Sri Lanka is a year-round vacation spot with a plethora of sunlight all year round. The typical temperature is around 27°C – 30°C in the majority of regions. The temperature progressively falls as the land rises towards the hill country, with a few parts of the highland as low as below 10°C at night.
The island has two wet monsoon seasons: briefly between May and July in the southwest region and between December and January in the northeast.
The expense of meals in Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan food is extremely inexpensive. If you’re looking for a way to lower your expenses on your budget while traveling through Sri Lanka, food and transportation should come to your rescue.
You can eat massive meals that involve a huge mound of rice and a combination of curries for under $1 per meal. If you’re a big eater, the majority of the normal restaurants will provide you with the first plate of rice but you can request an extra amount.
Vegetarian dishes are the least expensive, but seafood & chicken are nevertheless quite cost-effective and mutton is a little costlier.
Listed below are prices of few dishes.
- Vegetable curry and rice – 100 LKR ($0.91)
- Fish curry and rice (contains veggie dishes too) – 150 LKR
- A huge feast of paratha, dal, fish curry – 200 LKR
- Dish of kottu – 100 LKR ($0.91)
- Fresh coconut – 40 LKR ($0.36)
- Drinking water (big bottle) – 60 LKR ($0.54)
The expense of transportation in Sri Lanka
There are some typical modes transportation in Sri Lanka: Bus, Train, Taxi, and Rickshaw (tuk-tuk).
Transportation in Sri Lanka is less expensive than in any other region I’ve ever traveled…but you need to be prepared to cope with not the most magnificent circumstances.
Buses won’t depart until they are full (by that I mean all seats are consumed and the corridor is jam-packed with standers). Once in motion, the bus drivers will push these buses at intense speeds and slam on their breaks really as hard as they please. Buses aren’t the most relaxing in Sri Lanka—but they’ll be typed in your budget travel!
Trust me; travel in Sri Lanka by train is the best way to explore the island. In particular, you should travel from Colombo to Kandy by train. I have written a complete post about which you can read here. Even though the train is accessible to almost everywhere in Sri Lanka, some places have no train station in the city. However, you can use a tuk-tuk to get there. On top of that, Sri Lanka trains charge ridiculously low fares.
Cost of Accommodation in Sri Lanka
To be honest, accommodation in Sri Lanka might be a bit expensive compared to other Asian countries because of the huge VAT Tax along with other government taxes. However, there are many accommodations available. A great way to save a lot of money is Couchsurfing. You can come up with a few contacts and occasionally end up finding great places to stay. Homestays are also another money-saving option for backpackers.
You can also save on your expenses with family as there are many hotels and Guest Houses that offer top notch service at the best price. One word of caution, avoid staying in the main region of the city as transport is very cheap and you can easily get around if you stay a bit far from city center. Also, I suggest spending less time in Colombo.
Cost of Tourist Attractions in Sri Lanka
Being an island, Sri Lanka has so many beaches that are free to visit. Most tourists visit Sri Lanka for two reasons: its beaches and its mountains and breathtaking landscape. It’s possible to travel around the city and visit attractions without paying. If you are in Kandy, you can visit many historic places and Kandy lake for free. As of now there are only two tourist attractions is Sri Lanka which a tighter budget traveler can’t afford and that is hiking Sigiriya as its entrance fee is $30 for foreigners. (You can see it from the outside for free.)
Yala National Park is another spot that comes at a cost of $15 entrance fee and $15 per person for the vehicle. One word of advice, if you are NOT more than 4 persons, get a tuk-tuk for a city tour like Colombo, etc., as taxis are more expensive than the tuk-tuk. Here are a few places that you can visit for free.
- Galle Face Green (Colombo)
- Beira Lake (Colombo)
- Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque (Colombo)
- Free Tea Factories tour (Nuwara Eliya & Eliya)
- Kandy Lake (Kandy)
- Hiking at Adam Peak (Nallathanniya)
Listed above are some of the places that are famous among foreign travelers.
Some other useful tips to save money while traveling in Sri Lanka.
- Don’t visit in Peak season. Prefer to visit between May and September. As said earlier, the temperature in Sri Lanka never goes up even in summer.
- Book your hotel and accommodation at least two months in advance to get good rates.
- Get a local SIM card (Dialog good for tourists) as Wifi continues to be not that popular in Sri Lanka, but you will find cyber cafes from coast to coast. 1-hour costs anywhere from 50 – 100 LKR ($0.40 – $0.91). Compared to this Dialog has good packages.
- Avoid booking any tours on special days, especially on full moon days.
- If you can’t afford 1st-class train ticket (which is really good), book your ticket in advance.
- Read our solo female travel Sri Lanka tips.