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How to Plan 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. 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.

You budget tour to Sri Lanka can be USD 10 per day to many thousands per day

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.

In this post, I’m going to talk about the cheapest holiday destination in Asia namely Sri Lanka.  Do you believe that a budget holiday in Sri Lanka cost around USD10 per person a day? it cost only USD10 per day to have a holiday 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

Tea Gardens
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Temple of the tooth relic
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How to save money during 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.

Visit all these tourist hotspots on the cultural triangle tour

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Sigiriya rock fortress
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Pinnawala elephant orphanage

Cost of estimation for budget tours in Sri Lanka for less than 10$ a day.

  1. 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.
  2. The average cost for Breakfast in a local restaurant average 1$. This is the average cost for breakfast in a local restaurant. The prices of food and beverage differ depending on the restaurant.
  3. Cost of Lunch in an average local restaurant 1$.
  4. Cost for a dinner in an average local restaurant 1$.
  5. Bottle of water 2 litres 1$.
  6. 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 are numbers 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 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.

Watadage polonnaruwa quadrangle

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!

leopard sri lanka

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.

nuwara eliya travel guide

3. Sri Lanka budget tours 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.


Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity)

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