It is not advisable to rent a vehicle from your own and self driving. The traffic conditions of Sri Lanka especially Colombo and suburb make driving a challenge to foreign visitors. As mentioned earlier chauffer driven cars are not expensive. If you are determined to use a vehicle by your own you have to have an International Driving License or a temporary Sri Lankan Driving License. A temporary Driving License can be obtained from Automobile Association of Ceylon. If you are driving use the left-hand side of the road where walking should be done from the right had side of the road.
We do not advice to use busses for your traveling needs in Sri Lanka. If you really want to travel using public transport use “Inter-city Express” busses which are smaller busses air-conditioned and with good seats. But think before jumping in to a bus as the seats are smaller and leg space is minimal. The bus fare is relatively cheap of theses busses. The bus faire of the government and private busses are very cheap but crowded and slow. The “semi luxury” type busses are also available which are faster than normal busses and the fare is bit high than the normal busses.
Trains offer a slower way of getting around in Sri Lanka. There are three main rail roads starting from Colombo. The main line goes to east along Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, to Badulla with one of the best scenic locations. The Colombo Puttalam rail road runs north of the country passing Negombo where the south line goes to Matara passing Galle. The northern line goes to Vavniya passing Anuradhapura. Most trains occupy 2nd and 3rd class carriages. The 3rd class carriages are always crowded and cheap you can’t guarantee getting a seat of this type of carriages. Some trains especially to Badulla and Kandy carry a “Observation car” which is bit expensive and guarantee a seat for you. You can reserve a seat in advance as well.
You cant get metered taxi service from Colombo and suburbs which you have to call the taxi service and arrange it. The service is good and reliable and the price is depending on the type of the vehicle you want. Apart from the taxi you can get a rickshaw as well. Rickshaw have many names commonly used in Sri Lanka such as “three-wheelers, trishaws, tuk-tuks (very popular among tourists for the sound it makes).You can get the rickshaws service from any part of the island, Traveling using a tuktuks is fun and but it is sometimes dangerous specially in the busy streets. We do not advice to use rickshaws even it is relatively easy for short distance. The fare depends on the distance you travel but as the rickshaws are not metered you should agree upon the price before getting in.