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Car Hire

London
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Car Hire

Hi all.

Ok so going to be visiting Ahungalla next month and im undecided about what to do in the way of transport. Staying in Ahungalla but would also like to visit the Eliya region.

Only going to be in Sri Lanka for total of 8 nights.

I have read lots in the forums about people hiring cars with a driver but im pondering on how easy it will be to do the driving myself (more freedom)

I'll be intrested to here from anyone who has done a road trip themselves to help me make me mind up.

What are the roads like?

Do they have English signposting ?

Is a 4x4 recommended because of the quality of the roads?

I read they drive on the left like in the UK true or false?

Is it easy to navigate yourself around?

Are petrol stations easy to come by in teh more rural areas etc.

Any recommendations for companies to use?

Thanks in advance!

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Fredericia, Denmark
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37,532 posts
7 reviews
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1. Re: Car Hire

Hi,

If you are suicidal, do indeed go for self drive in Sri Lanka;-). But, the advice has always been: don't do it. For mainly 2 reasons: The motorists in SL do not follow common traffic rules and when you drive yourself, you have to concentrate too much on the driving so you miss the marvelous sights.

Renting a car with or without driver costs about the same.

*What are the roads like?

Main roads are generally not that bad, but secondary roads are from bad to very bad.

*Do they have English signposting ?

There are some signposting in English but only on the main roads. On secondary sign post will be in Sinhalese/Tamil, if there are any. If you ask a local for help, the answer to the question 'Is this road to Dambulla or Kandy' will often be 'Yes, Sir'.

*Is a 4x4 recommended because of the quality of the roads?

A 4x4 is not needed.

*I read they drive on the left like in the UK true or false?

True.

*Is it easy to navigate yourself around?

No. See above.

*Are petrol stations easy to come by in teh more rural areas etc.

There are petrol stations in all towns, but more scarce in rural areas.

*Any recommendations for companies to use?

You could try http://www.malkey.lk/ (based in Colombo).

Hans

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Dambulla
Dambulla
Central Province, Sri Lanka
Colombo
Colombo
Western Province, Sri Lanka
UK
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2. Re: Car Hire

Hi,

This is an answer I gave to someone else a couple of days ago.. It still applies.

Hiring your own car ?.

Just not worth it. The first hurdle you'd encounter would be geting through the manic trafic into Colombo , finding your way through the congested streets and onto the coast road going south.

That could take you a day or two.

Road signs are poor, when you get inland , sometimes non existant.

Trafic is manic

The road trafic rules in Sri Lanka are basically,

You drive on the left.... Unless the left lane is full,,,, then you drive on the right.... unless both lanes are full, then you drive in the middle and weave in and out between all other trafic.

Giving way,,, there's no real rules about giving way except that if it's bigger than you, move to another part of the road. Anywhere will do .

Do try, to not run over the animals which like to sleep in the road. Especially the cows because they make big dents in a car and that could be very expensive.

One other little point, if you've negotiated your way through enough trafic , sleeping cows and dogs, tuk tuk,s going at right angles to all the other trafic and you finally find yourself on the open road, don't relax.

Keep one eye on the road and the other on the verge. Constantly update your memory chip as to where the safest bit of road verge to hide is located. In other words, drive along looking, constantly for escape routes because sooner or later, probably both, two or three buses will come round a corner, driveing three abreast and completely filling the road and heading straight for you.

Thats when you, need to automatically know where that escape route is because they will make no attempt at all to stop , slow down or allow you any room.

Oops, nearly forgot the cyclists.

If you buy a new bike, here in the UK, it squeaks..... In Sri Lanka everyone rides bikes that are at least 1000 years old, were made by Mr Raleigh, ( before he was a sailor ) and travel along the roughest of roads without making as much noise as you'd expect from a church mouse. They are another menace on the road .

No one with any sense or sobriety would want to ride a pedal cycle on Sri Lanka's roads.

So, before setting off , to get the groceries or to go fishing, or whatever, it's the law that every cyclist has to be drunk. So , all the prospective cyclists sit around and have a competition to see who can drink most Arrack. The winner , ie, the one who is staggerng so much that he can't walk, wins and is allowed to go out and play with the trafic.

It's a national sport.

Buses also like to collect these cyclists and they use them as bumper badges on the front of their buses.

Much easier to let someone else take the strain and sort out the insurance clamis.

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Colombo
Colombo
Western Province, Sri Lanka
Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka, Kalutara, Ahungalla
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9 reviews
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3. Re: Car Hire

Hi Funky...

To be really honest with you, it is not worth the hassle of hiring a self drive car, besides the AWFUL driving habits of locals, and wildlife (dogs cows ect) all over the roads, not to mention the very mad bus drivers too, it is just as cheap really to get a driver with a car already, and still have all the freedom you want.

Main roads ok, sort of, Ahungalla is on the main Galle road which is very good copared with others in Lanka , secondary roads, well some like dirt tracks in places.

Companies?, well mail me at davidjstockwell@btinternet.com and i will be happy to let you have details of a good driver with nice car in Ahungalla, my base when i am in Sri Lanka, at the Heritance Hotel there.

Regards

Dave

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Galle
Galle
Galle District, Sri Lanka
Heritance Ahungalla
Heritance Ahungalla
3,741 Reviews
Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka, Kalutara, Ahungalla
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5,466 posts
9 reviews
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4. Re: Car Hire

Rod....

Wonderfully funny tale, but of course absolutely correct !, and yes i did forget the cyclists too !

Regards

Dave

Fredericia, Denmark
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37,532 posts
7 reviews
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5. Re: Car Hire

Rod,

I liked your part about the cyclist, BUT well exaggerated!

Pedal cycles are the main means of transport in Sri Lanka. Don't be surprised to see 2 or 3 and even 4 on the same bicycle.

I usually consider myself both sensible and sober (most of the time) and I often use to cycle in Sri Lanka. Dave can certify that.

Hans

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Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka, Kalutara, Ahungalla
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5,466 posts
9 reviews
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6. Re: Car Hire

Hans....

Yep, can certify that you are indeed a cycle user in Lanka, even though you hopped on one just after our little Lion session a couple of weeks ago, but not suggesting for one minute that you are one of those that Rod had described, and i am sure he isn't either !

Me??, i took the tuk tuk, cos i am lazy !, well and had further to go of course.

As for numbers on 2 wheels??, well i have seen 6 !! on one rather clapped out old machine !

Regards

Dave

London
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85 posts
54 reviews
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7. Re: Car Hire

Hahahahaha well thats made my mind up then!

Dave I have sent you an email for your driver tip

Many thanks peeps!

Sheffield, United...
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8. Re: Car Hire

I hIRED A CAR IN GOA and I think lanka and goa are simular on the roads. I hired the car for three days but took it back after one. Yes too much hassle and you need eyes everywere. Local transport is the better way it could be taxi tuktuk or the local A/C busses that we always use.

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Goa
Goa
India
9. Re: Car Hire

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