Everything else.. A Guide to Travelling in a Sri Lankan Bus

A Guide to Travelling in a Sri Lankan Bus

2017 Mar 30


Those who live in Sri Lankan know that traveling in a Sri Lankan bus truly requires some talent, experience, and knowledge of many tips and tricks! If you are new to traveling using Sri Lanka’s most widely used form of public transport, we’ve got you covered. Listed below are some essential tricks and skills you can keep in mind during your first bus ride.

  1. Know your Route

If you’re unsure about which bus to take and from where, don’t just try to wing it! Ask someone who travels that way frequently to be sure. Sri Lankan bus stands turn into a tangled web of confusion when the buses arrive, and you may get on the wrong bus in the muddle of it all.

  1. Stand closest to where the bus door will be when it stops, and wait for passengers to disembark first!

You may be in a hurry to get on, and sure, everyone’s pushing you from behind. But remember to be patient! Even if others are attempting to push their way through, you will undoubtedly be severely crushed if you try to get in while passengers are disembarking. You might be rather late for an event, but nothing is worth the suffocation and bruises!

  1. Keep your bus fare ready

It is always a good idea to calculate the exact amount you will have to pay – or somewhat close to this – and keep those coins ready in your hand or pocket. In a crowded bus, a conductor beginning to fuss about not having change money is the last thing you want! Even worse is attempting to open your purse or wallet to retrieve money while traveling. In fact, it can be near impossible, if you factor in the possibility that you might be thrown against the windows.

  1. Choose your seat wisely

Much of the time, passengers have to stand in Sri Lankan buses. However, if there is a choice of seating available, always try to sit on the side which isn’t exposed to the glaring sun! Even if there is a completely empty seat on the sunny side, don’t make the mistake of sitting there! Always try to avoid it. If not, you will have three layers of tan by the time your ride is over.

  1. Earphone dilemmas

Let’s be honest here; bus music is terrible and the only way to survive that journey is by listening to music. If you want to listen to music on a crowded bus, keep your earphones ready before you get on! In the case that you do not find a seat, it will be nearly impossible for you to dig around for earphones, untangle them, connect, and pull your phone out to play the right music!

  1. Keep your valuables close at hand

It’s common knowledge that a fair amount of pickpocketing takes place on public buses. Take the necessary steps to by being alert and keeping your phone, wallet, and bag close to you at all times. Of all things, most definitely do not store your valuables in the back pocket of your jeans – that’s always a recipe for trouble!

  1. Staying safe

The truth is, Sri Lankan buses consist of quite a few sexually deprived individuals – who may attempt to harass you in some form or the other, be it subtle or bold. Either way, it’s important to stay safe. Always move away if you begin to feel uncomfortable and most of all, don’t be afraid to react and scold the offender. With so many witnesses, the harasser generally seems abashed and gets off the bus as quickly as they can

  1. Know your bus stop

It pays to be familiar with your end destination – and most importantly the bus stop before it! It helps to leave your seat and stand near the door the minute the bus has left the stop before your destination. This way, you can fight the crowds, stand at the front of the disembarking line, get off the bus quickly, and you definitely won’t miss your stop!

If you’re new to Sri Lankan public transport and are deciding to attempt traveling in a public bus, this guide will be sure to help you navigate your way around the typical Sri Lankan bus! Keep these tricks in mind and you will hopefully have a hassle-free ride.


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