Backpacking Sri Lanka: Our Route

If you’ve ever been to Sri Lanka you’ll be aware that it really is a ‘road less travelled’ as a result of the 27 year-long civil war, and the destruction caused by the 2004 Tsunami meant many coastal resorts were devastated. However, over the last few years (since the civil war ended in 2009) tourism has been rapidly increasing, and more specifically the backpacking crowd are finding their way to explore the beautiful beaches, indulge in the delicious cuisine and immerse themselves in the rich culture and wildlife. But with Sri Lanka only recently emerging as a new hot spot, there isn’t an obvious route and with so much on offer, picking a direction can be daunting. We spent many hours researching the areas and what activities were available. So whether you’re looking for a two-week whirlwind tour or a two-month turtle-paced race, here’s our guide to backpacking Sri Lanka.

backpacking in sri lanka

We started in Colombo and headed South along the West coast to Hikkaduwa, then trooped along the South coast before heading inland to Yala National Park. Then we moved to the East coast for a spot of surfing, and caught the train right across the middle, through the hill country to explore the green regions, Ella and Kandy. Unfortunately we didn’t get to check out the North of the island as we only had a month and found that we were pushed for time just to cover the Southern half of the island. So here’s our route around the South of Sri Lanka..


Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka and when you land at Bandaranaike International Airport near Negombo you’ll only be about 30 – 40 minutes from the centre of Colombo. Stayed: Clock Inn (£10 per dorm bed) – This is a great budget option in Colombo if you don’t mind staying in a four bed dorm. There’s not many hostels to choose from, so we were happy with our choice. It’s spotlessly clean, has decent wi-fi and you’ll find other travelers of all ages and nationalities. Ate: Green Cabin, with amazing curries and cakes for dessert, we had a huge meal with beers and dessert for under £10. Activities: We went to the 5 star Cinammon Grand to get some work done and drink some fancy coffee. However we had to pay for wi-fi though so we set up a wi-fi hotspot on our phones. Barefoot Cafe, has good internet and nice fresh juices, although they are a tad overpriced. Transport: We caught the train to Hikkaduwa, although we didn’t reserve seats so traveled in 3rd Class, it only cost around 200LKR (90p) each but don’t expect to get a seat and be prepared to get cosy with the locals!

Train from Colombo to Hikkaduwa

(Train journey from Colombo to Hikkaduwa)


Stayed: Vibrations Hotel (£14 – out of season price) was really nice and had a pool, although it was fairly quiet when we stayed. We also recommend Top Secret if you want a busier vibe. Ate: Vibrations restaurant, Barista for breakfast every morning, and Cool Spot Resturant for delicious and very cheap seafood and curry. Activities: Surfing lesson with Reef End Surf School, lesson with Arry. Laying on the beach outside Top Secret. Transport: Tuk tuk to Galle, cost 1000LKR (£4.65) took around 30 mins. You can catch a bus for much less but after our sweaty train ride we were happy to take a tuk tuk. If you’re short on time skip Galle and carry on to Unawatuna for one of the world’s best beaches and lots of reggae vibes!

 Where to stay in Hikkaduwa Sri Lanka

(Top Secret in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka)


Stayed: Thenu Rest (£19) is a really friendly guesthouse in the old streets of Galle Fort. Highly recommended if your main objective is to explore the fort. Expect four-poster beds drapped in traditional lace. Ate: Dutch Cafe and The Heritage Cafe, both come highly recommended. Expect slightly higher prices for everything inside the fort. If you’re looking for budget options, ask a tuk tuk to take you to the shops and restaurants just outside of the gates. Activities: Walked around the fort, good wi-fi at the Heritage Cafe. Cricket games on weekends. Transport: Tuk tuk for 400LKR (£1.85) – takes about 15 mins to Unawatuna

Where to stay in Galle Sri Lanka

(Galle Fort in Sri Lanka)


Stayed: Sam’s Place (£13) check out the reviews HERE Slightly away from the beach but great wi-fi if you’re working/blogging whilst traveling. Ate: Breakfast at Sam’s, Coffee at StarBeans, Passion fruit cocktails at the Surf Lodge, plus 2 nice restaurants on the beach – pricey but worth it to have some great western food. Activities: Submarine dive shop is at end of Unawatuna beach. Two dives costs 50 euros (or 30 euros for one dive). Ask a Tuk Tuk driver to take you to Jungle Beach (only ten minutes away) for some amazing seculded snorkeling. Transport: Bus to Weligama for 50LKR (23p), takes around 30 mins. If you’re short on time skip it and head straight to Mirissa, we prefered Mirissa by a long way but wanted to stop for the beginners surf in Weligama.

Where to stay in Unawatuna Sr Lanka(Unawatuna Beach in Sri Lanka)


Stayed: Neptune Hotel was horrible, we recommend you stay next door at Samura’s Place. Ate: There’s nowhere good to eat, catch a tuk tuk to Mirissa. Activities: Surfing morning and evening, great for beginners – board rental from Samura’s place for 400LKR per hour (surf lesson’s also available) Transport: Tuk tuk to Mirissa costs 300LKR (£1.40), and takes around 10 mins. More info about Mirissa HERE


Stayed: Central Beach Inn (£12 with a fan, more with air con) Ate: Dewmini Rotty Shop for dinner on two consecutive nights. On the first night we had vegetable rotties, and the second night we tried the curry, which needs to be pre-ordered the day before. The juices at the Central Beach Inn are amazing, well worth 300LKR (£1.40). The cocktails are also good for the evening 500LKR (£2.30) during happy hour, which is 4 til 9 (otherwise they’re 600LKR) Activities: Whale watching costs 10,000LKR for two. This was a massive waste of time, we didn’t see any whales, everyone on our boat was constantly being sick as we trawled the sea for 5 hours! DO NOT DO THIS ACTIVITY!  Have a cooking lessons at Rotty shop instead and play in the epic waves on Mirissa beach. Transport: Bus to Matara, then bus to Tissa (Tissamaharama)

where to stay in Mirissa Sri Lanka

(Central Beach Inn, Mirissa Beach in Sri Lanka)


Stayed: Elephant Camp – great little guest house run by one fo the most friendly hosts ever. We shared some Arak and chatted about crazy adventures all night. Ate: An unamed restaurant over the road from the Elephant Camp (ask the owner to show you). We had some delicious Sri Lankan curries for 300LKR (£1.40) each, and there was far too much for us to finish. Activities: Yala National Park Safari – This is by far the best tour we’ve ever been on. Our driver was great and spotted loads of wildlife. We watched the Elephants play at the watering hole, saw loads of crocodiles, birds, wild boars, lizards, monkeys, etc. Unfortunately we didn’t see the elusive leopard but it didn’t matter we had a fantastic morning in the park. Cost 10,500LKR (£50) for two, includes luxury jeep from your hotel and a driver. Our driver Nuwan, was so good we tipped him 1000LKR (he only earns 400LKR for each trip) and we highly recommend booking your safari at the Elephant Camp even if you’re not staying there, so you get Nuwan as your driver, he’s brilliant! Transport: For Arugam Bay, catch the 8am Kandy bus (quick bus), get off at Weliwaya to change onto the bus to Monaragala (quick bus again), at Monaragala change onto the bus to Arugam Bay. The whole trip took us around 6 hours but we got two quick buses, it took some people 9 hours! It costs around 350LKR (£1.62) each, for all three buses.

Yala National Park Sri Lanka

(Elephants playing at the watering hole in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka)

Arugam bay

Stayed: Sun ‘n’ Surf – easily the best accommodation in ABay. Cost us 3250LKR (£15) per night for a concrete cabana (the wooden ones are a bit cheaper) but this was during low season – expect to pay a bit more during high season. Ate: Over the road in a  local restaurant, always full of tourists because of the low prices and great food. Sri Lankan curry is around 250LKR (£1.20). They also serve pasta, noodles and other dishes. The chocolate rotty for dessert, is to die for! Activities: ABay is a surfing mecca! There’s board rental from Mambos for 400LKR (£1.85) an hour. Plus, there’s a beach party at Mambos on Saturday nights, which was still going strong when we left at about 2 or 3am! Transport: Bus back to Monaragala, bus back to Weliwaya and then catch the bus to Ella (only 45 mins from Weliwaya) The whole journey takes around 6 hours, because even though the last bus is short, the first two weren’t quick buses, so it took longer than the journey to ABay. If you’re short on time you can catch a sea plane to fly you back to the West coast. Or if you’re looking to go straight back to Colombo click the image below to organise a taxi with Taxisurfr.



Stayed: Sun Top Inn – Great views from the balcony, so you can dream away your morning whilst they serve up the free breakfast. Ate: Dream Cafe – pizza’s high recommended – they were good but place is plagued by flies, which made trying to work and eat a bit uncomfortable. Nescoffee next door looked busy and had a good vibe about it. Activities: Walk to the top of Little Adam’s Peak, it only takes an hour there and back (but we were rushing as we were booked on the 10.50am  train to Kandy) Awesome views across the hills, highly recommend. Do it early, before it gets too hot. Transport: The famous train to Kandy across the hills with views over the tea plantations and more. We booked with ExpoRail which is ‘luxury class’, it wasn’t that luxurious but was certainly better than travelling in third class! Definitely worth doing, even if you only have time to do a small portion of it. Its meant to take 6 hours but took more like 7 and a half. It doesn’t go right to Kandy station, but stops about 5km away so you can catch a tuk tuk for 500LKR (£2.30) into Kandy.


Stayed: Mcloed Inn – Nice and clean with great views but has a 10.30pm curfue – not great if your night owls – and check out is at half 10 in the morning. We think he needs to ease up on his times! Ate: The White House – serves Indian curry, the sauce was great but meat was really tough, so I wouldn’t recommend going there. Go for drinks at The Pub and the Slightly Chilled Cafe, which also has great views. Activities: Buddha’s Tooth Temple – costs 1000LKR (£4.65) to go in. You must have shoulders and legs covered, but you can rent sarongs outside if you forget. Transport: 1st Class train to Colombo from Kandy station – costs 1200LKR (£5.60) each and takes about 3 hours to reach Colombo. It’s easy to head back to the airport from here but we had a couple more days to kill so we jumped in a tuk tuk to Mount Lavinia to stay at one of the only hostels in Sri Lanka!

where to stay in Kandy Sri Lanka

(The view over Kandy in Sri Lanka)

Mount Lavinia

Stayed: Mount Lavinia Hostel – One of the only hostels in Sri Lanka and well worth a visit. It’s a great way to meet other backpackers, many of whom are just arriving or just leaving. Ate: La Rambla is an awesome restaurant close to the Hostel. It serves top-notch seafood and meat dishes, pasta and loads more. We highly recommend you head there for dinner if you’re in the area and are looking for a fancy meal. Activities: There is a beach at Mount Lavinia but it isn’t that nice, compared to the other beaches in Sri Lanka. It’s where a lot of the locals come to escape the city life so it can get pretty crowded. We spent most of our time here planning our the next stage of our trip, Indonesia! Transport: Taxi back to the international airport.

Sri Lanka has been one of our favourite countries to date, so if you’re thinking of a trip there, DO IT! IT’S AMAZING! For more info about traveling through Sri Lanka visit our Backpackers Guide Or if you have a specific question, please leave a comment below.


All nationalities (except Sri Lanka) need to have a valid visa to Sri Lanka prior to the trip. Nowadays you can apply for the ETA to Sri Lanka online. When you make the application, you have to make sure to enter all the passport information exactly the same as on the passport, otherwise it can be invalid or you can experience a lot of delay when you pass Immigration at the airport. ETA is electronic and it is linked to your passport. You only need to show the passport at Immigration on arrival.

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88 Responses to Backpacking Sri Lanka: Our Route

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    Hi we loved this post about Sri Lanka it really helped us plan our route when we traveled last year do you have a similar route post about the Philippines? Thanks Emily and Will

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    Sri Lanka has been one of our favourite countries to date, so if you’re thinking of a trip there, DO IT! IT’S AMAZING! For more info about traveling through Sri Lanka visit our Backpackers Guide Or if you have a specific question, please leave a comment below.

  14. peter 15 May, 2019 at 4:25 am #

    I am planning on doing some travelling round Sri Lanka for a month in August, your trail looks amazing :). What is the weather like in August and what was your budget for month/how much did you spend?

    Kind Regards,

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  22. Kim Lang 19 July, 2018 at 12:23 am #

    What an amazing and a fascinating place to visit. I really didn’t know much about Sri Lanka but after reading this post I will surely visit one day. Thanks for sharing such an amazing post.

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    Lassen Sie uns Ihnen helfen, die Einzelheiten Ihrer gesamten reiseroute Sri Lanka zu ermitteln. Lehnen Sie sich zurück, während alle Ihre Reise- und Sri Lanka aktivitäten bequem und mühelos geplant und abges chlossen werden. Oder, wenn Sie absolute Kontroll ehaben möchten und esvorziehen, die Wahl selbst zu treffen, freuen wir uns darauf als Ihr Buchun gsagent für den von Ihnenge wählten Transport, die Unterkunft und die Tour zu fungieren. Was immer Sie brauchen, wir sind für Sie da. Ihre Zufriedenheit ist unsere Garantie.

  25. JULIE 10 November, 2017 at 8:53 pm #

    I hope you can help, were a couple from Yorkshire travelling to sri lanka, India and Thailand for 10 weeks, what’s the best way to money.
    Thanks Julie

  26. Matthias 19 August, 2017 at 7:10 am #

    Good route! You covered about the most travel essentials in Sri Lanka. In case you ever return, I wrote a travel guide for Sri Lanka with 3 alternative itineraries:

  27. Praveen Mendis 18 July, 2017 at 9:36 am #

    Amazing post…! thanks for sharing.. The pictures are stunning and unique.. Specially the train picture is amazing.

  28. Robert Chimne 10 May, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

    Nice place to visit specially on Summer. Good and helpful people. Also the tour operator we hired provided us with best accommodation and travel experience. Was a sweet trip.Actually its the best thing during a tour to get accompanied by someone who know the place exactly. Can refer to this contact – [email protected], +94 77 650 7253

  29. Emily 12 April, 2017 at 9:51 pm #

    Hi we loved this post about Sri Lanka it really helped us plan our route when we traveled last year do you have a similar route post about the Philippines? Thanks Emily and Will

    • Beth 13 April, 2017 at 9:25 am #

      Hi Emily, thanks for your message. Unfortunately we didn’t get around to detailing our trip around the Philippines, but it is a truly magical place – one of our favourites! There are plenty of islands to explore, so my advice would be to pick a side either head West to Palawan or head East and go to Siargao, Malapascua, etc And of course, Boracay is a backpacker favourite! have a great trip :)
      Beth recently posted…Surfing Abroad – How To Deal With Surfer’s EarMy Profile

  30. Arugam Bay Traveller 28 March, 2017 at 11:18 am #

    Hi, I run a Facebook group for Sri Lanka backpackers. Come and join!

    Thanks guys!

  31. Maureen Antoinette 24 February, 2017 at 4:46 pm #

    Hi, Beth and Gaz.

    Came across your blog about Sri Lanka as Im trying to research now in time for my trip on April. Btw, still not much reads about Sri Lanka so imagine my eyes smiling when I saw this :)

    Anyway, hope you can help me as Im really torn to what route I should be taking since Sri Lanka’s must sees are scattered from one end to another. My priorities are just

    – Sigiriya Rock
    – Scenic train ride!!!
    – See elephants and other wild animals
    – beaches in the south area

    So Im really not sure should I go up north first and circle back to south for the beach or the other way around?

    Hope to hear from you. :)

    Maureen (Philippines)

  32. Asanka Miah 19 December, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Thanks for sharing this interesting blog and images with us.
    You have touched almost every & best parts of Sri Lanka in your post.
    So, when you are coming again to Sri Lanka, I am looking forward to read some more fabulous post from your bucket.

  33. Harry 19 November, 2016 at 9:30 am #

    We hire a local driver, which was an amazingly convenient way to get around. Tour Driver Finder ( is an independent and free listing of local drivers, with past user reviews.

    The train to Ella was another highlight for us – sit on the right side of the train for a view!

  34. Harry 19 November, 2016 at 9:29 am #

    The train to Ella was a highlight for us – sit on the right side of the train for a view!

    We hire a local driver, which was an amazingly convenient way to get around. Tour Driver Finder ( is an independent and free listing of local drivers, with past user reviews.

  35. Silly Sausage 19 November, 2016 at 9:28 am #

    Liz – great article.

    The train to Ella was a highlight for us – sit on the right side of the train for a view!

    We hire a local driver, which was an amazingly convenient way to get around. Tour Driver Finder ( is an independent and free listing of local drivers, with past user reviews.

  36. ayeshasusan 11 October, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    Hi! Thanks for such a comprehensive article! My brother and I are heading over for Christmas this year and hoping to meet up with other backpackers while we’re there. Since the whole trip is only around 10 days we are planning to focus on Unawatuna and Galle but Ella, Mirissa and Dambula also look so tempting!

    • Leah Bootsma 30 May, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

      Hey! just stumbled across this post.. looks like you went for christmas last year? how did you find it!? i’m thinking of going solo this year for christmas.. did you find it easy enough to meet people? I’m not sure I want to be completely alone on Christmas!


  37. Harry 19 September, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Thanks for the great trip report! We too loved Unawatuna beach :-).

    Another tip: People may find the following website useful when trying to find/choose a driver or tour guide in Sri Lanka:

    It’s a independent listing of tour guides and drivers in Sri Lanka, with reviews. If you know a particularly good driver, add them on, so others may benefit!

  38. Sally 20 July, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    Just wondering if we should take some US Dollar or not?
    Thank you for the amazing advice, will definitely visit some of these places.

    • Diane 21 July, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

      If you are looking for a nice clean place to stay, Lanka rose guest house close to Bentota, swimming pool, big rooms with A/C, great breakfast, Rs 4500 for double room well worth it. great hosts, free bicycles, nothing is too much trouble..

      • Nona 27 February, 2017 at 5:21 am #

        Se puede decir más alto pero no más claro.Yo añado otra cosa: Que su finalidad sea contar una historia y despertar emociones en el jugador, no ser un sarucaactos.

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  40. John K 21 April, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this informative blog it seems very helpful. i was looking for same kind of content.

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  42. becky 4 April, 2016 at 9:03 pm #

    Great blog post with a lot of really good information.Just got back from 10 days in Sri Lanka doing the Sigiriya area having previously been in Sri Lanka ten years ago for a month. Stunning country and the people are lovely. Would recommend all of the above places to visit with Yala safari, train to Ella, Hikkadua beach, Sigiriya and Mirissa my top 5 places Becky at

  43. Elizabeth 3 April, 2016 at 7:08 am #

    Enjoy your blog! What platform do you use? The layout is very nice.

  44. anjali 18 March, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

    Sri Lanka is a wonderful tourist destination that has always lured tourists from all over the world with its rich heritage. I really enjoyed my trip a lot. If any one wants can see this link it might be useful

  45. Jisean 10 March, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

    Just like the information shared here regarding Sri Lanka’s various tourism places! It’s indeed a beneficial post for me. I’ve spent two vacation on Sri Lanka previously and I just can’t stay away from visiting again there. Thanks for inspiring me though sharing such nice natural images.

  46. Bella Noakes 1 February, 2016 at 11:19 am #

    Hi Beth,

    I am planning on doing some travelling round Sri Lanka for a month in August, your trail looks amazing :). What is the weather like in August and what was your budget for month/how much did you spend?

    Kind Regards,

    Bella :)

    • lahiru 10 June, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

      hallow bella do you need accommodation im colombo this is the right place check this for further information; or contact 940774698201

    • Kalyn 27 February, 2017 at 6:02 am #

      Hej Jakob jeg har lige siddet og læst lidt pÃ¥ den nye side, ser super flot ud, men der er nogle steajfevl som jeg synes du skal fÃ¥ rettet til – ikke for at genere dig, men andre læser den jo ogsÃ¥. hÃ¥ber det er ok

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  47. Shachar 28 November, 2015 at 11:00 am #

    Great post.
    I solo traveled to Sri Lanka and have been in some places you mentioned.
    You are right about Weligama, this place is mainly for people who want to learn surfing, there’s no much to do there.

    Shachar recently posted…8 Reasons Why You Should Travel To Sri LankaMy Profile

  48. Ann and John 30 October, 2015 at 5:03 am #


    Thanks for your blog post about Sri Lanka it is really helping with planning our trip around Sri Lanka ….. Practically following in your footsteps ! We are at the end of our 12 month round the world trip and your blog is inspiring that you can work and travel ….

    Keep having fun and stay safe

    Ann and John

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  50. Clarice 19 July, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    Hiya, thank you so much for this article! Could you give me a rough idea of budget? I’m hoping to spend four weeks in Sri Lanka next August and am planning how much to save!

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  51. 3 July, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    One of the most characteristic villages that I visited in Tuscany is San Gimignano, nearVolterra. I stayed there during my last holiday in Tuscany, in a farmhouse really beautiful. There was a restaurant and a swimming pool overlooking sille towers. It’s called Farm Raccianello and both me and my girlfriend really enjoyed it.

  52. kerry woods 12 May, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

    Excelent route. It looks like you have this planned carefully. This reference in Srilanka tour very well. sometimes if not well planned as it makes a sightseeing trip becomes unpleasant. I am very interested in Sri Lanka, but I do not have much information about them. Your post will I make one of my references. nic info. thanks.

  53. Abhilash 22 March, 2015 at 4:00 am #

    Hi guys, Very precisely written guide. Thanks a ton. How many days did you guys take to finish the trip youve mentioned here?

  54. LRE 5 March, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

    Excellent guide and looks like your a beach person :-) . If tropical beaches are your thing then this itinerary is perfect for you. If you’re looking for some history and culture I would definitely recommend a visit to the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and the Sigiriya rock fortress.

  55. fsirin 12 February, 2015 at 5:20 pm #


    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    I will be in Sri lanka in March. I arrive to Colombo where do you recommend to start my trip to find some travelers and also get advice ? Should I skip Colombo and go to Negombo directly ? I have around 25 days any advice welcome. I like nature, beach and sure meeting lot of backpackers.


  56. paris collingbourne 30 January, 2015 at 10:10 pm #

    Hi both,

    This article was so so helpful for me, I’m looking at visiting Sri Lanka just on a quick stop over for about a week in Feb. As a backpacker who usually likes to settle in a place for a lot longer in order to get the most out of it I think i’ll struggle with being there for just a short space of time!

    Could you possible advise me on the top places to visit? Which I’ll enjoy the most if i’m looking to meet other backpackers/make the most of my time there?

    Thanks so much,


    • Beth 1 February, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

      Hi Paris, thanks for your message. If you haven’t got long I would highly recommend you head for Unawatuna, the beach is really beautiful and there’s lot of cafes and restauarants, and activities like scuba diving. Yet it still feels really authentic. From there you can catch a tuk tuk to Galle to check out the fort for a day and you could even spend another day surfing in Weligama (to the East of Unawatuna). If you’re traveling alone book into a place called the Pink Elephant. They don’t have many spaces so it’s best to book, but the downstairs area has a really cool vibe and I’m sure you’ll meet lots of like-minded travellers there! I’m sure you’ll have a smashing time, let us know how it goes :)

  57. paper boat sailor 29 October, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Nice route! I did something very similar on my first trip to Sri Lanka. The second one took me to the northern province of Jaffna–what an experience.

    I have to disagree about Weligama–perhaps one of my favourite towns in the south, with its decidedly local atmosphere and no mad tourist crowds. I posted about it just recently. :)
    paper boat sailor recently posted…Trapped in Paradise: an Island StoryMy Profile

  58. Jessica 27 October, 2014 at 3:25 pm #


    I am going to Sri Lanka in December and want to know where was best for being backpacker busy – Unuwatuna or Hikkaduwa? As I’m there for Xmas and NY I want to be somewhere with loads of atmosphere with other backpackers but unsure between the 2?


    • Katie 26 November, 2014 at 5:39 am #

      Hi Jessica,

      Are you travelling solo ?, I am gong to be there from 16th through till January and just had some friends go and have heaps of tips , send me your email and I will flick some details through

      • Chanel 1 December, 2014 at 7:00 am #

        Hey Katie!

        I’ll be in Sri Lanka from the 8th of Jan if you’re still around :)

    • Beth 15 January, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

      Did you guys manage to meet up for Christmas and New Years? Where did you spend it in the end Unawatuna or Hikkaduwa?

  59. Julia 9 June, 2014 at 5:44 am #

    What a comprehensive expose on the backpacker life in Sri Lanka! I have fund your site invaluable for my planned trip in a few weeks! If you could recommend places to go for a week or so only, what would you recommend?

  60. Chloe 11 May, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    Thanks for such a brilliant article, going to Sri Lanka in a month and this is definitely one of the most useful Sri Lanka backpacking blogs I’ve found! Couple of questions-
    – What time of year did you go? We’re heading out in June and I know it’s meant to be monsoon season in the South West but looking at the weather forecasts currently it doesn’t look too bad!
    – We’re only spending 2 weeks in Sri Lanka so don’t have time to do everything, we’re going to spend some time in the Hill Country and Arugum Bay for the surfing, maybe also head up to Nilaveli/Uppaveli for some diving. If we were going to fit in one of the beaches in the South would you say Mirassa or Unawatuna was better?
    Thanks, Chloe

    • Heidi 27 February, 2017 at 7:23 am #

      Thanks, Lisa. It18#2&7;s funny, Micah mentions something about Gabriel just about every day. It might be a shirt he’s wearing that Gabriel wore or a toy, and he’s the one who knows absolutely nothing of why his big brother is gone.

  61. Matthew O 18 February, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    This is a great write up and in fact a great site. I am looking to go travelling myself taking advantage of a sabattical from work from around November time. I had pencilled in possibly a few weeks in sri lanka as part of my 6 months, but your article has really firmed up my desire to visit. Out of interest how long was your trip in Sri Lanka ? could I see plenty in 3 weeks ?
    I also wondered how many other travelers I can expect to come across ? is its a popular destination ?
    I am travelling alone and would really like to meet and experience some of the places with new people.
    Would you also consider it to be fairly reasonably priced for food and accommodation?

    • Gaz 14 March, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

      Hi Matthew, Thanks for the support! Sri Lanka was great fun, it’s got a Caribbean feel to it on the south coast. Three weeks is a good amount of time to see the place, although I think you would be pushed to get around the whole island (there’s so much to see/do)! I would recommend tackling either the north or south. There’s some great site’s to see in the north as well as scuba diving (although I think you may just be out of season in Nov for diving). It’s a great place to surf or learn to surf If that interests you? You will run into backpackers, just not as readily as in places like India, Thailand and Australia. Most of the accommodation is guest houses, where you’ll meet other backpackers, but there are a couple of hostels. The islands relatively cheap, and accommodation will cost you anywhere from 6/7 – 20 pound a night. Hope that helps? :-D

      • Matt Oldham 17 March, 2014 at 7:43 am #

        Hi Gaz,
        Thanks for coming back to me I really appreciate it. Sounds like good advice to see mainly either the north or south, I don’t want to spend all my time travelling when I only have 3 weeks. I think I would be in Sri Lanka around February or March time next year, do you know what weather is typically like then ? Surfing could well be something that interests me so I will take a look at that. Relatively cheap sounds good, and hopefully I will run in to plenty of other people as I am moving around.
        I am really looking forward to seeing Sri Lanka after your write up so thanks and hope you both continue to enjoy your travels.. I will be reading.

        • Gaz 31 March, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

          Hey Matt, Sounds good, we enjoyed traveling round the South. You could head inland to Kandy and across to Arugam Bay, then down to the National Park and along the South coast, or look at the route we took. The weather should be great then, I think it’s dry season in March so the temperature will probably be between 27-33 degrees. I found it to be quite mild and not too humid, but I do love hot countries!

      • phil 26 May, 2014 at 9:24 am #

        I am planning on doing an identical trip/route as yours in Sth Sri Lanka, Could you please tell me how long your trip took ?
        Many thanks Phil

  62. Laura 9 February, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Thanks for this great article. I have been using it as a guideline while travelling in Sri Lanka. I am currently in Mirissa and just wanted to add a little something, because I went on the whale safari today despite your warning! We only paid 5000 lkr for 2 people and saw at least 5 whales (both the speam whale and the blue whale). It was pretty amazing :) So maybe you were just unlucky on your trip.

    Hope you are both doing well. All the best, Laura

    • Beth 14 February, 2014 at 5:58 am #

      I’m really glad you’re finding it useful. I need to spruce it up a bit really as I just jotted it down quickly as we were on the move. I’m glad you enjoyed the whale watching, it just goes to show that everyone’s experience is totally unique. I guess it wasn’t just the lack of whales that gave us a negative opinion of the activity, it was the relentless trawling up and down the sea for five hours and the awful petrol fumes (and everyone being sick around us!) It made us feel a bit guilty, as the tours claim to be involved with the scientific research and conservation, but ten or so boats trawling up and down the water everyday is surely only adding to the problem of pollution..? I really hope you enjoy the rest of your trip in Sri Lanka. Let me know what you think of Yala Safari Park, if you have the time to do it! :)

    • Mildred 27 February, 2017 at 6:43 am #

      A bit suirprsed it seems to simple and yet useful.

    • Shilpa 31 January, 2018 at 4:10 am #

      Hey Laura,
      I am visiting srilanka in couple of weeks, would be nice to know which safari operator had you booked with for the whales safari. Thanks


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