My Final Information to Sri Lanka: Ideas, Prices, Itineraries, and Favorites

train station in sri lanka
Up to date: 10/26/2018 | October 26th, 2018

My go to to Sri Lanka — a jewel–formed nation within the Indian Ocean — was an surprising shock. I didn’t have a number of expectations for the journey. But it surely turned out to be a tremendous expertise. I liked each little bit of Sri Lanka: the verdant panorama, the scrumptious meals; the crumbling, overgrown ruins; the considerable wildlife; and (particularly) the welcoming locals who took hospitality to the following degree.

Touring Sri Lanka is a comparatively straightforward matter to do. It may be a little bit chaotic, with overcrowded buses transferring alongside clogged roads the place lanes are mere ideas, and trains packed to the gills with individuals hanging off the sides (which truly is form of enjoyable). However English is extensively spoken so when you get used the chaos, it isn’t too troublesome to get round.

However there are just a few matters you need to know earlier than you go to Sri Lanka to keep away from getting scammed, overspending, and, like me, lacking among the scenic trains! Right here’s my information to visiting Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka Journey Information: 14 Vital Tricks to Know for Your Go to

Journey Tip #1: Don’t drink the water – You shouldn’t actually drink the water in Sri Lanka, so deliver a reusable water bottle with a air purifier. It’s actually sizzling, so to maintain hydrated, you’d in all probability spend 300 rupees ($2 USD) per day on plastic bottles of water at 60 rupees ($0.40 USD) every. However a water bottle with a air purifier prices simply $20 USD (although my most well-liked model Lifestraw is barely extra). Over the course of a two-week journey, that’s an $Eight USD financial savings (and also you assist the atmosphere too)!

Journey Tip #2: Eat the native meals– Exterior of the main cities of Colombo and Kandy, you received’t discover many non-Sri Lankan or non-Indian meals choices. What you do discover is a poor excuse for Western meals that’s overpriced and sometimes a sequence. Persist with the native meals! It’s tremendous scrumptious. I by no means knew a lot about Sri Lankan meals earlier than hand however now I’m hooked! Simply eat all of it! Balaji Dosai in Kandy; Ahinsa in Sigiriya; Upali’s in Colombo; Scorching Hut in Nuwara Eliya; and the eating places throughout from the bus station in Anuradhapura had been a few of my favourite.

Journey Tip #3: Extra about meals– Meals, apart from being loopy good, can also be actually low cost in Sri Lanka! Native meals prices about $1-Three USD per meal for easy dishes of dosas (a form of pancake), kottu (a dish product of roti (flatbread), greens, egg and/or meat, and spices), rice, rooster, and every little thing in between. At eating places with desk service, you’ll pay nearer to $5 USD.

Journey Tip #4: Sri Lanka isn’t a celebration– Don’t count on too many probabilities to drink alcohol. Exterior the coastal vacationer cities and the capital of Colombo, there isn’t a lot nightlife or alternatives to drink. When you can at all times crack a beer at your guesthouse, Sri Lanka isn’t residence to a giant consuming/nightlife tradition. Count on your nights to be tame.

Journey Tip #5: Rent the Tuk-tuks– You may rent drivers cheaply. Any tuk-tuk driver will allow you to rent them for the day. Count on to pay round $20 USD for the day. Furthermore, tuk-tuk drivers are fairly trustworthy, besides in Colombo, the place they may attempt to rip-off and overcharge you. Elsewhere within the nation, you’ll get a good deal. There’s no have to attempt to cut price onerous.

Journey Tip #6: Take the airport bus – There’s a prepare to the airport you possibly can take from Colombo Fort. It’s the most cost effective technique to get there, at 30 rupees ($0.20 USD). A tuk-tuk experience is about 2,500 rupees ($17 USD), and buses to the airport value 110 rupees ($0.75 USD) and depart about each 30 minutes from Colombo Central Bus Station or Mawatha Bus Station.

Journey Tip #7: Journey by prepare: Practice journey, whereas usually slower, are the most cost effective technique to get round. Some typical routes: Colombo to Jaffna is 150-445 rupees ($1-Three USD), Jaffna to Anuradhapura is 150-295 rupees ($1-2 USD), Kandy to Nuwara Eliya is 85-280 rupees ($0.60-1.90 USD), and Colombo to Galle is 150-295 rupees ($1-2 USD).

Journey Tip #8: E book your prepare prematurely: In case you are taking the scenic prepare from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya or Ella (or vice versa) and need a seat, e book it prematurely by a journey company, as tickets can’t be booked in individual on the station until it’s accomplished 4 days earlier than departure. You may at all times (and solely) get a cramped second-class ticket (the place you’ll be taught the brand new which means of a decent squeeze) on the day of departure. Many individuals will let you know to get to the station at 7am to purchase a prepare ticket, however they don’t begin promoting them till 8am, so don’t take heed to these individuals. Additionally, the idea of “offered out” doesn’t apply to “cattle class.”

Journey Tip 9: Present up early at Sigiriya: In case you are visiting Sigiriya, get there when it opens at 8am to keep away from big strains and crowds on the web site. In case you are there after 10am, the crowds are so overwhelming it’s not value visiting. It takes an hour to stroll up because it’s single-file all the way in which!

Journey Tip 10: Skip the ticket line at Anuradhapura: In case you are visiting Anuradhapura, tickets are $25 USD however are by no means checked until you’re getting into the museum. (I additionally seen Western vacationers had been the one ones ever requested to indicate a ticket on the museum.) Enter the location with out paying by utilizing the tiny street simply southeast of the museum.

Journey Tip #11: Deliver flip-flops to temples: You’ll should take your socks and footwear off earlier than visiting temples, even when they’re outside, so deliver flip-flops to maintain your socks clear!

Journey Tip #12: Don’t count on high-end hostels: Hostels are actually primary (fan, mosquito web, electrical bathe) however at $4-6 USD per dorm mattress, you possibly can’t go improper.

Journey Tip #13: Day journey to Galle: Galle is just value a day journey. Don’t keep over within the city. There’s not a lot to do there in any respect.

Journey Tip #14: Discover low cost lodging: There are a number of low cost lodging all through the nation. You’ll often get breakfast together with your room too. Personal rooms with your personal toilet begin at $10 USD per evening. Add $5 in order for you air-con.

Visiting Sri Lanka: How A lot Does it Value?

  Visiting Sigiriya Rock Fortress in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is an affordable nation to go to. Even while you splurge, it’s not that costly. General, I’d say you couldn’t want greater than a price range of $30 – 40 USD per day. The nation could be very low cost, particularly when you persist with scrumptious native or Indian delicacies (the meals is so low cost there’s no motive to grocery store and prepare dinner your personal meals), keep away from the overpriced Western model eating places (native meals tastes significantly better anyhow), journey second class and on buses, and don’t go loopy with the lodging. Ever although I used to be on a price range, I didn’t go as little as I might (dorms each evening, solely Sri Lankan meals, minimal actions, and many others) and nonetheless discovered it was onerous to interrupt the financial institution. The costly days wherein I took a tour or determined to attempt some fancy restaurant had been balanced out on the opposite days I didn’t.

Here’s a checklist of costs that can assist you get an concept of prices in Sri Lanka:

  • Airport taxi – 2,500 rupees
  • Nationwide Museum in Colombo – 600 rupees
  • Practice from Jaffna to Anuradhapura – 340 rupees
  • Bottle of water – 60 rupees
  • Bus from Anuradhapura to Dambulla – 340 rupees
  • Tuk-tuk from Dambulla to Sigiriya – 1,000 rupees
  • Kottu rooster (and water) – 370 rupees
  • Lunch 2 – 500 rupees
  • Tuk-tuk – 200 rupees
  • Bus from Dambulla to Kandy – 98 rupees
  • Hostel in Kandy – 600 rupees
  • Temple of the Tooth in Kandy – 1000 rupees
  • Dosai dinner in Kandy – 200 rupees
  • Practice to Nuwara Eliya, second class – 160 rupees
  • Beer – 500 rupees
  • Bus to Tissamaharama (Tissa) – 240 rupees
  • Bus to Galle – 307rupees
  • Western lunch in Galle (burger and fries) – 1,200 rupees

What to See and Do in Sri Lanka: Itineraries By Area

  Wandering the Beautiful Jungles in Sri Lanka
The place must you go in Sri Lanka? All over the place – if in case you have the time! Most vacationers concentrate on the southern half of the nation, with its mountain climbing and seashore cities. After many years of conflict, the north has a legacy of destruction that has but to go away.

Although I initially had deliberate to discover solely the south as a result of my restricted time there, I used to be supplied the chance to speak to a member of Parliament in Jaffna up north and be taught in regards to the Tamil conflict, so I rearranged my route thus:

ColomboJaffnaAnuradhapuraSigiriya/DambullaKandyNuwara EliyaTissamaharama (Tissa) – GalleColombo

I used to be glad I did. Seeing the north gave me an added perspective on a portion of the nation with out hordes of different vacationers. In truth, in my time up north, I noticed solely 4 Westerners.

And although Sri Lanka could appear to be a small island, there’s a lot to see and do there! Greater than I imagined. Anuradhapura and Sigiriya each have wonderful historical ruins. Kandy is stuffed with mountain climbing treks, a giant Buddhist temple, and a butterfly backyard. Nuwara Eliya is understood for its mountain climbing, Tissa is the gateway to Yala Nationwide Park (which has elephants and leopards), and Galle is a lovely previous Dutch fort city.

beautiful view of a tower in galle, sri lanka
Although I lined a number of floor in my two weeks, I nonetheless missed many locations, together with Ella (extra mountain climbing), Arugam Bay (seashores), and many of the southern coast (extra seashores and nightlife). I raced by the nation and crammed an excessive amount of into such a brief time period. I wouldn’t advocate going at such a breakneck tempo.

The place ought to YOU go?

I’d break your Sri Lanka travels into two components — the north/middle and the south — and concentrate on a kind of areas. There’s merely an excessive amount of to do within the nation and journey (buses and trains) across the nation is just too sluggish to attempt to cowl a lot floor in a restricted time.

Except you’ve gotten extra time, then the world is your oyster!

Prompt Sri Lanka Itineraries

Southern Route (two weeks): Colombo – Hikkaduwa – Galle – Mirissa – Tangalle – Tissa – Ella – Nuwara Eliya – Kandy – Colombo

Northern Route (two weeks): Colombo – Nuwara Eliya – Ella – Kandy – Sigiriya – Anuradhapura – Trincomalee – Jaffna – Colombo

North and South (4 weeks): Colombo – Jaffna – Trincomalee – Anuradhapura – Sigiriya – Kandy – Nuwara Eliya – Ella – Tissa – Tangalle – Mirissa – Galle – Hikkaduwa – Colombo

When you have a month, you would do that complete route plus add within the coastal cities of Arugam Bay and Negombo. With two weeks, concentrate on both the southern coast or the central/northern areas.

One matter to know is that after you’ve accomplished the main matters in a metropolis, there’s little or no motive to remain. For instance, Tissa is the gateway to Yala Nationwide Park. Tour operators run most excursions within the early morning (the next probability of seeing animals) so when you took a kind of excursions, you would be on a bus transferring on to your subsequent vacation spot by lunch time. There’s actually not a lot else within the city. The identical might with Jaffna. Tick just a few bins after which transfer on. Galle is extra a day journey from a close-by seashore city than a spot to spend just a few days. There was so little to do there I simply went again to Colombo as an alternative of staying the evening. Sigiriya and Dambulla might be accomplished in two nights (although I added an additional evening as a result of I favored the household I used to be staying with). Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Kandy, Arugam Bay, Trincomalee – these locations have extra actions and are value spending an extended time in.

The place to Keep in Sri Lanka

For lodging, I actually favored the next locations:

The place to Eat in Sri Lanka

For eating places, apart from the checklist above (merchandise quantity 2(, I’d additionally advocate the Ministry of Crab. It’s an costly seafood restaurant in Colombo nevertheless it’s scrumptious! Sri Lankan crab is known worldwide and so they have gigantic ones. It’s not low cost however typically, you simply should deal with your self. Whereas I didn’t exit a lot, if you end up in Kandy, the Barely Chilled Bar is a well-liked assembly spot and has great views of the town (and the sundown).

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Sri Lanka is a simple nation to go to, and with just a few suggestions, you possibly can journey there with ease. It is a very budget-friendly nation, even when you go nuts on the points of interest and excursions. I didn’t spend some huge cash, averaging simply $35 USD per day. (Any costly days can be balanced out with a budget days the place you simply stroll round, hike, or sit on the seashore!)

Wanting on the map of Sri Lanka, you would possibly say, “Oh, it’s not that huge. I wager I can cowl a number of floor in a brief interval if time.” You would, however you received’t “see” a lot. It will likely be an excessive amount of of a blur. There’s a lot to see and do in Sri Lanka and it takes awhile to journey round. Don’t rush your journey.

Sri Lanka could also be small nevertheless it packs a robust punch. Take your time to see this land of jungles, waterfalls, monkeys, scrumptious meals, and wonderful individuals!

E book Your Journey to Sri Lanka: Logistical Ideas and Methods

E book Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight by utilizing Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite engines like google as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned.

E book Your Lodging
You may e book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep elsewhere, use Reserving.com as they constantly return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost inns. I exploit them on a regular basis.

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you in opposition to sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes improper. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions up to now. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite firms that supply the most effective service and worth are:

On the lookout for the most effective firms to save cash with?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the most effective firms to make use of while you journey! I checklist all those I exploit to save cash once I journey – and I feel will enable you too!

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