Last updated: Feb 14, 2020

Contents

Overview | Train | Bus | Taxi

 

How To Get From Colombo to Galle?

Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast. The walled city is a great mix of archaeology and architecture that tells its colorful history.

Even after over 400 years, Portuguese and Dutch influences are widely seen on its old fort, colonial buildings, imposing mansions, churches and mosques. Walking around feels like getting lost in the 17th century.

If you’re planning to travel the 145km distance from Colombo to Galle, you have 3 options: you can take the train for 220 Rs ($1.20); hop on a bus for 170 Rs ($0.90); or grab a taxi for 9,000 Rs ($49). The journey takes around 2.5 hours for all options.

The train is the easiest way to travel from Colombo to Galle. Depending on the train you take, the journey can take between 2 to 2.5 hours. The train passes by a scenic route that hugs Sri Lanka’s western coast, so you will enjoy a nice sea breeze along the way.

You can choose from 2 types of buses for this route: the scenic one passes by the coast and takes about 2.5 to 3 hours; the fast one takes the expressway inland and takes a little over 2 hours. Fares start at 170 Rs ($0.90) for an ordinary bus.

Travelling with a group? A taxi can take you door-to-door for 9,000 Rs ($49). A bit more expensive even when you split the cost, but something to consider if you have a lot of luggage or travelling with your family.

Transport ModeDurationCostsAvailability
Train2 - 2.5 hours220 Rs ($1.20)Check train tickets
Bus1.5 - 3 hours170 Rs ($0.90)Check bus tickets
Taxi2.5 hours6,700 Rs ($37)Book a taxi

View itinerary from Colombo to Galle

Train

Colombo to Galle by Train


Duration: 2.5 hours
Costs: 220 Rs ($1.20)

To make the most of your train journey across Sri Lanka’s west coast, we recommend taking a 2nd class train for this 2.5-hour journey. This way, you will enjoy the comfort of a cushioned seat while enjoying the refreshing breeze from the open windows. A 2nd class unreserved seat costs 220 Rs ($1.20).

The first train from Colombo to Galle departs at 06:55 and the last train leaves at 19:30. Their full schedule is available on the Sri Lanka Railways website.

The route from Colombo to Galle is among the busiest in Sri Lanka, especially during rush hours, when people are going to and from work. However, if you travel outside the peak times – 07:00-09:30; 12:30-14:00; 16:30-19:00 – then you should be okay.

If you don’t want to take the risk with a jam-packed train, you can also book a 1st class airconditioned seat. Note that 1st class seats sell out fast, but you can still try buying them at the train station as soon as you arrive in Sri Lanka.

Another option is to book your 1st class ticket online for 3,260 Rs ($18). Keep in mind that online booking for Sri Lanka train tickets is only allowed at least 30 days before your trip.

Check Sri Lanka Railway Tickets

Securing good seats on Sri Lankan trains is a bit tricky, but possible if you prepare early. Check out our page on how to book train tickets in Sri Lanka for more info.

 

Bus icon

Colombo to Galle by Bus


Duration: 3 hours
Costs: 170 Rs ($0.90)

Normally, we recommend picking airconditioned buses when travelling via a local bus in Sri Lanka. They are faster than ordinary buses and are a bit more comfortable. But for this route, we will make an exception.

Local buses #2-1 from Colombo to Galle pass along the west coast, so you will have a clear view of the sea. If you want the salty breeze that comes with it, take an ordinary bus for 170 Rs ($0.90). Otherwise, you can take an airconditioned bus for 335 Rs ($1.90). Buses depart every 20 mins.

Keep in mind that local buses in Sri Lanka can be a bit crowded and not the best option if you are carrying huge luggage. An alternate option is to take a tourist bus. Le Ceylan offers 8 trips daily from 12:00 noon to 20:00, with a 2.5-hour travel time. Just click the link below to book a ticket.

Check Available Tourist Bus Tickets

All of these buses depart from Bastian Mawatha Bus Station and arrive at Galle Central Bus Station.

Colombo to Galle by Bus via Expressway

Duration: 2.5 hours
Costs: 1,320 Rs ($7.30)

There is also an option to skip the seaside route altogether and take the expressway instead. With the expressway, buses can reach Galle in just 1.5 hours.

Take bus #EX001 from Makumbura Bus Stand. These depart every 20 mins starting at 05:00 daily. A ticket costs 420 Rs ($2.30).

However, Makumbura is located about 30mins south of Colombo city center. The only way to reach it is by taxi or Uber. With Uber, fares start at 900 Rs ($5).

If you add the fares for Uber and the express bus, the total is $7.30, a bit more expensive than the tourist bus coming from Colombo city center. Approximate total travel time is also 2.5 hours, if you include the transfer time.

If you don’t have an aversion to the sea, we recommend taking the direct tourist bus instead.

 

Taxi

Colombo to Galle by Taxi


Duration: 2.5 hours
Costs: 9,000 Rs ($49)

The taxi from Colombo to Galle costs around 9,000 Rs ($49) if you book with Uber, although fares can be slightly cheaper or more expensive depending on availability. For the cheapest rates, you can also check the taxi apps PickMe and TaxiGo. But note that although these are widely available in Colombo, they may not be easy to find for longer journeys.

PRO-TIP: Use the code “hpam1ue” or this link to order your first ride with Uber for free!
Just in case none of those are available, there is also an option to book via BookAway, with fares starting at 11,900 Rs ($65).

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