Sri Lanka, a marvelous little island nation a few miles away from the southern tip of India has become one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world, the Lonely Planet, a popular travel magazine named Sri Lanka as “the best travel destination for the year 2019”. A large number of travel agents in Sri Lanka, provide all-inclusive tour packages, but if you are on a budget, this article will save you a few dollars. The stunning beaches with golden sand, miles of seemingly endless coastline, a secluded, cozy hill country and bustling urban cities make this the perfect tropical getaway. Follow the tips below for a hassle free vacation, these simple tips can save you a great deal of time, money and hassle.
Food & Water
First things first, the hot weather can be sweltering, especially if you are from a cold country, and it is best to avoid drinking water straight off the faucets. Bottled water can be costly, so we recommend that you carry a portable purifier with you. Sri Lanka is famed for its delectable food, the overall standards in terms of taste, are pretty high in most restaurants and the seafood, is “out of this world”. Food is inexpensive ranging from 3 to 5 USD per meal in mid-range restaurants or roadside cafes. Sri Lankan food is great, you should try dosas (a pancake made of black gram), kottu (flatbread mixed with meat and vegetables) and rice with curry.
Western food is available in up-market restaurants and could be costly, but the food is pretty good, you might want to try it once as some restaurants serve western food with the Sri Lankan spicy touch. It’s always best to explore the food in the country you travel to, we assure that Sri Lanka provides a gastronomic adventure like no other.
Sri Lanka is a socialist country and does not offer too many liquor stores outside the major cities. Nightlife is limited outside Negombo, Colombo, Galle and Kandy, with Colombo being the hub for nightlife in the country. Hotels and some restaurants that include a pub serve liquor, most roadside cafes do not serve beer or spirits in general.
Tuk-Tuk Your Way Around
Tuk Tuks are a fun, scenic way of exploring the city but are usually best for short journeys. Your driver will weave through congested urban areas and get you to your destination in the shortest time possible, and don’t worry, they know how to drive safely in what might appear to be rather unsafe roads.
Travelling to and from the Airport
The cheapest way to get to and from the airport is by train, this costs less than 50 cents in USD but the train can get overcrowded which will make it tough to transport luggage. You could get on the airport bus with the route no.187, they ply the Colombo to Airport route once in every thirty minutes or so. A tuk tuk or hired cab will cost you anywhere between 15 and 25 USD for a one-way journey.
The train service is not the most punctual nor is it the fastest way to get around, but it is certainly cost-effective and relatively comfortable for long journeys. Major train routes for long distance travel would be from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, Colombo to Jaffna and Jaffna to Anuradhapura. Book your tickets in advance or you’d have to push and shove your way to buy a couple of tickets during rush hour.
When Visiting Sigiriya
Sigirya is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. We suggest you visit the site at around 9 am in the morning to avoid the overwhelming number of tourists and locals who visit the site.
The booming tourist industry has given rise to large luxurious hotels, resorts, boutique hotels, but regular town folk have taken steps to provide accommodation for tourists as well. These “home-stay inns” are great value for money as they cost from 10-15 USD/night with breakfast. The food is usually Sri Lankan. Hostels, on the other hand, are nothing much, pretty basic with a bed, mosquito net and a shower.
Consider the factors above for a safe, hassle-free journey in a country filled with natural beauty. One of the best parts about Sri Lanka is that it has beach cities, a rather cold hill country and great urban areas, all within a rather tiny land area. You can get from a major city to another in the space of 3-12 hours, which is ideal for a short itinerary.