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Updated Colombo to Arugam Bay Bus Times February 2020

There are now 5-6 buses running between Pottuvil and Colombo, all travelling through the night and taking about 7 hours. Two of these are luxury ac buses and the rest are regular non-ac buses. It appears that one of the non-ac private buses can be prebooked at busbooking.lk (see the comment below).

Approximate departure times (usually to within 15 minutes):

Leaving Pottuvil to Colombo

  • 7.00pm (private bus that can be prebooked at busbooking.lk).
  • 8:30pm (private luxury bus with ac).
  • 8:45pm (government bus).
  • 9:30pm (government bus).
  • 9:30pm (private luxury bus with ac that can be booked in advance for 1300LKR at the Taxi Owners Society Office in Pottuvil (opens in Google Maps)).

Leaving Colombo to Pottuvil / Arugam Bay

  • 7:30pm (two private luxury buses with ac leave from the Bismallah Lodge (opens in Google Maps) see note below).
  • 8:45pm (government bus from central bus stand).
  • 9:00pm (government bus from central bus stand).
  • 9:30pm (government bus from central bus stand).
  • 10:15pm (private bus from the private bus stand that can be prebooked at busbooking.lk).

Note: You can buy tickets for the luxury ac bus at the Bismallah Lodge in Colombo. The final destination of this bus is Akkaraipattu and there are only 10 reservable seats for Pottuvil. The Lodge is located behind the buildings on the main road. To find it enter the unmarked side road next to the pink building in the photo.

Please read this page, all comments and the page Colombo to Arugam Bay by Bus before asking a question. Thanks 🙂

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Rusira Perera
3 months ago

Will there be buses to arugambay from tomorrow?
Please advice how to find and ticket price.

Guillaume
28 days ago
Reply to  Rusira Perera

You can call bismallah lodge. This is not deluxe. This semi sleeper and with loud music that is true.

Cesar
2 years ago

Hi! I can’t see the maps link above for book ac bus from Pottuvil. Also I talked with my hotel staff and told me that the day before he will book it for me, but I prefer to book it earlier and by myself. Also we went to Pottuvil bus “station” but we just could get the phone from a guy which cousin book the bus. Also more expensive than 1300LK…

Any help would be great! Thanks!

Cesar
2 years ago
Reply to  John

Finally the manager from our hotel booked it for us. But the 19:00 as he said that there were no more buses today and at a price of 1500…
Do you know where does the bus stop?i was said that in front of commercial bank, but just want to be sure,
Thanks!

Victoria
2 years ago

The AC is the only luxury thing in this bus. We took the bus from Pottuvil to colombo at 7:30 pm. The bus leaved 20 minutes earlier. The ride took about 7 hours and we thought we could sleep a little bit but this was not possible. The driver stopped every fiew minutes, the light was on nearly the whole ride. And the worst thing: loud sri lankan music the whole 7 hours. We had 4 military check-points where everyone had to leave the bus with the luggage. Tourists could stay in the bus but it was completely weird.
We wouldn‘t take this bus a second time. A shared taxi would be the best way to get to Colombo.

Corinne
2 years ago

I booked the bus at Bismallah Lodge. I had to pay 300 rp extra for my luggage. Otherwise it was fine.

Manuel
27 days ago
Reply to  Corinne

That is totally wrong. You were scammed by the guy that stores bags in the bus. There are no extra charges for bags

Corinne
27 days ago
Reply to  Manuel

Yeah, I got that. But it was the middle of the night and I didn’t know what to do.

James
2 years ago

Better off taking the bus from Colombo fort. It Can be booked online through seat.lk. Thia is what the boys at the hostel recommended… . I found out only, first hand, that the bus from bismillah Lodge try too rip you off for putting a bag or surfboards under the bus.

Michelle
2 years ago
Reply to  James

what did they try to charge you for the surfboard on the bus? And, was the bus from Colombo fort AC and comfortable?

An eck
2 years ago

Thank you for the information. When I go to the mentioned bus website I can’t find Pottuvil or Arugam Bay as a destination.
Can you help?

Thanks
An

Rachel tiffen
3 years ago

Hi there, I’m trying to book on the 7:30 pm luxury bus however the boarding stations are the Town Hall or the Ramakrishna Mission, do you know if these are the updated stops for 2018? Thank you

Kelly Halse
2 years ago
Reply to  John

Hi. I’m travelling from pottivul to Colombo on the 7th August. If I go to the taxi office society… how soon in advance could I book the 930pm private a.c. do you know. And where does it leave from in pottivul?? Appreciate any help. Also i need to get from ella to arugum on 4th any ideas if the best way and bus times from mongarala to pottivul. It says one bus daily?

Jeremy Lantin
3 years ago

Hi !

First of all thank you for this website gathering all those information. This is truly helpful !

Was wondering whether there was a way to book seats on one the 7.30PM “private luxury ac” buses online or ahead ? I guess it’s not possible otherwise it would be written but still asking just in case…
Then how long before departure do you think it’s best to go the Bismallah Lodge to make sure there will still be available seats ? Are they usually both full ?

Many thanks in advance !

Cheers,

Jeremy

Eve
3 years ago

Thanks for all the info provided.

One additional question – where in Pottuvil do buses leave for Columbo? In Google Maps I’m only finding a stop called “Pothuvil Bus Stand”.

Sean
3 years ago

Just an update for travellers. We took the MBI bus from Bismallah Lodge( the street is different now so use the link to find the place). Pending which bus you are booked with, they either leave from the roadside in front of the lodge or across the road. However i confirmed my surfboard and paid for our tickets the night before. But once boarded and on the road, they tried to charge me another 1000 for the surfboard. After argueing and some local help i paid additional 500 for it to be stored underneath with the other luggage. I would point out it was a rough and loud trip. We got off at pottuvil and the tuk tuk tried to charge 1000 to run into arugam bay. Could only negotiate to 800 since it was 4am. So dont think it will be easy to travel with a surfboard and expect the pay inflated prices as tourist tax.

Aurelia Pichler
3 years ago

Hy 😊
Maybe a stupid question. But how sure is it to get a seat in a nightbus?
I have to leave arugam bay at the 7. of August to catch my flight 🙈
Thank you,
regards Aurelia

Nitai
3 years ago

Hey guys
First off all I want to say that the information here is just great !
Second of all.
I didn’t really figure out what is the best way to book an ac buss from Colombo to Arugam Bay, and if I can do it in advance or I have to go to the place to book it.
Another question, the “government bus”, leaving from the central bus station is a non ac bus ?

Thanks for you’re help guys.

sky
3 years ago

Hi a friend said the buses run every 15 min to pottivil as i arrive at 10pm. what buses would that be? they must stop all over turning it in to 10hr ride? whats the best solution? thanks.

Yarin slovik
3 years ago

Hi, i wanted to ask what happens if I arrive with a surfboard?

Chelsea
3 years ago

Hi John,

Really appreciate the post and details. The comments section has also helped add more clarity, especially since I am travelling alone. I decided to take the 10pm private bus from Colombo to Arugam Bay. I think the only challenge was adding a local number and I just added my hotel number (will apologise in person). I read Francesca’s post about travelling solo and well I plan on carrying my pepper spray and will make it known so hopefully, no funny business.

Much appreciate,
Chelsea

Jonathan Hall
3 years ago

I can confirm there is still an ac bus going from Bishmillah Lodge at 7:30. I have just booked for tonight. 1000 rupees. I called first, they confirmed, so I went straight there and bought a ticket as didn’t want to leave it to chance of not getting a seat.

Jonathan Hall
3 years ago
Reply to  John

Hi John,
So to update from my trip last night there are actually 2 buses that leave from Bishmillah Lodge.
One is run by MJS going to Akkaraipattu and leaves at 7:30pm.
The other, run by MBI, leaves at 8:00pm from the other side of the road opposite Bishmillah. I got this one and it got into Pottuvil around 3:30am. 🙂

Mikaela
4 years ago

Sorry I have another question. I cannot find the Bismallah lodge on google maps. Is this the right spelling?

Mikaela
4 years ago

Hi there I am trying to book a bus from Colombo to Akkaraipattu. I need to catch the luxury bus as I have a surfboard. The problem is, the site is saying that there are no available seats for this trip. Do you know if you can wing it and hope to grab a seat on the day or is it best to book in advance?
Thanks!

Lily Holloway
4 years ago

Hello

Hoping to get your luxury bus from Pottuvil to Colombo at 9:30 on Friday 15th September.
Are there any toilets on the luxury buses?
Many Thanks
Lily

Michael Grant
4 years ago

Hi admin,
I have booked a private bus through busbooking.lk from Panama to Colombo. However after booking I realised there was no information on whether they accept surfboard bags for luggage or the address of where the bus leaves from in Panama. Could you please help with information on either of these things?
Thanks in advance

Emma
4 years ago
Reply to  John

Hi admin,

I am planning on taking the Colombo to Pottuvil / Arugam Bay beginning of September. I have used the link thats been posted for pre booking the overnight bus but everytime I try it says ‘Oh, no results’
I have put in a number of different dates but I get this message everytime?
Has anybody else has this problem, if so how have you got around it?

Francesca
4 years ago

Hej guys, just wanted to share my experience – especially as I travelled alone as a young female 🙂
So, I booked the ticket to the bus leaving at 10pm in advance, which worked very well. I arrived in Colombo from the airport with the bus that is mentioned on this website as well – it took me to the main bus station, which is like 2mins away from the bus station where the bus to abay leaves.
I sat there for quite a long time, several men came up and tried to talk to me but I mostly ignored the rude ones and exchanged a few words with the nice ones – completely harmless.
The bus came at around 9.15pm to the line that is the farthest away from the main street. I had to put my luggage in the trunk, and got on the bus, after I asked the driver whether my ticket was valid for this one. The bus left at around 10.20pm – it had no AC but the open windows were fine as well especially because it’s not too hot during the night.
At around 0.30, the driver made a short break where we could go to the toilet and buy water etc.
The bus arrived at 6am in Arugam Bay – very close to Hangloose Restaurant & Rooms.

As a woman travelling alone, I would suggest making sure to sit next to another woman. I sat next to a guy – the seats are incredibly tiny, so not touching each other was not an option, but I woke up at one point because he had his hand on my knee.
Otherwise, the journey was fine!
Yes, music was crazy loud, so don’t forget earplugs 😉

Thanks to the admins of this website, it helped me a lot!!

Sevi
4 years ago

Hi,

We have booked a bus on bus booking.lk that apparently leaves arugam bay at 6:30? Does it actually leave here then or does it go from Pottuvul?
Thanks

astrid
4 years ago

hey,
I tried to book the ticket online on the website that I found on this page, but they ask me for the mobile phone number and when I put my Portuguese one they don’t accept it so I can’t carry on with the booking. Can anyone know how to solve it?
Thanks a lot
Astrid

Jose Machado
4 years ago

Hi, thank you very much for the information on this website! Do you know how much does the bus that leaves at 7:30pm from the Bismallah Lodge costs?

David
4 years ago

Hey, what a fantastic resource this page is. Heading to Sri lanka in a weeks time and making my way down to Arugam Bay. I hope to leave AB on July 19th and get back to colombo. As we arrive at 4-5 am in the morning, is there anything you would recommend doing? Is transport (tuk tuk) easily available at this time? I have a hotel booked for the 20th in Colombo but seems a waste to book the 19th as well? Where does the bus dock in Colombo? Thanks for your time.

Jackie
4 years ago

Hi there! Does the government bus still run from Colombo central bus station to Pottuvil at 5am?

stefanie
4 years ago

Thanks for al the bus information on this site! What is the best way to travel from the airport to either the bismillah lodge or the government bus from central bus stand (what is the address)?
Thanks!

Ella McIlvena
4 years ago

Hi!

I am a young female solo traveller and I’m wondering if the night bus is safe to travel alone? Going from Colombo to A-Bay 🙂

Natalia Ko
4 years ago

Dear Admin, how can I prebook private night bus from colombo to Arugam bay?

Janine
4 years ago

I’m planning to take a bus from pottivil to Colombo. I booked my ticket to get here from Bismillah lodge. How/where can I buy a return ticket with the same company?

Gabi
4 years ago

Hi there,
Are there absolutely no day buses? I was wondering how safe the bus journey will be for a solo female traveller and I noticed no one answered Fiona’s comment.
Thanks,

Johis
4 years ago

Hello! Thank you for this website, it’s been incredibly useful. Do you know if any of the roads leading to Arugam Bay from Colombo are affected by the flood?

Fiona
4 years ago

Curious to know if anyone who has taken an overnight luxury ac bus from AB to Columbo has been a solo female, and if so, whether they found traveling the overnight bus was a comfortable experience on their own. I’m hoping to take one of these bus options next weekend when I depart.
Thanks!

Brayden Hunt
4 years ago

Hello,

Me and my partner were looking to leave Arugam Bay in a few days and are thinking of catching a bus to Colombo.

I’m assuming the government buses are the red buses, and the private buses are the blue buses, but what are the ‘private luxury buses’?

Are these a step up from the blue private buses and how much would it cost to get from AB to Colombo on one of these.

Thank you!

Sally
4 years ago
Reply to  John

Hello,

Do you know if any buses leave from Potuvil or Panama directly to Colombo in the day? And if they are luxury, private or government?

Thanks, Sally

michael giovine
4 years ago

Hi, Arrive 5:40 pm at airport, will i get to Bismallah Lodge in time for the 7.30 pm bus & if so better to take taxi or does a bus go from airport?

mike
4 years ago
Reply to  John

Hi guys, awesome info, I arrive in colombo tomorrow at 10.30pm will stay the night and then catch a night bus to Abay the next day, I’m going to make a travel video of this. Hopefully it will help some people out to see it done, I can send you the link when it’s finished 🙂

Lynne
4 years ago

Whereabouts in Pottuvil do we buy tickets for the private bus to Colombo – thankyou

Mandy
4 years ago

Hi there!
I’m leaving for Arugam Bay tomorrow night. Is the government bus ride comfortable in your experience or is it the kind to leave joint pains? Is the 10.30 private bus AC?
Also, do the buses back to Colombo come all the way from Pottuvil to the Colombo bus stand? And if so what time do they reach Colombo?
Many thanks!

krystina
4 years ago
Reply to  John

hello – you mentioned your not 100% sure the bus stops at the bismallah lodge, have you had any confirmation of this now? thanks

Justin Smith
4 years ago

Hi there, I’m looking to get back to Colombo from Aragum next Fri. What are the advantages of the private bus as apposed the government ones if there’s no a/c. Many thanks, Justin

Markus
4 years ago

Hi,
from which Bus Stand in Colombo leaves the Privat Bus? Is it the Bastian Mawatha Bus Station?
Thanks for your help!
Greets,
Markus

Tom
4 years ago
Reply to  John

Does bastion mawatha have a luggage storage?

Evgeny Suslikov
5 years ago

I appreciate the help of this website in my journey to Arugam. I found the info about the opportunity to book a ticket to the private bus and decided to test it. Here’s my story.

Booking is easy. However, it comes more expensive, if you pay online (my price from Colombo to Arugam was 620 + 100 Rp, but when I selected PayPal, it became $7.20, which is about 1000 Rp.). Not a big price for the plane travelers, however 😉

Instructions provided upon purchase are clear enough, contained the bus number and the address of the pickup point. The only problem was to find the 4th terminal. In fact, it’s the fourth line away from the main road. If you look from Google Maps, you’ll get the idea.

If you arrive 2-3 hours before the departure, don not try to find this bus – you will not find it. In my case it arrived to the terminal at 9:20 PM and departed at 10:30.

Music is loud enough, but if you take earplugs, it’s not a big problem – I recommend it.

The bus arrived directly to Arugam approx at 5:50 AM, so I saved 200Rp for the tuk-tuk.

Hope this info helps.

Laura
4 years ago

Hey!

Can you please let me know what website you booked your bus ticket on?

Thanks
Laura

Audrey
4 years ago

Hi Evgeny!

Thank you for this information. How was thw luggage situation for you? We have pretty big bags. We dont really care about comfort but we want our bags to fit in the bus haha.

Thank you,

Audrey

Mikaela
4 years ago

Heya was wondering did anyone have longboards on this bus? Aka my board is 8ft and am wondering if it will fit on the bus