Getting to Tangalle


When planning the trip to Sri Lanka, I knew that the best and cheapest way to get around was buses and trains… however, the idea of showing up to a station, not entirely sure which train to get on or where to transfer, was intimidating to think of on the plane ride over from the US; but I figured ehhhh we’ll figure it out! And we did… the train and buses system is surprisingly super simple and the lack of a language barrier made it even more easier.

Getting to Tangalle from Galle was on day 5 of our trip, so my husband and I were confident with the train system and local city buses, but haven’t had to deal with city to city buses. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, but the bus and train station isn’t close to each other so it requires a bit of walking (and while carrying a 20lbs backpack–it wasn’t fun)

From the Kabalana hotel by Ceilao Villas, it was a short 500 meter walk to the Kataluwa train station. We encountered one tuk tuk driver who wanted to inform us that the trains weren’t running that day (he was totally lying in hopes of giving us a ride and getting some easy money—so beware of liars!) Some people are genuinely helpful…but others have a different motive. The cost for two people to travel second class from Tangalle to Matara was 50 rupees (about 30cents USD)

Once we arrived in Matara, that was the end of the line with the trains…so we had to walk to the bus station. This is when we got a little confused…there’s more than one bus station. One station is for buses that travel within the city of Matara, and the other (the one thats further away) is for city to city buses. This is the correct one (below) Look for bus that says “tangalle|matara”, or ask an employee. The bus from Matara to Tangalle takes a little over an hour with numerous stops, winding roads, large crowds, and small windows (that means it’s going to get hot…VERY HOT!)



Once we got to the bus station in Tangalle we hailed down a tuk tuk (prices are much more reasonable here than Galle) We paid 200 rupees ($1.30 USD) to get to our hotel, the Autumn Moon Beach Cabana. It’s right on the beach, costs $17 USD per night, and a decent room, and free use of bikes….however there’s NO AIR CONDITIONING!


Not sure if it was the long bus ride of what—but I didn’t take many photos of my time in Tangalle… we mostly hung out by the beach and relaxed! The next day we arranged for a taxi (van) to take us to our hotel in Udawalawe. It’s about a 2 hour bus ride or an 1.5 hour van ride. We wanted to take a break from trains and buses, as well as I wanted to have an opinion on which way of transportation is best. It also only costs 5,000 rupees which is equivalent to $30 USD which is how much we’re use to paying for an UBER from our home to the airport in the US) Here’s my thoughts:


  • more comfortable than bus but less comfortable that a private car ride
  • very affordable but still costs more than a bus ride
  • scenic
  • not confusing
  • hanging out the train photo op! haha


  • cheapest way to get around
  • takes the longest
  • least comfortable
  • can be confusing


  • most expensive (however the prices are similar to taking an UBER in the US)
  • most comfortable
  • fastest way to get somewhere
  • A/C



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