How to Get to Columbo Bandaranaike International Airport from Unawatuna

Unawatuna Beach Town

We decided that we didn’t want to spend our last night in Colombo for a couple of reasons:

  1. Colombo is expensive and accommodations are spread out.
  2. We would rather spend our time at the beach than the craziness of Colombo 😉

The best way to get to Columbo International Airport early from Unawatuna is by hiring A taxi

At first, we didn’t even think this was possible until we arrived in Unawatuna and quickly noticed plenty of advertising for taxi transfer to Bandaranaike International airport.  We started to ask around for prices and that varied quite a bit.  Our hotel wanted 8500 rupees for an aircon van while down the street they wanted 10500 for the same thing!  We stopped at a few other places and most were in the 8000+ range.  We tried bargaining and most only would budge a couple hundred rupees if that.  They will tell you that it’s very far (about 130KM) and that the toll road is very expensive.  The cost for the toll expressway is 400 rupees and is well worth it as it will save you a minimum of 1.5 hours! We bargained with shops over a couple of days time and we found a place that agreed to 7500 rupees including the cost of the toll road and no need to tip the driver (not that we were going to tip the driver anyway, unless the driver was amazing!) and that sealed the deal!  So shop around and I’m sure you can get this price.

Our driver picked us up in his taxi car (not a van) at 4:30AM as our flight was at 10:00AM.  We left very early just incase there was an accident or unexpected traffic.  The expressway entrance is only a couple of minutes from the Unawatuna beach and when we entered the brand new expressway there were no other vehicles on the road.  The Katunayake Expressway will take you as far as Colombo and you might run into some construction before reaching the airport. From this point we took the city streets, but since it was only 6:00AM there were not many vehicles on the road and we arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport by 7:00AM.

Checking in was painless and quick and we still hade 2.5 hours before our flight.


  • Give yourself extra time to get to the airport. This is a developing nation and you never know what might slow you down.
  • Shop around for the best price and always be polite and have a smile.
  • If you don’t need to get to the airport early you have other options such as taking the bus or the train from Galle ( which is only 5 km away ).
Scroll to Top