Budget Adventure Guide through Sri Lanka

Budget Adventure Guide through Sri Lanka

Travelling around Sri Lanka under S$50 a day is not a feat, but merely a convenience. It is the scrumptious and affordable Khotu that caught Liau Yun Qing's eye!

Sri Lanka was the first stop of my trip. I’m very glad that I’ve visited Sri Lanka first because it was tough compared to the rest of the places.

For one thing, Sri Lanka’s tourism is not really prepared well for the cheapo traveller like me.

If you have the money, getting drivers/ tour guides to bring you around is easy and very relaxing.

But I have a budget to adhere to so I did everything on my own–even taking the long-distance public transport on the eve of a major public holiday.

Economy class train ticket
Economy class train ticket

Sri Lanka’s travel costs

In April last year, Sri Lanka’s exchange rate was 101 rupees to 1 Singapore dollar (something like that).

Oddly, getting my money changed at the bank in Kandy gave better rates than the airport did.


Total spent (rupees) # of days Daily average
35,937.5 8 4,492

By Category

Accomo Transport Food Museums/ sites SIM + data
15,025 3202 5450 7,575 1,210

I’ll be honest, I was trying to squeeze my money in Sri Lanka (even though there’s really no need to) because I want to see if I can spend less than S$50 a day. I think it worked out rather well.


Duration: 8 days (3 nights in Anuradhapura, 4 nights in Kandy, 1 night in Colombo).

Photos taken: 549 photos

Rice and curry eaten: 7  (On the last day, I had fried rice instead.)


Best room: While my room in Colombo was pricey and had all that you want in a modern hotel room, it was the Kandy hostel single room with shared bathroom that rocked my trip. For the price of a dorm bed, I got a whole room to myself. Woot!

Not-so-good room: My room in Anuradhapura was large but the only electrical socket was deliberately hidden behind a dressing table. The socket was falling apart and I was afraid of killing myself every time I plugged my charger in.

Best meal: Khotu, I LOVE YOU! This stir-fried dough stripes has the right amount of charred taste from the pan and the generous chicken bits are so tasty. I want to eat more of this!

But I like khotu a lot more than hoppers.
But I like khotu a lot more than hoppers.

Most valuable item bought: Umbrella. Do you remember how I got sunstroke from Sigiriya? If I had bought an umbrella, I would be as healthy as a bull.

Favourite part about Sri Lanka: The price of 3G! It’s so damn cheap and quite fast.

Biggest surprise: Christian shrines at the roadside.

Jesus loves you and wants to give you a hug.
Jesus loves you and wants to give you a hug

Best experience: Kids boldly saying, “Hi.” to me and asked me where I’m from. Also, a kid asked me in a temple if I was from Japan or Korea and if I knew a particular Korean popstar.

Worst experience: Sitting in crowded third class train carriage with a monk sitting on the aisle across. The old monk’s hands grabbed at the sides of my seat, leading me to squeeze away uncomfortably as I did not think that it was proper for any parts of my body to touch his hands.

Later, some passengers had a shouting match with the monk. One guy offered me his his seat next to his mother.

Another man in purple shirt asked, “Did [the monk] harass you?”
“I don’t know,”I answered honestly.
“If he did, we need to report him,” he said, looking very pissed.

I know that monks are given reverence in Sri Lanka so I wasn’t very sure if I was taken advantage of or just too silly and not just let the monk grab parts of my seat.

Biggest rip off: Anuradhapura scared city entrance ticket for US$35. I know the money is used for conservation but the actual sites that you need to show the tickets are not that splendid. I could have listened to advice on the Internet and cycled in for free.

Biggest regret: Staying for too long in Anuradhapura and not staying a night at Dambulla.

Is Sri Lanka suitable for a solo female traveller?

Before I set foot in Sri Lanka, I asked two girls who have been to the country alone what they thought about solo travel there. Phebe fromThe Travelling Squid and Stephanie from Pearls and Passport both liked the country and felt it was OK for a single woman to travel there.

After being in Sri Lanka, I think that it’s quite safe to travel as a single woman in Sri Lanka, but some sights are better suited for this than others.

For example, I was more comfortable in Kandy than in Anuradhapura where I didn’t see another East Asian-looking tourist. The beach areas should be tourist-friendly too.

However, the journey to Sigiriya from Kandy was very tiring since I was one of the few single female walking about. Standing on a cramped local bus for 3 hours didn’t help with my level of comfort at all.

In conclusion, I think Sri Lanka is a place that is best visited with a buddy to look out for you. If you really want to travel to Sri Lanka alone, I’d say, “Go ahead!” It’s a safe country but as some of the places are not as lazy-tourist-friendly as Thailand.


Contributed by YQtravelling.com.

About Author

Liau Yun Qing
Liau Yun Qing

Liau Yun Qing is a writer, explorer and glutton. She finished her 4.5-month round the world trip in August 2013 and is now getting reacquainted with normal life. Follow her travel blog and instagram


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