9. April 2024,
16 minutes read

Discover 10 tips on how to plan a cheap holiday in Sri Lanka

Planning a trip is exciting, but it also requires a good financial strategy. Setting a budget is key so you can enjoy your vacation in Sri Lanka without worrying about finances. Consider all costs, including flights, accommodation, food, transport and selected activities. Keep in mind any unexpected expenses.

To help you stay on budget, here are a few tips:

  • Make an exact spread sheet: Set a limit for each item of expenditure and try to stick to it.
  • Book your flights and accommodation early: The earlier you book, the better chance you have of getting better prices.
  • Plan your meals in advance: Eating at local restaurants can be cheaper than eating at tourist establishments. Avoid touristy restaurants and explore local cuisine.
  • Use local transport: Public transport and shared taxis are often cheaper alternatives than private transport. Browse the available transport options in Sri Lanka.
  • Search for discounts and deals: Keep an eye on travel websites and apps that offer discounts on activities, tours or accommodation.

Remember, sticking to a budget will allow you to save money for your next adventure or treat yourself to something special during your Sri Lanka holiday.

Choose the right season

If you are planning a visit to Sri Lanka, it is important to choose the right season. Sri Lanka has a tropical climate and is divided into two main seasons – the monsoon season and the dry season.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Sri Lanka is during the dry season, which runs from December to March in the western and southern parts of the island and from May to September in the eastern part of the island. During this time the weather is sunny, temperatures are pleasant and rainfall is minimal.

The monsoon season, which lasts from April to June in the southwest and west and from October to December in the northeast, can experience higher rainfall and stronger winds. This time is good for surfing and exploring the island’s natural beauty, but activity planning is subject to the weather.

It is also important to note that Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination and therefore during the main tourist seasons (December and February), some areas may experience more tourist congestion. If you prefer a quieter time, you may consider visiting during the less busy months.

Book your tickets early

If you want to enjoy a wonderful holiday in Sri Lanka, it is important to book your tickets early. The sooner you do this, the better chances you will have of getting cheap flight tickets. With the advent of the internet, selecting and booking flights is easier than ever. There are many websites and apps to help you find the best deals.

Where to look for cheap airline tickets

There are several proven ways to find cheap airline tickets to Sri Lanka. Here are some tips:

  1. Use a flight comparison site like Skyscanner or Kayak. These websites will compare offers from different airlines and find the best prices.
  2. See flight deals and sales. Many airlines offer special discounts on selected routes or during certain periods. Sign up for their newsletters or follow them on social media so you don’t miss any bargains.
  3. Be flexible with your dates. Flights are often cheaper on weekdays than at the weekend. Also try to avoid popular holiday periods when flights are more expensive.
  4. Consider flying from a different airport. Sometimes you can find cheaper tickets by flying out of a smaller or more distant airport. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of transportation to that airport.

Remember that flights are often more expensive the closer the departure date. So if you are clear on the dates of your Sri Lanka holiday, don’t hesitate to book your flights early.

Accommodation in Sri Lanka: types of accommodation and their advantages and disadvantages

When planning a trip to Sri Lanka, it is important to choose the right accommodation. Sri Lanka offers a wide range of options to suit different preferences and budgets. Here is an overview of several types of accommodation and their advantages and disadvantages so that you can choose the best for your holiday:

  • Hotels: Hotels are widespread in Sri Lanka and offer different levels of comfort and quality. Luxury hotels provide highly professional services, wellness centers and swimming pools. Cheaper hotels offer basic amenities and are suitable for travellers on a budget.
  • Hostels: Hostels are ideal for travellers on a budget or those looking to meet new people. They offer shared rooms at affordable prices and often have common areas and activities that encourage interaction between guests.
  • Homestay: Homestays are a great option for those who want to experience Sri Lankan hospitality and culture first-hand. Staying with a local family allows you to make personal connections and get to know local customs and traditions better.
  • Private Villas and Apartments: If you prefer more privacy and independence, renting a private villa or apartment may be the right choice. These accommodation options often offer a fully equipped kitchen and space to relax.
  • Eco-resorts: For those who want to spend their holidays in harmony with nature and ecology, there are eco-resorts. These accommodations focus on sustainability, environmental protection and offer a variety of eco-friendly activities.

When choosing accommodations, it is important to consider your preferences, budget and the focus of your vacation. Always check reviews and ratings of the accommodation from other guests to get an idea of their quality and service. Comfortable accommodation is key to an enjoyable and comfortable stay in Sri Lanka.

Try the local cuisine

If you really want to experience Sri Lanka, you can’t miss out on exploring its rich cuisine. Traditional Sri Lankan dishes are full of exotic flavours and aromas that will take you into the heart of this wonderful country.

You will have the opportunity to sample a wide variety of dishes that vary regionally and in the ingredients used. Sri Lankan cuisine is known for its spiciness and the use of fresh herbs and spices such as curry, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric.

One of the most famous Sri Lankan dishes is Rice and Curry. There are different variations of curry, including curry with vegetables, curry with fish or curry with chicken. Another typical Sri Lankan dish is Hoppers, which are crispy and light pancakes served with various sauces and broths. Don’t forget to try Kottu Roti, which is a tasty dish of sliced bread, vegetables and meat that is pan-fried.

To really enjoy Sri Lankan cuisine, I recommend visiting traditional Sri Lankan restaurants where you will find authentic recipes and atmosphere. The locals take pride in their cuisine and are very helpful in advising you on what to choose.

Remember that Sri Lankan cuisine is often spicy, so if you don’t like spicy food, be sure to inform the staff at the restaurant.

Use local transport

If you are planning to travel around Sri Lanka, it is important to use local transport, which is not only affordable but also allows you to explore the beauty of the country up close. Sri Lanka’s means of transport are varied and offer you the opportunity to travel according to your preferences and needs.

Local buses

Local buses are the cheapest way to get around Sri Lanka. The island has a dense network of bus routes that allow you to reach cities, beaches and other tourist attractions. While they are not luxurious, they are a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.


Trains in Sri Lanka offer a unique experience. They have panoramic windows and allow you to admire the beauty of the landscape during your journey. There are different types of trains, from local suburban to long international services. The train ride is comfortable and relatively inexpensive.


Tuk-tuks are characteristic of Sri Lanka and give you an authentic experience of the country. They are small motor vehicles with three wheels that move quite fast. Tuk-tuks are a good choice if you need quick and cheap transportation.


If you are planning a trip to the wilderness or remote areas of Sri Lanka, you can use a jeep rental. Jeeps are suitable for off-road driving and allow you to explore inaccessible places and the natural beauty of the country.

Using local transport in Sri Lanka will save you money and give you an unforgettable experience. Choose the most suitable means of transport to suit your needs and start discovering all that this amazing country has to offer.

Visit free or very cheap attractions

If you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka, be sure to visit some of the many attractions that are either completely free or very cheap. This country offers a wide range of attractions that allow you to experience its beauty and culture without too much financial burden. Here are some of the best free and cheap attractions that you can visit in Sri Lanka:

Udawalawe National Park

One of the biggest attractions in Sri Lanka is Udawalawe National Park. This park is home to many species of wild animals including elephants, lions, crocodiles and many more. You can rent a jeep and drive through the park for a very affordable price.

Gangaramaya Temple

In the city of Colombo, there is the majestic Gangaramaya temple. This temple is known for its exceptional architecture and beautiful decorations. Stroll through its sprawling gardens and admire the many statues and buildings you will find here. A visit to the Gangaramaya temple is an experience worth having, and it’s completely free.

Adam’s Mountain (Sri Pada)

If you love hiking and nature, you should definitely not miss climbing to the top of this mountain. Adam’s Mountain is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Sri Lanka, mainly because of the beautiful view it offers. When you climb to the top, you will get a unique opportunity to observe the beauty of the Sri Lankan landscape and enjoy the amazing panoramic views. This activity is free but you need to get a valid permit in advance.

Don’t forget travel insurance

Importance of travel insurance and how to arrange it

When travelling to Sri Lanka, it is important to have adequate travel insurance to provide you with protection and security during your holiday. Travel insurance can help you cover the costs associated with unexpected events such as lost luggage, medical treatment or cancelled flights.

There are a few important factors to consider when arranging travel insurance:

  • Medical Expenses Cover: Sri Lanka is an exotic destination and therefore it is important to make sure you have insurance to cover any medical expenses during your stay.
  • Loss of Baggage Cover: Insure yourself against the possibility of loss or damage to your luggage as this will ensure you have a worry-free and worry-free travel experience.
  • Travel cancellation cover: Unexpected events can happen to anyone, so make sure your insurance covers the costs associated with any cancellation of flights or accommodation bookings.
  • Sporting activities cover: If you plan to take part in different sporting activities, such as diving or surfing, make sure your insurance covers these risks.

It’s important to research different options and compare quotes from different insurers to make sure you choose the best insurance for your needs. Travel insurance is an investment in your peace of mind and safety, so you shouldn’t forget about it when planning your trip to Sri Lanka.

Plan and book activities early

Recommended activities and tips for booking trips and excursions

When planning a holiday in Sri Lanka, it is important to plan and book the activities and excursions you want to do in advance. This will ensure that you get to the right places and that you don’t miss out on any interesting experiences. Here are some recommended activities and tips on how to book the right tours and excursions:

    • Explore local monuments and temples: Sri Lanka is rich in history and culture. Visit famous sights such as Sigiriya Rock or the Buddha’s Tooth Temple in Kandy. Your guide will provide you with interesting information about the history and significance of these sites.
    • InNature Tours and National Parks: Sri Lanka is home to many national parks that hide a wealth of flora and fauna. Head out on a safari to spot elephants, leopards, various birds and other animals in their natural habitat.
    • Beach Activities and Water Sports:Sri Lanka’s coastal areas attract sun and sea lovers. Take advantage of the opportunities to relax on the beach or try surfing, diving or windsurfing.
    • Cultural and Folklore Performances:

Sri Lanka is known for its colourful and energetic cultural performances. Check out traditional dances, music and theatre performances to showcase the island’s rich cultural tradition.

To enjoy these activities to the fullest, it is important to book early. Check availability and choose a reliable and quality service provider. Avoid last minute bookings, when activities and excursions can sell out and it is not certain whether you will be able to get on them.

If you choose to book through a travel agent, be wary of their reputation and reviews from other customers. Also be sure to check the terms and conditions and refund options in case of unexpected events.

Shop for souvenirs at the local markets

If you are going to Sri Lanka and love souvenirs, you should not miss a visit to the local markets. At these markets, you will find a wide range of typical Sri Lankan souvenirs that you can buy as a souvenir of your trip. Here are some of the best markets to consider when you visit:

Pettah Market in Colombo

Pettah Market is one of the oldest and largest markets in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. This market is ideal for those looking for authentic Sri Lankan products. At Pettah Market you will find everything from clothes and shoes to spices and tea. You can pick up beautiful souvenirs such as traditional jewellery, handmade fabrics and pottery. And don’t forget to bargain on price!

Galle Face Green Market in Colombo

Galle Face Green Market is a modern and stylish market that offers a wide selection of souvenirs, fashion accessories and artwork. Here you can buy original souvenirs from local artists and designers. The market is also known for its atmosphere and the great selection of local delicacies that you can enjoy while strolling around the market.

Kandy City Centre in Kandy

Kandy City Centre is a modern shopping centre located in Kandy. This centre not only offers clothing and cosmetics shops, but also souvenir shops. Here you can buy jewellery, carved wooden items and other traditional souvenirs. You can also visit the local market in Kandy, where you will find many other interesting souvenirs.


How to set a budget and stick to it when travelling to Sri Lanka

In order to set a budget and stick to it when travelling to Sri Lanka, I recommend first setting aside a certain amount of money that you are willing to spend. Then, divide this budget into individual costs such as flights, accommodation, food, transport and activities. Be careful not to spend more than your budget and plan your shopping and excursions with that amount in mind.

When is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka has a tropical climate that varies according to the two main monsoon seasons. The best time to visit is between December and March when the weather is dry and sunny. The other good time is between June and September, when most of the island receives less rainfall. Choosing the right season depends on your preferences and planned activities.

Where to find cheap flights to Sri Lanka

If you are looking for cheap flights to Sri Lanka, I recommend you start by searching on various flight search engines. These search engines allow you to compare flight prices from different airlines and find the best deal. Another option is to keep track of special offers and promotions of airlines that may have cheap flights to Sri Lanka during certain periods.

What are the types of accommodation in Sri Lanka and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each

You have many accommodation options in Sri Lanka, from luxury hotels and resorts to budget hostels and guesthouses. Each type of accommodation has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it depends on your budget and preferences.

What are traditional Sri Lankan dishes and where to find restaurants

Sri Lanka is known for its rich cuisine full of exotic flavours and aromas. Traditional Sri Lankan dishes include Rice and Curry, Kottu Roti, Hoppers (Sri Lankan pancakes) and other specialties. To sample these delicacies, I recommend visiting the local restaurants and bistros that are spread across the island. If you’re looking for authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, look for restaurants that are popular with locals.

How to get around Sri Lanka and what means of transport are available

Sri Lanka offers various transport options for tourists. The most commonly used is public transport such as buses and trains, which are cheaper but can be slow and crowded. Another option is to rent a car or scooter, which will speed up your travel and give you more flexibility, but be careful on Sri Lankan roads. Local tuktuks are also a popular way to get around within cities and nearby areas.

What are the best free and cheap attractions in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka offers many free and cheap attractions for tourists. Some of the best include a visit to the Gangaramaya Temple, Udawalawe National Park or Mount Adam (Sri Pada). Sri Lanka’s beaches are also a popular attraction that can be enjoyed for free. Explore Sri Lankan culture and history in cities like Colombo or Kandy, where you’ll find a variety of museums and monuments. Always check the entrance fees and opening times of specific attractions.

How important is travel insurance and how to arrange it for a trip to Sri Lanka?

Travel insurance is very important for travelling to Sri Lanka (and anywhere else). It covers you against unexpected events such as loss of luggage, injury or illness. To arrange travel insurance, you can contact various insurance companies or arrange it online. Consider your needs and read the insurance details to get an idea of the coverage and conditions.

How to plan and book activities early in Sri Lanka

I recommend planning and booking activities well in advance of your trip to Sri Lanka. First make a list of all the activities you want to do and look for information on booking them. Many attractions and tours offer online booking through their websites. You may also consider contacting local travel agencies to help you with planning and booking. However, be aware of the limited capacity of some activities and book well in advance.

What are the typical souvenirs and best markets in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is famous for its markets full of interesting and typical souvenirs. Typical souvenirs include tea, spices, various types of quality fabrics, wooden statues, jewellery and ceramics. However, be prepared to haggle and bargain on price as this is a common practice in Sri Lankan markets.


Be inspired by our blog and discover the magic of Sri Lanka. Here you will find tips for trips, recipes for Sri Lankan specialities, advice for tourists and much more.

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