Looking for the best way to travel from Colombo to Weligama? You have a few different options, and I’ll cover them all in this post.
Weligama is a popular destination located on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It’s one of the county’s major surfing locations and is close to several world-class surf spots.
I spent a month living near Weligama earlier this year and know all of the main transport options very well. Getting from Colombo to Weligama is fairly straightforward, and the journey is made by thousands of foreign travelers each year.
The best form of transport for you will probably depend on a few factors, including how much luggage you have, your budget, time constraints, and preferences.
Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks. I’ll go over all of the different options so that you can decide which one is best for you.
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Different ways to travel from Colombo to Weligama Beach (or Weligama to Colombo)
Here are the main ways to get from Colombo to Weligama:
- Take the train
- Catch the bus
- Take a taxi (or book a private transfer)
- Travel by tuk tuk
- Drive yourself
- Hire a motorbike
Read on for more information on each of these transportation options.
If you need to travel in the other direction, from Weligama to Colombo, the info is the same.
Take the Colombo to Weligama train
One of my favourite ways of getting from Colombo to Weligama is by train. There are several direct trains per day, and the journey takes about 4.5 hours.
The railway line follows the coast virtually the whole way. I love watching out of the window as the train passes through little towns, villages, jungles, and alongside the sparking Indian Ocean.
For the best views, and to enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze, be sure to sit on the right hand of the train. (If you’re not sure which direction the train will travel when you arrive at the station in Colombo, just ask one of the guards.)
Taking the train from Colombo to Weligama is one of the cheapest ways to travel between the two cities. Most trains have 3 different classes, with a 3rd class ticket costing less than $1 USD!
As of February 2023, the prices of one-way tickets are as follows:
- 3rd class – 300 LKR ($0.80 USD)
- 2nd class – 400 LKR ($1.10 USD)
- 1st class – 800 LKR ($2.20 USD)
You can check departure times and schedules here. The Weligama train usually terminates in either Matara or Beliatta.
Top tip: Most people board the train at Colombo Fort railway station; however, the majority of trains actually start at Colombo Maradana station (here, on Google Maps). I recommend joining the train here as you’re much more likely to get a seat!
Catch the bus to Weligama
Travelling from Colombo to Weligama by public bus is even cheaper than the train, and often a bit quicker.
You need to take the Colombo-Matara bus, which departs from the central bus station on Bastion Road. There are many departures throughout the day, and one-way tickets cost only 170-240 LKR ($0.50-0.75 USD).
However, Sri Lankan buses are often quite crowded and uncomfortable for long distances. The drivers famously drive like absolute maniacs (overtaking on blind corners, driving as fast as possible, always on their phones, etc.).
For these reasons, it’s not usually my preferred method of transport to reach Weligama, despite the extremely low cost. However, if you’re looking to travel as cheaply as possible, the bus can be a good option.
The travel time is usually between 3-4 hours, depending on traffic. However, if you need to travel during rush hours (between 7:30-9:30 am and 4-7 pm), it can take considerably longer.
There are air-conditioned expressway buses that travel along the new Southern Expressway between Colombo and a few other major cities, such as Matara and Galle. These are more comfortable and much faster than the normal buses. However, these expressway buses don’t currently go to Weligama.
It’s possible to travel to either Matara or Galle on the expressway bus and then take a normal bus from there to Weligama. However, this would take almost as long as catching a normal bus all the way from Colombo, and is much more of a hassle, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a good option.
Take a taxi (or book a private transfer)
If you can afford it, taking a taxi is definitely the most comfortable and convenient way to reach Weligama town from Colombo. It’s also one of the quickest ways, especially if you take the Southern Expressway toll road – which will cost extra but saves a lot of time.
Taxis aren’t usually metered, so be sure to agree on a price with the driver in advance to avoid any nasty surprises later on. 18,000 LKR (about $50 USD) is a fair price to pay for a decent, new car and to travel on the expressway.
If you take the expressway, the ride takes about 2-2.5 hours.
Another option is to book a private transfer in advance. This tends to cost a bit more than hiring a taxi directly, but the major advantage is that you can get it all arranged in advance. If you’re short on time and want to make things as easy and hassle-free as possible, this might be a good option for you.
Travel by tuk tuk
For a truly memorable Sri Lankan experience, you can always choose to get from Colombo to Weligama by tuk-tuk.
Tuk-tuks are actually surprisingly comfortable and can take a moderate amount of luggage, despite their small size. The trip will likely take at least 4-5 hours, depending on traffic, but you’ll get to get to see quite a bit along the way. Tuk-tuks can’t travel on the expressway, so you’ll follow the coastal route.
Many tuk-tuk drivers I’ve used in the past have been happy to stop off along the way and often know some amazing, authentic (and cheap!) places to get some food along the way.
Be sure to agree on a price before you set off. 15,000-20,000 LKR ($40-55 USD) is a fair price.
If you’re a confident driver (and confident driving on the left-hand side of the road), renting a car is another option for travelling from Colombo to Weligama.
Renting a car offers freedom and flexibility that other forms of transport don’t, and the journey along the coast is especially beautiful.
You can find cars to rent from major rental companies in Colombo for around 30-50 USD per day. It’s often best value to pick up your car from the airport, rather than the city centre.
Bear in mind that carrying an international driving licence (sometimes called an international driving permit, or IDP) is a legal requirement in Sri Lanka. Without one, you risk being stopped by the police and potentially being fined – and worse, your travel insurance won’t cover you for any accidents.
You also need to ensure your travel insurance covers car rental. Most policies do, but it’s always a good idea to check.
Driving in Sri Lanka can be more difficult (and dangerous) than in other countries due to its narrow, windy roads, animals crossing, people walking and cycling (sometimes on the wrong side of the road), people pulling out without looking, and the aggressive bus drivers.
I’ve driven a fair amount in Sri Lanka and it’s generally fine as long as you’re a confident driver. But you do need to keep your wits about you at all times!
Hire a motorbike
If you’re feeling brave and adventurous, you can also hire a motorbike to get from Colombo city to Weligama. This is definitely one of the most exciting and fun ways to travel, but also one of the most dangerous.
You can find motorbikes to hire all around Sri Lanka for anything from $5-15 USD per day.
Just be sure you know what you’re doing before setting off on a motorbike. Always wear protective gear and drive carefully.
Obviously, you can’t carry much luggage with you on a motorbike, so this is only likely to be an option if you don’t have much stuff with you.
You also need an international driving licence (as well as a motorbike licence) to legally drive a motorbike in Sri Lanka. The people who rent out bikes often don’t ask to see these documents. But without both of them, you’ll be driving uninsured.
FAQs on travelling from Colombo to Weligama
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about travelling from Colombo to Weligama.
How long does it take to get from Colombo to Weligama?
The journey time can vary greatly depending on which mode of transport you choose. If you take a taxi that goes on the expressway, it should take around 2-2.5 hours. Normal buses take 3-4 hours and the train ride takes about 4.5 hours.
How to get to Weligama from Colombo International Airport?
You can take a taxi (or book a private transfer) from Colombo airport (CMB) to take you all the way to Weligama. Or hire your own car at the airport.
If you’d prefer to travel by public transport, you can take the Colombo Expressway bus from the airport to Colombo city which takes 1 hour. The ticket costs 500 LKR ($1.40 USD).
However, it’s quicker and easier to take an Uber or regular taxi from Colombo airport straight to Maradana station which takes about 40 mins. The trip should cost 3,500-5,000 LKR ($10-14 USD).
What is the distance from Weligama to Colombo?
The distance from Weligama to Colombo is about 150 kilometres (93 miles).
How much is a taxi from Colombo to Weligama?
18,000 LKR (about $50) is a fair price for this trip.
How much is a first-class ticket from Colombo Fort railway station to Weligama station?
A first-class ticket from Colombo to Weligama costs 800 LKR (about $2.20 USD).
What’s the best way of traveling from Colombo to Weligama, Sri Lanka?
That really depends on your budget and preferences. If you’re travelling on a strict budget, catching the train (or the bus) is likely to be a good option.
If you’re pressed for time, or just want to arrive as quickly and comfortably as possible, and don’t mind spending the extra money, taking a taxi (or booking a private transfer) is better.
Whichever way you decide to go, travelling from Colombo to Weligama is always an adventure!
Have a safe journey and enjoy your trip!