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Renting Scooters in Unawatuna/Galle

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Renting Scooters in Unawatuna/Galle

Hi there.

We are 6 friends planning to spend 5 days staying between Unawatuna and Thalpe. We will make day trips from our villa to Galle, Hikaduwa, Welingama, Mirissa - and return back to our base every evening.

My question is - what is the best mode of transport for us?

1. Should we rent scooters? If yes, what license do we need and does it need to be endorsed by AA in Colombo?

2. Should we rent a big car? If yes, does our international driver's permit need endorsement by AA in Colombo?

3. Rent a big car and driver? If yes, how much will it cost us per day to rent a 7 seater vehicle with driver? The details online are a little fuzzy.

4. Should we use tuk tuks for our travels? If yes, how much will a tuk tuk ride from Unawatuna to Weligama cost?

Thanks a ton in advance!

KJ.

Edited: 04 March 2014, 10:31
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Unawatuna
Unawatuna
Galle District, Sri Lanka
Galle
Galle
Galle District, Sri Lanka
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1. Re: Renting Scooters in Unawatuna/Galle

Your tours all on coastal Galle Road and railway.

Maybe a ride by bus or train an option? Very cheap!

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Galle District, Sri Lanka
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2. Re: Renting Scooters in Unawatuna/Galle

Thanks for the input. Unfortunately trains are not as flexible as the other options - for instance, if we want to go to Weligama for a surfing lesson every morning from 8 am to 10 am, taking the train to and fro might not make sense! It would be very hard to get to Mirissa at 6:00 AM for whale watching if we relied on trains. Plus we would waste a lot of time getting to and from the station and waiting on trains. Thats why i left mass public transport options out of the equation.

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Weligama
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3. Re: Renting Scooters in Unawatuna/Galle

That's why he also mentioned BUS, on that route never more than 5 mins wait.

You do need to endorse your international license at AA for driving anything inside Lanka with it, that's about what we know. Minivan/driver with minimum daily mileage would cost around USD 65-70.

Tuktuk fare is around Rs 35-40/km long distance, hence to Weligama around Rs 600-800.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

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4. Re: Renting Scooters in Unawatuna/Galle

Ok,

TukTuk for short transport like Galle-Unawatuna ok, but to Weligama imo not ok.

Hire a car with driver for a day. Should less than 8000Rs

For self driving need to go to Colombo for permit from AA, lost one day of vacation. Galle has no car rental station.

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Galle District, Sri Lanka
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5. Re: Renting Scooters in Unawatuna/Galle

Thanks guys. Here is some info I have discovered. Might help future SL visitors:

1. Trains in SL are very slow and we are not considering them at any point since we are not traveling across the country.

2. Tuks Tuks can start adding up. More expensive than India for sure. Cost is more in line with Goa rates. One way for about 20 Kms can come up to 1000 SL Rupees or US $8-$10.

3. Car+Driver works out to between $35 (small sedan for 3) to $60 per day (van for 7-9 passengers) to $120 per day (luxury suv for 5 passengers). This includes car rental, driver payment, driver lodging and food costs, insurance, fuel for up to 100 kms per day. Taxes of 12% may be added on top. Road tolls should be the only charge that you need to pay besides this amount. Deposit is not charged since driver is their's.

4. Self Drive works out to about 20% cheaper than car+driver once you factor in fuel costs. If your International Driver's Permit mentions Sri Lanka on it - then you do not need to get it stamped by AA in Colombo (This has been mentioned to me by the Car Rental firms mentioned below. They do offer a remote stamping service for a fee, so they really don't have any reason to lie about the law). If your international driver license/permit does not specifically mention Sri Lanka on it, then you can hook up with one of the following - Malkey Car Rentals OR Shineway Car Rentals. Both will do it for you remotely so that your AA stamped license is available for you whenever you pick up your car. They charge SL Rupees 3000 or USD 25 for this service. Self Drive cars do charge a hefty deposit in the form of hard cash (any currency) and the amount varies from a few hundred dollars to a thousand dollars depending on the car. They are supposed to upgrade their processes to accept credit card blocks as deposits. But as of now, seems like cash deposits are the only option. Ideally check with your car rental company for details.

5. I would not use the bus in SL just like I would not advice anyone visiting Mumbai to use public transport buses within a city. Inter-city are good. But for intra-city, most buses are old, slow, overcrowded beyond sanity and hot. I might be wrong, will correct myself once I return with some first hand info.

6. Still trying to get some info on renting scooters like we do in Goa

We are going with the Van+Driver option for $300 all inclusive for 5 days. This includes Airport Pick up and Drop off. And will work out cheaper than renting a taxi to Galle and back + renting Tuk Tuks to get around Galle/Mirissa/etc. for 5 days. The flexibility and comfort is the cherry on top.

Edited: 06 March 2014, 06:02
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6. Re: Renting Scooters in Unawatuna/Galle

Hi again,

Mostly useful research, thanks for sharing! Disagree with the cost calc car-driver versus selfdrive, there is no significant difference we found in our research _as long as you are not hurt by a minimum daily mileage_ which the car-driver model has and the selfdrive hasn't. But then cost is only one reason for us not to selfdrive, so let's stop that discussion here as it has been held repeatedly in the forum.

Disagree with your info on bus. There is no significant difference between long-distance and intra-city rolling stock and quality, both are as lousy or good with the possible exception of some superluxury services like the two Expressway bus lines - only these come closer to the level of Indian long-distance buses. See

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g293961-c195051/Sri-L…

for an overview of bus (and train) system.

Tnx,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

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7. Re: Renting Scooters in Unawatuna/Galle

Thanks for the corrections. I don't know anything about the buses in SL. Never been. The buses in India though - inter city are good, comfortable and I would have no qualms in recommending them to a tourist visiting from abroad. At the other end of the spectrum, Intra city can and should be by and large avoided in India if you can afford any of the other means of transport the cities have to offer. I am possibly wrong in putting buses in SL in India in one general category. Will confirm that once I'm back.

Car + Driver, costs add up a little because of driver overnight costs, driver lodging/boarding costs and driver overtime costs that some professional firms like Malkey charge (Our vaca days last about 13-14 hours including siestas and pool side snoozes). We are going to be hit by excess mileage costs as well on our trip next week.

Once again, I would take Erik's word over mine since its first hand information.

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8. Re: Renting Scooters in Unawatuna/Galle

FYI: Colombo Airport - Galle - Colombo Airport is going to 400 kms right there since Malkey adds 80 kms for bringing the car to the airport and picking it up from there at the end. Then if you visit Mirissa/Weligama/Kogalla/Hikkaduwa/etc. while you're in Galle, the mileage will start adding up quickly. Our quote for the car is $300ish all inclusive. The excess mileage is going to cost us an additional $100 at the very least.

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Galle District, Sri Lanka
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Galle District, Sri Lanka
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9. Re: Renting Scooters in Unawatuna/Galle

FYI - you can rent scooters for about 500 to 1000 rupees SL in Unawatuna. However, we did not see a single scooter with tourists on the roads whenever we did look for them. The scooter culture is definitely not as rampant as Goa.

Bikes can be rented for 1 pound or SL 200 per day.

We used one of the guided tours via Idle Tours and it was an excellent experience.

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Unawatuna
Galle District, Sri Lanka
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India
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10. Re: Renting Scooters in Unawatuna/Galle

To answer my questions from earlier -

If you are visiting Galle from Colombo - rent a car with driver via Malkey Car rentals - extremely professional company. Rates are more expensive, but you are paying a 15-20% premium for better cars, better drivers, peace of mind.

It should cost you about $70 per day inclusive of driver costs, fuel, insurance, etc. for a 9 seater van.

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