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Getting around Sri lanka

Mumbai, India
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9 posts
15 reviews
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Getting around Sri lanka

Hi,

I'm travelling with 2 kids and my husband around Sri Lanka for 7 days in November. I'm confused about getting around. My options-

1. Take individual taxis from city to city and once at the hotel take day trips to the places of interest.

2. rent a car for the whole 7 days to be at my disposal.

Which do you think will be the more economical option? Is is easy to hire taxis to get from say.. Kandy to Nuwara Eliya or NE to Galle? Any recommedations on car companies or drivers?

The more i read online the more confused I get!!

Tampa, Florida
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2 posts
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1. Re: Getting around Sri lanka

Hi Debbie

A driver (you can self drive but you have to register with the govt department to get an authorisation!) will cost around LKR6000-7000 a day not including tips. We took this option just to save time, and hassle. Generally they will help to find you hotels where you are going, and there should be driver accommodation for them. If not, you will pay maybe LKR1000 extra - fix this in advance.

If you are travelling with kids, I think this is easiest. Also specify a car with aircon since it is hot. A day trip to Pinnewala from Kandy is cheaper in a tuctuc than a taxi, but for safety reasons I would strongly recommend using cars for anything other than a short hop - as you will see when you drive around.

If you are only going to the big tourist areas, you may well be able to negotiate daily taxis, its hard for me to compare prices since we hired a driver. In general, the moment people see a tourist, prices go up. There are lots of drivers, so you can always hire one for 3-4 days and then either ask him to continue or get another one.

In summary, I would say: use local transport to get to Colombo for a day or two, get the train to Kandy (1st class - its LKR350 a person! very cheap, yours is the wagon with the colourful painted outside, and buy tickets at least the day before), spend a couple of days just using local transport to get around Kandy, and then hire a driver in Kandy to get to other sites, getting him to drop you back at the airport at the end (or, in our case, at the Amagi Lagoon resort where we spent our last night before heading to the airport the next morning).

Also, government taxis from the airport are a rip off .... do not on any account pay more than LKR5400 (which is still a rip off), and it may be better to try and book an airport pickup in advance for this reason. Some Colombo hotels offer the service. You do not need more than 1-2 days in Colombo, BTW. The sooner you get to Kandy, the highlands and the beach the better :-)

Happy to give you more info, just drop me a line.

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
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56,658 posts
199 reviews
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2. Re: Getting around Sri lanka

The difference between one-way hires and roundtrip is in the cost model. For one-way hires you pay around Rs 70-75/km, as the vehicle needs to return empty. For roundtrip you pay around Rs 40-45/km, but there is a minimum daily mileage and the driver needs night acco/food; which however is free with most hotels but not the cheaper guesthouses. In your case a roundtrip driver for at least most of the trip seems best...

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Mumbai, India
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9 posts
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3. Re: Getting around Sri lanka

Hi senti, thanks so much for the reply and info. I hadn't thought about the train as an option. I may look into that.

I got a quote from a travel company of 50000 rupees for a driver and car including their accommodation fuel etc for 7 days. I find out to be a good deal, but I'm still hoping to cut costs a bit in any way. so maybe train will help me do that.

Apart from kandy I want to do some place in the tea countr. Do you think Ella or nuwara eliya? Similarly galle or unawatuna or hikkaduwa for beach? Your thoughts??

Mumbai, India
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4. Re: Getting around Sri lanka

Thanks for your reply erik. I plan on staying in guest houses/ home stays throughout. I wonder of the driver will find his own accommodation as I dont think my hotels have any for drivers. Gosh so much to think about!! Any thoughts always help!!

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
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56,658 posts
199 reviews
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5. Re: Getting around Sri lanka

Yes the driver will find his own acco, BUT it means you have to pay him around Rs 1500-2000 extra per day as compared to his base price which assumes drivers quarters.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

6. Re: Getting around Sri lanka

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