Colombo-Batticaloa-Arugam Bay by Train and Bus

Overview

The train leaves at 6.05am and arrives in Batticaloa at 2.45pm. The express bus to Pottuvil which takes another 3 or 4 hours comes directly to the railway station and waits for the train to arrive before leaving. A tuk tuk from Pottuvil to Arugam Bay will be about 200-300LKR.

Overnight Option

There is also a night train leaving at 7pm and arriving at 3.55am. Sleeper berths and reclining seats are available on this service. See Seat61.com (opens in a new window) for more details.

Advantages

The advantages of this service over the hill train are a faster overall journey time and normally a less crowded experience with less tourists.

Disadvantages

The disadvantages are that the train runs at lower altitude and there is no ac option so it can be hot at times, especially when the train stops for more than a few minutes at a station. The views are also nowhere near as spectacular but impressive nonetheless.

Advance Booking

See Reserve a Train Seat in Advance for more information.

Quick Links

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Val
3 years ago

Hey guys, I wanted to share my travel experience to arugam Bay.
Our train to batticaloa was one hour late. When we arrived (~4pm) we couldn’t find an express bus to pottuvil. But we found a bus station next to the Hospital about 5 minutes walking from the railway station. From there we took a bus to kalmunai (2 people 140), then changed to a bus to akkaraipattu (2 people 100) and from there we finally took a bus to pottuvil (2 people 170) arriving shortly before 8 pm. Apparently it was too late for a direct bus which is why we had to change so often. So I recommend you take the earliest bus which goes in the right direction (we wasted some waiting time in the beginning hoping that a bus to pottuvil would come). The bus station in kalmunai and akkaraipattu are pretty big so you will find a connection to go further.
Happy travels!

Annie Nicholson
3 years ago

Hi there
I have read the comments re surfboards on the buses from Colombo direct to Arugam – we were going to take the early train to Batticaloa next Monday arriving at 2.45 pm and take the ‘express’ bus that meets the train to Pottuvil. Has anyone done that trip recently with boards? My partner travelled that way 38 years ago and anything went then but things are obviously more structured now and we were worried about being unable to take our double board bag – 6 8” board size – on this bus….also we don’t have a train booking but will be in Colombo the day before and wondering if we should go to the station to try and buy a reserved 2nd class seat or would we be able to get a 2nd class reserved seat on the day of travel on this line (train 6011 I think). Any tips welcome, thanks
Annie

Jemima
4 years ago

Hi Hi,

Does anybody know if the bus to Pottuvil actually comes and waits at the railway for the passengers coming from Colombo travelling to Pottuvil? and what is the price please?

Thanks for the help!

Jemima
4 years ago
Reply to  John

Great, thank you so much!