Planning to visit Sri Lanka? We have been already writing about all the 50 best things to do in Sri Lanka. Today, we will write about budget travel in Sri Lanka. How much money do you need per day to explore the amazing beaches, surfing, and doing beautiful train journey?
Tourism is growing a lot in Sri Lanka comparing to my first trip in 2011. More tourists come to visit the place, prices are very affordable especially transportation, food and accommodation.
IS IT SAFE/DIFFICULT TO TRAVEL IN SRI LANKA?
Yes, it´s very safe to travel in Sri Lanka. The trains can be crowded and traffic is intense but it is easy to ask for directions and you can always find someone who can converse in English.
If you are a solo female traveling in Sri Lanka, it would be very wise to always be careful. As Rachel happened to ride alone with a guy in his car. The guy did not act normal, he was acting inappropriately and even went as far as trying to touch Rachel’s knees, it was really a weird moment for her in Sri Lanka. Everything was fine luckily!
BOOK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE
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BEST TIME TO GO TO SRI LANKA
The weather can be a little bit confusing in Sri Lanka. There are two monsoon seasons. So we can’t say exactly when could be the best time to travel to Sri Lanka. The temperature goes around 26-30 degrees and there is high humidity, depending on which part of the island. December to March would be the best time if you are visiting West and South Coast, and April to September for visiting the East Coast.
VISA IN SRI LANKA
You can apply the ETA before your trip. Prices are around $20-40 USD for a month. We didn’t apply in advance and we paid $40 USD each for a month Visa on arrival in the airport.
CASH AND ATM IN SRI LANKA
You will find ATMs and office where you can exchange your money almost everywhere. The exchange rate is around $1 USD 160 Sri Lankan Rupees, and the ATM does not take commission to our card. Click the link to see the current exchange rate.
INTERNET AND WIFI CONNECTION IN SRI LANKA
If you are work online like us, the connection in Sri Lanka works good. We can usually find stable internet connection and the data was very cheap, one of the cheapest that we found traveling around the world. We didn’t have any issue with internet in Sri Lanka unlike we usually had in the Philippines or Maldives.
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FOOD BUDGET TRAVEL IN SRI LANKA
If you decide to eat street food and local restaurants, you will find meals starting from $1-3 USD. In local places we didn’t see so much variety at night, sometimes there are just a few options for dinner. Our favorite meal was Kothu, Hoppers, Vegetarian Rotis and as for dessert, Pineapple Curry was our favorite one.
Juices and fresh coconut were so delicious. Prices start from $1 USD and we loved the papaya juice with lime which was served for breakfast in most of the hotels that we stayed in Sri Lanka. Beers are cheap for $1 USD and you will find them in the liquor store, my favorite one was Lion beer and it was good!
ACCOMMODATION BUDGET TRAVEL IN SRI LANKA
You can get accommodation starting from $15-20 USD for a room in a guesthouse. Can you imagine if you are two of you traveling in Sri Lanka it will be $10 USD each. If you are looking for budget accommodation in Sri Lanka you can also try AirBnB starting from $15 USD.
TOURS/ENTRANCE FEES IN SRI LANKA
We mostly went to the beaches in our trip in Sri Lanka, so we almost didn’t pay for fees there. As Sri Lanka is becoming a place for many tourists to visit, there are more tours and fishermen in Unawatuna and the beaches around asking for payment when taking pictures, as well as using a rope swing.
Anyway small fees, in the Northern parts like Sirigiya cost $30 USD, and the entrance and the view are amazing. There are fees for visiting Elephant Sanctuaries and National Parks but don’t worry about that adding to your budget.
We did almost everything by ourselves. You can go for day tours with a local guide, diving, snorkeling and they usually cost around $20-30 per day with lunch included.
LOCAL TRANSPORTATION IN SRI LANKA
Transportation is incredibly cheap in Sri Lanka. Buses and train rides will cost you $3-5 USD for long distances. The most challenge thing is dealing with the tuk tuk drivers. They always try to hike up the prices especially with foreigners, just be calm if they do and ask around about how much is the usual price so you can avoid paying absurd prices for the ride.
Trains and buses are super crowded and sometimes you will have to go standing for a few minutes or a few hours like riding the bus from Ella to Matara. And also the famous train ride from Kandy to Ella.
BUDGET TRAVEL IN SRI LANKA PER DAY?
Your travel budget in Sri Lanka can go easily for $20-30 USD per day including food, accommodation and transportation. If you are traveling as a couple like us, you can easily just split the accommodation.
The price for a small room in Sri Lanka isn’t as cheap as you can find in countries like Maldives, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar,and the Philippines in Southeast Asia. If you hire a tour/day trip or other activities such as diving, you will have to budget around $40 USD per day budget travel in Sri Lanka.
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About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.