Why we travel by bus in Sri Lanka

Going backpacking in Sri Lanka? I highly recommend a mean of transportation that is packed with people, is bloody warm and dusty, slow, and frequently gets delayed: the bus. Sceptical? I give you 7 good reasons to travel by bus in Sri Lanka.

Travel by bus, the best way to discover Sri Lanka

Travel by bus, the best way to discover Sri Lanka


“when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Locals travel by bus, here is why:

It’s cheap. If you are on a budget, you probably don’t need to know more. A 3 hour ride will cost you less than a subway ticket in a European capital. And bonus: no scam.

Buses go everywhere. With a dense network of roads, almost any town in Sri Lanka is accessible by bus. You might have to change buses a couple of times and wait at your connections, but you will get there. (Find an example of itinerary with bus here)

It’s flexible. You don’t need to book. Just wait on the side of the road and just hop on (literally, the bus will probably not really stop for you). You buy your ticket on board.


Trust me. It’s fun. 3 other awesome reasons to try it:

Time to make friends in the crowded Sri Lankan bus

Time to make friends in the crowded Sri Lankan bus

– If you are looking for a change of scene, take the bus! The number of people per square meter might remind you of your daily commute, but kitsch lights, stickers of buddha and local music will tell you that it’s not to the office that you are going to.

– It’s a great way to meet people, locals or travellers. The first ones may shake their head of incomprehension “Why do you travel by bus?”, with the second ones you may exchange a few good travel tips.

You will discover local artists. Without our buses rides, never would we have discovered Roshan Fernando. Months after our Sri Lankan trip, his voice still brings us back in our Sri Lankan bus!

And if travelling by bus is not for you…

It’s also the best way to bargain your tuk-tuk ride. If you do decide to take a tuk-tuk, just pretending you will travel by bus (i.e. waiting at the bus stop) is a great way to get the price of your ride dropping quickly -especially if the bus is at sight!

How did you travel in Sri Lanka?

You may also like “Impressions of being back from Sri Lanka“. Access all Sri Lanka posts.