Driving Around Sri Lanka
Posted on 8th September 2018 at 11:25
Is it safe to drive around Sri Lanka? Yes, is the short answer but there is a lot more to it than a simple yes. If, you take extra care, be alert at all times, just like you would in a city like London, then you are going to have one of the most amazing road trips ever!
I am just back from an amazing self-drive holiday in Sri Lanka. This small island has all the ingredients required for that extra special holiday and the roads are well marked and easy to get around. Even if you get lost, the overly friendly people of Sri Lanka will help you get back on the road!
The roads are generally is excellent condition, apart from a few B roads in the North and East of the Island. Road signs are clearly marked but having google maps will be a great help! These are a few other things I thought would help you get around Sri Lanka with ease.
These are a few other things I thought would help you get around Sri Lanka with ease...
1. Get use to using the horn as often as you can. Use it as a warning, to show annoyance and at times even to say thank you, always communicate with your horn. Locals expect you to toot your horn to let them know you are there.
2. Look out for motor bikes joining the main road. They will never look to see if there is any traffic on the main roads but will ease into your path and expect you to avoid them.
3. Watch out for tuk-tuks making U turns or abruptly stopping to pick up passengers.
4. Be very careful with the oncoming, public buses. They expect you to move as far left on the road as possible, so they could overtake their competition and pick up that extra passenger.
5. Look out for animals on the road. There are cows, dogs, cats, donkeys, elephants and even monitor lizards on the road, depending on which part of the island you are in, you will have to look out for wildlife.
People say, driving in Colombo is hard but, I think driving in Colombo is easier than driving on a busy road outside of the capital. The traffic in Colombo is congested, just like in most capital cities, and moves at a snails’ pace, making manoeuvring much easier and an excellent way to ease into the swing of things! Anyone picking a car up at the airport and heading down to Colombo will almost instantly regret the idea of driving in Sri Lanka. My advice would be to book an airport transfer to your hotel and then pick your car in Colombo. That way you will see what the local traffic conditions are alike before getting behind the wheel.
Driving by yourself, is one of the best ways to experience everything this paradise Island has to offer. I’m a big fan of having enough flexibility on my holidays and hate feeling bad about asking my driver-guide for anything extra. I am yet to find a hotel in Sri Lanka that charges for car parking and fuel isn’t that expensive either. More and more are now taking up self-drive holidays there and getting a permit (in addition to an International Driver’s License) is easy to get and costs around £40 in total (£20 for the actual permit and £20 for the local company to do the legwork).
I learnt to drive in Sri Lanka and go back at least once every other year, therefore I am probably used to local conditions more than most. Please do as much research as possible before deciding to get behind a wheel in Sri Lanka. Self-drives can be so much more fun and if you are uncertain of any aspect of driving in Sri Lanka then please email me or pick up the phone to us and we will be more than happy to pass on our experiences of driving in Sri Lanka.
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