Lanka – Travel
Into Sri Lanka –
Electronic Visa (ETA)- Electronic
Travel Authorization System can be obtained prior to arrival at a cost of
USD30. SAARC country nationals pay USD15. For VOA at the airport most OECD
nationals will have to pay for a USD35 visitor's visa prior to going through
passport control at the airport. You can pay this using a credit card. Visa is
valid for two entries within a 30 day period. If you are transiting, you may
leave the airport for up to 24 hours (the transit time allowed is 48 hours) without a visa but the immigration
officials would try to persuade you to get one, unless you have a hotel voucher
supplied by Sri Lankan Airlines or ask for a bribe - typically half the cost of
There is air service to and from Colombo
provided by the national airline, Sri Lankan Airlines. Flights are available
from origins throughout Europe, United States, Southeast Asia, Australia,
China, Japan, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan. Other airlines include
Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad
and Emirates with transits typically in middle-eastern countries. British
Airways have direct flights from Gatwick Airport to Colombo.
By Taxi –
Airport Taxi There are some taxi counters, some belonging to 4 / 5 star
hotels, providing air conditioned taxis on a fixed price basis depending on the
destination. It is highly recommended to agree on the fare beforehand to avoid
being overcharged. As of March 2015, the fare was between LKR 2,500 & 3,000
to Colombo so do shop around for the best rate.
Kangaroo Cabs is a very reputable taxi company in Colombo that has
special deals starting at LKR 1750 from the airport to Colombo in new
is also a mini van taxi service counter in the arrivals hall providing
transport services. The rates are not cheaper than air conditioned taxis but a
mini van will seat more than four passengers. The services are primarily for
the locals so if you do not hold a Sri Lankan passport, they may refuse to
offer you one.
By Bus -
This is the cheapest way to get into Colombo.
The air-conditioned public bus, is operated by Sri Lankan Transport Board
(SLTB), to Colombo central bus station from the airport. Come out of the
airport, turn left and walk all the way to the end of the building, cross the
road and you will see a big bus in the car park. The cost is LKR 110 (as of May
2016) and it takes about 30 minutes as it takes the expressway to Colombo. The
last SLTB-operated bus from Colombo is 7.30 pm, and last bus from the airport
leaves at about 8pm. Note that the schedules are not fixed, but expect a bus at
twice an hour. If you do not see an SLTB-operated bus, there will be a
privately-operated bus all the time, even at the nights. These buses stop at
the same spot SLTB buses start from (airport), or the road next to it.
Get Around in Sri
face Green Promenade –
The Galle Face Green is currently a 5 hectare ribbon
strip of land between Galle Road and the Indian
Ocean which is now the largest open space in Colombo. This is a
popular destination for children, vendors, teenagers, lovers, kite flyers, merrymakers and all those who want to indulge in their
favorite pastimes next to the sea under the open sky. On Saturday and Sunday
evenings, the land is busy with day trippers, picnickers and food vendors.
There are two large hotels that border the strip; the Ceylon Inter-Continental Hotel and at the other by the quaint Galle Face Hotel, one of Sri Lanka's oldest and most popular hotels, with
a variety of old world charm including old furniture, hand carved doors,
balconies and high ceilings. It is also used as the site for Sri Lanka's
national day celebration held annually on 4 February.
Zoological Gardens –
Zoological Garden is one of the oldest zoological gardens in Asia. It has a
substantial collection of worldwide animals. It is open all year long and can
be reached by public transportation. The zoo has
3000 animals and 350 species.
Diversity of the zoo is indicated by the presence of an aquarium walk through
aviary, reptile house, butterfly garden and many cages and enclosures.
zoological garden has a small, but picturesque butterfly garden which is
decorated with small shrubs, trees, creepers and small streams. Internal temperature and humidity of the house is controlled by
artificially created mist. The
butterfly garden exhibits 30 species of butterflies with their all stages
of life cycle for educational purposes.
Zoo has been designed into a beautiful landscape of colourful flowers, foliage and water fountains, the zoological garden is
probably one of the few remaining places in the country where nature blends
with a large variety of animal life.