Imagine a vast canvas where golden grasslands stretch as far as the eye can see, punctuated by ancient trees and surrounded by the soothing melody of nature. Yala National Park, covering an impressive 979 square kilometers, stands as a testament to Sri Lanka’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage.

This biodiverse wonderland is renowned for its rich variety of wildlife, with the star attractions being the elusive leopards that gracefully roam its terrain. Yala boasts one of the highest leopard densities in the world, offering visitors a rare opportunity to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. But Yala is not only about leopards – the park is home to a diverse array of animals, including elephants, sloth bears, crocodiles, and a myriad of bird species.

Colombo to Yala National Park Distance

  • Distance: 280km
  • Time Takes: 3.45 – 4.00 Hours

The distance from Colombo Airport to Yala National Park varies depending on the safari gate you choose, with the park boasting two primary entrances Palatupana and Katagamuwa.


Situated relatively closer to Tissamaharama, is the gateway that is generally more accessible from Colombo. This gate, being the more frequented of the two, offers a convenient starting point for those traveling from the capital city. The distance from Colombo airport to Kirinda, Palatupana entrance will be average 282 km.


Which is closer to Kataragama, presents a slightly different route for those seeking a unique entry point to Yala. The distance from Colombo airport to Katagamuwa entrance is about 287 Km and less crowded comparing the Palatupana Entrance.

Colombo Airport to Yala National Park by bus

There are two ways you can catch the buses to Tissamaharama or Kataragama. My Choice will be the first one. 

Take the Highway bus from Makumbura Highway Bus Transit Center

  • When you get out from the Colombo airport Take Uber Taxi to get to the Katunayake Highway bus Terminal (Ask the Uber Driver to drop you off at Highway bus station where the Makumbura busses stop) which is located about 2km from the airport. 
  • From Katunayaka Highway bus Terminal Take a bus to Makumbura Highway bus Transit Center and there you can catch buses to Tissamaharama or Kataragama.
  • From Tissamaharama or Kataragama Take a local taxi to get to the hotel. Keep it in your mind that in Kataragama and Tissamaharama towns, Uber is not much spread.

Colombo Airport to Highway Bus Station on Uber

Take the Highway bus from Colombo Fort main Bus Station

  • Walk to Aweriyawatta Bus stand near Katunayake Airport which is located about 2km from the airport
  • From Aweriyawatta take the bus to main bus station in Colombo Fort
  • From Colombo Fort catch any buses heading to Tissamaharama or Kataragama

Colombo Airport to Aweriyawatta Bus Station

Colombo to Kataragama Bus Time Table

Time Bus Name Bus Number Contact Number
DS Gunasekara
NC-4404 / NC-8242
Disaru Highway Express
SLTB Kataragama
Dhanara HighwayBird
DS Gunasekara
NC-4404 / NC-8242

Traveling to Yala National Park from Colombo Airport by bus is advisable primarily for backpackers. If you have luggage or larger bags, the journey can be quite challenging on Sri Lanka’s buses. Consider alternative transportation options if you have larger items to ensure a more comfortable and convenient journey.

Colombo Airport to Yala National Park by Private Taxi

There are 3 ways you can book a taxi from Colombo airport to yala national park

Uber Taxi

Even though Uber rates are reasonable when you driving Short distance, when traveling  long range uber is not the best option as you can find some cheap solutions

Airport Taxi

When you come outside the airport finishing all your Immigration and Custom Clearances, you can see few airport taxi counters where you can book the Transfers to Yala national park. Have a Idea about the average taxi rate to Yala National park, as these Airport taxi Counters give you Spot rates and some time those rate could get higher.

Online Booking Portals

The best way to book the taxi from Colombo airport to Yala national park is to go online, find a Taxi operator and negotiate with them, If you returning back to airport again in few days always ask for a discount on return taxi.

If you Looking for a reliable airport taxi provider for your transfer from Colombo airport to Yala National Park Please Contact us and we can help you and we have the best deals.

If you are looking for a Taxi for your Transfer from Colombo to Yala, We have Best Taxi Rates

To Check out the Taxi Rates or to Book a Taxi Click Here!

Colombo Airport to Yala National Park by Train

  • Take a Uber taxi from Colombo Airport to Katunayake train Station, It will be about 4km to Get to the train station.
  • Take the train from Katunayake to Colombo Fort (Not recommended office hours as the Sri Lanka trains get so busy at office ours)
  • Take the train from Colombo Fort to Beliatta Train Station (Last train station on Colombo   Kataragama railway line)
  • Take the bus from Beliatta to Tissamaharama or Kataragama

Colombo Airport to Aweriyawatta Bus Station

Use Train to go Yala national park from Colombo airport is not Recommended. as Sri Lankan Trains are so crowded and not runs on time.

Colombo Airport to Yala National Park by Domestic Flight or Helicopter Taxi

  • You can fly from Colombo airport to Hambantota by domestic flight and can book the tickets through Cinnamon air
  • From Hambantota to The hotel you can take a Taxi and If you interested in VIP pick up You can contact Ceylon Hunt.

Helicoptoer Taxi Fare from Colombo Airport to Yala National Park

Helicopter Taxi From Colombo Airport to Yala National Park will cost you About 2200 USD to go to Yala National park do the Jeep Safari and return (Upto 4PAX Price).

Please Contact Ceylon Hunt for Helicopter Taxi Bookings From Colombo Airport to Yala National Park.

In conclusion, while the bus journey from Colombo Airport to Yala National Park offers an affordable option for backpackers, it may pose challenges for those with larger bags or luggage. Travelers are advised to consider alternative modes of transportation to ensure a more comfortable and convenient experience. Exploring the breathtaking landscapes of Yala National Park is undoubtedly a rewarding adventure, and choosing the right transportation option enhances the overall journey. Whether opting for buses, private transport, or a combination of both, careful consideration of individual needs and preferences ensures a more enjoyable exploration of one of Sri Lanka’s remarkable natural treasures.