Table of Contents
- 1 What are the best budget tour packages in Sri Lanka?
- 2 How to plan the best budget tour packages in Sri Lanka
- 3 How to save money on your budget tours in Sri Lanka
- 4 Five tips to save money while booking activities for your Sri Lanka travel itinerary
- 5 Book accommodation direct with hotels for your Sri Lanka package and save money
- 6 Buying entrance tickets for tourist attractions
- 7 Backpack
- 8 Internet is an important tool for travellers
- 9 Drinking water
- 10 Buy local meals
- 11 What is the cost of estimation of the best budget tours in Sri Lanka?
- 12 Three ways to save money on budget tours in Sri Lanka
- 13 1. Arrange own accommodation and save money on budget tours in Sri Lanka
- 14 2. Arrange own transport to save money on budget tours in Sri Lanka
- 15 3. Reduce expenses on budget tours in Sri Lanka by eating with locals
- 16 3 popular budget tours in Sri Lanka
Who does not like to travel, have holidays? No one! Everyone likes to enjoy life and travelling is one of the most popular methods of rejuvenating your body and mind. According to the WTO, the number of holidaymakers is constantly increasing throughout the world. However, the monetary constraints have emerged as an obstacle for some people and holding them at their home town. Therefore, budget tour packages in Sri Lanka is also a hot topic as in most other holiday destinations around the globe. But according to our experience as a local tour operator, even a very thrifty traveller can book one of the budget tours in Sri Lanka and enjoy the holiday vibe in this fascinating tropical holiday destination. But there are few constraints that you have to abide by.
What are the best budget tour packages in Sri Lanka?
- Budget tour packages in Sri Lanka to the cultural triangle
- Budget tour packages in Sri Lanka to Nuwara Eliya
- Budget tour packages in Sri Lanka to Yala
Travelling need a lot of research and study to find the perfect holiday destination to have an enjoyable holiday. Particularly, when you travel to long haul destinations. Attractions, accommodation, cost, availability of time are some of the key factors to consider when choosing the holiday destination. Particularly, the cost of the holiday needs to be dealt with care, because your holiday can be very embarrassing if it exceeds your travel budget.
With the prevailing economic environment, most people are inclining not to spend lavishly on their holidays. Average people are feeling economic restrains with the increasing living cost. On the other hand, the holidays are also getting more expensive every day. Lodging, airfares, food all are matters of increasing holiday cost.
How to plan the best budget tour packages in Sri Lanka
In this post, I’m going to talk about the cheapest holiday destination in Asia namely Sri Lanka. Do you believe that a budget tour package in Sri Lanka cost you only around US$10 per person a day? You need only US$10 per day to have a tour package in Sri Lanka, of course without luxury and correct planing, just to have basic accommodation with local food in an average restaurant and travelling in public transport, you need only 10$ a day.
Sri Lanka is the best winter holiday destination in 2019 according to USA Today. It is another endorsement for the superiority of Sri Lanka as a holiday destination. The best destinations for cold winter vacations in 2018, according to WalletHub.
Sri Lanka is an emerging holiday destination in Asia recently Sri Lanka has been chosen, by lonely planet, as the hottest destination to travel in 2019. Cost-effectiveness is one major reason for Sri Lanka, being selected as the most favoured holiday destination in 2019 by lonely planet.
Sri Lanka is not only cheap but also it offers a large number of places to explore such as historical sites, wildlife reserves, primaeval rain forest, and pristine beaches. This Asian country has one of the oldest continuously inhabited civilizations in the world. This budget tour plan does not include the entrance fee for attractions. The cost of entrance to popular places are expensive and differ greatly depending on the attraction. But there is a large number of attractions on the island, that can be visited free of charge.
Visit 4 tourist hotspots – Peradeniya botanical garden, pinnawala elephant orphanage and tooth relic temple, Tea gardens in one day from USD 35
How to save money on your budget tours in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is becoming one of the most famous holiday destinations in southern Asia. Sri Lanka is a beautiful island (former Ceylon) surrounded by the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka is surrounded by more than 1600 km clean beautiful beaches. Sri Lanka is a famous hideout among the European from November – April (winter season). Not only Sri Lanka provides Sun, Sea and Sand for the holidaymakers, but also thousands of years old culture and history, ruined cities, tropical vegetation, wildlife, Asian cuisine, water sports, and plenty of other recreation facilities.
After the war now Sri Lanka has become the best country to live in South Asia and it is a very calm and safe place to enjoy your holiday. Tourist’s arrival in Sri Lanka increased significantly during the last few years and the number is still growing. With a higher number of arrival to the country services and facilities for foreigners are more expensive than it had been. Rates of some of the hotels increased 125% during the last few years. Almost all the hotels have increased their rates by now.
Sri Lanka still offers a lot of possibilities for people who want to see this beautiful island. No matter how much you afford, there is plenty of opportunities to have an enjoyable holiday. There are plenty of small and medium hotels and other accommodation facilities at a very affordable price. Even though the prices are far less than the large hotels as far as facilities are a concern they are sometimes better than star class hotels. You are provided with all the services such as laundry, catering, recreation too. Prices of these hotels will be around half of the same category of large properties. It is not difficult to find a good place to stay for about $ 15-20 a day.
As far as accommodation facilities are a concern you have the possibility to choose rent rooms, rent house, annexes or dormitories. There are lots of local families living in the resorts that provide accommodation for tourists for a very cheap rate.
Normally prices for goods in Sri Lanka are very low compared to prices in European countries. Making the holiday you own will allow you to make use of the chance. You can get all the goods you need for a very cheap price.
Pinnawala elephant orphanage
Five tips to save money while booking activities for your Sri Lanka travel itinerary
Below tips helps you to save money not only when you book activities but also when you book accommodation, transportation, and sightseeing tours as well.
- In order to make sure you get the best deal from tour operators and individual service providers, book your activity once you arrived in Sri Lanka.
- Don’t have haste while making the reservations for accommodation or activities, compare the prices between tour operators and activity organizers and find the best price.
- If you feel that you are going over-budget with optional activities, try to approach small-scale tour operators or activity providers and ask for a discount.
- There are different cancellation policies with different tour operators, but if you go for a cancellation 2 weeks before the activity date rarely you can escape without cancellation charges. Therefore book your activity if you are certain that you make it or make the booking on the spot.
- If planning is not your thing let a local tour operator do the planning and ask them to make the full package with transport, Guiding, Accommodation, sightseeing etc.
Book accommodation direct with hotels for your Sri Lanka package and save money
In Sri Lanka, it is possible to book accommodation, activities and all other bits and peace of the tour by yourself. Travellers can book their own with accommodation and activity providers by visiting their office, through the internet or over the phone. Booking directly allows travellers to cut the middleman and save money. Usually, the Middleman (online booking portal) increase the total bill between 10% to 30%, which is the commission OTA.
Buying entrance tickets for tourist attractions
The cost of entrance fees in Sri Lanka is high compared to most countries in the region. Cultural sites, historical temples, national parks, botanical gardens all are charging more than 10 USD per person. Therefore if you can omit those expensive sites one can save a lot of money. But on the other hand, the tour of Sri Lanka will not be complete without visiting those sites. Most of these expensive sites are maintained by the government and no discounts offered. Therefore whether you like or not you have to visit if you still wish to experience the rich, history, culture and, nature of Sri Lanka. Entrance tickets can be bought at the entrance of the site.
In this blog post, we are not going to discuss much the historical places of the island neither the cultural or natural attraction of the island. We have already published many blog posts covering tourist attraction in our previous blog posts. In this blog post, we are concentrating mainly on how to curtail your budget in this 10 days Sri Lanka tour to 350 USD.
Almost all Sri Lanka tour packages follow more or less the same travel route. Starting from Katunayake airport just north of Colombo and then the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka in the north-central province, afterwards the travellers explore the mountains in the central province. And towards the end of the tour usually, guests explore the southern Sri Lanka and beaches in the west or east coast.
There is a great amount of travelling in this self-guided Sri Lanka travel itinerary for 10 days. Therefore, It is recommended to put all your stuff in a rucksack. With backpacking, it will be easy to move around and you can pack your self easily on buses and trains. Try to keep your rucksack as small as possible, so it is easy to carry and you can move here and there without much trouble. Try to pack only the necessary items into the rucksack such as cloth, medicine. All other stuff can be bought here and prices are also cheap.
Internet is an important tool for travellers
We recommend using google maps and navigation in order to find the right directions, places, and cities during this self-guided Sri Lanka tour. Google navigation will be very useful since you travel on your own. In order to surf the internet one can use the wifi connection that freely available at most hotels, guesthouses and rest houses.
Usually, the internet facility is included in the room rates. If you have to collect some data using the internet for the next day’s program, you are recommended to do it on the previous night, because normally wired line wifi connection is faster (most accommodation providers using it) than the wireless connection, in fact using the internet at the guest house cost nothing.
If you wish to surf the internet on the move best and cheapest option is to surf the internet through a Sri Lankan mobile connection. There is a large number of mobile service providers in the country and all of them provide the 4G connection. One can purchase a mobile a sim card with data, calling time upon arrival at the airport arrival lounge. At the airport, it is sold as a bundle (data, voice calling time, SIM), which cost around 1500 LKR. Do not book any service or facility through the internet, it could increase your budget.
You can also buy a 4G SIM (with a high-speed connection) in outside communication centres in the city at 150 LKR and you have to add goods as consume data. A sim card can be bought at any telecommunication shop around the country. The applicant of the sim card should produce a valid passport in order to prove the identity of the user. SIM card will be deactivated if it is not used for several weeks. Make sure the SIM card is destroyed at the time you leave the country and never give your sim card to anyone else.
If you can manage English, still you can make it without the internet. You can speak to native people and ask for help, they will help you to find out where about the places you look for. The English literacy rate is fairly good among the Sri Lankans. Name of the places, name of the roads, and all the wayside hoarding, signboards and placards are written in 3 languages Sinhalese, Tamil and English.
It is recommended to drink only mineral water during Sri Lank tour. And you might have to buy mineral water for drinking because some guesthouses do not include mineral water in the room charges. There are plenty of shops in the area selling mineral water and other grocery items. A 2-litre mineral water bottle cost around 100 LKR (price varies depending on the brand), and which is more than enough for a day. Check for the SLS mark (government standardization) when you purchase mineral water, thereby you can make sure it is well purified and safe to drink.
Buy local meals
One can easily find a local restaurant here and can have breakfast, lunch, dinner or any other meal, there is a large number of eateries along the hotel road, providing all type of meals at an affordable rate. But we suppose to stick to local menus in order to keep the cost down not only in Negombo but also during the entire tour. In local restaurants, one can buy kottu, roti, hoppers, rice & curry, short eats, string hoppers, bread items, noodles, fish, meat, eggs, tea, coffee etc. All of them are prepared to the local taste buds and you may find the curries a little bit spicy (only the curries). Try to have a little curry as possible if you’re not familiar with spicy meals.
One portion of chicken Kotto cost 250 LKR and it is more than enough for an average person. A chicken kottu is made of flour, chicken, the vegetable, pinch of salt and some curry. The kottu is done spontaneously adding separate components if you do not wish to eat spicy, in Sri Lankan way, tell the waiter as you order it. If you do not wish to have a heavy meal such as Kottu you can go for crispy and tasty hoppers and egg hoppers, noodles, or rice and curry. Whatever you order it should be within our budget 250 LKR per person. Usually one can have a decent breakfast, lunch or dinner by just paying 250 LKR.
- Cost for meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) 750 LKR
- Room chargers 1500 LKR
- Transport charges for the TUK TUK to Negombo om airport 500 LKR
- Mineral water 100 LKR
What is the cost of estimation of the best budget tours in Sri Lanka?
- Cost for basic accommodation on Room only basis 5$. You can find the accommodation for 5$ in an economical accommodation facility such as a guest house, rest house, rent room or homestay.
- The average cost for Breakfast in a local restaurant average 1$. This is the average cost for breakfast in a local restaurant. The prices of food and beverage differ depending on the restaurant.
- Cost of Lunch in an average local restaurant 1$.
- Cost for a dinner in an average local restaurant 1$.
- Bottle of water 2 litres 1$.
- Transport in public transport such as trains and busses, average 1$ per 20 KM. public transport is the cheapest method of transport on the island. Well developed transport system allows you to reach any part of the country for a very reasonable price.
Three ways to save money on budget tours in Sri Lanka
With the approaching winter holiday, people around the world, mostly from the countries of the northern hemisphere are searching for places to spend their winter holidays. Some people look for warm destinations such as Sri Lanka, while others love to go skiing. Here are several tricks to save money if you happened to choose Sri Lanka for your holiday.
1. Arrange own accommodation and save money on budget tours in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a popular holiday destination with well-developed tourism infrastructure. State institution Ceylon tourist board is helping the foreign tourists, who need assistance with information to spend the holiday in Sri Lanka. There is a number of possibilities with regards to arranging accommodation on the island.
It offers you the possibility of a luxurious star class boutique hotel with cheap homestay accommodation. By presenting yourself at the hotel or any form of accommodation, enables to save a big chunk of money that is originally meant for the tour operators in Sri Lanka and abroad. Other than saving the money, you have the option to choose the best place for your holiday among several possibilities. By doing so you may be able to save nearly 50% of the accommodation cost of the holiday package.
2. Arrange own transport to save money on budget tours in Sri Lanka
Transport is one of the most expensive parts of a holiday package. If you happen to book your holiday with the tour operator, you will have to agree with the transport facilities organized by the operator. You will be put on a packed bus during the transfers and round tours. Individual transport provides you with privacy and comfort and it saves a lot of money as well. There is a number of methods that can be used to travel around the island, buses and trains are being the cheapest and best in availability. The well-developed road network provides access to all parts of the island. Private Taxi, trishaw, seaplane, the helicopter is being the other method of transport available for holidaymakers in Sri Lanka.
3. Reduce expenses on budget tours in Sri Lanka by eating with locals
What meal plan do you like to have most during the holiday? HB/half board (Breakfast and dinner included), FB/Full board (all three meals included), or BB/Bed and Breakfast (only the breakfast included), by selecting the correct meal plan allows you to save a lot of money that incurs during the holiday. Choosing the meal plan depends on several factors such as the cost of the hotel, availability of food outlets around the area etc.
The cost of foods and drinks in hotels are always higher than the normal prices in the market, for instance, a Beer that cost 50 cents Dollar outside the hotel cost around 5 dollars in the tourist hotels and the same theory is applied to everything you by in the hotel. Normally in all places, where tourists are hanging around, small guest houses and restaurant provides food and drinks for much cheaper prices than the hotels.
If you have booked your accommodation on BB basis, you have the most flexibility of engaging in various activities in the country, such as day excursions, tours etc. if you kind of person who likes doing sightseeing tours and engages with the local community you must have the BB meal plan during the holiday. On the other hand, having FB will cost you more money for meals if you happen to be away from the hotel during the meal times and there is no-way for claiming that money spends on meals.
Another disadvantage of having meals in the hotel is not being able to taste the typical local foods. If you happen to be in a foreign country you need to learn the culture, history and living style of native people including their food and drinks. If you are planning your next holiday to this tropical island try to save some money by applying these three methods.
3 popular budget tours in Sri Lanka
Below mentioned 3 tours are short trips in Sri Lanka planned for budget-conscious travellers. However, all these tours include private transportation in taxi inorder to dave time for the sightseeing, while accommodations are provided in the standard, good, clean hotel in order to avoid any health-related issues.
1. budget tour destination bewitching golden triangle
The scenic cultural triangle of Sri Lanka encompasses many important historical places and many natural attractions such as Minneriya national park. However, the cultural triangle included in most Sri Lanka road trips due to the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Dambulla, all of them are UNESCO world heritage. There are many long weekends this year and one can reach the cultural triangle after 5 hours drive! So plan your trip to the cultural triangle to experience the rich historical past of Sri Lanka.
Transportation: The journey from Colombo to the cultural triangle lasts around 5 hours via Dambulla. There are many places to visit within the cultural triangle and they are spread across a large geographical area. Therefore the travellers need to cover a large distance to reach from one place to the other. For instance, it would be around 100km from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa and the drive takes around 2 hours. It is highly recommended to base in the Sigiriya and Habarana (in the middle of the cultural triangle), while you explore the attractions in the cultural triangle, thereby you can reach important places within a short period of time.
Accommodation: The accommodation facilities are plenty in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. But most hotels and other accommodation fasciitis are to be found in Sigiriya and Habarana area, as it is centrally located within the cultural triangle. A Large number of hotels, guest houses, rest houses and dormitories are providing economical accommodation for travellers, who wish to explore the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka.
Places to Visit: Must visits in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka includes, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya rock fortress, Dambulla cave temple, Pidurangala temple, to do are – Buddhist temples, farmhouses, visit the Sigiriya museum, making a safari tour.
Suggested Duration: 3 Days and 2 Nights
Travel Calculation: Approx. USD 350 per couple
Interesting Tips: It is highly recommended to base in Habarana/Sigiriya at least 1 night to explore the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. There is a large distance to cover the places in the cultural triangle and also there is a large distance to cover within the historical places; therefore it is best to have your own transport!
2. Sri Lanka budget tours to Yala National Park
Yala safari is one of the best budget trips in Sri Lanka and loved by nature-lovers. Also known as Ruhunu national park, Yala is the most popular national park in the island of Sri Lanka. The park lies in the remote corner of southern Sri Lanka. Yala features dry zone forest, wet zone forest and thorn bush. Yala is the 2nd biggest national park in the country and travellers are able to spot many rare species of animal such as leopard, elephant, crocodile and bear during the Yala safari.
Transportation: The distance to cover from Colombo to Yala is 260 km and the drive takes around 4 hours. It is necessary to have an overnight stay in a nearby city such as Tissamaharama in order to have the best experience on this trip to Yala.
Accommodation: The options for accommodation in Tissamaharama (the nearest city to Yala national park) are endless. The travellers can find a wide range of accommodation facilities such as dormitories, hotels, luxury boutique hotels, rest houses and guesthouses.
Places to Visit: Yala national park, Bundala national park, Kataragama temple, udawalawe national park.
Travel Calculation: Approx. USD 200 per couple
Suggested Duration: 2 Days and 1 Night
Interesting Tips: the best time for the safari is either in the morning or evening. Usually, the afternoon safari starts around 2.00 PM while morning safari starts around 05.00 AM.
3. Budget tour packages in Sri Lanka to breathtaking Nuwara Eliya
By far Nuwara Eliya is the most popular hill country resort in Sri Lanka. It attracts travellers for many centuries mainly due to its healing climate and breathtaking scenery. Nuwara Eliya and its neighbourhood lies well above 1000 meters above sea level and dominated by tea plantations, mountains, patches of forests. There is no other better place to take a glimpse on picturesque cascading waterfalls within Sri Lanka. Everyone is talking about Nuwara Eliya “wasantha Udanaya” which takes place in the month of April, parallel to the flowering season of the city.
Transportation: Nuwara Eliya can be reached within 4-5 hours drive from beaches resorts in the west coast, from Colombo or from Kandy. Nuwara Eliya is a popular city and connected to most major cities with public transport such as trains and buses. If you travel to Nuwara Eliya it is highly recommended to have a train journey, which is the best way to travel to Nuwara Eliya as it allows you to have one of the most scenic train journeys in the world.
Accommodation: There is a scarcity of accommodation facilities in Nuwara Eliya, therefore the accommodation cost on the upper side compared to most other holiday destinations in the country. Low supply and high demand make the accommodation cost around 20%-30% higher than most other places in the country. It is best to book accommodation before arriving the city due to the high demand; especially during the peak season (April and November to April), you will not be able to get rooms at the last moment.
Places to Visit: Most places that worth your attention are natural attractions except few Hindu religious connected to Ramayana. Seetha Amman temple, Haggala botanical garden, Victoria Park Gregory Lake, Horton plains national park are some of the noteworthy places in Nuwara Eliya.
How much does it cost this trip: Approx. USD 250 per couple
Suggested Duration: 2 Days and 1 Night
Interesting Tips: Gregory Lake is one of the beautiful places to hang around with many activities for kids as well as for elders. Here you can do horse riding, cycling etc. There are many trekking sites around Nuwara Eliya so don’t forget to get a pair of shoes that suit for trekking.