The adventurous two of us really enjoy freedom during our travels and like to explore countries in the most exciting possible way. After arriving Sri Lanka we soon found out that the country is perfect for doing roadtrips. All towns and cities are reasonably close located to each other and most roads are not crowded at all.
Not even knowing that we had to cross serveral national parks to go from the one place to the other to get close to worlds largest animals. Our adventure became one of our best travel experiences and this is why.
Our decision to travel Sri Lanka by tuktuk.
The cheapest and most easy way to travel Sri Lanka is by bus or by train. Almost every city is well connected and the prices are very low. Besides the fact that these busses drive far to fast and scarry's everyone off, the most people decide to travel this way. This seems to be the most easy way, but is it the best way to travel Sri Lanka? After my experience of driving a motor from south Vietnam all the way up north to north Vietnam (2500 km in total) the feeling of doing a same kind of adventure was always on my mind. We felt directly in love with all the colorfull tuktuks in Sri Lanka and that being said Anouk came to the great idea to buy or hire a tuktuk to explore the country. Most people around us were doubting if this was a great idea, because of chaotic traffic and the different law regulations. Sometimes you are making decisions during your travels that are not always the safest ones, but definitely the most memorial ones. And to be honest; we found it actually quite safe on the mostly uncrowded roads. For us this decision became one of the best ones during our travels.
How did we arrange a tuktuk?
We started our Sri Lanka adventure in Negombo and believe that this is the most ideal place to kick-of and end a Sri Lanka trip, because it is compared to Colombo, more authentic and peaceful. Surprisingly there were several companies who arrange tuktuk hiring. We found 'Alma tours' and had a chat with the trustworthy owner who offered us a deal including an insurance for an accident, theft and third party. This sounded really good to us! Our international drivings license was easily transferred into a tuktuk drivings license after a day. So only one day after we decided to hit the Sri Lankan roads we were a legal tuktuk driver! Hell yeah, that felt really great! It took us some hours to actually handle the tuktuk, but we were quickly getting good at it. Still we couldn't imagine that we were the drivers of this crazy vehicle for the next month, but soon it felt like our own car.
Best road trip experience
Image us, two foreigners driving a local tuktuk in Sri Lanka. It seems like a joke of a local to let two customers driving his tuktuk for a second or two. But no, we were actually part of the roads and hell yea what a feeling is that! The first days we had to get used to drive on the left side of the road and of course to the traffic itself. We both have experience in driving motors and scooters in South-East-Asia so we were prepared for the worst. In the end we experienced that as long as you drive outside the big city Colombo, the traffic in Sri Lanka is not that bad- if you ignore the local busses. The best thing what we experienced from day one was that we could stop everywhere we wanted. This gave us a lot of freedom and made us stop at the most fantastic places to have lunch and have a chat with the locals. The locals were often quite surprised that we were driving along them, we will remember these happy faces forever.
Somethings we were like, is this real?
After visiting the more ancient towns (see blog ..) and discovering some cool town at the east coast we drove more inland from Trincomalee and Pollonaruwa and spotted the first wild elephant. This fella was just chilling on the street and eating his lunch for the day when we were driving by. We were like, is this real? The night after this experience we heard from some locals that a tourist got killed after stepping out his car making a selfie. The selfie must have been awesome, but what a terrific death. Two weeks later we had to cross Yala national park, full of elephants and leopards. Several signs reminded us that elephants and leopards are dangerous. It is not uncommon that cars crash into elephants or elephants attack cars, so we had to be extra carefull. After driving a while we saw a huge elephant standing on the street. Seriously one of the biggest I've ever seen. There was no way to cross this massive animal, so we decided to go back. Lukely there was a governmental park in the middle of the park with rangers who wanted to help us. They took some dynamites with them and throwed them towards the elephant to chase hem away. We continued our trip while being still in shock! After Pollonaruwa we visited Sigaria, Kandy, Adams Peak, Ella, Arugambay and Yala. We drove high in the inlands of Sri Lanka passing tea Plantages and local villages. The roads were fairly good and the cliffs fairly steep, but the views were truly magnificent. After chasing the inlands and national parks we finally reached Sri Lanka's best (surf) beaches like SK-beach, Mirissa, Weligama and Hikkaduwa. We just put the surfboard on the roof to explore the area for the best waves and private beaches to enjoy the best fresh seafood on the beach. We last our last 1,5 week at the southcoast and drove our buddy called tuktuk back to Negombo while visiting Galle on the way.
We can write a long and detailed book over our awesome experiences during our lifetime experience of driving a tuktuk in Sri Lanka, but its way more fun to experience it yourself. It is important to have a global shedule of your trip and know that doing this is already possible if you go like 1,5 - 2 weeks. See our blog 'travel shedule' of Sri Lanka what would be the best travel plan. But remember, make your own travel plan and do what you like to do and see in this amazing diverse country, so did we!