The best way to find out which bus to take is just to ask people at the nearest stop. Buses going down Galle Rd from Fort or Pettah include the 100. Fares vary from Rs 10 to 50, depending on distance. Service is frequent; there is usually an English-language destination sign on the front of the bus.
Most taxis are metered, but often the driver won’t use the meter – agree on the fare before setting off. A taxi from Fort train station to Galle Face Hotel (a little over 2km) should cost about Rs 300; Mt Lavinia should cost around Rs 1400.
Dispatched cabs are popular and good value. Taxis take from five to 20 minutes to arrive. Reliable companies include:
Kangaroo Cabs Offers service in small cars that dart through traffic.
In addition, Uber is active in Colombo and is reliable and cheap. A local version of ride-sharing, PickMe, also offers app-based dispatching.
Also known as tuk-tuks and tri-shaws, these are ubiquitous. Although you’re likely to get wet if it rains and the cramped back seats have limited views out, a ride in a three-wheeler is part of the Colombo experience. Drivers dart fearlessly between huge buses, an experience that's exhilarating for some and frightening for others.
Many three-wheelers now have meters and are the cheapest means of getting around. Some drivers, however, will try to not use the meter or won't have one. Avoid meter-free three-wheelers or agree to a firm price before setting out. From Fort, expect to pay Rs 300 to get to Cinnamon Gardens, Rs 600 to Bambalapitiya and Rs 1000 to Mt Lavinia. Avoid drivers who are parked as they'll charge more; hail one passing by instead.
You can use the train to get to the suburbs dotted along Galle Rd – Kollupitiya, Bambalapitiya, Wellawatta, Dehiwala and Mt Lavinia; as a bonus, the line follows the seashore. Timetables are clearly marked at the stations, though service is frequent. If you board the train at Fort train station, double-check that it stops at all stations or you may end up in Galle. Train fares are about the same as bus fares.