How to get from/to Colombo Airport?

Overview From/to Colombo Express Bus Taxi Ordinary Bus From/to Negombo Taxi Tuk-tuk Ordinary Bus

How to travel from/to Colombo Airport (Bandaranaike)?

Colombo Airport or Bandaranaike International Airport is located 35km north of Colombo city centre and only 10km south of Negombo.

In the first section of this post you can find how to get to Colombo city and in the second section how to get to Negombo.

As Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka, most travellers tend to stay here. An advantage is also the direct railway connection to Galle, most travellers next destination in the South of Sri Lanka.

However, there are also many travellers who prefer to stay in Negombo as it is closer to the airport, has more choice in accommodation and is located next to an accessible beach. If you decide to stay in Negombo, it’s still easy to travel from Negombo to Colombo in about 1.5 hours.

3 ways to get from Colombo Airport to Colombo City Centre

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Express Bus1 hour110 Rs ($1.35)

Read article for more info

Taxi1.5 – 2 hours2,700 Rs ($33.50)

Read article for more info

Ordinary Bus45 minutes110 Rs ($1.35)

Read article for more info

From Colombo Airport to Colombo Fort

To travel from Colombo Airport to Colombo Fort, you have basically 3 options: take an express bus for 1 hour 110 Rs ($1.35), take a taxi for 45 minutes 2,700 Rs ($33.50), or hop on an ordinary bus for 1.5 to 2 hours 110 Rs ($1.35).

The express bus is a cheap and easy option if you’re not carrying too much luggage. When travelling with kids or heavy luggage, taxis are also a cheap alternative. Especially if you book via Uber or Pickme. Consider the ordinary bus only if you’re a veteran traveller who’s looking for adventure.

Colombo Airport To/From Colombo by Express Bus

Duration: 1 hour
Cost: 110 Rs ($1.35)
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: 110 Rs ($1.35)

The Colombo Express Bus operates daily from 05:30 to 20:30 and departs every 30mins. A ticket costs only 110 Rs ($1.35) and the journey takes about an hour.

Express buses are coloured blue and you can easily spot them about 50 meters off the airport grounds.

From Colombo Airport, these buses make a stop at the Central Bus Stand, Pettah Fort, and Colombo Fort Station. When travelling from the city centre to the airport, you can hail the express bus from any of these stops.

Colombo Airport To/From Colombo by Taxi

Duration: 40 minutes
Cost: 2,700 Rs ($33.50)
Duration: 40 minutes
Cost: 2,700 Rs ($33.50)

If travelling with a group or huge luggage, the taxi is your best bet. Fares start at 2,700 Rs ($33.50) for a car that can accommodate 3 to 4 persons, depending on the size of your luggage. Vans are also available for bigger groups, for a few dollars more.

Taxis are easily available at the airport, but we think that taxis booked online are cheaper and more reliable. Uber and Pickme offer spacious cars for good rates. TaxiGo is also a good backup when the 1st two choices are not available.

Colombo Airport To/From Colombo by Ordinary Bus

Duration: 1.5-2 hours
Cost: 110 Rs ($1.35)
Duration: 1.5-2 hours
Cost: 110 Rs ($1.35)

Unlike the express bus, ordinary buses operate 24 hours a day and depart every 45mins. A ticket costs 110 Rs ($1.35). Also, because these buses make a lot of stops to pick up and drop off passengers, travel time can take between 1.5 to 2 hours.

Ordinary buses are not available inside the airport. You will first have to take the free shuttle bus and get off at Katunayake Airport Bus Stand. From here, take bus #187 bound for Colombo.

When coming from Colombo city centre, you can hail bus #187 from a number of bus stands. Ask your hotel for assistance to find its nearest stop.

Note that ordinary buses are far from the most comfortable ride you will have in Sri Lanka. They feature wooden chairs and do not provide a lot of space. If you’re carrying huge luggage, the driver might ask you to pay double the fare so that your luggage can “sit” beside you. However, ordinary buses provide a very cheap alternative to taxis when you’re arriving at the airport in the wee hours.

From Colombo Airport to Negombo

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Taxi20 minutes640 Rs ($8)Read article for more info
Tuk-Tuk30 minutes500 Rs ($6)Read article for more info
Ordinary Bus30 minutes50 Rs ($0.60)Read article for more info

If you’re heading to Negombo instead of Colombo, the journey will be slightly faster: you can take a taxi for 20 minutes 640 Rs ($8), hop on a tuk-tuk for 30 minutes 500 Rs ($6), or travel by ordinary bus for 30 minutes from the airport to Negombo 110 Rs ($1.35).

The taxi is the most expensive yet the only direct option when travelling from Colombo Airport to Negombo. With the tuk-tuk or ordinary bus, you can take a free shuttle bus to take you out of the airport to Katunayake Bus Stand.

Colombo Airport To/From Negombo by Taxi

Duration: 20 minutes
Cost: 640 Rs ($8)
Duration: 20 minutes
Cost: 640 Rs ($8)

The taxi is the only direct option when travelling from Colombo Airport to Negombo.

A 3 to 4-seater taxi costs 640 Rs ($8) if you book them with reliable apps like Uber and Pickme. Taxis are also readily available at the airport, but they might be a bit more expensive.

Colombo Airport To/From Negombo by Tuk-Tuk

Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: 500 Rs ($6)
Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: 500 Rs ($6)

Tuk-tuks are not allowed to enter the Colombo Airport. You will first have to take the free shuttle to Katunayake Airport Bus Stand, where tuk-tuks are waiting to take you to your next destination.

You can get a tuk-tuk ride to Negombo starting at 500 Rs ($6).

Colombo Airport To/From Negombo by Ordinary Bus

Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: 50 Rs ($0.60)
Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: 50 Rs ($0.60)

To ride an ordinary bus from Colombo Airport to Negombo, you will first have to take a  free shuttle bus to Katunayake Airport Bus Stand. From here, take bus #240 to Negombo. A ticket costs 50 Rs ($0.60) and travel time is about 30mins.

More routes to Colombo

Kandy to Colombo

Negombo to Colombo

More routes from Colombo

Colombo to Dickwella

Colombo to Ella

Colombo to Galle

Colombo to Negombo

Colombo to Nuwara Eliya

Colombo to Jaffna

Colombo to Kandy

Colombo to Sigiriya

Most popular routes in Sri Lanka

Colombo to Galle

Colombo to Jaffna

Colombo to Nuwara Eliya

Colombo to Kandy

Kandy to Colombo

Kandy to Ella

Kandy to Nuwara Eliya

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