Bentota Beach, Sri Lanka Bentota Beach, Sri Lanka – Image courtesy of beyondinsrilankatravel.com

How to get to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka (officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and formerly as Ceylon) is an island nation located off the southern tip of India in the Indian Ocean.

The most convenient route to Sri Lanka is by air to Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), located on the east coast around 32km (20mi) north of the commercial capital, Colombo.


Flight times to Sri Lanka

The following are the most convenient flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

From Singapore: SriLankan Airlines, SilkAir and Singapore Airlines offer the most convenient flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Singapore to Sri Lanka is 3 hrs 45 min, direct flight


From Malaysia: SriLankan Airlines, AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines offer the most convenient flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Kula Lumpur to Sri Lanka is 3 hrs 25 min, direct flight


From China: SriLankan Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Cathay Pacific offer the most convenient flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Beijing to Sri Lanka is 7 hrs 30 min, direct flight
Shanghai to Sri Lanka is 7 hrs, direct flight
Hong Kong to Sri Lanka is 5 hrs 30 min, direct flight


From United Arab Emirates: Etihad, Emirates and SriLankan Airlines offer the most convenient flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Abu Dhabi to Sri Lanka is 4 hrs 30 min, direct flight
Dubai to Sri Lanka is 4 hrs 25 min, direct flight


From Australia: Qantas, SriLankan Airlines, Emirates and Singapore Airlines offer the most convenient flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Melbourne to Sri Lanka is 10 hrs 50 min, direct flight

Adelaide to Sri Lanka is 13 hrs 20 min, connecting flightˆ
Brisbane to Sri Lanka is 13 hrs, connecting flightˆ
Sydney to Sri Lanka is 13 hrs 25 min, connecting flightˆ
Perth to Sri Lanka is 10 hrs 45 min, connecting flightˆ


From New Zealand: SriLankan Airlines, Qantas and Singapore Airlines offer the most convenient flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Auckland to Sri Lanka is 16 hrs 15 min, connecting flightˆ


From United Kingdom: SriLankan Airlines offers the most convenient nonstop daily flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

London to Sri Lanka is 10 hrs 45 min, direct flight


From France: Air France, KLM and Qatar Airways offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Paris to Sri Lanka is 12 hrs 35 min, connecting flightˆ


From Germany: SriLankan Airlines, Lufthansa, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways offer the most convenient flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Berlin to Sri Lanka is 11 hrs 55 min, connecting flightˆ
Dusseldorf to Sri Lanka is 13 hrs 5 min, connecting flightˆ
Frankfurt to Sri Lanka is 11 hrs 25 min, connecting flightˆ
Hamburg to Sri Lanka is 12 hrs 40 min, connecting flightˆ
Munich to Sri Lanka is 12 hrs 25 min, connecting flightˆ


From United States: Delta, Korean Air, Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Atlanta to Sri Lanka is 20 hrs 12 min, connecting flightˆ
Boston to Sri Lanka is 18 hrs 10 min, connecting flightˆ
Chicago to Sri Lanka is 20 hrs 25 min, connecting flightˆ
Dallas-Fort Worth to Sri Lanka is 21 hrs 50 mins, connecting flightˆ
New York to Sri Lanka is 18 hrs 45 min, connecting flightˆ
Los Angeles to Sri Lanka is 21 hrs 30 min, connecting flightˆ
San Francisco to Sri Lanka is 21 hrs 15 min, connecting flightˆ


From Canada: Air Canada, Air India, KLM and SriLankan Airlines offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Toronto to Sri Lanka is 18 hrs 30 min, connecting flightˆ
Montreal to Sri Lanka is 18 hrs 55 min, connecting flightˆ
Vancouver to Sri Lanka is 19 hrs, connecting flightˆ

(ˆincludes transfer time.)


Flying in

Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), also known as Katunayake Airport and Colombo International Airport, is located 32km (20mi) north of Colombo. The beach resort of Bentota is a 90-minute drive away.


Public transport

Taxi: Taxis are available outside the terminal buidling. The airport taxi service (tel: + 94 11 225 2861) operates a counter in the arrival hall's inner lobby and has a fleet of more than 600 vehicles.

Prices to Colombo start at around Rs2,800. Air-conditioned vehicles are more expensive.

Shuttle: Most hotels and resorts can meet quests on arrival by prior arrangement.

Bus: A shuttle bus provides transport a short distance to the airport bus terminal, from where intercity buses operate.

Bus 187 leaves for central Colombo every 30 minutes from 5:30am to 10:30pm, taking about 45 minutes with a one-way fare of Rs110.

Air: Cinnamon Air (tel: +94 11 247 5475; www.cinnamonair.com) operates flights in small aircraft, including seaplanes, from Bandanairaike Airport to a number of scenic spots and other destinations around Sri Lanka. Full details of schedules and fares can be found on the company's website.


Car rental

Several car hire companies are represented at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport, including Alamo, Avis, Europcar, Sixt, and several local agencies.

Some cars come with a driver as standard. Car rental counters are situated in Arrivals.


Terminal facilities

Money: A number of banks operate at the arrival lobby and in the transit area, providing currency exchange facilities. ATMs and currency exchanges are available throughout both terminals.

Food: Restaurants (run by Sri Lankan Airlines) serving local and international cuisine are located in Departures and the transit lounge. Numerous snack bars and cafés are also available.

Shopping: A wide range of duty-free shops can be found both in Arrivals and Departures. These sell a variety of products, including electronic goods, household items, wines and spirits, handicrafts, silk items, jewellery, perfumes and teas.

Communication: There is a post office in Arrivals. Telephone booths can be found in the arrival, departure and transit areas. A communications counter is located in the transit lounge with international direct dialling, email and fax facilities.

Other: A first-aid centre staffed with qualified nurses is located in the immigration area of Arrivals.

Fully air-conditioned day rooms with attached toilets are situated in the arrival and departure halls for transit passengers who wish to rest. Shower rooms are also available in the transit lounge.

Numerous tour operators are represented at the airport, as well as three business and first-class lounges.


Disabled facilities

Special assistance is available for wheelchair users and passengers travelling for medical reasons. Any passengers who may require additional assistance are advised to contact their airline before travelling.


Entry requirements

A passport valid for at least six months beyond intended period of stay, a return/onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds. A visa is required and is issued on arrival for a stay of up to 30 days. It is possibly to get an extension up to 90 days.


Getting Around

Taxis and three-wheelers (tuk-tuks) are plentiful. Self-drive hire cars are available; and it’s common to hire a car and driver. You can also hire motorcycles and bicycles.

Public transport – bus and train – is convenient and inexpensive but usually very crowded. Private air-conditioned intercity buses travel all the major routes.


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More about Sri Lanka…


Latest update: How to get to Sri Lanka : 14 February, 2020


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