It is possible to rent a motorbike, scooter or tuk tuk in Arugam Bay but you should be aware that it is not 100% legal. As of now there are no official registered hire providers in the local area. There are however, many locals who will be happy to lend you theirs or a friend’s for around 800-1000LKR per day.
Considerations and Risk
Here is a list of considerations to help you assess the risk of hiring a scooter or tuk tuk in Arugam Bay:
- There are a lot of accidents caused by poor roads and bad driving. Ensure you have good travel insurance to cover at least your own personal injuries as you will not be insured by the “renter”.
- A Temporary Driving Permit for Visitors is required by law to drive any vehicle in Sri Lanka as a tourist This can only be obtained in Colombo at the Department of Motor Traffic (opens in Google Maps).
- The police will at times fine drivers for not having the required permit. This can be expensive, sometimes over 5000LKR.
- Renters are now sometimes choosing to not rent to people without a permit as they also have to pay some of the fine to the police.
The bottom line is that times are changing and the police have realised that there is a chance to make money from unprepared tourists. That said some people rent for a few months and have no problems, some get fined on their first day!
Any experiences are welcome in the comments below.