Good news, Brits: Sri Lankans drive on the left. As usual, flashing lights indicate a driver asserting their right of way.
An extensive network of services to most parts of the island is offered by the Sri Lanka Central Transport Board (www.transport.gov.lk). Long-distance services operate from the Pettah Central Bus Depot in Colombo. One is run by the Sri Lanka Transport Board; the other by private bus companies (the private bus station is near the Central Depot). Buses to the coastal towns depart every half hour – the Kandy service runs every 15 minutes.
Taxis are marked out by their yellow tops and red-and-white plates. In Colombo, taxis are metered, but it’s wise to agree a rate before setting off. Drivers expect a 10 per cent tip.
3. Trishaws (aka tuk-tuks)
Ideal for short journeys within towns and cities, and for mini excursions, the country’s many trishaws will happily offer you a ride. Most of the vehicles are Indian-made Bajaj rickshaws. Since many of them aren’t metered, it’s best to agree on a fare before you set off. Usually drivers offer a decent fare, charging approximately 50 rupees per kilometre.
4. Car hire
There are several international agencies to pick from, with car hire desks at the airport and in Colombo. Air-conditioned minibuses are also available; motorised rickshaws can be hired in towns and villages. Chauffeur-driven cars are another good option.
Since Sri Lanka’s society is conservative, it’s advisable to dress modestly while travelling, so as to avoid causing offence.