horton plains train to Badulla

Backpacking Travel Guide to Sri Lanka

Backpacking is a popular way for younger, less wealthy travelers to vacation. Instead of flying, using expensive luggage, renting cars, and staying at fancy hotels, backpackers travel on a budget. They carry only what will fit into a backpack, allowing them to travel light. They use buses or trains to travel between destinations. They stay at out of the way bed and breakfasts or hostels. They choose destinations that are less commercialized. Backpackers are commonly associated with Europe, but this method of travel can be used anywhere in the world.

Where to visit?

A destination that might not be on most people’s radar screen is Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is an island nation off the coast of India. Some of the more popular places for backpackers might be the beaches and hiking trails, as those can be used for free. There are several places in Sri Lanka that have become popular for backpacking. One is the capital, Colombo. Or you can travel to beach resorts such as Negombo, Unawatuna, Moragalla and Bentota. Sri Lanka gives travelers the opportunity to experience a unique culture. Luckily, many Sri Lankans speak at least some English, so travelers do not need to stay at five star hotels that cater primarily to foreigners.

For those looking for a nice country vacation, Ella, Haputale or Nuwaraeliya may be good mountain destinations to visit. Ella is a small town in the hills with great scenery. It receives enough tourist traffic to support good restaurants and guesthouses and provide interesting company for travelers. Kandy, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are ancient cultural sites with temples and would be of interest to those who love history. If you love wild-life you can select ecotourism destinations such as Sinharaja rain forest, or National parks.

Where to stay?

Vacationers traveling on a budget should do their homework in advance. If the goal is to save money, it is best to take advice from experienced backpackers. Lonely Planet Travel Guides and Trip Advisor website provide useful information. Official tourist bureau usually promotes high end tourism, as they prefer to steer foreign visitors towards expensive resorts, which provide excellent facilities for wealthy travelers. A traveler on a tight budget cannot spend that kind of money and should seek out the more obscure places. Good rooms can be found for as little as Rs 2000 ($16 US) a night. These rooms are typically at home stay places, guesthouses or hostels. In beach resorts these are located little bit inland but still accessible to the beaches. That means the backpacker has to walk a little to get to the beach, but that is the whole spirit of backpacking.

Dias Rest, HaputaleDias Rest (White Monkey Guest House), Haputale would make a good home stay place for less than US $ 20

How to travel?

Travel within Sri Lanka can be accomplished on buses, trains, or a unique three-wheeled taxi known as a tuk tuk. Sri Lanka offers destinations for any tastes. Travelers can stay in a modern city, go hiking, relax at the beach, or escape to the countryside.Three wheeler (tuk-tuk) rideThree wheeler (tuk-tuk) rideRecommended destinations:
Beach resorts – Negombo, Uanwatuna, Moagalla and Bentota
Cultural sites – Kandy, Anuradhapura, Polnnaruwa
Hiking and Mountain destinations – Haputale, Ella, Nuwaraeliya
Wildlife and Ecotourism destinations – Horton Plains (from Nuwaraeliya), Sinhjaraja World Heritage Rainforest, National Wildlife parks (Yala, Udawalawe)

  • Rahul Ranjan
    August 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Its a nicely written content, a nice work done here. I like it very much a great piece of information is also given here. And also requesting to post some content who are not regular traveller as me. As a tourist I have only experience of Rajasthan fort and Palaces Tour.

  • Trip to Lipton's Seat Dambetanne Haputale | Trip to Sri Lanka
    August 27, 2012 at 2:54 am

    […] from Liptons’ Seat, Dambetanne Related Posts: Backpacking Travel Guide to Sri Lanka Sri Lankan Hotels – Telephone numbers and addresses Geocaching and Geotrekking in Sri Lanka Trip […]

  • Diana Hale
    August 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Recently I stayed in a guest house in Hikkaduwa, close to Coral Gardens Hotel, but in Land side for Rs 1500.

    • Jason
      August 28, 2012 at 4:24 am

      Where is this place exactly?

  • Jason
    August 28, 2012 at 4:23 am

    Really this is an interesting blog posting for backpackers like us who are looking for new destinations,

  • Protect our Heritages
    September 18, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Even in a small home-stay guest house you can experience smiling Sri Lankan people and their kind hospitality.

  • zakir
    February 14, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    please check out casons tours and travels great deals backpackers budget budget deals always

  • keerthiananda
    March 9, 2013 at 6:16 am

    dear friends if you need a tuk tuk with driver guide i will show all srilanka ,resonable rate .call,0094715247978

  • Diyagal Villa - Pinnawala
    May 17, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Your answer for a affordable home stay near Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

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  • Paul
    September 10, 2015 at 4:47 am

    Please let me know a place to stay for 2 nights 12/9 and 13/9 in n’eliya

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