Sri Lanka Moving Around

Getting There

We know that you like to seek out the best deals for flights so we can recommend the following fligh operators who can offer some of the best rates on the market. 

From Europe - London to Colombo

10hrs direct (11 hrs return) or 14hrs via the Middle East Only non-stop carrier is Sri Lankan Airlines (Tel +44 (0)20 8538 2001) twice daily from Heathrow and twice a week via Amsterdam. Less frequent flights are also available from Zurich, Paris, Rome, Milan and Frankfurt.

We highly recommend Sri Lankan Airlines for service. They release their tiered ticket prices 3 months prior to the flight date. At that time, you can often find a limited number of well priced seats. They also operate a frequent flyer programme which is linked with Emirates, United and a few others.

Other airlines involve a change (or 2) in the Middle East and their home country.

  Other Airlines Stop over
  High Quality
Emirates – via Dubai
Gulf Air – via Bahrain
LTU – via Germany
Etihad - via Abu Dhabi
  Discount Airlines
Czech - via Middle East
Qatar – via Middle East
Royal Jordanian – via Jordan
Kuwait – via Kuwait


Where to purchase your tickets?

We conduct regular 'mystery shopper' exercises with flight companies and recommend the DIAL a flight capital for service and price. 

Price range - GBP 650-1200 Peak seasons and GBP 350-650 Low season. 

If you are planning to stay in Sri Lanka for over a month, check the duration date applicable to the price quote.


From USA/Canada

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.

From India

Air India flies from Delhi, Madras, Mumbai and Kerala.

From Maldives

Daily flights to Colombo which take approximately 1 hour.

From Australia / New Zealand

No direct flights
Via Singapore, India, Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur.

Bandaranaike International Airport

Located 34 km 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. We are happy to provide quotes for any journey with a reliable company and fleet.

If you have a long and onward journey from the airport, we would recommend a personal driver and car with an English speaking and licensed driver guide. Our recommended drivers maximise your sightseeing and not stop at every shop where he can make commission.

The airport departure tax should now be included within all airline tickets, but check with your agent when you purchase your flight.

Useful Telephone Numbers for flight changes

  • Sri Lankan Airlines - 0777771979
  • Royal Jordanian - 011 230 1621-4
  • Etihad UK - 08456081225 / Abu Dhabi - 0097125990000
  • Emirates - 011 470 4070
  • Indian Airlines - 011 232 3136
  • Qatar - 011 4525 700
  • Singapore Airlines - 011 223 057

Personal Driver

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We recommend that you arrange a car and driver. It is cheaper than self drive car rental and less scary. The rule of the road would appear to be “who dares wins”! Traffic drives on the left but the highway code is non-existent.

You will come across many drivers and touts during your stay but believe us when we say, the price might be good, the vehicle might be shiny but the same can’t be said for the engine, tyres and suspension.

For this reason, we shopped around and hand picked the very best drivers, vehicles and guides teamed up with a very reliable company. For your own safety and enjoyment, we have negotiated a good value daily rate for our customers. All costs are liable to Sri Lankan or UK VAT.

To make a booking direct or learn more click here. Alternatively, we will build a driver into your itinerary.


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Only a few are metered and they are only really apparent in Colombo. Agree a price before you set off and ensure the driver knows your destination. Most hotel receptions / shops will give you a guide price or will arrange the taxi on your behalf.


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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.


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Ubiquitous, cheap, crowded and completely hair raising and uncomfortable. They are small and built for locals with short legs. There are plenty of buses going to the key destinations as the Govt CTB buses compete with the air-conditioned private companies for fares.

They can be slow if you are on a long journey but on City links they own the roads. For timetables, call the main Bus Stand in Colombo on Tel: (Sri Lanka +94) 0112329604/5 or local bus station office for private timetables.


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A slower and more comfortable ride than a bus and marginally more expensive. The rail network is quite comprehensive and criss-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) 011242128 or visit the Tourist Board schedules on

Air Taxi / Sea Plane

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Cinnamon Air has introduced an Air taxi service around the island, which is great fun and can certainly cushion the airport to hotel journey after a long-haul flight. It is ideal if you are having a week on the South West Coast or East Coast and welcome a swift transfer. 

The small 8 seater Cessna Caravan planes use waterways, lakes and domestic airstrips to land and take-off. Flights currently run to many tourist destinations like Sigiriya, Batticaloa, Bentota, Dickwella, Kandy, Koggala, Trincomalee and Colombo. Alternatively, the planes can be chartered privately as long there is a suitable landing area.

Flights are chartered in accordance with demand with some scheduled flights each day. Flights operate only during day light hours and during acceptable weather conditions. In the event of a cancelled flight, the crew will help you to source alternative transport.

The costs are reasonable, especially when you are a group of 4 or more people. Either book ahead or encourage your fellow holiday makers to join you in a return journey to the airport.

You will experience an exciting and birds eye journey over Sri Lanka 


Domestic Flights

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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 can be reached by domestic flight. 



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