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Flight to the island

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How to get to the island

At present, almost the only way to get to Sri Lanka is a flight to the Bandaranaike international airport (CMB) to Katunayake, 30 km North of Colombo. The country has three more airports:

Ratmalana airport in Colombo (Ratmalana Colombo Airport), 15 km South of Colombo;
Mattala Rajapaksa international Airport (Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport), MRIA in the South of the island;
The airport in Batticaloa (Batticaloa Airport), opened on March 25, 2018 for civil traffic.
But all of them are not loaded, the flights are performed irregularly and work mainly on domestic flights, so for a foreign tourist Bandaranaike international airport is currently considered as the main one.

Many hope to resume the ferry from India, which existed before the outbreak of hostilities with the Tamils and was suspended in 1983. In 2011, an attempt was made to resume sea communication between Colombo and Tuticorin (India), but unfortunately, the new ferry company lasted only six months, and was closed due to financial difficulties. The war ended, but the parties did not come to an agreement, so the sea route with India remains in the ghostly future.

Air ticket prices remain fairly constant all year round. Basically, the earlier you book your flight, the more likely you are to get a good discount. Another way is to buy a package tour: flight + accommodation. Even if you do not plan to use the provided accommodation or use it only for a few days, the cost of the package may be cheaper than a single ticket.

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From Europe & Russia

SriLankan Airlines (srilankan.lk) operates regular flights from Russia to Sri Lanka from Moscow Domodedovo airport (DME); from the UK – London Heathrow airport (London Heathrow), as well as direct flights from Europe (Paris, Frankfurt and Rome). Flight time in Colombo is about 10-11 hours. Also Arab airlines: Emirates (emirates.com), Qatar Airways (qatarairways.com), Etihad (etihadairways.com), Air arabia (airarabia.com) and Oman air (omanair.com) offer regular flights to Colombo with a stopover in the Gulf cities (usually in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Sharjah). Jet Airways (jetairways.com) flies through Mumbai. Turkish airlines offer flights to Sri Lanka via Istanbul. There are also steeper routes through various cities in Southeast Asia including Singapore (singaporeair.com), Kuala Lumpur (malaysiaairlines.com) and Bangkok (thaiairways.com). In the segment of cheap flights, you can pay attention to the Ukrainian airlines (UIA) from Kiev.

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Flights from USA and Canada

The flight from North America to Sri Lanka takes at least 20 hours and at least one transfer. From the East coast of the United States and Canada, various routes pass through European airports in London, Paris, Frankfurt or Rome, all of which have direct links to Colombo via SriLankan Airlines. You can also fly through the middle East with Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad. Traveling from the West coast of America, the most direct routes go through East or Southeast Asia, stopping for a stopover in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai or Beijing, all of which also have direct connections to Colombo. There are also one-stop services from Los Angeles to Colombo with Emirates and Etihad via Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively.

The price of tickets to Colombo starts from $ 900 from new York, $ 1200 from Los Angeles, $ 1350 from Toronto and $ 2000 from Vancouver.

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Flight from Australia and New Zealand

There are no direct flights from Australia and new Zealand to Sri Lanka, only with a transfer through Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. The most regular flights are operated by Qantas (qantas.com) and their budget subsidiary Jetstar (jetstar.com), which make flights to Singapore (from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane) and Bangkok (from Sydney and Melbourne), where you can directly fly to Colombo. Tariffs from Sydney to Colombo usually start from 1000 AUS$, and from Auckland – about 1500 NZ$.

Regular direct flights connect Sri Lanka and other countries of South and South-East Asia: India, including Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras), Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), Kochi and Tiruchirappali; Maldives (male); Thailand (Bangkok); Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur); Singapore; Japan (Tokyo); China (Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai).

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Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB)

Bandaranaike International airport, named after the former Prime Minister, still known as Katunayake airport or Colombo International airport, is Sri Lanka’s main International airport.

A small airport in Colombo meets all modern international standards. It has everything you would normally need at any international airport: duty free shops, exchange offices, cafes, ATMs, mobile phone operators, Luggage storage, car rental, representatives of tour operators, hotel reservations and much more.

If you do not have an electronic entry permit in advance, then immediately upon arrival you need to go to the counter for a visa. If you have permission ETA, then immediately to passport control.

After collecting your Luggage proceed to the customs inspection. If you do not need to declare, then follow the green corridor. At the exit you find yourself in the hall for greeters and arrivals, where you are first met by exchange offices. The exchange rate is quite acceptable, so you can safely change the money for the entire period of travel. The receipt of the currency exchange is better to keep – when returning on the basis of this document, you can make a reverse exchange.

Here you can order a taxi from the official representatives, buy a local telephone SIM card, book a hotel. At the exit from the street there is a Luggage storage (Cloak room).

When departing in the waiting area there are many duty-free shops, including selling Souvenirs. Prices for Souvenirs are higher than in stores in Colombo, but not at times. Moreover, you can bargain, especially if you need to spend all the remaining rupees (export Sri Lankan rupees from the country is officially prohibited). You can pay here in currency, rupees or by credit card.

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Mattala Rajapaksa Airport

Mattala Rajapaksa international Airport (MRIA), built in the South of the island a few kilometers from the city of Hambantota, is the most significant facility created during the reign of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. MRIA was opened in 2013 and cost 210 million dollars. In theory, the airport was to provide Sri Lanka with a second International airport and become the main engine of economic development of the poor city in which Rajapaksa was born, and its surroundings. However, in practice it was not so. Airlines planning to fly to MRIA quickly withdrew their services due to lack of demand, and even the national flagship carrier SriLankan Airlines cancelled its flights to the airport the day after Rajapaksa’s defeat in the January 2015 election. Currently, there are several flights to Mattala airport per week.

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Airport transfer

Bandaranaike International airport (CMB: www.airport.lk) one of the main airports in Sri Lanka, which is 30 km North of Colombo.

Taxi to Colombo from the airport depending on the destination will cost about 3600 LKR ($20 or 1400 RUB)

Air-conditioned bus to the Central bus station in Colombo on the Expressway-350 LKR ($2 or 140 ROS. rubles), the duration of the trip is about one hour.

A regular bus or, as locals say, a normal bus (route № 187) from the airport to Colombo will cost 180 LKR ($1 or 70 RUS)

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