If you would like to make your holiday an adventure, travelling through Europe and Asia by train is an incredible experience. There are various options, one being the Trans-Siberian railway. Connecting you to other train lines on the Silk Road. This way it is possible to get the train all the way to southern India and a ferry over to Sri Lanka. Check out the Boat Mail Express, once the Indo-Ceylon Express, for a combined train and steamer ferry service between India and Sri Lanka (once Ceylon). Connecting Chennai and Colombo, passengers can buy a single ticket for this rail-to-sea-to-rail operation. You can get a bus, tuk-tuk/taxi or train from Colombo to our retreat center (more details on that below).
The closest airport to our retreat center in Thalpe (or Talpe) is Colombo. Locally known as Bandaranaike International Airport. There are plenty of flights to and from Colombo / Bandaranaike. We recommend signing up with Scott’s Cheap Flights for free, for info on last minute deals and cheap mistake fares to Colombo and lots of other airports around the world. Once in Colombo you’ll find yourself in a regular-looking and decently sized airport that is not hard to navigate.
COLOMBO TO THALPE
From Colombo it is possible to get to Thalpe by train, bus or tuk-tuk/taxi.
We recommend getting the bus to Colombo Fort Station and getting on a train from there to Thalpe. The whole trip will take 3 – 4 hours. The bus depot is situated just outside the airport – across the road and to the left. The bus is hard to miss as it is conspicuously parked with taxis and has a sign on top of its windshield that reads “Colombo Fort.” We suggest double checking with the driver/conductor that this bus takes the expressway. If it doesn’t, skip it. The busses are frequent (30 minutes) and this will save you an hour of travel time. Once settled in your seat the conductor will walk up the isle to take the fair – around 120 Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR) – which is around 50p. The journey to Colombo Fort Station is less than an hour. Having arrived at Colombo Fort Station bus depot it’s a 5 minute walk, just across the main road and right, to the railway (check a map or ask for directions if you can’t see a sign).
There are trains every couple of hours from Colombo Fort Station to Thalpe and this costs less than £1 (and takes 2.5 – 3 hours). You can check timetables here.
Alternatively you can take a taxi from the airport all the way to Thalpe. This the quickest but most expensive way – it should take just over 2 hours and cost £40 – £60.
THALPE, SRI LANKA
Our beautiful beach house isn’t far from the train station in Thalpe. Once you have booked we will email you the exact address, along with other useful info, 8 weeks before the start of your retreat.