How to go from Colombo to the Airport (Negombo)

Basically there are 3 ways to go to reach the Sri Lankan international airport, Bandaranaike International Airport, that is located 30 kilometers north from the center of the city: by taxi, by train and by bus.

  • By taxi is the most confortable, fast and expensive. Takes around 30 minutes and at least 2500 LKR.
  • By train is far the cheapest but as the trains usually don’t run on time, are frequently full and don’t have much frequency, this isn’t a very attractive option. Although the train station is not far form the Airport, about 100 LKR tuk-tuk ride.
  • By bus, is the balanced option between time and cost… and here there are two alternatives.

Sri Lanka_Colombo_Fort_Train Station_DSC_8486
Colombo-Fort Train station

Option 1:

Bus a/c (expressway), number 187: 100 LKR

This bus takes 1 hour, and as go by the expressway; don’t have many stops and don’t get much traffic on the way. It drops you in the entrance of the airport, from where is a walking distance to the building.

As it goes by the express-way, instead of the national road, the duration of the trip is more or less the same along the day, although if you need to catch the plain have in mind that all kind of transportation take more time than expected. Sometimes the buses delay the departure waiting for a few more passengers.

These buses run 24 hours, everyday of the week, every 15 minutes, but during the night the frequency decrease of 1 each hour.

Airport bus (expressway)
Airport bus (expressway)

Option 2:

Normal Bus (national road): 60 LKR

The drive may ask for extra money for the luggage… but you don’t need to pay nothing, not in this bus or in any other in Sri Lanka.

At 5 o’clock in the morning it took 1.10h. Later it will take much more time, as it stops every time there’s a passenger on the road side, no mater if it is a bus stand or not. If you ask about how long is the trip until the airport, the driver always gonna say one hour, but during rush hour, it can take two hours.

But these buses don’t drop at the airport, but in a bus terminal of the closest village of Katunayake. From Katunayake Bus Terminal you need to walk about 1.6 km or take a tuk-tuk that cost around 100 LKR and take 5 minutes.

Pettah Bus Station, opp Colombo-Fort Train Staion
Pettah Bus Station, opp Colombo-Fort Train Staion

Both these buses start from the same place: Pettah Bus Station, located at the opposite side of Colombo-Fort Train Station, at Olcott Mawatha Road (A1), not far from a foot bridge over the road.

There’s nothing that indicates that there is a bus stand there, not a sign or a shelter, but during the day many buses line waiting for passengers.

The buses that go by the expressway are smaller, a bit more modern and have air-conditioner, witch means that the windows are blocked. The buses that go to Katunayake Bus Terminal are the usual private buses, big and with a white or blue colour

Sri Lanka_Colombo_bus to Airport_DSC_8410
Pettah Bus Station, where stop the buses that go to the airport


3 Responses

  1. will posher

    Option 2 normal bus has also number 187 which is confusing. We unfortunately took it and it took 2h+ to go to the airport. horrible poluted experience. Make sure the bus has A/C , if not it’s the wrong bus even it is labelled 187 or airport express.. it’s not!

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