Gorgeous Sri Lanka welcomes guests from all over the world in its only international Bandaranaike Airport. Even though tourists are often awaited by their hotel transfer, many people prefer getting to the unofficial capital of Sri Lanka - Colombo - themselves.
The distance between Colombo and Bandaranaike Airport is 35 km, and there are mostly taxis and commercial buses running between them. The trip to the city centre will cost you from $0.8 to $35 on average and will take you from 45 to 90 minutes.
Sri Lanka buses are not really comfortable, that’s why we recommend tourists with small children and those who can't orient themselves in an unfamiliar area or don't know the language to use the taxi service. If you decide to go by bus, you can save a lot of money. Anyway, just note that you can buy tickets in local currency (Rupees) only, and there are very few bus journeys at night. Experienced tourists also warn newbies that bus drivers can take extra money for luggage if they find it too large.
The Sri Lanka express bus HighWay-Bus will reach Colombo in a maximum of one hour (including traffic jams), and it runs along the highway connecting the airport and the city. You can buy a bus ticket from the conductor, and don’t be afraid to ask for the change – there are lots of swindlers. Express buses depart every 30 minutes with the last one departing from the airport at 8:30 p.m. There are no night journeys.
05:30 AM - 08:30 PM
Central Bus station, Pettah district, near Colombo Fort train station.
tourists who are travelling light, couples without children, those who know the route and the language
The express bus stop is located diagonally 50 m away from the very left edge of the platform for motor transport (back to the airport).
The minibus №178 leaves the airport and goes to Colombo following bypass routes, so the trip duration won't be less than 1.5 hours. The ticket price for this vehicle is almost the same as that for the express bus, but the driver can take 100-200 Rupees extra for your luggage ($1.4). The bus also runs at night, but much more rarely than during the daytime. As tourists say, it’s pretty scary to look for the bus stop outside the airport building at night.
Colombo Fort train station
120 Rupees for a standard ticket ($0.8), 100-200 Rupees for luggage ($1.4)
tourists who are travelling light, couples without small children, those know the route and the language
To find the minibus №178 stop, you need to leave the terminal and turn left at the exit, then walk about 100 meters and cross the road. Use this plan.
Taxi from Colombo Airport is the fastest and most comfortable way of transportation. The journey time is 45 minutes, and taxis are ready to take clients 24/7. And if you book a Airport-Colombo transfer online in advance, you will avoid any hidden payments like it might be with shared minibuses. Tourists will be taken not to the city centre, but to some specific place, e.g. hotel.
to the desired destination
Taxi on the spot: air-conditioning, journey without stops (or by your request), without other passengers
Booking in advance: child seats, fresh water, English-speaking driver
families with children, inexperienced tourists, tourists who are in the country for the first time, tourists with a language barrier, lots of luggage, those who are arriving at night
Tell the taxi operator your pick-up location or enter your flight number when booking a transfer - and you will be met at the airport.
Getting from Sri Lanka Airport to Colombo is just the beginning of your journey. May your trip be comfortable and enjoyable! Have a pleasant journey!