Confusingly, Anuradhapura has no less than three bus stations. Unless noted otherwise, daytime service in all directions is frequent (every 30 minutes or so).
Colombo Bus Station
Private air-con and ‘semi-comfortable’ (larger seats, no air-con) buses leave from the small Colombo Bus Station near the Old Bus Station.
Buses to Colombo run via Dambulla and Kurunegala (bus No 15) or faster via Puttalam and Negombo (bus No 4). The fastest air-con intercity express buses to Colombo depart at 9.15am and 2.15pm.
Services include the following:
Colombo Rs 350 to 500, six hours
Dambulla Rs 190, 1½ hours; take a Kandy-bound minibus
Kandy Rs 340, 3½ hours; air-con minibuses are the fastest
New Bus Station
Buses heading to points east and north start from the New Bus Station. Services include the following:
Jaffna Rs 328, six hours, eight daily; en route from Colombo, so stops outside the bus station
Mihintale Rs 33, 30 minutes
Polonnaruwa Rs 150, three hours; bus is labelled 'Kaduruwela'; also for Habarana
Trinco Rs 180, 3½ hours, two daily; or change in Horowupotana
Old Bus Station
The Old Bus Station is mostly for local services, including to Kurunegala (Rs 140, three hours).
Anuradhapura’s main train station is an art deco gem. Some services stop also at the new train station further south. Train services include the following:
Colombo 1st/2nd/3rd class Rs 900/450/280, five hours, five daily
Jaffna 1st/2nd/3rd class Rs 1000/500/130, 3½ hours, three daily