5 great destinations for Sri Lanka solo travel
Freedom is at it best when you hit the road your own with the backpack. It might be bit intimidating being solo in a foreign soil but you will understand that your worries are baseless, as soon as you land in Sri Lanka. Be it a solo travel, you are well on your way to an enjoyable independent trip with your Sri Lanka solo travel.
Sri Lanka has long been an important holiday destination for solo travellers in Asia. This exotic destination has pristine beaches (Check on my 22 beaches with the idyllic setting) with torque water, mountains, fantastic seafood, bustling cities, a well-trodden tourist routes and affordable prices for lodging and other facilities all are major factors to one of the top countries in the world for travelling.
When you have a Sri Lanka solo travel, you might feel that you are stick out, especially if you have a fair skin. Because take the attention of common folk naturally because of your skin colour, but there is no harm, Sri Lankans are very friendly and helpful. You are most welcome in any public gathering with a warm smile because the local people treat the visitors with great respect.
It will be interesting and enjoyable with Sri Lankan local people amidst the colourful chaos of Sri Lanka cities and markets. Even you are on Sri Lanka solo travel, looking to hop in a coach with a bunch of travellers who booked a package tour, Sri Lanka is perfect holiday spot for yours.
It is always wonderful and risk-free to team up with friends and families, all the while a Sri Lanka solo travel, join one of the Sri Lanka road trips, Be it is a short vacation or a multi-day Sri Lanka road trip such as 2 weeks Sri Lanka tour, Seerendipity organized regular trips. So join one of the tours organized by Seerednipity tours for a hassle free and affordable Sri Lanka tour.
I am a woman travelling solo to Sri Lanka. What do I need to know?
Gender is not an obstacle to travel to Sri Lanka, women and men are both equally welcoming in the island. Sri Lanka is one of the safest holiday destinations for women travellers. Some countries such as India, very often mentioned as worst-places for women travel (check on International women’s travel centre’s top worst holiday destination.) but Sri Lanka on the other hand, is one of the safest holiday destinations for any age group and any gender.
It is good to know where you travel always. Plan your journey in advance and look for the safe neighbourhood, some areas may not suitable for travelling not only for women travellers but also to men. Choose your accommodation in a busy part of the city, if you opt to stay in tourist areas it is very safe for solo travellers.
When it comes to travel around Sri Lanka there are no certified cabs to do it, like in some countries such as Brazil and Mexico. But you should act sensibly in order to avoid taxi scam. One special note should be done on TUK TUK (motorized rickshaw); TUK TUK is very handy to travel around the country if it is properly done. It is cheap and it is very easy to get hold of a TUK TUK for your trip.
TUK TUK’s can be hired through the private individual as well as though the cab service agents. Try to hire a TUK TUK through a cab service company as much as possible due to 2 reasons.
- It is safe to travel with TUK TUK booked through cab Service Company
- You can avoid overpaying for your trip
If you book a taxi it should be done though taxi service providers, local people are also using the service of these taxi service providers and it is safe to do so. If there is a taxi counter at your hotel, it might be a good option too and it is safe.
Having a local sim card is very handy for most travellers even you travel solo in Sri Lanka or with a group buy a local sim card it helps you in many ways. With local sim card, you can make calls within the island at a very affordable rate. Even you pay very less for an overseas call from your local sim card compared to the foreign sim card. Having a local sim card allows you to reach all emergency numbers such as 119, 118, 100 with ease. In fact, a local sim card does not cost much and you can get a sim card with few hours of calling and data at around USD 10. Local sim cards can be obtained at the arrival lounge of Colombo international airport or any town on the island.
What to expect?
You can expect breathtaking scenery, UNESCO world heritage site after UNESCO world heritage, delicious spicy Sri Lanka food that is cheap, fresh, mouthwatering and as good as anywhere else in the world. Sure, you will be bit uncomfortable (hello, crowded buses in Sri Lanka) but when you are deprived of comfort you make again in monetary form.
One of the exciting things about Sri Lank travel is how easy it truly is. unless you choose to go off the beaten track, communication will not make any trouble for you, as most people in Sri Lanka able to communicate in English. Sri Lanka has been a popular tourist destination for many decades, Sri Lanka tourism industry is well developed and people in the industry know how it is done, so enjoy the ride.
How much would it cost for my Solo trip to Sri Lanka?
You can have your Sri Lank solo travel on a super cheap budget (you can think of the expenses to $35-$40/day ). But proper planning is essential to keep it under the allotted budget. You can find the accommodation at around $10 per day and you get the best what you pay for (single room with attached bathroom, ceiling fan and cleanliness). But it can afford to splurge just about $15 more per day, you can have a nice single room with air-conditioning and private bathroom. You will be able to indulge yourself on a western meal once in a while, and you will be able to travel by air-conditioned buses and get a seat in a Class 1 compartment for your train ride.
There are cheaper versions of accommodation as well such as dormitories and you get what you pay for (think bunk beds, common bathrooms, no fan, and questionable cleanliness).
If you are comfortable with local food, it is possible to eat like a king for a few dollars. A dinner plate with rice and curry with fish or meat cost around $1 US in local restaurants. A steaming bowl of noodles with accompaniments about the same. If you opt for your own cooking the meal cost will be unimaginably cheap, because all the things that you need to prepare a meal are super cheap in Sri Lanka. If you go for a rent-room and stay for a few days in 1 place you have the perfect opportunity to make foods your own. Wherever you come from you find all the ingredients required to prepared your delicious meal.
What should I wear in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is a warm country near the equator it is good to wear the cotton cloth as much as possible. Most importantly wear plain cloth and stick to local dress customs, especially when you hang around in public places such as cities, temples, shopping areas etc. In the beach resort and on the beach you can have more freedom when it comes to your clothing.
Usually, nightlife in Sri Lank is very much inactive, therefore you won’t see much people on the roads, so don’t hit the roads at night, avoid travelling solo at night.
Helpline – travelling solo in Sri Lanka
If you sense someone following you unnecessarily and if you feel unsafe duck into the nearest shop, restaurant, hotel or any other busy place and ask for help or dial 119 (from local mobile network). I do believe it is best to call tourist police in any urgency because the officers of tourist police specially trained to assist the foreign travellers and they do have a very good network covering most areas where tourist are travelling to.
Tourist police number +94112421451
If you panic or nervous don’t show it and always walk tall, show the confidence and attitude. Try to drop a hint that you have friends and acquaintance in the area, and also show that you are familiar with the area. It might be not the most feminist approach, but it works.
Getting around Sri Lanka
Getting around Sri Lanka in your solo travel is pretty easy (It might not be the epitome of luxury), with a large number of possibilities depending on the buying power.
Air-Sri Lanka airlines are the leading airline that connects Sri Lanka to the rest of the world, if you have flexible travel plan you can secure a damn cheap flight between Colombo and major countries in the world (India, Australia, England, Australia, Thailand etc. ).
Bus – Bus quality varies from region to region. Long haul routes have good buses with comfort, but you will not find sleeper variety here. Buses are available in 2 flavours. Buses without air-conditioning and buses with air-conditioning. Try to stick to buses with air-conditioning because it is very warm hear and especially for the foreigner it might be unbearable when the buses are fully packed it might make even warmer.
Train- Sri Lanka has a well-developed rail network providing easy access to many parts of the island, in fact, some rail routes such as the Kandy-Elle rail route should not be missed at any cost because they are unimaginably breathtaking. There are 3 classes of compartments in trains (class 1,2 and 3), while long-haul train provides sleeper compartments as well. Seats in Class 1 is the most comfortable with air-conditioning and comfortable seats, and they are very less crowded too. The train is the cheapest form of transport in Sri Lanka and most hassle-free.
Vaccinations for Sri Lanka
Vaccination is an important part of your Sri Lanka solo travel, and it is worth to pay your attention to it. The best advice we offer is to visit your doctor in advance of the Sri Lanka solo travel and take his/her advice. Sri Lanka has eliminated diseases like polio, malaria but it is advisable to have routine vaccinations of DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus), MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), and polio but not essential. It is also advisable to have Hepatitis A, B, Japanese encephalitis and Typhoid.
A few years back visa rules were changed in Sri Lanka making it essential to have the visa for every foreign traveller. The cost of Visa is varied depending on the country of the traveller. The cost of the visa for travellers coming from SAARC countries are lower than the travellers from other countries. The travellers could obtain on arrival visas in the past but not anymore. Only travellers from few countries have the privilege of receiving on arrival vias. The tourist visa is valid only for 30 days and travellers should present at the Immigration department if they need to have an extension. There several ways one can obtain the visa such as presenting at the Sri Lankan embassy of the respective country or applying it online via the website. Please check more details on the link below.
3 golden rules if have never been to Sri Lanka before
Rule Number 1 for Sri Lanka solo travel:
Don’t make a friend on the beach, especially male friends. Keeping the distance from the beach boys is very important to be safe while you travelling solo in Sri Lanka. The rule is valid not only for female travellers but also for all travellers.
Rule number 2 for Sri Lanka solo travel:
Book your hotels, transportation and other services through a travel company. For instance, when you make a travel plan with a tour company your driver/guide will not try to mess up with you.
Rule number 3 for Sri Lanka solo travel:
Don’t plan your trip with too many things. You don’t want to look at the photo album and can’t remember if that temple was in Kandy, southern Sri Lanka, east coast or central cultural triangle. 2 weeks in Sri Lanka and 4-5 cities is a good starting point.
Rule number 4 for Sri Lanka solo travel:
Plan your Sri Lanka solo trip with appropriate daily travel distance. You should not be driving too long or too short: 100-250 km per day is just about the perfect distance that you can cover a day. Since you here to visit important tourist places you have to allocate the necessary timing at each site too. Planning your driving distance helps you to have enough rest after the hard work of the day.
Rule number 5 for Sri Lanka solo travel: Using Google maps
Google maps are the best tool to find the way during your solo trip. But it does not work offline in Sri Lanka. Especially, Google map will be a handy tool if you travel by public transport such as trains. You can easily find the way to places and find roads as it covers all major and less important places as well as roads. If you travel by taxi and local driver/guide it would not be very important to have google maps.
Rule number 6 for Sri Lanka solo travel: Start your tour as early as possible in the morning.
Sri Lank is a country for early bird. If you are not a type of person, who gets up early, it is best to change your sleeping pattern at least during your solo travel in Sri Lanka. Set off early in the morning between 6.00-700 am it helps you to avoid rush hours and reduce the time spend on traffic. If you are hoping to go for safari or visit national parks, gardens etc, bear in mind the most of them are closing at 5.00 pm. try to plan most of the day’s work during the morning hours.
Where to go in your Sri Lanka solo travel
Sri Lanka encompasses more than just these 5 cities, and I’ll get to other important places (Anuradhapura, Nuwara Eliya, Trincomalee, Jaffna etc.) in the future blog posts. Usually, about 1 week time is enough to blast through all these cities, seeing the highlights and move fast. One can even spend weeks or months in one location and explore it in detail. It all depends on the time you can afford to put into your Sri Lanka road trip and the budget.
Look into below carefully picked destinations for a best Sri Lanka solo travel.
Colombo is a fast developing city and a colourfull metropolis. Located near the shores of Sri Lanka’s west coast, Colombo has been on Sri Lanka tour itineraries of foreign travellers for decades, though this does mean many parts of Colombo are very busy commercialized places with all year round hustle and bustle. However, the ancient part of the city has been able to retain its old world irresistible charm, which entices the travellers to drop into Colombo again and again.
Colombo is the best place for solo travellers in Sri Lanka. You will encounter a large number of foreign solo travellers here, It means the life will be easy for your with like-minded people. Colombo is the best place to start your Sri Lanka solo travel because finding accommodation, meals, places of recreations is never been so easy in any part of Sri Lanka like in Colombo. In fact, the accessibility to Colombo is very simple because the city is just 30 minutes away from the international airport.
Beach stroll in Hikkaduwa
Catch some warm light on the palm-fringed beach in Hikkaduwa, Where you find a large number of hotels and other accommodation facilities only a few feet away, Catch some gentle sea breeze that will lull you to sleep. Hikkaduwa is best known for Sri Lanka solo travellers and has earned the reputation as the heaven for backpackers in Sri Lanka. Enjoy a Candlelit seafood barbeque dinner in a beach restaurant and enjoy the breathtaking view over the sunset on the horizon. Or drop into a nightclub and have your overnight on the dance floor, where you find many other fun-filled activities. Hikkaduwa is the place to have unique travel experiences such as diving with the sea turtles.
Visit Elle in your Sri Lanka solo travel
Elle, backpackers paradise in the mountains, located towards the inland from beach areas of Sri Lanka, this hill country city has earned a reputation as an oasis for backpackers over the last several decades. The hill country resort is surrounded by never-ending mountains, ravines, escapements and various other geological features. Elle is a heaven for adventure lovers with many spots for trekking, mountain climbing, rock climbing, caving etc.
Sitting on top of the mountains, a large number of eateries, guest houses, cafes and bars dotted around the city. Elle is a quiet laid-back city and many travellers show-up here for leisure. Choose from yoga, Ayurveda sauna, massage and Elle is a place to merge with relaxing easygoing lifestyle.
There are a number of archaeological sites in Elle if you are interested in history. Don’t forget to have a breathtaking train ride through the mountains if you happened to travel to Elle, because the train journey is the loved activity here. All in all, Elle makes one of the fascinating destinations for Sri Lanka solo travellers. Even it is for 1 days it will be a reason to be happy, but it is likely to be longer because this charm laid-back city pulls you in.
It is good if you like to explore a historical city with a rich culture and tradition. Because Kandy is the city for the most sacred city with the temple of the tooth relic. This is one of the must be visited places for any foreign travellers. Temple of the tooth relic is a world heritage site and it is the main hotspot for every visitor in the city. Adjoining the temple is the Kandy lake and behind the temple is the Udawattekele sanctuary. The city is filled with affordable accommodation facilities such as dormitories, guest houses, rest house, and eateries, as well as many activities for travellers such as sightseeing tours, shopping, city-hopping etc.
Galle is a charming city with strong colonial influence, which is located down south Sri Lanka. The Galle fort is the main spot, where most travellers ended-up when they travel to Galle. here it is all set for travellers with the real holiday vibe. The fort demarcated by a high-rise wall from rest of the rest of the country and you feel being in a totally different era because everywhere you see it is old Dutch architecture. Here you do not lack opportunities with affordable accommodation, restaurants, pubs, museums, galleries and beaches. Even though you arrive here alone, here it is easy to find like-minded people and enjoy your holiday.