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Sigiriya Rock Sri Lanka
Sigiriya Rock Sri Lanka
Tea Plantation
Tea Plantation

About Sri Lanka (LK)

Sri Lanka, the island formerly known as Ceylon, is located to the south-east of India in the Indian Ocean. It offers visitors a unique blend of charm, history and stunning natural landscapes. While its beaches are not as crowded as other destinations in the region, such as Goa in India, they are equally—if not more—beautiful, with excellent surf and sparkling white sand.   

Booking a car rental in Sri Lanka will allow you to discover the country on your own terms. Colombo, the capital, has an abundance of historical buildings and Buddhist temples. In the Central Province, don’t miss Sigiriya, a spectacular ancient fortress that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The coastal city of Galle has an old Dutch Fort, which is also a World Heritage Site, along with a charming lighthouse. Other top attractions in Sri Lanka include the tea plantations in the hilly central regions, and the elephant colonies in Minneriya.

  Getting around

Driving in Sri Lanka is not for the faint of heart. The roads are of highly variable quality, and local drivers frequently flout the rules and speed limits. You will also share the road with everything from cyclists and pedestrians to stray animals. Stay alert, and keep your seatbelt on at all times. Note that to drive in Sri Lanka, you will need both an International Driving Permit (which you obtain in your home country) and a “Sri Lankan recognition permit” (which you obtain in Sri Lanka directly).

  Choosing your car

Some of the Sri Lanka rental car companies you will find include well-known names such as Avis, Hertz and Sixt. For a budget-friendly solution, rent an economy compact car that will easily accommodate 1—3 people. If you need more space, you can rent an SUV, which is also great for taking on more rural or mountainous roads. A 7—12 person people mover or mini van might be a better solution for larger groups.

  Tips and advice for renting a car in Sri Lanka


If you encounter a security check or roadblock while driving your car rental in Sri Lanka, comply fully with all official instructions.


Consider getting a comprehensive supplemental insurance policy to cover your Sri Lanka car rental. Road accidents are more common than in other countries, and even a cheap car rental can become quite expensive if repairs are needed.


If you see a road sign with the abbreviation “Mw,” note that this stands for “Avenue” (the word is “Mawatha”).


Because the road quality is overall not very good, and traffic can be heavy, count more time than you would normally to arrive at your destination.


If you are involved in an accident on the road, stay if possible on the scene until the police arrive. The police can be reached anytime by dialing 118/119.


If possible, avoid driving your Sri Lanka car hire at night, especially in the more rural areas. These may be dimly lit, and they have more wildlife.

Urban Speed Limit


50 kph  | 31.1 mph
Rural Speed Limit


70 kph  | 43.5 mph
Motorway Speed Limit


100 kph  | 62.1 mph
Fuel Price




Road Driving


Driving Age


18 years of age
21 years of age to RENT
Emergency Services


Documentation requirements



Sri Lanka Driving Ideas Guide

The island of Sri Lanka is a rugged land of rainforest, diverse wildlife and endless beaches. It is famed for its ancient Buddhist ruins and temples.

Apart from the stunning scenery, the country is a hotspot for things to do and see, including some of the best clubs and night entertainment in the cities.  One of the joys of travel in Sri Lanka is the delicious, spice-rich cuisine influenced by many cultures. If you remember to bargain for prices, your trip can be most affordable.

Driving in Sri Lanka is very entertaining as most of the roads wind through the villages, but be prepared to take it slow.  Plan your trips for daytime, as the roads can be challenging at night.  This will also ensure you have time to stop and explore along the way.

Scenic drive from Bandaranaike International Airport via Kegalle to Kandy, the Tea Country (Highway A1)

After arriving at Colombo’s main international airport, collect your car and drive out to Kandy. Although driving is slow, due to the large amount of local traffic, this route is the most scenic. The drive will take approximately 3 hours without major stops, so you can time your trip accordingly.

The district of Kegalle is cradled between the central highlands and western southern planes.  It boasts of rich rubber and spice cultivation, a booming clay industry and a famous elephant orphanage.  The oldest archaeological evidence of the district’s rich history dates back 30,000 years, and cave temples, or temples build around natural caves, are commonly found here.

When passing the town of Kegalle, locate the local tea house for a refreshing cup of local brew.  On your way you will also drive past a large open-air local arts and crafts market where you can bargain for those special souvenirs.

Beautiful Kandy town was the last capital of the ancient kings' era of Sri Lanka and has retained its unique culture. Centre piece in town is the lake and the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa). Also try to visit the Tea Museum and New Ranweli Spice Garden for a dash of local flavour. The Kandy district has a large number of known treks and short hikes, but try to find a reputable guide to show you the best spots.

Explore East Sri Lanka:  Kandy to Puttalam via Dambulla and Anuradhapura (Highway A9, A12 A10)

By driving to Puttalam via ancient Anuradhapura, you will experience the best Sri Lanka has to offer, including the beaches.  Ideally you should plan to overnight at Anuradhapura.

From Kandy you will head north through Matala district, which is known for breathtaking waterfalls, caves and cave temples.  Allocate time to see Dambulla Golden Rock Temple (Rangiri Dambulu Viharaya and go for a magic Ayurveda treatment in Dambulla.

Next stop is ancient Anuradhapura, a pleasant city with lots to see and do. The ruins of Anuradhapura are one of South Asia’s most evocative sights containing a rich collection of archaeological and architectural wonders - built during Anuradhapura’s thousand years of rule.

Puttalam is a secret treasure trove, with a great atmosphere and good food. Thinly populated by a fascinating mixture of cultures and religions, this area is beautiful and wild. The two most spectacular nature reserves, Wilpattu National Park and the Puttalam Lagoon deserves a visit, whilst Chilaw is a fine birdwatching area.  Puttalam fast becoming a draw for kite surfers and divers in season. Superb dolphin watching is possible between December and April.  Dolphin Beach, Uddeki and Palagama are all excellent beaches to relax and appreciate the beautiful sunsets over the Indian Ocean.

Experience the friendly island of Sri Lanka.  To find the best deals and choices for rental cars and accommodation you need not look further than Cheaperthancars and Cheaperthanhotels.

Discover Sri Lanka - the jewel of the Indian Ocean!

Your Cheaperthancars Team


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