Sri Lanka Backpacking Budget

Sri Lanka Backpacking Budget

(Map of Sri Lanka from wikitravel, can be re-used under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Daily Travel Costs in Sri Lanka on a Shoestring Budget

US$25 | 3700 Sri Lankan Rupees

Most travellers in Sri Lanka have been or are going to go to India so it’s useful to compare it to the cost of travel in India. The general consensus seems to be that Sri Lanka is marginally more expensive than India but not by an enormous margin. One of the reasons for that is that Sri Lanka hasn’t traditionally been viewed as a big backpacker destination and as such doesn’t really have as much to cater for them. For example budget hostels with dorm beds are less plentiful so you may end up spending a slightly more on accommodation in Sri Lanka. The cost of other things is fairly similar although entrance fees to major sites do also tend to be higher. A realistic Sri Lanka backpacking budget might therefore be considered to be around $25.

See where Sri Lanka ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.

More Comfortable Sri Lanka Backpacker Budget

US$35 | 5000 Sri Lankan Rupees

Sri Lanka does have a big tourist industry so there are lots of things that cost a little bit more that might get you tempted to stray from a shoestring budget. For $35 you can stay in better places on the nicer beaches and eat in some really very good restaurants. It will also allow you to visit more sites and temples, a few of which have ridiculously high entrance fees, which most tourists in the country won’t think twice about paying but budget travellers might find them to be a real nuisance.

Sample Prices in Sri Lanka

Train from Colombo to Kandy (4 hours) – $2 for 2nd class seat, $4 for 1st class AC seat

Dorm bed in budget hostel – from $5

Cheap private twin or double room – from $10

Meal in a budget restaurant – $2

3 course meal in a decent restaurant (mid-range) – $6

Large local beer in a bar/restaurant – $1.50

Entrance to the Sigiriya Rock – 4200 LKR ($28)


Currency – Sri Lankan Rupee

£1 = 216 Rupees

€1 = 165 Rupees

US$1 = 148 Rupees

(All exchange rates are correct as of June 2016)

MFT Recommends

Get some travel insurance! World Nomads specialise in providing cover for backpackers.

street art in Galle, Sri Lanka

street art in Galle, Sri Lanka (via KenC1983CC BY-ND 2.0)

Share your Travel Costs!

If you’ve been to Sri Lanka recently, please let everyone know your typical daily costs by commenting below 😉

This article was published in June 2016.