Sri Lanka on $10 Per Day: Budget Travel Guide

By Mark Wiens 25 Comments
Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka
Cost of Travel in Sri Lanka

By daily living standards, Sri Lanka is a very cheap country to travel through.

However, if you start getting into the national parks and the stricly designated tourist attractions, the cost significantly shoots up.

My traveling style is more about exploring random places on foot, eating loads of authentic street food and doing most things at a slow-ish pace. I’m not big on tourist designated sights, so this budget guide will cover mostly the daily cost of travel in Sri Lanka.

Also throughout this budget I was traveling with one friend of mine, which is always a good way to ease the cost of travel.

Cost of 20 Days in Sri Lanka

Total amount I spent = 18,138 LKR Sri Lankan Rupees (ranges around $160 – $165)

Amount per day that I spent (average) = 906 LKR – that’s less than 10 USD bucks a day – in fact it’s more like $8!

My budget costs could have even been less had I not purchased 3,000 LKR ($27.18) of tea and spices upon leaving.

Minus the major attractions, day to day living in Sri Lanka is similar to the cost of travel in Egypt.

Budget Travel in Sri Lanka
Near Unawatuna, Sri Lanka

Main Places I Visited in Sri Lanka

Cost of Food Eating in Sri Lanka
Cost of Sri Lankan Food

Cost of Food in Sri Lanka

If you are looking to save money on your budget while traveling through Sri Lanka, food and transportation will come to your rescue.

Sri Lankan food is extremely cheap.

I was eating giant meals that included a huge mound of rice and a mix of curries for less than $1 per meal. If you are a big eater like me, you’ll be happy to know that most of the normal restaurants give you a first plate of rice and you can ask for a re-fill!

Vegetarian meals are the cheapest, but seafood and fish are still quite affordable and chicken is a little more expensive.

See the list of 40 Delicious Sri Lankan Foods.
How much does it cost to travel in Sri Lanka
Cost of Transportation in Sri Lanka

Cost of Transportation in Sri Lanka

There are a few methods of common transportation in Sri Lanka: Bus, Train and Rickshaw (tuk tuk).

Transportation in Sri Lanka is cheaper than in any other country I’ve ever traveled…but you have to be willing to deal with not the most luxurious conditions.

Buses won’t leave until they are full (by that I mean all seats are taken and the aisle is full of standers). The bus drivers then proceed to drive at ferocious speeds and slam on their breaks as hard as they please. Buses aren’t the most relaxing in Sri Lanka – but they’ll be kind to your budget travel!

Train is good, but there aren’t too many routes and many tracks were under construction when I was in Sri Lanka.

Cost of Accommodation in Sri Lanka

One of the ways I save a lot of money is through couchsurfing. I make a few contacts and sometimes end up finding great places to stay.

Here’s the break down of where I stayed for 20 nights in Sri Lanka:

Guest Houses

I stayed at just two different guest houses while I was in Sri Lanka. Both of them were very adequate private double rooms with exterior bathrooms and cost 1000 LKR ($9.06) per night for two of us. I think that’s about average to low for a room in Sri Lanka, and closer to tourist beaches the prices might be higher.

Note: Check out these accommodation suggestions for good deals in Sri Lanka.
Cost of Traveling in Sri Lanka
Attractions in Sri Lanka

Cost of Tourist Attractions in Sri Lanka

Like I’ve mentioned before, I avoided most of the tourist attractions, and though I probably missed out on some cool things, my entire trip to Sri Lanka was amazing!

If you do want to visit the attractions here is a sample of the costs:

Things I did do:

Things I didn’t do (which I’m sure are cool):

Cost of Tea in Sri Lank
Tea Field in Sri Lanka – Don’t Leave Without Some!

Cost of Shopping / Souvenirs in Sri Lanka

I’m not big on shopping (for anything other than food) but if you are looking to bring something home from Sri Lanka I can recommend buying tea and spices.

Cost of Internet in Sri Lanka

Wi-fi is still not that common in Sri Lanka, but there are cyber cafe’s all over the country. 1 hour costs anywhere form 50 – 100 LKR ($0.40 – $0.91).

Final Thoughts / Overview

It would be easy to spend $20 -$40 a day in Sri Lanka if you go-go-go and visit national parks and all the “tourist guide” tourist attractions.


Daily cost of living in Sri Lanka is very low. If you choose to travel to Sri Lanka and are on a low budget (like I was) you can do things quite cheaply.

I spent just $10 per day and that included a bunch of tea and spices that I bought the last day of my trip – just remember I did a lot of couchsurfing.

Any other thoughts or more information about budget travel in Sri Lanka? Feel free to leave a comment!