubai, United Arab...
posts: 4
reviews: 17
131. Re: Self-drive car rental in Sri Lanka

Thanks Hans, but we have been driving all around the world for a lot of years and are not worried about driving in Sri Lanka. Was just concerned about getting the international drivers licence authenticated. Is this easy to do and how long do you think it will take?

Melbourne, Australia
posts: 107
reviews: 237
132. Re: Self-drive car rental in Sri Lanka

Thanks David for your post and Hans for continually telling everyone that Self Driving is terrible. Here are my responses.

Car Rental Co's have bad cars - We chose Avis through Walker Travel, probably paid more than a rust bucket company but they were fantastic - they even drove another car across Sri Lanka from Colombo to Trincomalee when our air-con failed - great service.

Accidents - we had an accident on a mountain road outside Haputale, when a motor cyclist collided with our car whilst he was texting!! He landed in a deep ditch and could have been badly injured, but luckily not. We called both Insurance Co.s and their representatives came within 30 minutes on motorcycles. It was all sorted and when the Police came they just had a chat and disappeared. Lots of people stopped to help us and many spoke excellent English.

Getting lost - Yes the roads can be badly marked especially in the highlands and if there are detours, but we had a GPS with us and we had no difficulties. We have a Garmin GPS and my husband bought the latest Sri Lanka non Garmin chip from the US which was accurate. Also every Hotel we stayed at sent us good maps to get to their establishment. We also checked at each hotel what the state of the roads were like for our onward journeys and the information we received was accurate. You can also ask the Drivers who have guests at the hotels if you don't get a good response from the staff. We stayed at 5 star Hotels, so the staff were very knowledgable.

We were in Sri Lanka for over 4 weeks staying minimum 4 nights in each spot so we didn't want to have a Driver hanging around on the many days we didn't drive.

Yes driving is tiring and stressful if you try to go great distances in the one day - you will average about 30kms per hour so factor that into your driving distances.

As many people write on this forum, if you are used to chaotic Asian traffic, or crazy Southern Italian drivers, then don't be deterred if self drive is what you really want to do, but it is not for the faint hearted or those used to freeway driving.

Edited: 2:13 am, February 21, 2014
Fredericia, Denmark
Destination Expert
for Bentota, Beruwala, Sri Lanka
posts: 36,411
reviews: 7
133. Re: Self-drive car rental in Sri Lanka

Hans for continually telling everyone that Self Driving is terrible

---------------------------------

I tell that self drive is not recommended!!

Hans

Colombo
posts: 26
reviews: 30
134. Re: Self-drive car rental in Sri Lanka

Had both good experience with Malkey and Shineway. You might to have some emails going up and down but you can negotiate on prices with them. Expect second hand cars - kind of maintained.

Regardless of all the warnings of people that say "do not drive yourself", I know the feeling of driving yourself and I have done so since 2003 on various occasions in Sri Lanka. Since all the cars are in the Western Province and Kandy, once you have past these areas, the road is all yours!

Yes, technically you would need to transfer your international license at the AA (bring pasphoto and English license plus 2000 or so rupees). Location used to be next to SKKY bar / Galle Face Roundabout.

melbourne australia
posts: 43
reviews: 16
135. Re: Self-drive car rental in Sri Lanka

Hi Vanilladan,

We did self drive in Sri Lanka about a year ago, I was also given a lot of the same advice and a lot of it is to be taken on board, we also took it easy etc etc, however you asked a different question :) .

Unfortunately we went in peak Christmas season, so the cars we wanted to hire from all the "reputable companies" were all booked (shows you how many people do drive/hire cars :)). We therefore had a driver for the first week of our holiday which did get us used to the conditions and I would suggest that for a couple of days to acclimatise yourself so to speak. We ended up with a little bomb of a car off a little local company in Hikkaduwa as there wasn't much else avail for about $15 a day all inc, it wasn't the ritz but after looking over her she was definitely a little goer! (You can even hire a 3 wheeler in Hikkaduwa)

At the end of the day any company can fail on delivery, and like Bali (which we also did the 4wd thing around) nothings perfect, just check how new the vehicle is & do the rest of the inspection when you get there is all I could offer in advice. It is hard to get straight answers from entities in Sri Lanka, even with very specific info, especially over the internet, there are however quite a few hire car companies in Colombo. I would suggest making a tentative booking/enquiry with the condition that if the vehicle is not acceptable you will want something else, that's really all you can do. Have fun it is a beautiful island, we are visiting the East coast in June July again & tossing up flying initially & trying to get a car again on that coast which is proving elusive at the moment (companies seem to all be in Colombo). Any other questions please drop me a personal msg would be happy to help. BTW the office to get your Sri Lankan licence is near Galle Face Hotel - it is beneficial to have, we were pulled over once & the Police were most impressed we had gone to the trouble.

136. Re: Self-drive car rental in Sri Lanka

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Helsinki, Finland
posts: 4
reviews: 1
137. Re: Self-drive car rental in Sri Lanka

Hey. Could any recommed navigator application to Android phone. I have Garmin Navigon apps, but this have not Sri Lanka map. I think that rent 4x4 car some days in june and go from Negombo to East coast.

Fredericia, Denmark
Destination Expert
for Bentota, Beruwala, Sri Lanka
posts: 36,411
reviews: 7
138. Re: Self-drive car rental in Sri Lanka

You would not need a 4x4.

Hans

uk
posts: 2
reviews: 17
139. Re: Self-drive car rental in Sri Lanka

I have driven many times in Sri Lanka up country, down south, in Colombo etc. One must be aware that driving there is not like in the UK so if you are a nervous driver its not for you. It takes a few days to get used to the roads and other people but I was and still am happy to drive there.

The cars are reasonably maintained and there are plenty of small garages willing to help if one needs assistance. Don't expect the same formal service as in the West. Go with the flow!

140. Re: Self-drive car rental in Sri Lanka

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Removed on: 4:05 am, May 04, 2014
Edited: 4:05 am, May 04, 2014
 
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