Sri Lanka Cost of Travel 2019 - Suggested Daily Budget & Sample Prices
Cost of Travel,  South Asia

Sri Lanka Cost of Travel – Suggested Daily Budget

This post outlines the estimated cost of travel in Sri Lanka. Read our suggested shoestring and more comfortable backpacking budgets for this colourful island in Southern Asia. We also have some sample prices and info on using money there.

Sri Lanka Backpacking Budget

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

Is Sri Lanka expensive to visit?

Daily Travel Costs in Sri Lanka on a Shoestring Budget

US$20/day | 3600 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 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.

However things are changing and Sri Lanka is really developing into a popular destination for both backpackers and luxury holidaymakers. Its currency has also depreciated quite considerably over the past couple of years. Therefore as of early 2019, it’s an even more affordable destination for visitors. Given it is only a small island, you won’t spend much on transport or getting around so a realistic shoestring Sri Lanka backpacking budget might therefore be considered to be around $20/day.

Read more – Check out the best time to visit Sri Lanka.

More Comfortable Sri Lanka Backpacking Budget

US$30/day | 5400 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 $30/day 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.

Read more: India travel itinerary

Travel Insurance for Backpacking Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka may be cheap but remember that these budgets do not cover extra expenses such as booking flights to the country or purchasing travel insurance which is very important in case you get sick or suffer an injury whilst there. In terms of backpackers there are a few options when it comes to the best travel insurance for Asia.

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 ($23)

Generally speaking, these prices are similar to the cost of travel in Nepal.

These prices were last checked in 2016. Everything else on this page was updated in February 2019.


Currency – Sri Lankan Rupee

£1 = 240 Rupees

€1 = 205 Rupees

US$1 = 180 Rupees

(All exchange rates are correct as of February 2019)

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Register with worldpackers to get access to a pool of volunteering opportunities in South Asia and swap your skills in exchange for accommodation.

street art in Galle, Sri Lanka

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

This post was last updated in February 2019.

Featured Image, CC BY-SA 2.0


  • ARhiness

    This is incredaby inncorrect – have you even been to Sri Lanka… For starters sigiriya is 30$ for like 6 years now and not 23$

    • myfunkytravel

      Actually it has been around 4200 LKR for many years. There are many travel blogs quoting it as 3700 ($20 at current rates) for 2018. What has significantly changed is the Dollar exchange rate. Individual sites such as this are expensive (as pointed out in the article) but independent travellers can get around very cheaply on the whole and it’s still a very affordable destination but good luck selling your extortionate tours.

    • Marcia Cundy

      Can anyone send their best expectations and experience s to me.
      I am putting together a backpackers tour that can be a brilliant view of the country without all the silly cost. Means of travel. Getting into sites doc etc. Visited the country many times. Thanks for looking

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