Sri Lanka Karting Circuit, Bandaragama
Closed right now
Hidden in some off-road track in Badaragama is a full on Go-Kart circuit developed by the David Pieris Motor Company that launched back in 2013. They also offer other leisure activities like Air-Rifle shooting, a swimming pool amidst other things so we decided to pack up and head there to experience the adrenaline rush.
A few miles away from the Bandaragama town, at the end of a winding path, lies the Sri Lanka Karting Circuit - Bandaragama. They set up shop back in 2013 and have since expanded into a full-fledged outdoor sport centre where you can engage in adrenaline-inducing activities that are perfect for a fun day out with the family, or an office trip.
Go-Karting is an active outdoor motorsport where you can experience the thrill of mild motor racing against your peers. It's known to be one of the first steps towards engaging in higher motorsport. You won't have a full on Schumacher experience here, of course, but the next best thing, which is to manoeuvre a lightweight four-wheel drive around a fairly large track for ten glorious minutes.
The circuit itself is fairly enormous albeit not that large compared to international size. Apparently they’re working on expanding the area sometime next year.
The karts that are available for participants are called 'Pro-Karts' as I was told by an engineer at the maintenance dock. Apparently the 'Go-Karts' themselves are reserved for actual karting events and are only available to the pros. Bummer.
The good thing is, kids as young as 8 years of age (as long as they meet certain height requirements) get to drive as well, thanks to specially designed karts.
Air Rifle Shooting is a bit rare to come across here, unless you know the right people. The rifle range here is a little narrow and wide enough for 4 people to participate at once. This is great because nothing's safer than putting four people with guns in cramped quarters together under the Lankan sun.
The instructor will give you directions on how to fire the gun, basic safety instructions and the like and rules must be observed strictly. I wouldn't say the range here meets proper international standards, but hey it's a great place to practice your aim and patience.
Each person will be given a target and, at the end of your round, you get to keep your target sheets so you know what a lousy shot you are. Just kidding, don't shoot.
The pool here isn't enormous and is enough for about 20-something people to splash around comfortably. There's a view of the backyard and a bunch of frangipani trees casually placed amidst the cement so you may take shade after your swim.
They've got a spacious basketball court where you can shoot some hoops. Just ask one of the staff and you'll have it ready for access in no time.
They've got a large restaurant called The Paddock which is spacious, airy and a good place to cool off. The restaurant is now fully open for the public.
The downside here is that the Paddock doesn't function on regular working days but only on days when actual events are being held. This means that if you're planning a luncheon as part of your trip, you need to book ahead and tell them that you're renting out the restaurant. They'll make the necessary arrangements and hire people to cater to the occasion. However, they do have a cooler containing drinks like Smak, Chocolate milk and the like so you can relax with a quick drink.
There's a mini arcade with a few games you can play, like the bikes that don't move and require a bit of imagination, a classic shoot-em-up game and a step-dance game that's found in every arcade in the world.
You are required to fill a disclaimer form where you agree that you are taking part in such sports at your own risk. Children under 16 need parental consent. Adults are to submit identification that will be updated to their systems and are granted membership on the spot. As a member you won't have to sign up the next time you visit.
As for pricing, ten minutes of go-karting will cost you 1000LKR, and, while I'm skeptical about the amount, I was told that the exhilarating experience is absolutely worth the price.
I'd recommend this place if you're planning your next office trip, outing with friends or family. Aside from the fact that it's way out in Bandaragama, it's worth a visit and all the minor drawbacks will soon be chucked out the window the minute you step into a go-kart yourself.
The circuit is a few miles from the main road. Watch for a fuel station, then turn into the lane next to that. There are billboards to guide you along the way.