Tuk-tuks, automatic motorised rickshaws, are the vehicle of choice for many people in Sri Lanka, acting as family vehicles as well as doubling up as taxis to earn money. Here one driver takes time off during the heat to wash his vehicle and cool himself off in the waters of Lake Amban Ganga.
Sri Lanka – Been There

Sri Lanka: One tuktuk, no limits

Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Sri Lanka – Been There Sri Lanka: One tuktuk, no limits

Tuk-tuks, automatic motorised rickshaws, are the vehicle of choice for many people in Sri Lanka. They act as family vehicles and double up as taxis as a way for owners to make money.

Meera Dattani
Meera Dattani Travel Writer

“I sell bread until lunchtime,” says Rashid, leaning against his rickshaw. “And short eats, you know? Little snacks and pastries. I take passengers too, for shopping, sightseeing, to the station then if I’m not busy, I get my children from school.”

I notice his tuktuk because on the side, someone has painted on the words “Manners make a man". I want to see if it’s true. It turns out Rashid is impeccable in that department. He has a big smile, crinkly eyes and asks if I want to try a “short eat”, a vegetable cutlet or samosa perhaps. He also presses a freshly baked bread roll into my hand.

I bite into a cutlet. “Really good!” I tell him. He says his wife makes the short eats, his mother-in-law bakes the bread and he troops off to sell their wares around Kandy. It’s quite a team.

And when he’s sold everything or business gets slow? “Taxi driver time,” he says. “Sometimes local people, sometimes tourists. I like to drive around town. If I I see my friends, I might stop and we’ll drink a faluda.”

A customer has arrived, requesting a fare. The man hops in and Rashid waves goodbye, before zipping into a seemingly impossible gap between two trucks.

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Buddhists take a bath before returning home from Kataragama, one of the 16 major Buddhist pilgrimage destinations in the country. Kataragama, on the edge of Yala National Park, is also a pilgrimage destination for Hindus, Muslims and the indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka. Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

NIKON D2X

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Buddhists take a bath before returning home from Kataragama, one of the 16 major Buddhist pilgrimage destinations in the country. Kataragama, on the edge of Yala National Park, is also a pilgrimage destination for Hindus, Muslims and the indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka.

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