Colombo Bandaranaike Airport
35km (22 miles) north of Colombo
Sri Lanka’s only international airport, Colombo Bandaranaike Airport has undergone a lot of improvements in recent years, and now stands ready to provide visitors with a suitably pleasant and stress-free welcome to the wonderful island nation.
Flights to Colombo Bandaranaike Airport, also known as Katunayake International Airport, are provided by a number of airlines, though obviously, it is primarily a hub for Sri Lankan Airlines, who provide flights to various Indian cities as well as to major Middle Eastern, Asian and European destinations.
Sri Lanka gets only a fraction of the tourist numbers India does despite offering a wealth of culture, great beaches, and truly friendly, hospitable people. If you are currently looking for your next vacation, be sure to research flights to Colombo Bandaranaike Airport. The only caveat is that getting into downtown Colombo from the airport (32km or 20 miles) can be quite an intense experience if you choose to go the public transportation route. It is recommended, especially for first-time travellers, that you just pay for a taxi to take you where you need to go.
One passenger terminal linked by airbridges and walkways.
Train: There is a train station located about 1km from the airport, offering cheap services to central Colombo departing around every hour or so.
Bus: About 10 minutes’ walk from the terminal buildings (or a free shuttle ride away), is the Colombo Bandaranaike Airport bus depot. From there, you can catch the No. 187 bus (LKR 40) to Colombo Fort Station (located in the heart of the city). Don’t be scared to tell the driver where it is you’re headed, and to request that he tells you where you should get off. The trip should take anywhere from an hour to two hours, depending on traffic.
Taxi: An official taxi service with a fleet of more than 600 vehicles is provided by Colombo Bandaranaike Airport. You can reserve a taxi at the counter located in the international arrivals hall. Note that the airport officials might try persuade you to take a (far more expensive) hotel taxi into Colombo – insist on a minivan taxi. Expect to pay LKR 1,490 for the 45-minute trip to Colombo’s city centre. You can also catch one of these taxis all the way to Kandy (LKR 4,500), if that’s where you’re headed.
There is ample parking available at Colombo Bandaranaike Airport. You can either use the terminal parking lot (400 spaces), which costs LKR 150 for cars, and LKR 230 for vans, double cabs and jeeps. Alternatively, use the remote car park (just 300 metres from the terminal building), which has more available space, and only charges LKR 50 for cars, and LKR 100 for vans, double cabs and jeeps.
A big, prominent information desk is located on the first floor of the terminal building. There, you can get basic airport and tourist information, and there are fax and photocopying facilities available for use by travellers.
Money and communications: Six banks operate from the arrivals hall, providing currency exchange services. There is also a post office.
Luggage: There is a lost and found office at Colombo Bandaranaike Airport.
Conference and business: A business centre is available on the ground floor of the transit hall, offering international direct dialling, fax and photocopying facilities. There are also four business and first-class airline lounges at the airport.
Other facilities: Shower rooms, first aid facilities with trained staff, TVs; porter services (LKR 100 per bag); and basic access and facilities for disabled passengers.
Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi access, courtesy of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), is available within wi-fi hotspots dotted around the airport.