Sri Lanka On A Shoestring Budget

Sri Lanka is one of the cheapest destinations in Asia. In this article you can read about my travel expenses in Sri Lanka during my trip of 4 days and 5 nights.

Quick information

Country in South Asia

Language: Sinhala and Tamil are the two main languages in Sri lanka.

Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)

Let me take you on my journey through this diverse, beautiful island of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is known as “The Pearl of the Indian Ocean” falling from the South East coast of India. And it is one of the cheapest countries I’ve been to. You will see lots of green everywhere you go. This country is so beautiful.

My friend and I spent travelling together in Sri Lanka for 4 days. Though she came 3 days earlier before I arrived in the country.

I have jotted the breakdown of my daily expenses throughout my 4 days and 5 nights in Sri Lanka. I hope this will help you in case you are planning to travel in Sri Lanka on a budget. I was traveling with one friend of mine, which is always a good way to ease the cost of travel.

Day 1

From Bandaranaike International Airport I hired a private car going to Colombo Fort Station to meet my friend. From Colombo, we have to go to Ella and we bought 2nd class tickets which was really cheap for a 9 hours of travel time.


Meet my travel buddy – Airene 🙂
Colombo Fort Train Station

1st Day Expenses

Day 2

After the long haul train journey from Colombo to Ella, we spent our night at Rawana Den. Our second day was one of the most tiring and busiest days we had during our travel in this country. We started our early walk in the morning  from our hotel to Little Adam’s Peak to see the sunrise in there.


The views from hikes in Ella are phenomenal. Ella is known as the hiking hotpots in the mountain country of Sri Lanka.

At Little Adam’s Peak!!


After the tiring hike at Little Adam’s Peak, we proceeded at the Nine Arch Bridge. We recommend you to go early in the morning for the best views and it will be less tiring.

Next stop is the Nine Arch Brdige..It is a bit tricky to find but we managed to find our way by asking locals.

Nine Arch View Point.jpg

We walked to the bridge following the road out of Ella. The bridge is quite spectacular looking. This Nine Arch Bridge is one of the several top most beautiful sights in Sri Lanka.

9 arch view.jpg


See the below expenses for our second day. I calculated this for only one person (myself).

2nd Day Expenses

Day 3

We traveled all the way to Sigiriya. And it took us another 6 hours train ride to get there.


 Here are some photos where we stayed at Sigiriya.

Kashyapa Kingdom View Home. It is near to Pidurangala Rock and Lion’s Rock.


With Lion’s Rock View from Kashyapa Home

Sigiriya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited historical places in Sri Lanka.

Lion’s Rock

3rd Day Expenses

Day 4

After our Sigiriya adventure, we traveled to Negombo around 10Am. We reached Camelot Hotel at 4PM.

We chose this hotel as it’s just 20 minutes from the Colombo Airport. My friend and I agreed to book this 3 star hotel since this is our last day to stay in Sri Lanka. This one  is the most expensive accommodation we booked during our trip, but it’s still   slightly cheaper compare to the hotels in UAE. Not bad!! lol.


We just stayed here for one night and we spent our time chilling in the pool and sun -bathing on the beach.



4th Day Expenses

Day 5 (Last Day)

And so we ended our trip on our 5th day! This is a country of contrasts and surprises and one I very quickly fell in love with.  I would love to visit again in this beautiful country.

5th Day Expenses

And lastly,  I have summed up my daily expenses and you’ll be surprised how affordable it is to travel in this country.

Summary of Expenses for 5 Days

For those who are adventurous and love mountainous places, I would highly recommend Sri Lanka. You can squeeze in mountains, tea plantations, train rides, culture, history and the opportunity to interact with the local people.

Than you Sri Lanka!!

Note: Conversion rates  fluctuate from time to time and it may vary from today’s rate.


How to apply for a Sri Lankan Tourist Visa online ?

If you are holding a Philippine passport you can consider the below information and guide on how you can apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) in Sri Lanka.

All visitors must obtain an ETA prior to arrival or on arrival to Sri Lanka.

However, the below nationals of the following countries & category are exempt for ETA.


  1. The Republic of Singapore
  2. The Republic of Seychelles
  3. The Republic of Maldives


  1. Crew members of flight / ship
  2. Children under 12 years old

Documents required:

  • Valid Philippine Passport – should have at least six months of validity from the date you arrive in Sri Lanka.
  • Completed ETA application form (
  • Passport Copies – Face page & UAE Residence Visa page (if you are residing in UAE)
  • Return air ticket
  • Proof of hotel accommodation or an invitation from hosts in Sri Lanka

Here are the 3 easy steps:

  1. Fill out the application form and submit it online. Make sure that you have your passport number, address in Sri Lanka, and intended arrival date as you need to input those details in the application.
  2. Once you finish filling up the form, you can then proceed on the payment section. Payment Options – Pay via credit or debit card. I paid 35 USD

For SAARC region Passport Holders – US$ 20 (AED 73.44)

For All Other Country Passport Holders – US$ 35 (AED 128.52)


The payment online  must be paid with a valid debit or credit card.

  1. After payment submission, you will then receive ETA confirmation. Wait for the acknowledgment from the Department of Immigration & Emigration, which will be sent to you via e-mail.

I’ve got mine within 2 minutes. Please see sample email. 123

Here’s the sample approval email.

sri lanka approved

I would advise that it is best to get your ETA in advance as it’s cheaper and faster rather than getting it upon your arrival.

I also suggest to keep a copy of the ETA approval notice to be produced at the port of entry in Sri Lanka.

Note: Your Sri Lankan ETA visa is electronically linked to your passport number, you will not need a stamp, nor will one be issued.

You can also apply Sri Lankan tourist visa through embassy.

If you have any doubts/ questions, it’s better to contact or visit the nearest Sri Lankan Embassy in your country.

**Kindly note that all information mentioned above is based on my experience applying for a tourist visa through ETA.