How To Plan a Budget Trip to Sri Lanka?


A million and even more will agree that planning a budget for a trip is the trickiest brainstorm. However the more you plan, with a restricted budget, more pro you become in managing everything. I recently went to my first even solo International trip to Sri Lanka for 15 days and managed it pretty well within the calculated budget. Confused about the budget, this blog will help you plan a trip to Sri Lanka without putting a fire in your wallet.

The gorgeous Pedro Tea Estates in Nuwara Eliya

Flight Expenses

This is one of the major expenses when calculating the budget for any trip. The cheapest flights to Sri Lanka are from Bangalore and Chennai in India. If you book it three or four months prior you can get it as cheap as Rs 10000/- INR (approx $154) for return flights. I swear by Skyscanner for all my flight bookings for its amazing lower prices and filter options, totally recommended.

Such soul feeding gorgeous beaches

Visa – Fee

The ease at which we can obtain a visa for Sri Lanka has definitely boosted the tourism to greater heights. A lot of countries have visa on arrival option but on an Indian Passport, you can obtain an e-visa by applying on the official website. It takes not more than 24 hours for the e-visa to be approved. The cost of e-visa application is $20.

And this perfect beach life – Mirissa Beach


Now, this is a matter of personal choice on what kind of place you choose. If you are on a budget you don’t really need to spend a fortune on accommodation. For my entire trip to Sri Lanka, I relied on two sites for booking my accommodations

  1. Airbnb

Let me break it down for you

Place Accommodation Name No. of Days Total Cost
Dambulla Oasis Guest House via AirBnB 2 Rs 2142 INR
Kandy The Lake Room via AirBnB 2 Rs 2368 INR
Delhousie Blue Sky Guest House via 1 Rs 1500 INR with breakfast and dinner
Nanuoya (Nuwara Eliya) The Train View Hotel via AirBnB 2 Rs 2342 INR
Ella My Hostel via 2 Rs 1350 with breakfast
Tangalle Sanorich Villa via 2 Rs 1250
Mirissa MY Hostel via 2 Rs 1300 with breakfast

Nine arches Bridge


The total expense for my 15 days of accommodation comes to around Rs 12246/- approximately (around $190). However, you can reduce the cost even more by staying in hostels. I opted to stay in AirBnB and hotels that shot up my total cost. You can actually bring down the cost significantly by choosing hostels to around $120.

Peaceful Buddhist Temples


Food is inexpensive in Sri Lank if you have dollars and Euros in your pocket but with Indian currency, it is moderate. It is not sky high expensive but not extremely cheaper either. Indian food is diverse and at times available at an unbelievably cheaper price. You can reduce the cost of the meal by choosing an accommodation that offers free breakfast. I did it in three of my accommodation and it did help me choose wisely.

Cost of an average English or Sri Lankan breakfast – 250 to 350 LKR (Sri Lankan Rupee)

Cost of lunch or dinner plate – 250 to 400 LKR

Cost of a glass of juice – 200 to 250 LKR

Cost of Kottu (Sri Lanka Delicacy) – 250 – 600 LKR

Cost of Egg Hopper – 200 – 500 LKR

Cost of tea or coffee – 100 – 200 LKR

Cost of a water bottle (2Ltrs) – 80 LKR (Recommended purchasing 5Ltrs as the price is less)

Cost of Mocktail, Cocktail, Beer and Alcoholic Beverages – 300 to 1200 LKR

The average cost of seafood platter – 1000 – 3500 LKR

A plate of Noodles or Fried Rice – 250 to 400 LKR

The food thou – Its delicious

The food is versatile in Sri Lanka and there are a couple of items like egg hopper, Kottu, seafood, steam hopper with Dal etc. that you must try. I spent nearly 500 to 1000 LKR per day on food which can be reduced depending on where you eat.

In Tangalle, when you eat at the beachside cafes and restaurants you pay the almost double price for food. However, eating the food in the market in the city can reduce the price. The same even goes for the Mirissa beach, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage etc. On eating away from the tourist places, you can reduce the overall price. So, roughly I spent Rs 10000 on food for 15 days.

Rock Temple Dambulla

Entry Fees to Tourist Sites

This takes away a significant amount of your daily budget because almost all the places in Sri Lanka come with an entry fee. However, being from India gave me some advantage of half price in few locations. You will get the price for the entry tickets online but let me help you with the places I have been to.

Dambulla – I visited Lions Rock with an entry fee of $15 (only for SAARC nations) while others have to pay $30. Next was Polonnaruwa where the entry fee for SAARC nations is $12.5 and for nations, it is $25. The entry fee for Dambulla Rock Temple is 1500 LKR ($10 approx).

KandyI visited Temple of Tooth Relic and the entry fee for SAARC nationals is 750 LKR ($5) and for rest, it is 1500 LKR ($10). The entry fee for Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage for SAARC country is 1250 LKR ($8 approximately). Entry charge to Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Vihara Temple is 300 LKR ($2 approx).

Adam’s PeakThere is no entry fee for Adam’s Peak but while entering, the monks do a request for a donation. Not giving one might look a little rude. I ended up giving 500 LKR (around $3.5)

Nuwara EliyaPedro Estate entry fee is 200 LKR ($1.30) and Entry to Gregory Park is 200 LKR ($1.30).

Tangalle and Mirissa are beaches, gorgeous ones, there is no entry fee required for anything. However, in Tangalle the cost of kayaking in Tangalle Lagoon is around 1000 LKR (around $7). If you want to watch turtle hatching in Rekawa Beach, the entry charge is 1000 LKR (around $7).

Galle There is no entry fee to Galle Fort. I also visited Yatagala Sacred Area and gave 500 LKR as a donation ($3.5).

Experiencing age-old stilt fishing

Inter-City Travel

Inter-city travel, if you are in tight budget, can be best done by public transportation. It is very convenient and extremely well organised. You can save a lot of money by avoiding private cabs and Tuks Tuks for inter-city travel. It is okay to hire a Tuk Tuk for intra-city sight-seeing. There are plenty of buses that connect Bandaranaike International Airport to Colombo city or Colombo Bus station for LKR 200 whereas cabs charge around LKR 3000 to 3500. The bus and train connectivity is excellent in Sri Lanka. Read my complete itinerary to Sri Lanka to know more about the routes.

For an entire sight-seeing in and around Kandy, the price may be around LKR 3000 to 4000. From Dambulla to Lions Rock, Sigiriya and back with the wait time, Tuk Tuk charge is around LKR 2500. The full day tour in Polonnaruwa is around LKR 2000 by Tuk Tuk or alternatively, you can hire bicycles for LKR 500 for a day.

The gorgeous tea trails

Miscellaneous Expenses

This depends on whether you would like to go for any miscellaneous expenses or not. I had some miscellaneous expenses which you can probably avoid. I took a complete body massage for LKR 3500 and as compared to India, I found it cheap. I spent even on some souvenirs from Poo Factory in Pinnawala with diaries costing 600 LKR to 1200 LKR. The magnets are available for around 100 to 250 LKR depending on the place of purchase. A local Sim card from the airport will cost you around 650LKR with one month of validity and 10GB of data.

Top of Ella Peak


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6 Responses

  1. Mayuri APtel says:

    thts so helpful guide

  2. snl says:

    I am planning trip to Sri Lanka. Thanks a lot for information. It helped me to plan on budget AS PER SAARC.

    • upsy says:

      Thanks a lot for following my blog for planning a trip. That’s the whole purpose and I am so glad I could help you plan. 🙂

  3. Ann says:

    This is so comprehensive! Thank you for the super helpful details! Especially the SAARC rates which helps in planning like another reader happened to mention! 🙂

    • upsy says:

      Hey Ann! Thank you so much for reading and I am glad it helped you plan your trip. I hope you have an amazing time in SL, its a beautiful country 🙂

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