Essential Sri Lanka Tuk Tuk Rental Guide: Everything You Need To Know! (2023)

The Best Sri Lanka Tuk Tuk Rental Guide 2023

Our incredible Sri Lanka tuk tuk adventure lasted 25 exhilarating and unforgettable days. By the end of our trip, we had driven 1,200 miles all over this magical country. And even though the journey was not all sunshine and rainbows (more on that later), we do not regret a single moment of exploring Sri Lanka in our bright red tuk tuk.

Fun fact: there are 1.2 million tuk tuks on the roads of Sri Lanka. But the locals won’t be referring to them as tuk tuks. They call them three-wheelers 🙂

But lets address the reason why you are here. You have doubts about whether driving a tuk tuk is for you. I mean, what are they doing allowing tourists to drive on public roads in these oversized scooters? What if something terrible happens? There’s no way it can be safe… or legal. Right?!?

Well, you’re in the right place! This guide will cover everything you need to know about tuk tuk rental in Sri Lanka. We’ll answer all your questions and share tips and tricks to help you plan your own epic adventure. So are you ready to leave your comfort zone and do something a little nutty? Let’s get started!

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Everything to know about renting a tuk tuk in Sri Lanka

Things To Know Before You Start Planning Your Sri Lanka Tuk Tuk Adventure

Are You Allowed To Drive A Tuk Tuk In Sri Lanka?

Getting a three-wheeler driver's license
Proud owner of a Sri Lankan tuk tuk driver’s license 😎

Is it legal for tourists to dash around Sri Lanka in a tuk tuk? Are any special licenses required to operate a three-wheeler?

These are reasonable concerns if you’re wondering if tuk tuk rental in Sri Lanka is even an option for you. So let’s review the main questions to ask to see if you qualify to drive one of these things:

  • Do you have a valid driver’s license?
  • Do you want to create memories that will last a lifetime?

Did you answer – YES! to both questions? You’re basically all set to get behind the wheel (handlebars) of a tuk tuk and drive all over this friendly island!

But not so fast. You should also know that you do need a special Sri Lankan driver’s license to legally drive. So set aside some time to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Totally just kidding 🙃

The helpful folks at (we’ll talk about them next) are ahead of the game! They can help organize your license before you even enter the country. All you need to do is pay a fee of $40, send over photos of your driver’s license and passport, provide digital ‘passport-style’ photos, and they’ll take care of all the administrative bits. It’s super convenient!

Curious to see what it’s like? Check out our first day driving on the roads of Sri Lanka!

What’s The Best Place To Rent A Tuk Tuk In Sri Lanka?

Choosing the right company to rent from should not be taken lightly. Tuk tuk rental in Sri Lanka has become much more popular in recent years. And many tuk tuk rental companies are popping up to fill the growing demand. But they don’t all have the same quality standards and levels of service.

As mentioned above, we rented our little red tuk tuk from Tuk Tuk Rental (, and we can 100% recommend them. They check all boxes that are essential for selecting the best Sri Lanka tuk tuk rental company:

  • Reputation ✅ Tuk Tuk Rental is basically the OGs of the three-wheeler rental game here in Sri Lanka. They are an extremely professionally-run business with a wonderfully supportive team and high-quality tuk tuks. And they have a 4.9⭐️ Google rating to show for it.
  • Safety ✅ new tuk tuks, a dedicated team of skilled mechanics, driving instructors for first-timers, and 24/7 support just a phone call away.
  • Impact ✅ Tuk Tuk Rental is a social enterprise. They don’t own any tuk tuks, but rent them directly from local families who, in-turn, receive a share of the revenues to help them pay off loans made to purchase their tuk tuk. The company also trains locals to gain more high-tech and marketable work skills, AND they pay their employees well above market rates. We could go on and on… just know they rock!
  • Fun ✅ the first thing to note is that the people at are just super cool people. But for more practical fun, they also offer itinerary advice and manage an (optional) Whatsapp group chat with all fellow Sri Lanka tuk tuk renters. So they can even help if you are looking for real-time travel tips or a drinking buddy!

Hey You! We Have A Coupon Code For Your Sri Lanka Tuk Tuk Rental 😎

Already convinced that the best way to visit Sri Lanka is with your own tuk tuk? Make sure to get 5% off of your booking with the amazing folks at by using our coupon code: wotw

All you have to do is visit their home page and enter wotw where it says ‘ I have a coupon code.’ It’s so easy to get a 5% discount on your rental! Now you can tuk tuk Sri Lanka with some extra spending money for surf lessons, safaris, or an endless supply of rice & curry!

ways of the world discount code

How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Tuk Tuk?

So you know that you can legally and responsibly go on a little Sri Lanka tuk tuk journey of your own. But now you’re left wondering if it will break the bank to rent a three-wheeler.

Let’s start with the good news: getting around Sri Lanka by tuk tuk is more affordable than you probably imagine! Most companies offer discounts for longer rentals, but you can expect to pay between $14-$25 per day, depending on the duration of the booking.

And now the bad news. There isn’t really bad news…

Having a tuk tuk in Sri Lanka is more expensive than getting around by bus. But at least you’ll have the freedom to go where you want whenever you want. And, believe it or not, it’s also much less terrifying than riding the local bus. So you will also save money on PTSD therapy 🙌

WOTW Tip: the cost of gas (petrol) in Sri Lanka is very affordable, at about 340 Sri Lankan rupees per liter ($1.20 US in May 2023). And these little beast get surprisingly good gas mileage. We spent a total of $92 on gas during our 1,200-mile trip through Sri Lanka.

Everythnig You Need To Know Before Renting A Tuk Tuk In Sri Lanka: FAQ

Is It Safe To Drive A Tuk Tuk In Sri Lanka?

Is it safe Sri Lanka tuk tuk

Ah, yes – personal safety. Clearly an important consideration when getting ready to drive a tuk tuk in a foreign country.

I can report that we not only survived (duh), but we thrived during the 25-day trip. And even though I probably cursed at hundreds of psychopath bus drivers (my hatred for them burns deep), we were never remotely close to getting into any kind of accident. Just prepare to be super alert when driving through busy cities and towns.

We hope this blog post helps answer your questions about driving a tuk tuk in Sri Lanka. But make sure to check out our Sri Lanka travel series on YouTube to see what it’s actually like to explore this countryon a three-wheeler. Spoiler: we had the time of our lives!

So, while driving in Sri Lanka as a foreigner seems daunting and chaotic, trust us when we say it’s all part of a perfectly safe adventure. Once you get used to the traffic flow and learn the hierarchy of who gets right of way, you’ll find that you can safely tuk tuk Sri Lanka. Note: tuk tuks are near the bottom of the hierarchy. Just above chickens, monkeys and monitor lizards.

WOTW Tip: tuk tuks don’t usually have seat belts. They just don’t. However, if you feel like a seatbelt is necessary, you can request it as an add on from There will be an additional fee.

How Difficult Is It To Drive A Tuk Tuk

Tuk tuk rental in Sri Lanka
Does this look like someone stressed out about driving a tuk tuk in Sri Lanka?

Driving a tuk tuk most closely resembles driving a manual motorcycle. Or so I’m told… Also, understanding the basics of how to properly change gears in a manual car is helpful. If neither of these applies to you, then there is definitely a learning curve for operating a tuk tuk.

I (Gordon) had literally zero experience driving a manual car or motorcycle before arriving to Sri Lanka. Still, I was hitting the main roads after only 2 hours of practice.

Was the first day driving the streets of Sri Lanka in a tuk tuk a little terrifying? Yes, it was. Did I stall in the middle of busy intersections? I sure did! But by the end of the trip I was looking forward to jumping back behind the handlebars of our little tuk tuk and going on yet another crazy adventure.

Aimara took a little longer to master the art of the tuk tuk. For her it was more a case of nerves scrambling her brain when there was chaos on the road. But she eventually got it down pat. And we know you can do it, too!

What If I Get Pulled Over By The Police?

Driving a tuk tuk in Sri Lanka police
A traffic stop turned into taking photos with this friendly officer.

You will get pulled over by the police. That is the reality of the situation if you tuk tuk through Sri Lanka long enough.

Traffic police are positioned along the side of the road all over the country. And it is extremely common for them to randomly stop vehicles to inspect documents and to ask people what they are doing and where they are going. And it’s no big deal the vast majority of the time.

There are basically three types of officers you’ll encounter:

  1. The curious policeman: they love seeing foreigners driving tuk tuks in Sri Lanka. Get ready to take pictures and tell them your life story.
  2. The officer just doing their job: this one will quickly send you on your way once figuring out you don’t speak the same language. They may ask for a cigarette before letting you go.
  3. The one that wants a bribe: this character is rare, but they exist. Please never bribe a crooked police officer. It sets a terrible precedent. Instead, ask for the ticket and tell them you’ll head to the nearest post office to pay the fine – which is standard protocol.

We got pulled over three times. Twice for no reason at all, and once when there is a high probability that a broke some kind of traffic rule. Luckily the police officers that pulled us over were always a mix of #1 & #2 on the list.

PS: I got major bonus points for dressing like a local with my sarong.

Will I (And My Tuk Tuk) Be Insured?

Even though renting a tuk tuk in Sri Lanka felt surprisingly safe, things can always happen. For that reason, you and your little vehicle both must be insured. Better safe than sorry, amirite?

The tuk tuk rental company we used provided comprehensive insurance covering any damages incurred to the tuk tuk & other vehicles. The insurance also covered personal injury to the driver, passengers, and 3rd parties.

That said – the insurance Tuk Tuk Rental provides is local. Therefore the amount covered for personal injury is relatively low. So we recommend picking up additional personal injury insurance from an international travel insurance provider.

WOTW Tip: we also purchased supplementary insurance with AXA travel insurance. They are a reputable company and affordable. And that’s all we really look for in travel insurance.

What If Something Bad Happens To The Tuk Tuk?

Sri Lanka tuk tuk accident
This guys basically saved our lives. We had a loose front tire!

Tuk tuks are total badasses. Our little beast took us up mountain roads, down potholed streets and through epic downpours. But they also have their limits. We regularly had to refill the front tire with air after smashing our way over some epic potholes.

The important things to remember when something does happen is 1) there are mechanic shops everywhere, and 2) Sri Lankans are the most friendly and helpful people on the planet. We unknowingly had a loose front tire (super dangerous). Thankfully, a mechanic in a remote village insisted we pull over so he could change our tire. And he refused to accept money from us!!! #LEGEND

To add to your peace of mind – offers 24/7 emergency support and roadside assistance. Our best advice is to check your tire pressure and oil levels daily. And don’t drive in heavy downpours or at night because it makes it more difficult to see potholes on the road.

Interested in exclusive, behind-the-scenes stories from life on the road? Sign-up for our weekly newsletter!

How Comfortable Are They?

How comfortable are tuk tuks?

We have to say that we were pleasantly surprised by how comfortable we were in our little tuk tuk. As somebody on the taller side (6’4”; 1.93 m), I was extremely worried that I simply wouldn’t fit. Especially considering that we had some long trips planned on our itineraries.

Our longest day on the road was close to 10 hours. And we regularly had 4+ hour days cruising from one destination to the next. But even after all those long days seated in a tuk tuk we never struggled too much with our comfort.

Of course we were only two people in the tuk tuk. You might feel differently about the comfort situation depending how many people are tagging along as you tuk tuk through Sri Lanka. Which leads us to our next question…

WOTW Tip: if you’re on the taller side you will find it difficult to look outside from the back seat. This is unfortunate, and it’s one of the reasons why I preferred driving over sitting in back.

How Many People Fit In A Sri Lanka Tuk Tuk?

Ask a local, and they’ll tell you there’s no limit to how many people fit in tuk tuk. But if you ask us, we’d say that a Sri Lanka tuk tuk fits three adults, including the driver. The back seat can comfortably seat two average-sized passengers – depending on how much stuff you have with you.

Is There Room For Your Luggage In The Tuk Tuk?

Storing bags in a tuk tuk

Between our gear and two carry-on-sized suitcases, we don’t exactly show up to places empty-handed. Thankfully, we had no problem stashing our belongings in the three-wheeler.

The tuk tuk has a small storage area in the back (as shown in the photo). We had to stuff our larger carry-on in there, but it was nothing that some brute force couldn’t solve.

Note: if you are three people traveling together with decent-sized bags, you might find things getting cramped in the back seat. Try to downsize your luggage situation and leave some stuff at the tuk tuk rental company to hold for you. I know the company we rented from gladly offers that service.

What Do You Do With Your Belongings While Sightseeing?

Tuk tuks don’t have doors, so naturally they don’t have locks. You will have to get creative with how you secure things when parking your tuk tuk and heading out to enjoy some of Sri Lanka’s incredible sights.

Here are some tips for keeping your belongings safe in a tuk tuk:

  1. Always secure the ‘weather flaps’ when leaving your tuk tuk. Obviously this isn’t Ft. Knox style security, but it does crate a small deterrent for any bad apples looking to snag something. Just note that these aren’t great for keeping monkeys out. Don’t keep food in your tuk tuk 😉
  2. You can get a thin bike lock to pull through your suitcase straps and loop around a fixed part of the tuk tuk. But ideally you would want a small padlock to keep people from entering your bags from inside the three-wheeler.
  3. Ask locals to help watch your tuk tuk while you are out exploring. You can ask shop owners to keep an eye on things, just make sure to buy something from their store to repay their kindness. We also kept our tuk tuk at a local hostal one day, and just made sure to buy lunch there. Win win!

Remember that Sri Lanka is a safe country. But it is always possible that you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. Though we never had a problem, it’s not unheard of for things to be taken from your tuk tuk. The usual suspects are monkeys looking for food (seriously), but petty theft from humans could happen.

Is Getting Around Sri Lanka Difficult?

Galle downtown market area
Typical scene near the center of many Sri Lankan towns.

Tuk tuks are not allowed on highways. This is an excellent policy considering the maximum speed for tuk tuks is 25 mph (40 km). Also great is the condition of main roads in Sri Lanka. Most streets are well paved, making getting around by tuk tuk relatively easy.

That said, when you factor in the modest maximum speed with steep mountain roads, you’ll discover that your travel days will take a bit longer than planned. This is even more true when getting off-the-beaten-path. Road quality plummets and you’ll spend your day dodging potholes once you get off the main roads.

How Hard Is It To Get Fuel?

Sri Lanka went through a catastrophic economic crisis in 2022. There were severe fuel shortages, and the amount of gas/petrol was rationed. Fast forward to our visit in April 2023, and things had vastly improved. Fuel was still being rationed, but it was available. And although not fair, it is easier for tourists to get gas than for locals.

Most gas stations let us fill up a full thank whenever we popped in to refuel, especially at the privately owned ‘IOC’ gas stations. State-owned Ceypteco gas stations were slightly less accommodating.

Note: most gas stations accept credit cards – though we did have to pay cash in some more remote places.

How Do I Take The Kandy To Ella Train If I Have A Tuk Tuk?

The Ella to Kandy train (or Kandy to Ella) is easily one of the most popular things to do in Sri Lanka. So what to do if you want to have your own three-wheeler and take the Ella to Kandy train?

Of course, there is a way to make this happen. And, of course, the process is made easy with For $40 and the cost of fuel, they’ll pick up your tuk tuk in either Kandy or Ella and drop it off wherever you want to exit the train. You can even keep all your luggage in the three-wheeler. Nice!

See? You can have your cake and eat it, too!

WOTW Tip: we purchased non-refundable tickets to go from Ella to Kandy on the famous train. And then we didn’t go. We decided it was more exciting to follow the same path as the famous train in our trusty tuk tuk. This is a great option for anyone wanting more time and flexibility to explore Sri Lanka’s stunning hill country.

What If I Only Want To Drive A Tuk Tuk For Part Of My Trip?

drinking a king coconut

You may not want to commit to driving a tuk tuk for your entire visit to Sri Lanka. And we totally get that.

While it’s never a bad thing to have access to one of these three-wheelers, it may not be entirely necessary if you simply want to hang out around Sri Lanka’s famous beaches for a while, or if you are staying put in the iconic town of Ella or the spiritual city of Kandy for a while.

If you’d rather not spend your entire vacation with one of these tiny vehicles, then you’ll be happy to know that (Tuk Tuk Rentals) offers pick-up and drop-off service in essentially every major tourist destination in Sri Lanka. All you have to do is pay a small transport fee and they’ll bring your tuk tuk to you. Super cool!

Is Driving A Tuk Tuk Fun?

tuk tuk Sri Lanka adventures

Is grass green? Is the Pope Catholic?? Did I overdose on curry during our trip to Sri Lanka??? Like the answers to these questions, the response to – is driving a tuk tuk fun? – is 1,000 times YES!

The beauty of this unique experience is that you never know what to expect. Some days can be super chill, where it’s just you, the open road, and maybe some wild elephants. And other days are thrilling tests of mental endurance as you weave between cows, bicyclists, jaywalkers, monkeys and whatever else is thrown at you. But no matter what the road has in store for you, it’s always a joy to zip around Sri Lanka in a tuk tuk like nobody’s business.

To sum it up, driving a tuk tuk in Sri Lanka is equal parts thrilling and liberating. Sprinkle in a few dashes of sketchy and terrifying, and you have the ingredients for the adventure of a lifetime!

Remember To Pin This Tuk Tuk Rantal Guide For Later!

rental guide for three wheeler in Sri Lanka

Why Visiting Sri Lanka With Your Own Tuk Tuk Is the Best Way to Go

Why having a Sri Lanka tuk tuk is the best way to travel

There are many ways of getting around Sri Lanka. Some are faster. Some are cheaper. But none upgrades your vacation like having a tuk tuk.

These are the reasons why you should travel in this way:

  1. The connection. Having a tuk tuk makes you feel fully connected to this fascinating country. You’ll be exposed to all the exotic sights, sounds and smells that let you become one with Sri Lanka.
  2. Meeting friendly locals! People loved that we were exploring their country in this iconic Sri Lankan vehicle. We were met by so many smiles and happy waves. And people would always stop by to make sure we were doing okay and to see if we were enjoying our time in Sri Lanka.
  3. You have total freedom. No worrying about bus schedules or access to off-the-beaten-path locations. The tuk tuk lets you go where you want when you want. Nothing beats having the freedom to visit Sri Lanka at your own pace.
  4. Learn something new! Sitting on a train or bus won’t push you out of your comfort zone. But driving a tuk tuk surely will. How cool to return home with this funky new skill. Personal achievement unlocked!
  5. Supporting locals. Not saying that you wouldn’t support locals otherwise. But having a three-wheeler lets you stop at random roadside vendors in lesser-visited areas. This helps spread your impact to people and places that may benefit less from tourism. Oh, and remember that is an amazing social enterprise!

Remember we have a discount code to get you 5% off your Sri Lanka tuk tuk booking! Just enter wotw on the home page of where it asks if you have a coupon code. It’s a super easy way to save some cash on your rental!

Things We Didn’t Like About Our Sri Lanka Tuk Tuk Adventure

Every time we watch our videos from Sri Lanka, we wish we could transport ourselves back to our red tuk tuk and keep the adventures going. But even if this was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives, there were things we didn’t like about traveling in a tuk tuk. And here they are:

  1. Those damn buses! I don’t know in how many different ways I can express my resentment toward the drivers of Sri Lanka’s rickety buses, but they are officially the worst. They blare their horns when passing and fly around blind corners without regard for oncoming traffic. 🖕that one’s for you Sri Lankan buses.
  2. It can feel painfully slow. The max (legal) speed for the tuk tuk is 25 mph (40 km). And it’s not exactly a tiny island. So bouncing around to different spots can take a while. Mentally prepare for long travel days and remember to enjoy the journey!
  3. Your lungs will hate you. Tuk tuks are totally exposed to the outdoors. So when old buses/trucks/vans/motorcycles /tuktuks zip past you, you will have the pleasure of breathing in their exhaust. And kiss your lungs goodbye (figuratively speaking) if you get stuck behind a truck going up a mountain. Yuck!
  4. Sitting away from each other. Part of enjoying an epic adventure is sharing it with someone. Unfortunately, there is only room for one on the front seat of the tuk tuk. And all the noises from the road can make having a conversation a hopeless task.

Final Thoughts & Tips About Driving A Tuk Tuk In Sri Lanka

Traveling through Sri Lanka with tuk tuk

If you were on the fence about driving a tuk tuk in Sri Lanka, we hope this post convinced you to go for it. Or, at the very least, made the idea of navigating a foreign country in a three-wheeler a little less daunting.

Having a tuk tuk during our visit to Sri Lanka made our trip exponentially more fun. Instead of the typical vacation where the highlights are the destinations, our fondest memories are from inside that beautiful tuk tuk.

Let’s leave you with 5 essential tips that we think will help you have the best Sri Lankan tuk tuk adventure, ever:

  1. Don’t plan too much: tuk tuks move slow, distances are long and rainstorms will bog you down. Leave some room in our itinerary to go with the flow.
  2. The horn is your best friend: beeping the horn lets people know you are coming. Don’t assume anyone will look for oncoming traffic before jumping into the street with their vehicle.
  3. Check your tire pressure daily: a flat tire can lead to a wobbly tire. Which can lead to parts becoming loose and the tire potentially becoming detached. This is spoken from experience.
  4. Buy a sarong: this is great for two reasons. 1) locals love seeing you in their traditional clothes, and 2) it helps keep your legs from getting sunburned.
  5. Stay in guesthouses: want to have the best food in Sri Lanka? Have dinner at your guesthouse. Besides being the nicest humans ever, guesthouse owners are excellent chefs!

Enjoy the ride!


Have questions about creating your own Sri Lankan tuk tuk adventures? Reach out in the comments or DM us on Instagram!

PS: IG is the quickest way to get in touch 🙂

Want to explore more of this beautiful world? Read these next:

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