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How much does traveling in Sri Lanka cost? | Everything about budget and costs

Sri Lanka is a fun and diverse country to travel or visit backpacking. But how much does traveling in Sri Lanka actually cost? And what do you pay with? In Sri Lanka you pay with the Sri Lankan Rupee and you can find ATMs everywhere. You can choose to pay with cash, but in many places it is also no problem to pay with your credit or debit card. Even on the market you can often pay contactless these days as you are used to in Europe. During our last trip through Sri Lanka, we kept track of all expenses. In this article you can read everything about the costs for transport, hotels, excursions and food in Sri Lanka.

UPDATED 2022: Covid-19 has had a major impact on the travel industry. As a result, flights and accommodations have become considerably more expensive and there will also be severe inflation in 2022. The page has therefore been updated with the most recent prices that we received from travelers who visited the country in 2022.

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How much does a trip through Sri Lanka cost?

How much does it cost to travel or backpack in Sri Lanka for a few weeks or months? Halfway through the blog I have listed a number of basic costs for you so that you can easily calculate what it will cost you, depending on your travel style and the length of your trip or stay. For convenience, I have also converted everything to euros so that it is extra clear for you.

Also read: Itinerary Sri Lanka in 2, 3 or 4 weeks | All must-sees and travel tips
Also read: 8x the most beautiful things you must see in Sri Lanka

Coconut Tree Hill, Sri Lanka
Coconut Tree Hill, Sri Lanka

Also read: Top 10 | What are the best backpacking destinations in Asia?

Accommodation costs Sri Lanka

Hostel dorms in Sri Lanka cost between 2500 LKR and 5000 LKR (€7-14) per night, with larger cities like Colombo, Negombo and Kandy on the higher end of that spectrum. A private room in a hostel costs about 7000 LKR (€ 20) per night. Free wifi and free breakfast are common, although most hostels don't have kitchens if you want to cook your own food.

Budget hotels with free wifi, air conditioning and free breakfast start at around 7000 LKR (€20) per night and are fairly consistent throughout Sri Lanka. For a 20000-star hotel, expect to pay closer to LKR 55 (€XNUMX).

Budget three star hotel on the beach in Sri Lanka
Budget three star hotel on the beach in Sri Lanka

Airbnb is also available nationwide, with shared accommodation spaces starting at around 5000 LKR (€14) per night, while a private room starts from 12500 LKR (€35). Expect to pay around 20000 LKR (€55) per night for an entire house or apartment.

Cost of food and drink in Sri Lanka

Street food or street food such as Egg Hoppers, Roti and Kottu, is the cheapest and tastiest way to eat in Sri Lanka. Each dish costs only between 350 LKR (€ 1) and 1500 LKR (€ 4).

Also read: Eat safe street food during your World Trip | 11 Tips

You can expect to pay 750-1500 LKR (€2-4) for a meal at a Sri Lankan restaurant. Simple dishes such as rice, fried noodles or a bowl of soup are no more than 1100 LKR (€ 3) each. Traditional drinks such as the black tea, cost around 700 LKR (€ 0,80).

Fast food (such as McDonald's) costs about 1500 LKR (€4) for a combination meal, but other western meals can be twice or three times as expensive. Pizza and burgers can cost up to 6000 LKR (€12). Beer costs about 900 LKR (€2,5) in a restaurant and 350 LKR (€1) in a supermarket.

Market in Sri Lanka. Perfect for cheap groceries
Market in Sri Lanka. Perfect for cheap groceries

A week of shopping costs between 7000-14000 LKR (€ 20-40). Stick to local foods, as western specialties like wine and cheese will really destroy your grocery budget. Smart shopping can save a lot of money in Sri Lanka, especially in the longer term.

Daily budget travel or backpacking in Sri Lanka

Low budget

With a budget for backpackers you spend about 12500 LKR (€ 35) per day. This budget will cover a bed in a hostel dorm. You mainly eat street food, use public transport and do about one activity a day.

Train to Ella | Public transport Sri Lanka
Train to Ella | Public transport Sri Lanka

Average budget

For a average budget from about 27000 LKR (€75) per day, you get a private room in a hostel or a budget hotel, eat in a restaurant once a day, eat a lot of street food, use public transport and do more activities. With this budget you often go out on your own and, where possible, you walk around free of charge.

High budget

With a luxury budget you spend at least 70000 LKR (€ 200) per day. You stay in four star hotels, eat whatever you want, drink whatever you want. You take pedicabs, tuk tuks and taxis everywhere and do lots of guided activities door to door. Everything is possible in Sri Lanka, including a luxurious, lazy tour where you let yourself be pampered.

You can use the table below to get an idea of ​​how much you should budget on a daily basis, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind that these are daily averages: on some days you spend more, on other days you spend less. With the table below I want to give you a general idea about the prices and costs of travel in Sri Lanka, whether you are a budget traveler or more luxurious options. Prices are in EURO.

AccommodationEat DrinkTransportationattractionsPer day
Backpacker 10€ 10€ 5€ 10€ 35€
Mid-range 20€ 15€ 10€ 30€ 75€
Luxury 50€ 25€ 25€ 100€ 200€

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Tips to save money in Sri Lanka

You can get far in Sri Lanka with little money, but those who are not careful will quickly pay too much. So pay close attention and make the right choices. Below are some handy and simple tips that can save you a lot of money during your trip through Sri Lanka.

Taxis

Tuk-Tuk's and Taxi's are not usually metered in Sri Lanka, so make sure you agree on the fare before you go. However, there are now taxi apps available in Sri Lanka (such as pick me), which makes it a lot easier to estimate costs.

Tuk Tuk Taxi in Sri Lanka
Tuk Tuk Taxi in Sri Lanka

Camping

It is possible to camp in Taman Negara to save on accommodation costs – expect to pay around 700 LKR (€2 EUR) per night.

Eat street food

Street Food stalls are the place to go for delicious food such as various curries, fresh fish and fried vegetables. Meals cost just a few euros. In my opinion, this is the best food in the country – and the cheapest!

drink less

Since Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country, unlike Malaysia, for example, it is not difficult to drink alcoholic beverages. Drinking alcohol is considered normal in Sri Lanka, which is why the prices are relatively low.

However, to limit heavy drinking, the authorities have made drinking more expensive. Are you traveling with a small wallet, save your drinks for countries like Laos en Thailand, , where the alcohol flows (even) more freely and is a lot more favorable for the budget.

Take a free walking tour

A free walking tour is a great way to explore Colombo. Not only do you get to see the sights, but you also learn about the history and culture. Win win! You can also often find great offers for tours on GetYourGuide (click here for the offer).

Also read: 3 days Kuala Lumpur | Complete city guide with 15 activities

Travel in low season

In the low season, Sri Lanka costs the least. Traveling during the monsoon season (early May to late October) is thus an easy way to save money on both flights and accommodation. With significantly fewer visitors, everything is cheaper. Skip the east coast to avoid the biggest rainfall.

Wijaya Beach, Sri Lanka
Wijaya Beach, Sri Lanka

Use Pick Me

pick me is similar to Uber and is often cheaper than both taxis and tuk-tuks, especially if you get a ride from the airport in Colombo). Tuk-tuks are known to charge higher rates with tourists, negotiating is often difficult. With Pick Me you know exactly what you pay in advance.

Escape the city

Many of the popular areas in Sri Lanka are designed for tourists and can be expensive. Skip the crowds and go somewhere in a smaller town or a coastal town with fewer tourists.

Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

Things to Do in Sri Lanka

You now know roughly what traveling in Sri Lanka will cost you. Are you still orientating and you don't know exactly what there is to see and do in Sri Lanka? Or are you just looking for Inspiration? We have already seen and written about a lot of this beautiful country. All Sri Lanka articles can be found on our Sri Lanka page.

Also read: Itinerary Sri Lanka in 2, 3 or 4 weeks | All must-sees and travel tips
Also read: 8x the most beautiful things you must see in Sri Lanka

Plan your holiday to Asia here

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Ilse & Nick

ILSE & NICK - OUR TRAVEL LIFE
♥️ Travel addicts from #netherlands
? Chasing adventures & creating memories
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