Spending Money for Three Weeks in Sri Lanka

I spent almost 4 months travelling around India and Nepal on a supposed ‘budget’, only to find I had well overspent and was left with only half the money I had originally saved for over a year’s travelling… so when it was time to set off again after a month back home, I was determined to budget properly!

travel blog, fun, adventure, Sri Lanka
The view from our beach cabana in Unnawatuna

For the last 3 weeks in Sri Lanka, I have written down EVERYTHING I have spent, down to the last rupee, be it a quick street snack or an 8 pence bus journey, I have it all down! So here it is… Hopefully, this will give future travellers an idea of what it costs for budget travel around Sri Lanka.

Accommodation – 11270 RP

Generally in small guest houses (that aren’t in LP or Rough Guides), bargaining, bantering and finally getting them down to between 300 RP and 800 RP each a night for a double room. The first three nights alone were more expensive as I pre booked and didn’t have a travel buddy to share with.

Food (breakfast, lunch and dinners) – 14162 RP

Spent between 200 RP and 1200 RP per meal, generally only 2 meals a day. It is MUCH cheaper to eat the local food, and tastier … they have no clue how to make a good pizza or burger here … and don’t even get me started on when I made the mistake of ordering bangers and mash … never again!

Food (snacks, water, etc) – 3197 RP

This mainly includes; water, bananas, daal bites and other nibbles for on the road.

travel blog, fun, adventure, Sri Lanka
My favourite hitch!

Transport (train, bus, Tuk-Tuks) – 2529 RP

Saved a bit through hitch-hiking, though if you don’t want to hitch-hike, transport is super cheap on buses and trains… averages about 30 RP for an hours journey.

Toiletries – 2640 RP

Site-seeing (rainforest and safari) – 7500 RP

Probably paid over the odds for the rainforest, but the safari was well worth it at 4500 RP for a 6-hour safari!

travel blog, fun, adventure, Sri Lanka
Well worth the cost for a morning safari at Yala National Park!

Other items that need to be paid for

Internet – 150 RP (free wifi in hotel cafe – only paid once)
Use of hotel pool – 250 RP
Postcards and stamps – 450 RP

So the grand total …. 42148 RP (in GBP, that’s £238.79)

Not bad except,

Towards the end of the trip, my travel buddy Sam and I were in need of some pampering so booked into a fancy 4* hotel for the night, drank alcohol (I was meant to be on detox, oops) and got a pedicure… well I had been doing so well on the budget… until I spent… 11200 RP in 2 days!

My ‘real’ total – 53348 RP (£302.31)

Still a bargain really for 3 weeks in a foreign country, right?

How do other people’s budgets compare?

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  1. Great post, Just saved me hours of research! Heading to Sri Lanka in a couple of weeks and plan to stay for 6 weeks and was tearing my hair trying to work out the costs of everything. Awesome work!

    1. Fab. Glad it was useful. Going to try and keep a tally in other countries too, so if you’re heading so SE Asia soon look out for more costing posts. It is the question we all want to know the answer to. Enjoy Sri Lanka, I recommend Yala Park safari … blog post about it coming soon.

  2. Hey, This has helped me loads. I plan on going to Sri Lanka for 3 weeks this Dec with my partner and keen on beaches and safari etc both in budget accom and also nice hotels.
    Can you recommend accomodation please?

    1. Hi Michelle, So glad it was helpful. I stayed in a really cute beach hut owned by a family outside Unnawatuna. Bit hard to find but can try send details if interested? Also the fancy place I stayed was called Jetwing Sea, they have a selection of Jetwing hotels that are all pretty fancy http://www.jetwinghotels.com/

      Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip.


  3. Hi! Great work!It was really helpful!

    Im going to Sri Lanka in July and was wondering how you managed to look for and find accomodation?


    1. Hi Ania,

      I found most of my accommodation as I went along. Chatted to people I met for tips and here was always people offering you accommodation when you arrive in a new place. It depends if you are alone and what your budget is. the cheapest places are often those that meet you when you arrive as you can bargain with them, some decent cheap ones are in Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, though as soon as they are in those books they put their prices up. I had a couple of fancy nights in places I found online, but the best places were just random places I found as I went along, staying with families. Just make sure you are safe.

      Hope you have a fab time.


  4. Great post, much appreciated and very useful.

    Can you send me the details of the beach hut in Unnawatuna please.

    Many thanks

    1. So glad you found it useful. It took some doing to write down everything I spent. I am going to see if I can dig out the Unnawatuna details, they didn’t have a website or anything when I stayed but I think I have a phone number. Drop me an email to jennylowthrop(at)gmail(dot)com and I will forward it on.

  5. HI! this has helped so much!

    i plan on going to Sri Lanka early September for between 3-4 weeks, what would you say is the minimum spending money for accommodation, travel, food etc would be?

    is there anywhere you would recommend that we have to do whilst we’re there?

    Thank you!

  6. Great post. I can’t find the beach cabana outside Unawatuna anywhere. Can you help with this?
    thank you so much – Camille

  7. hi,

    Well done at breaking all the costs down in detail. It really does give us a good indication on how much spending money needed.

    I really want to go to Sri Lanka its on the ever expanding list!

    1. I was on a pretty strict budget, though at the same time I did loads. I was with another girl so the room rates were always halved, though we did spend two nights in a luxury hotel and found some gorgeous little beach huts for really cheap prices. They were basic, but had bathrooms, bedding, breakfast and incredible views.

      Sri Lanka is small so you won’t have too many long journeys like in India. We hitchhiked a bit and then took local buses which were pennies. I didn’t stay in any dorms at all, so even on your own staying in local’s beach huts I reckon you could do it really cheap. Go go go!! 🙂

      1. Thank you for getting back to me! Yeah it always helps travelling in twos, as much as I love solo travel 2 is normally more convenient!

        Yeah that’s a great point – travel costs make all the difference. All the more reason to travel slow!

        Thanks again for the advice 🙂

        Beanie x

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