Following on from Part 1 of my travel guide I put together on our recent trip to Sri Lanka, I thought it would be useful to share the budgeting side of things. While in Sri Lanka I made sure I kept a detailed record of everything we spent in my travel diary. I would say that overall our holiday ended up being more expensive than we anticipated although this was largely due to our transport choices. We didn’t make use of the really cheap local transport and opted rather to catch taxis as we didn’t really feel like the hassle. We had good intentions of catching a lot of cheap buses and trains but when we were hot and bothered and carrying big bags, it was the last thing we felt like! We caught buses in the Philippines- where I endured a lady sleeping on my shoulder for 3 hours- and I think the intensiveness of the Sri Lankan buses (yes we caught one) far surpassed the ‘pleasant’ Philippines drive. At least we got to share our taxi with other travelers a few times. Maybe next time we will ‘rough’ it a bit more. If you are looking to book trains see this website. Although we planned to catch a train to Ella we didn’t manage to get a pre-booked ticket and would have had to get our tickets at the station so make sure you book early.
So we ended up spending a lot more on transport but we were also surprised by the cost of food. If you choose to eat anywhere on the beaches or Western style food you must be prepared to pay. Restaurants on the beaches charge anywhere from $10 for a meal and the food was often average. Instead it is way better to eat at the local cafes which serve huge portions of Sri Lankan food for about $4 and you are often left with food to take-away. Another thing to factor in is the tipping. Tipping is expected and something that can also add up quickly. Be sure to haggle for your prices though as the locals are always up for bargaining- the tourists (like most countries I guess) get ripped off unbelievably.
Lots of travelers we met hadn’t pre-booked their accommodation but we had just to be on the safe side. It’s safer to book your accommodation if you are travelling during the peak season but having said that there were lots of places still available (you just never know what you get). We didn’t splurge much on accommodation. We stayed at a variety of places, some fancy, some not. All of them included breakfast except our first night in Kandy.
This Sri Lankan budget is for the 2 of us for 14 days and 12 nights. Hopefully it will give you the cost of a Sri Lankan holiday (keep in mind that our travelling style may be different from yours) .
I didn’t include all the gifts and souvenirs we bought because we did buy quite a few. We bought things like sarongs, tea, some paintings to mention a few.
Although it was sometimes bothersome to keep track of everything we spent, it made us aware of how much we were spending and looking back I have learnt a lot and it will definitely help me for planning my next trip and how we can improve on our spending.
Read Part 1 of my guide here and stay tuned for the rest of my Sri Lankan guides:
And in case you didn't catch the travel video from Part 1.