I recently embarked on a 130km journey with a few of my mates to the north-western province of Kalpitiya. We traveled via public transport and so there were two options; the train or the bus. So when choosing, we looked at facts and figures. There are four trains per day from Colombo to Puttalam which is stark in contrast to the one bus every half an hour from 4am to 11pm. Then there is the fact that the buses have air-conditioning and the trains don’t. But we took the train anyway.
On the train there was ample space for all our baggage on the racks and room for the six companions to sit together while the large windows kept the carriage ventilated and cool. The ride was comfortable and importantly it was conducive to photography. I’ll admit that the train we had chosen to ride in did stop at every station on the way but there was nothing to complain about as they were short stops and caused no discomfort.
For the journey back we opted for the bus siting the air-conditioning, comfy seats and minimal noise. But the fact that we had made a terrible choice struck us five minutes into the ride. The seats and leg room were only comfortable if you were a 3 Foot midget and there was no room for the baggage which meant having to use up our leg room to keep our backpacks. Plus being as tired as we were there was no room to recline driving us to use Halik’s back as a pillow. So in all considering the five hours of travelling we had done prior to it, the four-hour drive to Colombo was torture.
So I guess after experiencing what public transport has to offer on both rail and road, my suggestion would be; if you’re embarking on a journey that exceeds two hours of travel, do it in a private vehicle.