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The Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Prices!

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Sri Lanka is now up there in the top places to visit in Asia. Most of us know Asia for being pretty cheap and reasonable to travel around, especially for those of us coming from a Western Country but how cheap is Sri Lanka, how much money do you need to take to Sri Lanka, and what is the cost of travel in Sri Lanka exactly?

Well, in this Sri Lanka Travel Blog I’m going to share how much I spent backpacking Sri Lanka for 3 weeks along with what I found to be the costs for food, accommodation and activities in Sri Lanka to help you plan your trip and budget for Sri Lanka and know how much a trip to Sri Lanka costs using these Sri Lanka Prices.

Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka

Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka
Keep Reading for all my information on the Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka!

How Much Does a Trip to Sri Lanka Cost?

Sri Lanka on a Budget Backpacker Style.

If you are looking to backpack Sri Lanka on a budget or simply travel on a budget, you’ll be pleased to know that this is possible. Sri Lanka has many hostels offering dorm rooms at really great prices (more on the actual costs below), the public buses and trains are ridiculously cheap, and there are plenty of local restaurants to eat in to keep costs down.

If you’re looking to backpack Sri Lanka on a budget your biggest expense is likely to be activities and day trips like surfing, snorkelling, going on safaris and entrances into temples but at the end of the day, these experiences make the memories!

Unfortunately drinking alcohol in Sri Lanka will quickly add up the amount you spend as alcohol prices in Sri Lanka aren’t particularly cheap.

Sri Lanka on a Holiday Budget.

Sri Lanka is a pretty popular country to visit for a 2 week holiday, from Europe the flight isn’t that long and it’s much more of an adventure than going to Greece or Spain!

Just like every country you still have to watch what you spend in Sri Lanka, if you want nicer accommodation in fancier hotels, you can do this but don’t go thinking they will be super cheap, they come at a cost. Meals in tourist restaurants, especially western food can be 3-4 times more expensive than food in a local place and those smoothie bowls you’ve seen people have in Sri Lanka are also more costly.

If you are visiting Sri Lanka on a 2 week holiday with more money to spend your money will go a lot further than it would in Europe which I hope you are happy to hear, however, costs could and will soon add up if you keep splurging.

Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka

Related Post: A Guide on Where To Visit in Sri Lanka on Your First Trip!

Prices in Sri Lanka.

In 3 weeks in Sri Lanka I spent £510.00 / $621.00USD.

I stayed in pretty decent guesthouses and small locally run hotels for £12.00-£15.00 / $14.50- $18.50 a night. I did a few day trip activities that added up like snorkelling in Trincomalee for £40.00 / $48.00 and a day trip in Ella for £25.00 / $30.00.

Generally my hotels had breakfast included in the rate so that was one meal covered and I ate out for lunch and dinner, usually in a mix of local restaurants / one meal at a lower price like £1.50 / $1.80 and one a bit more for £3.50 / $4.25.

I had a few beers in some places but I didn’t go crazy and I also didn’t do any shopping so this helped keep my costs low.


Have you got travel insurance for Sri Lanka yet? Make sure you take insurance out before you go! I am insured with World Nomad’s who I really like because they designed by travellers, for travellers, you can even purchase insurance with them once you have left for your trip.

Get a quote from them here whilst you’re thinking about it:


Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka, bay dreams beach hotel in Arugam Bay rooms
I loved this room for £12.50 a night in Arugam Bay

Cost of Accommodation in Sri Lanka

Hostels – if you want to travel Sri Lanka on a budget, and or, you like staying in hostels for the social aspect you’re looking at dorm rooms from £3.00-£7.00 / $3.70-$8.50 depending on the popularity of the location and if it’s high season or not.

Guesthouses & Homestays – If you want a private room for a cheaper price these are a good option and price wise you’re looking at £10.00-£25.00 / $12.25-$30.00 again depending on the location and time of year. 

Hotels – If you want to stay in a Heritage Hotel in Sri Lanka, a Manor House, an Eco-Lodge, or a fancy hotel with a rooftop pool this does come at a price, these types of hotels in Sri Lanka cost around £100.00-£200.00 / $122.00-$244.00 a night offering 5 star service and accommodation. However, if your budget isn’t that high there are still good hotels that will cost around £50.00-£70.00 / $60.00-$85.00 a night.

Tip 1 – I used to book all my accommodation in Sri Lanka because this features hostels and hotels so it’s easy to compare whether you can get a private room for the same price as a dorm, especially if there are two of you travelling together. You can have a search on here for an idea of prices!

Tip 2 – I did see a few YouTube videos where people said they didn’t pre-book accommodation and instead turned up and looked once they were there and they found it cheaper as the taxes can often be taken off, but I’ll admit that didn’t happen to me when I did it or when I extended in person rather than online. It was the same price.

Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka, Kings Village Sigiriya Hotel Patio with seats
I also loved this accommodation in Sigirya for £15.00 a night

Cost of Food & Drink in Sri Lanka

Based on visiting a mixture of local cafes, slightly more fancy Instagram-able cafes, and tourist restaurants this is what I found to be the cost of food in Sri Lanka. Note that this based on Vegetarian meals and meals with meat and seafood do cost more.

Vegetable Kottu – 300Rs / £1.35 / $1.65

Rotti – 200Rs / £0.90 / $1.10

Smoothie Bowl – 700Rs / £3.15 / $3.90

Avocado on Toast – 600Rs / £2.70 / $3.30

Western Meal – 800Rs / £3.60 / $4.45

Fruit Juice – 350Rs / £1.60 / $1.93

Meal in Restaurant by the Beach – 1500Rs / £6.80 / $8.30

Beer in Local Restaurant – 250Rs  / £1.10 / $1.40

Beer on Beach or Bar – 500Rs / £2.25 / $2.75

Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka, vegetarian buffet food at mama's restaurant arugam bay
Buffets are really popular in local restaurants in Sri Lanka, this unlimited veggie buffet was 400Rs / £1.80.
Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka, smoothie bowl in Shady lane cafe mirissa
Smoothie Bowls like this do come at a higher price.

Cost of Transport in Sri Lanka

The price of transport will change depending on where you are in the country and it could also change depending on the person selling the tickets, for example on the buses sometimes I was charged local prices, sometimes it seemed like I was being charged more. Here are what I found to be the prices of transport and the cost of getting around Sri Lanka when I went: 

Public Bus Journeys 1 hour – 50Rs / £0.22 / $0.27

Public Bus Journeys 4 hours – 160Rs / £1.60 / $0.88

Public Bus Journeys 6 hour – 280Rs / £1.25 / $1.55

Ella to Kandy Train in 2nd Class 7 hours – 330Rs / £1.50 / $.180

Tuk Tuk Ride 10 minutes – 300Rs / £1.35 / $1.65

Tuk Tuke Ride 30 minutes – 600Rs / £2.70 / $3.30

Tuk Tuk Ride 2 hours – 2000Rs / £9.00 / $11.00

Shared Taxi for 6 hour drive per person – 4000Rs / £18.00 / $22.00

Although transport by taxi is much more expensive it is much more comfortable, however, you really can get all around Sri Lanka using the buses and trains if you’re happy to sweat and be squished a bit, this is the biggest thing about Sri Lanka that makes it budget friendly in my opinion.

Related Post: A Guide on Where To Visit in Sri Lanka on Your First Trip!

Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka, red local bus in Sri Lanka
The buses in Sri Lanka are hard work but at least they are very cheap!

Cost of Sri Lanka Activities 

Surf Lesson – £11.30 / $13.80

Safari – £50.00 / $60.00

Diving – £50.00 / $60.00

Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka, Ellie snorkelling at pigeon island in Trincomalee

To SEE my trip to Sri Lanka, check out my YouTube videos here!