Overview Compare Train Bus Taxi
How to get from Colombo to Galle
Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast. The walled city is a great mix of archaeology and architecture that tells its colourful 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 145 km distance from Colombo to Galle, you have 3 options: you can take the train for 220 Rs ($2.60), hop on a bus for 170 Rs ($2.00), or grab a taxi for 9 Rs ($105.00). The journey takes around 2.5 hours for all options.
3 ways to get from Colombo to Galle
|Train||2-2.5 hours||220 Rs ($2.60)||Check Train Tickets|
|Bus||1.5-3 hours||170 Rs ($2.00)||Check Bus Tickets|
|Taxi||2.5 hours||6 Rs ($81.00)||Check Private Transfers|
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. Meanwhile, the fast one takes the expressway inland and takes a little over 2 hours. Fares start at 170 Rs ($2.00) for an ordinary bus.
Travelling in a group? A taxi can take you door-to-door for 9 Rs ($105.00). It is 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.
Colombo to Galle by Train
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 ($2.60).
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 air-conditioned 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 Rs ($39.50). Keep in mind that online booking for Sri Lanka train tickets is only allowed at least 30 days before your trip.
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.
Colombo to Galle by Bus
Normally, we recommend picking air-conditioned 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 ($2.00). Otherwise, you can take an air-conditioned bus for 335 Rs ($4.00). Buses depart every 20 minutes.
Keep in mind that local buses in Sri Lanka can be a bit crowded and not the best option if you are carrying bulky luggage.
An alternate option is to take a tourist bus. Le Ceylan offers 8 trips daily from 12:00 to 20:00, with a 2.5-hour travel time. Just click the link below to book a ticket.
All of these buses depart from Bastian Mawatha Bus Station and arrive at Galle Central Bus Station.
Colombo to Galle by Bus via Expressway
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 buses depart every 20 minutes starting at 05:00 daily. A ticket costs 420 Rs ($5.00).
However, Makumbura is located about 30 minutes south of Colombo city centre. The only way to reach it is by taxi or Uber. With Uber, fares start at 900 Rs ($10.50).
If you add the fares for Uber and the express bus, the total is 1 Rs ($18.00), a bit more expensive than the tourist bus coming from Colombo city centre. The 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.
Colombo to Galle by Taxi
The taxi from Colombo to Galle costs around 9 Rs ($105.00) if you book with Uber. But 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. Keep in mind that although these apps are widely available in Colombo, you might have difficulty booking a taxi 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 is available, there is also an option to book via BookAway, with fares starting at 11 Rs ($140.00).
Galle Travel Guides
Things To Do In Galle and How to get There
Most popular routes in Sri Lanka
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Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.
Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.