Should I Rent a Car in Sri Lanka?

If you are wondering what the best way to travel around Sri Lanka is, there are a few options to consider depending on your itinerary, budget, and any special requirements.

Public Transportation

Public transport via buses and trains is widely available in almost all parts of Sri Lanka and comes with both pros and cons.

  • It is the cheapest mode of travel
  • Commonly available
  • No restrictions on luggage
  • Purchasing tickets is inconvenient with no option to do so online
  • Irregular timetables and last minute cancellations are frequent
  • Comfort levels are low due to the condition of the vehicles
  • Overcrowding can cause concern over hygiene

The unique pick-up and drop-off service offered by Malkey Rent A Car gives you the freedom to explore the option of public transport while enjoying the convenience of being able to hop on or hop off into your rented car.

Taxis & Ride Sharing

You could also opt for cab services or ride sharing apps such as Uber or a number of popular local taxi apps. These apps are easy to use but come with some limitations like restrictions on making stops and higher rates during peak hours. Ride sharing or taking taxis can be recommended for shorter distances, especially getting about in city traffic.

  • Cost effective
  • Available for booking online via Apps
  • Will take credit card or cash payments
  • Moderate to low safety
  • Most cabs/ rides have only got 3rd party insurance instead of commercial taxi insurance
  • Drivers do not receive any safety, training or obtain police clearance, commercial taxi insurance
  • Most vehicles used lack basic safety features like airbags and seatbelts

Ride Sharing Services in Sri Lanka 

UBER – Global ride sharing platform. Only requires you to change your location. The payment is charged to the card you have assigned. Same rules of booking rides and cancellations anywhere in the world also apply to Sri Lanka. Available islandwide but less cars operate in outer colombo areas. Not islandwide? Think Uber operates in Colombo upto Galle. And from Colombo upto the Airpott. Not available in Kandy etc.

PickMe – A local ride sharing service that offers a range of vehicles from budget to luxury. Requires download and setting up of App with a phone number. Cash or card payment accepted. Available islandwide but less cars operate in outer colombo areas. I think Colombo & Kandy. Anyways lets get Milindu to verify these things.

YouGo – A newer cab service that operates mostly in Colombo. Fleet is smaller than Uber and PickMe but rates are comparable. Requires download and setting up of App with a phone number. Cash or card payment accepted.

Renting a Car

Our top recommendation: Malkey Rent A car

The most convenient and efficient way of traveling around the country is to rent a car, especially if you are travelling with children. You are able to rent a car with a driver or you can choose to drive yourself. Depending on the rental company you choose, you can expect experienced drivers, problem-free navigation, clean and well-maintained cars, and customer support to ensure an overall pleasant experience. The advantages of renting also include the ability to be in full control of your trip and having the flexibility to take all those unplanned detours. You will be able to make any number of stops as opposed to relying on public transport.

If you choose to rent a car with a driver you will experience the added value of expertise on all things local, especially alternate routes and local language skills. On the other hand, if you prefer to drive yourself, you can soon be off on your adventures with a little preparation. Finding your way around Sri Lanka is surprisingly easy and locals are friendly and very helpful.

Tuesday February 8, 2022