No direct flights.
Via London & Middle East from East Coast.
Via Hong Kong, Singapore/ Bangkok from West Coast.
Thai Airlines, Singapore and Cathay Pacific all fly through on these routes and connect with Sri Lankan Airlines for the final leg.
Daily flights to Colombo which take approximately 1 hour.
Bandaranaike International Airport
Located 34km North of Colombo centre. Trains and buses are available but we would recommend a taxi or personal driver. It can be a bun fight of touting drivers as you exit the airport and there is no guarantee of a fixed rate nor a quality and insured driver/car. Since all our tours include your very own chauffeur and vehicle you will be assured of a safe and enjoyable passage throughout the tour.
The airport departure tax should now be included within all airline tickets, but check with your agent when you purchase your flight.
All of our holidays include your own personal chauffeur/guide. This is the best way to see Sri Lanka. Although it is possible to self drive in Sri Lanka we don’t recommend it as the highway code is rarely adhered to and the general law is “who dares wins”.
All of the vehicles we use conform to standards in terms of safety, comfort and environmental impact. Although most vehicles we use are petrol driven, the diesel mini vans are also checked to ensure emissions are well within normal ranges.
All cars are equipped with three point seat belts and mini vans with 2 point belts. By special request we are also able to provide 4WD SUV’s which offer superior ride comfort and can negotiate any road conditions.
In our opinion the best way to see the local sites, have some fun, and make friends with the locals. They are in abundance and you can barter but remember that this is their livelihood. Agree a fare before starting your journey especially if it’s a round trip. Tuk-Tuk’s are fine for journeys up to 20km. The drivers will try to entice you into fashion stores and jewellers so be firm and if they take it well, give them a tip and they will be happy to see you again the next time without the sales patter.
A slower and more comfortable ride than a bus and marginally more expensive. The rail network is quite comprehensive and cross-crosses much of the island. The coast line South from Colombo, the mainline from Colombo up through the Hill Country and northern line through the Cultural triangle to Trincomalee, all offer scenic journeys, especially if you travel 1st class.
However the trains are from the 1900’s and timetables are erratic with a margin of error greater than ½ day! 1st / 2nd class carriages are a must but seats and air conditioning are still not guaranteed, especially in peak season. We have wonderful memories sharing Christmas Eve with 30 people in a carriage made for 10 and 35°C!!
The main City links from Colombo, Galle and Kandy are acceptable and the observation and night carriages can be fun. You will need to book in advance. The costs reflect the standards and can be a cost effective alternative if you are on a budget.
For timetables, contact the Railway office in Colombo, Tel: (+94) 112 435 838 or visit the Sri Lanka Railways website.
If you want to travel the whole of Sri Lanka and enjoy the different cultures and communities, you might find flying certain legs will save a lot of time. The prices are reasonable and there are 2+ flight a day on popular routes. All costs are liable to Sri Lankan VAT.
Jaffna and Trincomalee can be reached by airplane. For further details of schedules and prices or to place a booking click here.
Festival and Poya Days
All important Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Christian and national festivals are celebrated- up to 72 in all, including Sundays. Sri Lankan’s have the right balance in life to work and play.
Every full moon -Poya day- is a Buddhist holiday. Public places of entertainment and most shops are closed. Some supermarkets remain open but will not sell red meat or alcohol. Hotels will often refuse to serve alcohol.
Festival and Poya Days
Most hotels have Western dishes like pasta, chicken escallops and omelettes, but Western options like baked beans, fish fingers and burgers are best forgotten. Sadly, the fast food chains can be found in large Cities (KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut). Traditional Sri Lankan Curry is not very hot and the chefs will happily turn down the spice-o-meter for children.
Cots and extra beds are readily available at a small fee and often complimentary for under 5years. Children under 12 years sharing with parents will usually stay for free and get 50% discount on meals.
Amentities like disposable nappies and Calpol are hard to find except in the major supermarkets in Colombo, Kandy. The sad fact is that Sri Lanka has not developed a good refuge infrastructure.
Sun-cream and hats are a must. Best to bring your own as bottles will often be way past their expiry date in the local village shops.
Responsible babysitting services are available in most hotels and payment is usually at your discretion. Rs. 500 would be very well received and a small price to pay for a “night off” or “dinner à-deux”.
Children facilities tend to consist of snorkeling, pools, nature and wildlife, cycling and sightseeing- no computer games or cartoons. The Sri Lankan children are extremely resourceful and run around happily. They will never shy away from a new Western friend.
Prams or backpacks for very young children should be packed. Bear in mind the heat with backpacks.
Many stray dogs & cats roam the streets. Most are harmless but cleanliness is not apparent and children should be deterred from making “furry friends”
Cars and 1st/2nd class trains are suitable for young children. They are very crowded and small buses should definitely be avoided.