The most popular car rental agents at Colombo Airport:
- Europcar (Tel: +94 76 177 7888)
- Sixt (Tel: +94 112 870 870)
- SR Rent a Car (Tel: +94 77 778 0729)
Colombo Airport Mini Guide
Why Should I go to Sri Lanka?
The island and its former capital, Colombo, have something for every tourist to enjoy. There are the rainforests, much of which is protected by the government, the beautiful wildlife and flowers and the wonderful hospitality of the Sri Lankan people. Colombo also has the monopoly on the displays of the island’s history with the National Museum and the Museum of Dutch Ceylon. There are numerous beaches in the area of Colombo giving the tourist the option of days soaking up the sun or others of discovery in the city and countryside.
How do I get to Colombo?
The nearest airport is called Bandaranaike Airport after a former prime minister. It’s a big international airport accepting scheduled flights from all the main continents. The national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines has a daily flight from London Heathrow
The airport is 22 miles from the city and in bad weather, such as in the monsoon season, many flights arriving at night recommend that the passengers stay overnight in the nearest city, Negombo. Taxis and local buses are available to take you into the city and there’s a local train going into Colombo’s main station. If you wish, you can hire a car from the airport.
What is the Airport Like?
It is currently the only international airport on a huge island and as such gets regularly overcrowded. Expansion plans undertaken six years ago and continuing under a second phase beginning this year have seen an upgrade in the facilities and the soon to be completed project for a second island airport which is hoped to take the pressure off Bandaranaike.
What can I Expect When I Arrive?
The terminal is very big and modern. It has air bridges to conveniently transfer you from the plane to the terminal; especially useful in the monsoon season. Once you’ve made it through the very welcoming passport control you’ll collect your bags and head out into the arrivals hall. There, it’s well lit, modern and clean and with a variety of facilities that you might need including seven branches of banks that will exchange currency and offer ATMs.
The information desk is quite useful should you lose your way in the heaving mass of humanity and there you’ll be given help on airport matters, advice on transport and directions for finding your way around the airport. If you’ve pre-booked a Rhino hire car, the company desks are found in the arrivals hall along the far wall.
And on the day of my Departure?
After checking in, you’ll find that the airport is a shopper’s paradise. The shops mainly focus on electrical goods although it’s not sure how the shop owners expect you to transport fridge freezers and washing machines home on your flight! There are many other duty free shops selling alcohol, tobacco products, cameras, laptops, phones and more!
In the time you have at the airport you’ll not make it around all of the shops so, after you’ve seen enough, take a break at the range of restaurants and cafes operating at the airport. From international a la carte food to take away and everything in between, you certainly won’t go hungry there. Finally, when you’re sat in the departure lounge, or any of the very plush guest lounges, you’ll find you can access the airport’s Wi-Fi on your newly purchased duty free laptop.
Colombo Airport is currently the island’s only international airport. It’s very convenient for trips into the city but some simply hire a car and explore the smaller towns and villages. There you can watch elephants at work with their handlers and even have a go at riding one yourself.
Some centres even offer the chance to go elephant trekking through the dense jungle. The rural aspects of the island are fascinating and you can either tour the villages yourself or take a guided trip to see how life has changed little over the centuries.