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Driving in Sri Lanka (Colombo)

Recently I tried to rent a self driven car for a trip to Unawatuna. I thought I had the necessary international driving experience. (I have valid driving licenses from the US and India). But the car rental company said that the insurance would not cover the car in case I was driving it without a valid SL driver's license and that I would be personally liable for the entire amount.

The thing is that I will be in Colombo for another 6 months or so. So I'd like to understand what would be the best thing for me to do as far as driving around is concerned. I can survive with trishaws and taxis for all my travel in and around the city, which is mostly what I do. I only need to drive if I am doing overnight trips (again..some info on the bus and train services here would also be welcome).

As I am to understand, I have the following options:
1. Get a temporary 1 month license from SL. (But I don't know whether it is renewable for up to 6 months)
2. Get a new SL driver's license. (But I don't know whether I'd have to surrender my existing licenses)
3. Do nothing..and rely on public transportation and chauffeur driven cars. (The easiest of all..but painful for overnight trips)

I'd appreciate some tips.


Colombo Forum