This post was updated in November 2019.
After spending a month in Sri Lanka exploring the West, South, Middle, and North of the country I did a roundup of our Sri Lanka travel budget and was surprised to learn that Sri Lanka is the cheapest country I’ve traveled to so far!
Sri Lanka travel budget
When Frank and I traveled around Southeast Asia our daily budget was usually around €60 per day (€30 per person). In New Zealand and Japan, it was around €100 per day (€50 per person). However, our Sri Lanka daily budget was just €44 per day (€22 per person)!
So is Sri Lanka cheap? Yes it is!
Sri Lanka budget trip
Check the infographic below for detailed information about our Sri Lanka trip costs and find out exactly how much we spent on accommodation, transportation, food, activities, and our visa.
Sri Lanka on a budget: important facts and figures
• I traveled to Sri Lanka with my husband, all expenses mentioned in this Sri Lanka trip budget are for the two of us together.
• I quote prices in Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR) as well as € and $. When we were in Sri Lanka (February 2017), €1 was around 160LKR and $1 was around 150LKR. As the exchange rate varies this may be different now.
• I spent almost a full month in Sri Lanka, 26 days to be exact. In total, we spent 182.000LKR/€1144/$1222, which comes down to an average of 7000LKR/€44/$47 a day for us as a couple.
• The budget breakdown includes all our expenses in Sri Lanka, except our airplane tickets to Sri Lanka because obviously prices greatly differ depending on where you are flying from. I’ve also excluded the costs of the dives we did in Sri Lanka, as this isn’t an activity everybody would do and it’s relatively expensive. I’ve added more info about diving in the activity section further on in this post.
• My trip started and ended in Colombo (well, Negombo airport to be precise), you can find our 1-month itinerary here.
Cost to travel Sri Lanka: our average daily budget
Our Sri Lanka backpacking budget
- Accommodation: 36% of daily travel costs
- Transportation: 6% of daily travel costs
- Food: 36% of daily travel costs
- Paid activities: 13% of daily travel costs
- Visa: 6% of daily travel costs
- Miscellaneous: 4% of daily travel costs
1. Accommodation costs in Sri Lanka
In the table below you can find the places we stayed at (only the ones I recommend!), but I’ve also written a separate post about our accommodation in Sri Lanka.
|Ella||Ella Alpine Resort||€25/$27||Agoda||Booking|
|Jaffna||Hotel Blue Whale||€21/$23||Agoda||Booking|
|Kandy||The Travellers Home||€14/$15||Agoda||Booking|
|Negombo||Erandi Holiday Home||€7,50/$8||Agoda||Booking|
|Udawalawe Junction||A to Z Family Guesthouse||€7,50/$8||Agoda||Booking|
|Weligama||Naomi River View Villa||€6/$7||Agoda||Booking|
2. Transportation costs in Sri Lanka
This is where Sri Lanka is really a lot cheaper than any other countries I have visited, transportation costs next to nothing! One of the most beautiful train rides in the world runs from Badulla to Haputale and costs a mere 80LKR/€0,50/$0,50 per person.
Buses run everywhere and are equally cheap. Bus rides are a fairly chaotic affair but a lot of fun, with loud Sri Lankan music booming from the speakers and the bus honking loudly at every corner.
Tuk-tuks are slightly more expensive and require some bargaining skills. But still very affordable compared to taxis fees anywhere in the world.
On average, our transport costs were 400LKR/€2,50/$2,75 per day. You can find detailed information about how to travel from A to B in Sri Lanka in this post.
3. Costs of food in Sri Lanka
Food is very cheap too in Sri Lanka, we rarely spent more than 500LKR/€3/$3,50 per person on a meal, more often is was just 100-250LKR per person!
There are many dishes to try: roti (egg, vegetable, coconut, plain), hoppers, rice & curries and much more. Fruit juice is also widely available (my favorite is pineapple), usually priced between 100-200LKR.
But for now the costs of food & drinks: on average we spent 2500LKR/€16/$17 per day. This also includes the costs for water, a 1.5-liter bottle costs 70-80LKR.
4. Cost of activities in Sri Lanka
On average we spent 900LKR/€5,50/$6) per day on activities. In Colombo, Galle, and Kandy we did some city sightseeing. On the South coast, we went diving, snorkeling, and surfing.
In Ella and Haputale we did a couple of hikes and in the North, we explored Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, and Jaffna. Below you can find the details of all our paid activities:
We obviously did a lot more during our 1 month trip in Sri Lanka, but the rest of the activities were free! You can find all the activities we did in our Sri Lanka travel itinerary.
Note: I didn’t include the costs for diving. We went diving in Weligama at Weligama Bay Dive Center. We paid $60 per person for 2 dives (including equipment, water and fresh fruit).
5. Visa costs for Sri Lanka
We applied online for an e-visa for Sri Lanka. For us the visa was $35, we paid online with a credit card, an easy breezy process. As was getting through customs in Sri Lanka. Since we spent 26 days in the country, the average daily cost for the visa was 400LKR/€2,50/$2,75.
6. Miscellaneous costs in Sri Lanka
Some random costs in our Sri Lanka backpacking budget were laundry, mosquito spray, toothpaste and (very important when you are trying to run a blog while traveling) a local SIM with lots of data.
We bought a SIM from Dialog, they have several plans but it’s important to know that all plans are day/night plans. This means that you’ll get part of the data for usage between 8 am-12 midnight and the other part of the data can only be used between 12 midnight and 8 am.
Anyway, on average we spent 300LKR/€2/$2 per day on miscellaneous items.
Sri Lanka budget: in conclusion
So for everyone wondering: how much will a trip to Sri Lanka cost, you now have the answer! I hope this post convinced you to travel to Sri Lanka, it’s a wonderful and very affordable country.
You can download the budget infographic below. Feel free to ask any questions by leaving a comment or sending me an email.