Despite many terrible stories about the driving habits of the locals and the traffic we decided to rent a car. To be able to drive you need a local acknowledgement of your international driving license from the Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC). But as you need to drive there to get it, the most convenient way is to let your car rental agency organize it for you. The temporary driving license costs around USD 25 and the agency charges you another USD 25 for their service.
Even though our first drive was after sunset, it rained and we were driving in Negombo, a big city in Sri Lanka it was absolutely ok. As expected, there was overtaking from left and right. There were barely visible pedestrians crossing the street and motorcycles and Tuk-Tuks everywhere. But we had expected it to be more chaotic and our experience from the next few days showed that during daylight the driving was much easier.
After two nights at the wonderful Camelot Beach Hotel we continued our trip to the Wilpattu NP. Those three hours of driving outside of the city felt almost as driving in Switzerland and we enjoyed the liberty and flexibility we had thanks to our own car.
To sum it up we can absolutely recommend everyone with a minimum of chaos tolerance to rent a car in Sri Lanka.