How to Travel Sri Lanka... In a Tuk Tuk
Tropical sandy shores, misty hills of tea, wild jeep safaris, and charming people. Sri Lanka is a thrilling and enchanting place to visit, and experiencing it the way the locals do will be a journey you will never forget. If adventure is what you are after then we are here to answer all your questions and get you into that Tuk Tuk and on the road, exploring Sri Lanka in the best possible way.
How do I get a Tuk Tuk?
Now that you have decided to take the plunge, the first thing you will be wondering is how on earth you can get your hands on your own Tuk Tuk. Well, there are three ways you can do this:
1. Buy a Tuk Tuk and sell it at the end of your trip.
This would only be worth it if you have plenty of time on your hands. Although it may work out cheaper in the long run, you run the risk of dealing with maintenance and repair fees along the way, as well as a whole lot of logistics when buying it.
2. Rent a Tuk Tuk from a local owner.
This is a good option but may get tricky if you aren’t sure about local rates. You could be setting yourself up to be ripped off and dealing with any issues with the Tuk Tuk (ie. engine problems or accidents) may get complicated and pricey.
3. Rent a Tuk Tuk from a rental company.
This is probably the safest and most hassle free option. The prices are set, the terms and conditions clear, and any paperwork or problems are sorted out for you.
If you can’t tell already, we went with option 3 and are 100% happy with our decision.
Which company did we use?
After a bit of research we went with Tuk Tuk Rental. They were incredibly helpful, reasonably priced, and sorted out all the logistics so we could focus on all the fun. Their Tuk Tuks come with comprehensive insurance (which covers you and third parties) and a free driving lesson with a basic overview of Tuk Tuk maintenance. Tuk Tuk Rental also hires all their Tuk Tuks from local owners, and we loved the fact that we were still contributing to the local community. A win-win situation if you ask us!
Do you need a Tuk Tuk driving licence?
This is probably the most frequent question we get asked and the answer is, Yes. However, if you have an international driving license then it is possible to get a temporary license which allows you to drive a Tuk Tuk in Sri Lanka. Thankfully Tuk Tuk Rental arranged ours for us before we even arrived in the country, so all we had to do was pick it up when we fetched our Tuk Tuk. We weren’t joking when we said hassle free!
How much will it cost?
Now for the million-dollar question, how will this big adventure affect your bank account? You may be thinking that hiring a Tuk Tuk is expensive but we soon discovered that it works out pretty much the same as using public transport plus its so much more fun. Here is a basic breakdown of what we paid for our Tuk Tuk from Tuk Tuk Rental (for more up to date prices visit their website here):
Where should I go?
Now that all the logistics are sorted, let’s get to the fun part! Sri Lanka is a pretty diverse country so you’ll want to see as much as you can, without rushing and spending all your time on the roads (as fun as that may be on a Tuk Tuk). Here is a sample itinerary for 3 weeks on the road:
We began our adventure in Negombo and then headed up to the Kite Surfers paradise, Kalpitiya. We then headed to Kandy, before driving through Sigiriya (and Dambulla) to Trincomalee. From there we got a bit too confident and did the trip from Trincomalee to the tea region of Ella. The roads aren’t great in the hilly regions of Sri Lanka and it took us about 10 hours (so we definitely don’t recommend this). We suggest stopping of in Batticoala along the way to break up the journey. Next we headed to Arugam Bay via Haputale, then Udawalawe National Park and on to Mirissa. From Mirissa we headed to Unawatuna where we did a day trip to Galle before heading back to drop the Tuk Tuk off in Mt Lavinia (just outside Colombo).
Exploring Sri Lanka on a Tuk Tuk has been one of our best adventures yet. So what are you waiting for? Book your tickets, rent your Tuk Tuk and find your own adventure in beautiful Sri Lanka.
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