Getting There

World map

Sri Lanka is a tear-drop shaped island nation located off the south-eastern tip of India, and was formerly known as Ceylon. It is an independent nation in the South Asian region.

Many airlines can be found online that serve Sri Lanka, Colombo airport (Bandaranaike International Airport).

Getting to Polonnaruwa from Colombo

The airport is located near the town of Katunayake on the west coast, about 32 km north of the capital city, Colombo.  Travel to Polonnaruwa is done most easily by a hired vehicle with driver that can be booked through a number of travel agents available at the airport or in any of the major hotels.  If you need assistance in organizing a hired vehicle with a driver please contact us.

By car: Travel from Colombo to Polonnaruwa (216 km) is a fairly direct route towards the north-east of the island. It takes about 5 to 6 hours of driving with brief breaks.  Polonnaruwa is on Highway A11 (to Batticaloa) that forks off A6 (road to Trincomalee) at Habarana.

Entering Polonnaruwa town on A11, pass over the bridge over the irrigation channel, proceed another 200 m and make a U-turn at the round-about, return 200 m and make a left just before the bridge and proceed 150 m up a small rise to the crest of the bund (dam).  Turn left onto Bund Road;  Lake Parakrama will be on the right (west) of the bund.  Proceed southward on the Bund road for about 2 km, passing three hotels (the Sudu Araliya, Village and Seruwa), until after another 1 km  you come to the junction marked by a water tower.  Turn right at the sign board “Primate Center Lodge” after 50 m make a left and follow a winding path through the thick forest to our camp.  At Polonnaruwa we are known as the “monkey camp”.

For further details, see the interactive map. Our camp is  indicated as the Smithsonian Primate Research Station.

By train: There are trains from Colombo Fort railway station that go to the Kaduruwela station at Polonnaruwa.  The journey takes about 8 hours, but is inexpensive, safe, and moderately comfortable. From the Kaduruwela railway station take an auto-rickshaw (three-wheeler) to New Town, and to our Monkey Camp.

By bus: There are intercity buses going to Kaduruwela (Polonnaruwa) from the central bus stand in Colombo about every hour.  The journey takes about 5 to 6 hours in often crowded buses. From Kaduruwela take an auto-rickshaw to our monkey camp.


The Sri Lanka government requires an  online procedure Electronic Travel Authorization(ETA) for obtaining a 30-days Short-Term Visit Visas.   Please visit their ETA webpage and follow the instructions.