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 serve Sri Lanka, including its national carrier: Sri Lankan Airlines. There are direct flights to Colombo, from many European capitals, notably London, Paris, Frankfurt and Rome, as well as from its Asian neighbors: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Male and others.

For residents of North America, the agent Concord Travel, LLC, www.concordtvl.com , specializes in flights to and from North American cities and Colombo, Sri Lanka (contact Sisira Athauda, sisira@concordtvl.com ). Airlines serving Sri Lanka, include: Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Malaysian Airlines, Thai Airways, Air Asia, Qantas and others.

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 email us with your request, dittus@sltnet.lk. We have agents to assist you in organizing other tours of Sri Lanka.

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.  Leave Colombo on the Kandy road (route A1); after about 57 km, at Ampebussa (just after the town of Warakapola) take a left onto route A6 (Trincomalee Road) towards the town of Kurunegala, and from there proceed toward the towns of Dambulla, followed by Habarana.  At Habarana turn off A6 making a right onto route A11, the Batticaloa Road, towards Polonnaruwa (43 km from Habarana).  You will pass through the towns of Minneriya, Giritale and Jayanthipura before reaching Polonnaruwa.

Entering Polonnaruwa town on A11, take a right turn immediately after the bridge passing over the irrigation channel, then proceed left (south) along the bund (dam) road.  Lake Parakrama will be on the right (west) of the bund.  Proceed on the bund road for about 2 km, passing three hotels (the Sudu Araliya, Village and Seruwa), until after another 1 km from the hotels you come to the junction marked by a water tower and the Open University on the left.  Directly opposite the Open University, turn right and go for about 50 m to our gate on the left that leads down a winding jungle road 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 the Open University, in 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 near the Open University in New Town, Polonnaruwa.

Immigration

The Sri Lanka government has instituted a new online procedure Electronic Travel Authorization(ETA) for obtaining a 30-days Short-Term Visit Visas. An ETA is issued  electronically through an on-line system before you arrive in Sri Lanka.   No passport copies, documents or photographs are required.  There is no requirement to endorse the ETA on the passport.  Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, produce your passport to the immigration officer at the port of entry (Colombo airport) to obtain the necessary clearance.  It is advisable to bring a copy of your ETA approval notice along with you.  The ETA must be applied for before you arrive in Sri Lanka.   Please visit their ETA webpage and follow the instructions?