Getting there & away
Polonnaruwa’s main bus station is actually in Kaduruwela, a few kilometres east of the old town on Batticaloa Rd. Buses to and from the west pass through the old-town centre, but if you’re leaving Polonnaruwa and want to make sure of a seat, it’s best to start off at Kaduruwela.
Central Transport Board (CTB) buses run regularly to Kandy (Rs 78). Air-con intercity buses to Kandy (Rs 150, four hours) run until 4pm via Dambulla and Habarana. If you want to get to Dambulla, catch this bus.
CTB buses for Anuradhapura (Rs 60, three hours) leave regularly from 5.15am to 4.15pm; there are no air-con buses. Alternatively, you can go to Habarana and pick up another bus there, but a lot of people do this and seats are rare.
There are regular CTB buses to Colombo (Rs 170, six hours) until 7.15pm. The intercity air-con buses (Rs 230) leave every 30 minutes during the day.
Polonnaruwa is on the Colombo–Batticaloa railway line, and is about 30km southeast of Gal Oya, where the line splits from the Colombo–Trincomalee line. The train station is at Kaduruwela, near the bus station, and in fact the sign over the station entrance reads Kaduruwela Railway Station.
Trains to Colombo (six to seven hours) depart at 8.13am, 8.40pm and 11.27pm. Tickets cost Rs 335 in a 2nd-class sleeper (seat only Rs 285), Rs 560 (seat only Rs 490) in 1st class. For Trincomalee there is a direct train at 3.15pm or you can catch the 8.13am Colombo train and change at Gal Oya for a 12.30pm Trinco-bound train.