Sri Lanka Travel Budget: Detailed Breakdown Of Our Daily Expenses

Sri Lanka Travel Budget Detailed Breakdown Of Our Daily Budget

After spending a month in Sri Lanka exploring the West, South, Middle and North of the country I did a roundup of our travel expenses and was surprised to learn that Sri Lanka is the cheapest countries I’ve traveled to so far!

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 Daily Budget - daily costs of travel in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka travel budget

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.

Travel Sri Lanka on a budget! Our Sri Lanka daily budget was €44 per day for us as a couple (€22 per person). Check out the post and infographic for more details (info about accommodation, transport, food, activities, visa and more).

Sri Lanka travel budget: important facts and figures

• I traveled Sri Lanka with my husband, all expenses mentioned in this Sri Lanka 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

Sri Lanka daily budget - expenses per categorie - travel on a budget1. Accommodation: 36% of daily travel costs
2. Transportation: 6% of daily travel costs
3. Food: 36% of daily travel costs
4. Paid activities: 13% of daily travel costs
5. Visa: 6% of daily travel costs
6. Miscellaneous: 4% of daily travel costs

Sri Lanka daily budget

1. Accommodation costs in Sri Lanka

During our trip we stayed at home-stays and hotels which I booked via Agoda and Booking. Prices varied between 1000LKR/(€6/$7) and 4000LKR (€25/$27) but the average night was 2500LKR/€16/$17.

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.

EllaElla Alpine Resort€25/$27AgodaBooking
EllaMount Breezevilla€21/$22AgodaBooking
GalleThe One€17/$18Agoda
HaputaleBawa Guesthouse€16/$17AgodaBooking
JaffnaHotel Blue Whale€21/$23AgodaBooking
KalpitiyaNethu Villa€19/$20AgodaBooking
KandyThe Travellers Home€14/$15AgodaBooking
NegomboErandi Holiday Home€7,50/$8AgodaBooking
SigiriyaPathum Homestay€19/$20AgodaBooking
TalallaSeaview Resort€16/$17AgodaBooking
Udawalawe JunctionA to Z Family Guesthouse€7,50/$8AgodaBooking
WeligamaNaomi River View Villa€6/$7AgodaBooking

Mount Breezevilla Ella Sri Lanka

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.

Nine Arch Bridge Sri Lanka Ella train

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 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. You can read all about the Sri Lankan cuisine in this post.

Kotthu dish what to eat in Sri Lanka

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:

Travel Sri Lanka on a budget! Our Sri Lanka daily budget was €44 per day for us as a couple (€22 per person). Check out the post and infographic for more details (info about accommodation, transport, food, activities, visa and more).

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 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.

Sri Lanka Daily Budget daily costs of travel in Sri Lanka

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 8am-12 midnight and the other part of the data can only be used between 12 midnight and 8am.

Anyway, on average we spent 300LKR/€2/$2 per day on miscellaneous items.

Sunset Kalpitiya Sri Lanka

That’s it, all our Sri Lanka travel expenses!

I hope this post about Sri Lanka on a budget has convinced you to travel there, 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.

Looking for more travel planning resources? Check out the Phenomenal Globe Travel Planning Library and my Travel Resource page!

Travel Sri Lanka on a budget! Our Sri Lanka daily budget was €44 per day for us as a couple (€22 per person). Check out the post and infographic for more details (info about accommodation, transport, food, activities, visa and more).Travel Sri Lanka on a budget! Our Sri Lanka daily budget was €44 per day for us as a couple (€22 per person). Check out the post and infographic for more details (info about accommodation, transport, food, activities, visa and more).


  1. March 19, 2017 / 12:13 am

    Thanks for this budget guide. I would love to visit Sri Lanka some day. I always thought it was much more expensive 🙂 good to know it is pretty cheap.

    • Lotte
      March 19, 2017 / 8:21 am

      Very welcome Stephanie! It is cheap indeed and easy to travel around, I definitely recommend going to Sri Lanka:-)

  2. April 4, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    Very inspired to go here now esp with my upcoming journey. Hope to see you somewhere along the way!

    • Lotte
      April 14, 2017 / 4:40 am

      Thanks Anto and it would be awesome to meet somewhere on the globe:-). We’ll be in touch!

  3. Keith
    November 12, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    Did you hire ever a driver or only use public transport?

    • Lotte
      November 13, 2017 / 2:32 am

      We only traveled by public transport, buses and trains mostly. We also took the occasional tuktuk, I’m not sure if you consider that a private driver;-).

  4. Enci
    November 13, 2017 / 11:24 pm


    Do you think it is safe for a woman to travel alone in Sri Lanka?

  5. Trish
    November 17, 2017 / 4:53 am

    Very helpful post. What are your thoughts on solo older woman traveler in Sri Lanka

    • Lotte
      November 19, 2017 / 8:00 am

      Hi Trish,

      Thank you for reading, glad you found the post helpful to plan your Sri Lanka trip!

      As I traveled with my husband I can’t say from personal experience if it’s safe or not to travel Sri Lanka as a solo female traveler. But there are plenty of posts on the web by women who went there alone (like these: and so I recommend reading these stories. Also, we met an 85-year old lady traveling by herself in Ella and she couldn’t stop raving about the friendliness of the locals.

      Hope this helps, enjoy your trip!

  6. Corrine Howard
    November 22, 2017 / 4:26 pm

    Hi, fabulous blog!

    My husband and I are booked to visit Sri Lanka in Feb 2018. It is my birth country and I haven’t been back since coming to UK when I was 5 years old (5 years ago!)

    Could you please let me know how we should deal with currency?

    Any other advise would be gratefully received.

    Many thanks

    • Lotte
      November 23, 2017 / 12:04 pm

      Hi Corrine,

      Thank you so much, I’m glad you like my blog:-). Wow, it must be so exciting to go back to your birth country! About your question, we got money from an ATM with our Maestro cards. Make sure you have a credit card as well (preferably Mastercard) in case your bank card doesn’t work. We avoided carrying lots of cash though and usually got around 275 euro (50.000 rupees) which we split over the both of us. Also, try to have some smaller notes for small shops and tuktuks. Not everybody has change…

      Let me know if this helps and if there is anything else I can help you with!

      Have a great trip,

  7. Rohan
    January 7, 2018 / 5:06 am

    Thanks for this detailed breakdown! Really helpful for planning and easily laid out. Looking forward to reading you itinerary ideas!

  8. Vijayalakshmi Sundararaman
    February 6, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    This blog is amazing! I love it when travel blogs go into such details about expenses and the split up.

    • Lotte
      February 7, 2018 / 11:13 am

      Thank you! Glad you find the post helpful:-)

  9. Hussain
    February 26, 2018 / 2:16 am

    Great information . Me and my sister booked from tomorrow for 8 nights . We heard that food is expensive there . And is there uber taxi services from airport ? How you went to hotel from airport ?
    And hows the people over there ? Are they friendly or weird

    • Lotte
      February 27, 2018 / 9:15 pm

      Hi Hussain, I’m happy you like the post:-). About your questions, food in Sri Lanka is very cheap, you’ll rarely pay more than a couple of dollars for a meal. Western food is always more expensive than local food, if you eat kottu, roti or rice and curry you won’t spend more than a dollar or two per meal. There are taxis at the airport but I’m not sure if Uber is active in Sri Lanka. We were picked up by the owner of our accommodation (it was the middle of the night) and dropped off at the bus station by the owner the next day. Hope this helps, have a great trip!

  10. Badri
    March 29, 2018 / 3:11 pm


    Thanks for sharing your experience in Sri Lanka. I’m planning to visit Sri Lanka as well, my question is: we are planning to see Trincomalee Temple. How will I get about this? Could you help in this regard? I looked through the couple of hotels on from Low to High. Are they really helpful? Please let me know.

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