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.
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.