How To Get From Colombo Airport To City Center -All Possible Ways

Last updated on June 5th, 2021 at 02:33 pm


We will write how to get from Colombo Airport to city center. The distance from Bandaranaike International Airport to the city center is 35 kilometers. You can go by bus for less than $1 USD and hour journey, by taxi, private transportation and Uber and Pick Me apps to get transportation in Sri Lanka.

It’s hard to travel without Internet because you’ll need your GPS to track your location for apps like Uber in Sri Lanka or Pick Me this app local uses in Sri Lanka instead Uber because it’s cheaper. Also your own sim card in Sri Lanka is important for communicating with locals and meeting other travelers. Read here Sri Lanka sim card for tourist.

Read here Sri Lanka Travel Tips, 10 Most Instagrammable places in Sri Lanka and our favorite 25 Sri Lanka Tourist Spots!

Read here Colombo airport to Galle, Colombo airport to Negombobudget travel in Sri Lanka and things to do in Sri Lanka.


If you are getting to Sri Lanka at Colombo International Airport (Bandaranaike International Airport) you will have a few options to get from Colombo airport to city center by bus, taxi, Grab and private transportation. If you already booked online your prepaid Sri Lanka sim card you will have to just pick up in the airport showing your confirmed booking and your passport.

Click here to get a discount booking your transfer from Colombo International airport!

Bus From Colombo Airport to City Center

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Express Bus From The Airport

The bus from Colombo airport to city starts at 5 30 am until 8 30pm and it’s running every 30 minutes. To get the bus you have to cross the pedestrian walk to the other side of the road where the bus will stop. You will see a few more people going there.

The bus fare from Colombo airport to city is 130 LKR which is less than $1 USD. And it will take around 1 hour depending on the traffic. The bus will stop in the Central Bus Station, Pettah Fort, and Colombo Fort Station. If you are going from Colombo city center to the airport you can also get the bus in these stops.

If you are getting to Sri Lanka in this Bus Express schedule from 5 30 am until 8 30 for sure it’s a great option if you aren’t bringing so much luggage.

Public Bus Number 187

The Public ordinary Bus Number 187 costs 100 LKR and it runs 24 hours every 45 minutes. But it’s not available at the airport you will have to walk 1 kilometer until Katunayake Bus Stop or you can get the Free Shuttle from the airport to the Bus Terminal.

It will take around 1 hour and 30 minutes since it has so many stops. Sometimes the driver try to overcharge for the luggage and it can be crowded. It’s not only this ordinary bus going to the airport but also in general traveling in Sri Lanka. They aren’t so comfortable but so affordable for those ones traveling on a budget.

I don’t recommend this option if you are bringing so much luggage since the ride is so long much better the Express Bus faster for only a few cents of dollar.

Taxi From Colombo Airport To City

You can get a taxi from Colombo airport to city for 2500-3000 LKR which is around $15 USD. Just make sure you agree the price and you have good negotiation skills making clear your final destination. I personally wouldn’t recommend going by taxi from Sri Lanka airport since they always try to overcharge. I would go by Pick Me or Uber since I find easier. It will take 40 minutes from Bandaranaike International Airport to city center to drive 35 kilometers.

Uber And Pick Me From Colombo Airport To City

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You can use Uber and Pick Me for transportation from Colombo airport to city. These apps are so useful and they are usually cheaper than a taxi and you will know the exact price to your final destination with no overcharge. The fare from the airport to the city can be from 1800-2000 LKR which is around $10 USD.

Pick Me is so popular between locals in Sri Lanka because it has better rates than Uber. It will take 40 minutes to get to city center. You can ask for the ride to the airport and you don’t have to go outside like other countries that Uber it’s not allowed to pick inside the airport passengers.

Private Transportation from Colombo Airport To City Center

If you had a long flight or you are able to arrange the private transportation from Colombo airport to city center with your hotel or any other transfer company. It will be the most comfortable since they will pick you up with a sign until your final destination in the city avoiding the hassle.

Click here to get a discount booking your transfer from Colombo International airport!

Where To Stay in Colombo

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You can get accommodation starting from $15-20 USD for a room in a guesthouse in Colombo. If you are two of you traveling in Sri Lanka it will be $10 USD each. If you prefer luxury accommodation and hotels with rooftop and infinity pool in Colombo prices starts at $80 USD. We found interesting to spend a few days in Colombo but most of the travelers choose not to stay in the capital of Sri Lanka.

If you are looking for budget accommodation in Sri Lanka you can also try AirBnB starting from $15 USD. Click here to get $30 USD off your first booking with AirBnB!

Click here to book your accommodation in Sri Lanka before your trip with BOOKING and AGODA!


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Transportation is incredibly cheap in Sri Lanka. Buses and train rides will cost you $3-5 USD for long distances. The most challenge thing is dealing with the tuk tuk drivers. They always try to hike up the prices especially with foreigners, just be calm if they do and ask around about how much is the usual price so you can avoid paying absurd prices for the ride. Trains and buses are super crowded and sometimes you will have to go standing for a few minutes or a few hours like riding the bus from Ella to Matara. And also the famous train ride from Kandy to Ella.


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If you decide to eat street food and local restaurants, you will find meals starting from $1-3 USD. In local places we didn’t see so much variety at night, sometimes there are jsut a few options for dinner. Our favorite meal was Kothu, Hoppers, Vegetarian Rotis and as for dessert, Pineaple Curry was our favorite one.

Juices and fresh coconut were so delicious. Prices start from $1 USD and we loved the papaya juice with lime which was served for breakfast in most of the hotels that we stayed in Sri Lanka. Beers are cheap for $1 USD and you will find them in the liquor store, my favorite one was Lion beer and it was good!

Click here to book activities in Sri Lanka with Klook!


You will find ATMs and office where you can exchange your money almost everywhere. The exchange rate is around $1 USD for 190 Sri Lankan Rupees, and the ATM does not take commission to our card. Click the link to see the current exchange rate.


The weather in Sri Lanka can be complicated so it will be a tad bit confusing to decide when it’ll be the best to visit the country, and this is because the island is affected by two separate monsoons year-round.

But if you are heading to the west and south coasts and hill country, December to March is the best time to visit Sri Lanka. And if you’d visit the east coast, May to September will have the best weather.

Click here to know more about the weather in Sri Lanka!

Having insurance while you are traveling outside your home country is very important. Make sure that you have one too, to keep you safe in your trips around the world.

Feel free to use our links with discounts for BookingAgodaAirbnb and Klook. By using our links, you will help us to continue with the maintenance of the website and it will not cost you anything. Thanks for the love guys. 

Happy Travels!

Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. Now based in the Philippines!

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