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| Updated on Aug 25, 2016

Roads, rails and other aesthetic pleasures

The island of Sri Lanka offers endless opportunities for any enthusiastic traveler. With more than two thousand five hundred years of recorded history and home to some of the world’s most ancient civilizations, the country offers a merge of bewitching monuments and ruins and an exotic outstanding nature. Regardless of Sri Lanka's modest size, getting around can be an exhausting and time consuming process. The island’s narrow and crowded roads, packed with all types of vehicles and pedestrians, make bus travels tedious and laborious. However, the wide range of transportation methods that the country offers can make travelling through Sri Lanka a matchless idiosyncratic delight.

Busses are the most common mode of transport in the country.Even the most remote towns are well connected, making it fairly easy to discover all sides of the country. Crowded and slow, Sri Lankan buses are quite uncomfortable for western standards, but their cheap prices -ranging from 10 to 50 rps- and high frequencies lure most tourist into using their services. Besides buses, no visitor can fail to notice the abundant lines of motorized rickshaws that fill the streets of every city, town and village.Known by various names – tuk-tuks, three-wheelers, trishaws or taxis, they offer short distance trips within towns and cities.

Trains are a great alternative to move across the country. Although they are slow and few, train rides offer a relaxed and safe atmosphere, contrasting with the chaotic bus environment. There are three main lines, covering the routes from the south, east and north of colombo. All these routes are scenic delight for locals and visitors. There are three different classes on Sri Lankan trains, which differ in luxury and price. From the first class spacious vintage interiors and big windows to the third class modest and crowded options, Sri Lankan trains offer options for all kinds travelers. Tip: Opt for the observation car to enjoy the best landscape views during your trip.

Before visiting Sri Lanka, you are required to apply for a tourist visa. This process can be completely carried out online and has a cost of US$30 and a validity of 30 days. A Sri Lankan travel visa can still be obtained at international embassies for the same price and duration. If you are already in Sri Lanka and you do not have a valid visa, there is a counter at Bandaranaike International Airport that provides short notice visas, although you will be required to pay a small penalty.
If you wish to extend your trip to Sri Lanka, it is possible to renew your 30-day tourist visa twice through a relatively simple bureaucratic process. For more information, contact the Department of Immigration and Emigration. When travelling through Sri Lanka, you must carry a valid passport at all times. This is especially necessary when booking accommodation and accessing the international embassies in the capital.

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