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Hot Bus tips for Sri Lanka!

  1. Call 1955 for general bus information!

We’re glad you’ve found, here are our top tips for getting around Sri Lanka by bus:

  • Always have change! Bus journeys can be as little as 9 rupees! Yes, that’s NINE rupees. Why not take a bus just for the thrill of spending only nine rupees?
  • When the bus conductor is yelling “Baina” they mean ‘get down’. Its a slang way of saying the Sri Lankan verb ‘bahinava’. All they really mean is that the bus is at a stop, get down if you need to. If you’d like to learn Sinhala or Tamil why not try Michael? We did and it was good.
  • While they are technically only supposed to stop at the designated stops, they will stop anywhere if you ask nicely. And from the street you can (sometimes) hail one own by looking the driver or the conductor in the eye and giving a nod and a wave.
  • Sri Lankan schools break up around 12:30 in the afternoon, AVOID THE ROADS AT ALL COSTS between around 12:30 and 3pm…

There are a mixture of private and CTB (Government run) busses, as well as AC and non AC. The CTB busses tend to be red in colour, and in colombo at least there are some more modern versions that look like the new London busses, though these are pretty rare at the moment.

For bus timetable information you can try Sri Lanka Central Transport Board tel: (11) 258 1120, website: though this website is not particularly useful…

the time tables are also available here:

For Colombo Central Bus Terminal call +94 11 232 8081

If you want to see a list of all the bus routes check out this Wikipedia page which is where we found this colombo bus map. We’re adding more routes daily, and will be updating with more tips and information on specific routes, such as Colombo to Jaffna, in the near future.

If you’re thinking of taking a bus to and from Colombo International Airport then your best bet is probably the 187-e-03 express bus that will take the new airport highway and save a lot of time. The bus stop is a little distance from the airport itself, so you may want to take a tuk-tuk for that part of the journey. Alternatively, taxis can be hired for around Rs2900 one-way, with an extra Rs300 for the highway toll.

If you’re going surfing in Arugam bay then you might be better off taking one of the private busses, such as the AC bus run by the Al Razith company since they will allow surfboards in the hold of the bus. Always better to call and confirm though! You can view the route and the phone number here.

3 Replies to “Hot Bus tips for Sri Lanka!”

  1. Feature-Request: User can input from and to locations and the application should give bus suggestions.

    ex: Kohuwala – Thalawatugoda

    Kohuwala 135 -> Borella
    Borella 174 -> Thalawatugoda

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