Posted by wasana on October 04, 2010
Hiring a driver taxi vs. driving on your own
If you have navigated the roads of other countries with chaotic traffic, you won't find Sri Lanka that much of a problem. Still... I've been an ardent self driver in a whole lot of countries, but as for Sri Lanka I decided it was easier to hire a driver rather than plunge myself into local traffic, which would require a week or so before you get used to it. After 1500 km on SL roads my opinon is that hiring a driver is indeed the best way to make the most out of your trip. You can see a whole lot of the country in limited time, in A/C comfort. Safety on the road should be your foremost concern. It is important what driver you chose. He must be reliable and concerned about your safety. As this will be the major line item in your travel budget next to your flight, it pays to shop around and contact some of the drivers that come recommended by other travellers. If you care, you can easily contact some drivers by e-mail, get their initial offers, re-negotiate the offers and select one, all within a week.
My experience with requesting offers from drivers
I e-mailed about 10 drivers that came recommended on travel forum. I requested an offer for a trip of 1500 km and 9 days, with 2 additional idle days in between where the driver would wait for me while I stayed in one place. I requested all inclusive prices with unlimited km, fuel, repairs, tax, insurance, parking fees, accommodation and meals for the driver, and his services as a guide. In one word - no hidden cost whatsoever. I insisted that the driver was fully licenced as a nationwide tourist guide. The offers I got ranged from (465 USD) to (790 USD). Some drivers that came highly recommended quoted also the highest prices, and to be honest they didn't really gave the impression that they were keen on getting me as a client. Others quoted a high price initially but then came back offering that they would match any competitor's price. I selected a driver that came recommended on travel forum, had a good website of his own with client references, and quoted one of the lowest prices right from the beginning. Having spent 9 days on the road with him, I was quite pleased with the outcome.
Name of the rivers whose offers looked professional and who quoted a good initial price: you can search under there name than can find all the details.
Mr Jagath Wijesiri
Mr aujith Liyanage
Mr neranjan Wijayarupa
Mr RSk. Silva
500 words or less