Sri Lanka (Spending)

General Information

Average Spending a day for two (April 2015): 30 eur / 1 eur = 140 rs | 1 USD = 132 rs.

Transport is quite cheap, a 5 hours bus is just 2 eur, people are extremely kind and helpful, some times is even difficult to believe it, tourist attractions are expensive, the government is sucking the money out of their visitors, food is cheap, rice curry is just 1 eur – 2 eur all around the country, mobile plans are cheap almost everywhere you can find a free SIM card and for 100 rs you get 1Gb of data, last but not least, accommodation is “expensive” if you don’t bargain, if you do you can sleep for 10 eur or less.

Anuradhapura

A land of Buddhist meditation, full of stuppas and beautiful views.

Budget
Sleep: Lake view hostel 1300rs for double bed.
Rent: 250rs a day for a byclicle, best way to visit the sights.
Eat: 210rs for rice curry and under 50rs for bakery items all at Family Bakery (ask the locals where it is).
Entrance: 25USD to see only 3 sights, the majority are free.

What to do
Get a bicycle and go explore the land of massive stuppas. To go in to the sacred area they’ll try to charge you 25USD, another attempt of the government to dry our pockets, and that only gives you access to 3 areas, in my opinion is more fun to try to go around the guard and not pay. Anyways there is at list 7 places you can visit without the ticket, so you can even visit without paying and without cheating.
Be sure to cover shoulders and knees when entering the historical sights and if you don’t want to burn your feet while checking the stuppas and temples, take a pair of socks, the floor is *#?%; hot.

Trincomalee (Uppuveli)

Coastal city on the north east, uppuveli an nilaveli are the main places to stay and relax. Here you can swim with Blue Whales!!

Budget
Sleep: 1000rs for a “room” at Aqua Inn, they are call hobbit rooms.
Eat: 150 rice curry next to bus stop at Uppuveli.
Experience: 1500rs whale watching, 2800rs pigeon island with the guys at Coconut Lodge (+94 773044750/+94 752506845).

What to do
Enjoy the beach, go check the fort and Hindu temple in Trincomalee. Take a boat to pigeon island, where you can do great snorkeling with turtles and many reef sharks, and also take a boat to go watch the blue whales and if you are brave enough, jump in the water and swim with them.
When we where here the weather wasn’t so great so we didn’t go to pigeon island. With did the whale watching and we got to see dolphins from the above and under the water (I put my gopro in, I dint jump) and blue whales. Yes, I jumped into the water but not at the right time, some my gigantic friend was gone before we could meet.

Singiriya

Beautiful massive rock in the middle of the tropical jungle

 

 

Budget
Sleep: 900 room at Anuras / 1200 at Padmini Lodge located right in front of the school, next to the bus stop.
Eat: Expensive, ask for a special price, we manage to eat every day for 250rs.
Rent: 3000rs-4000rs for a jeep from Sigiriya to Habanara eco-park and back, including safari ride. You can fit up too 6 people.
Entrance: 3900rs for Sigiriya rock, 500rs Pidurangala rock and, 1000rs per person to enter the Hurulu Eco-Park

What to do
Sigiriya rock is very touristy and expensive, on top of that, the beautiful part of the view is to see the Sigiriya rock, which you can’t do when you are on top of it. If you go up Pidurangala rock you will be almost alone on the rock, and in my opinion, you will have a better view than the one from Sigiriya rock. Cutting to the point, go up Pidurangala rock instead of Sigiriya rock.
Close to Sigiriya, in Habanara, theres a beautiful and affordable eco-park full of Elephants, unfortunately the place is a little bit over crowded by safari jeeps, at times it seems there’s more jeeps than elephants. If you don’t mind this last point give it a try, you’ll definitely see many elephants, adult, kids and babies.

Kandy

Big city with a cute lake and nice views.

Budget
Sleep: 10 eur for a double room at the pink house. Back in the days when lonely planet was just starting, the 2nd editor stayed here. If you ask the owners they will show you pics and tell you stories from back then.
Eat: In the city you can find rice curry for 150-200 rs.

What to do
The lake is beautiful but a little bit smelly, so I recommend looking it at from upto rather than walking around it. There is a couple of view points around Kandy, for us the best was at coordinates (7.288644, 80.639549)

Adam’s Peak

Beautiful sunrise on top of the clowds, totally worth every step of the 5800 there is to the top.

 

How to get there
We didn’t find it extremely easy, my recommendation, after being stuck in buses for a couple hours too long, is to catch a train to Hatton and from there a bus to the base of Adam’s Peak. Don’t go on a weekend, is full and you’ll probably not reach the top.

Budget
Sleep: 1000rs-1500rs. We stayed at the first place right in front of the bus stop, 1200rs for a double room.
Eat: Didn’t find a good place to eat, in terms of quality. Next to the bus station 150rs for curry rice.

What to do
Wake up at 2am and climb the steps till you make it to the top of Adam’s peak, the view is worth every step.

Haputale

Small city above the clowds, with cliffs on its sides.

Budget
Sleep: 1500rs for a double room at Sri Lak Holiday Inn, very nice place.
Eat: 100rs-200rs for local food on the main street.
Do:

What to do
Take the train direction Kandy and get of on the first station, its more less 8km from Haputale, and then walk back on the train tracks

Tangalle

Strong beach with low accommodation prices, good base camp to go explore on a scooter.

 

Budget
Sleep: 1000rs Viraj’s Garden, good place with cool owners. Ask for Malindu, best host ever.
Eat: 200rs for rice and curry close to the bus station.
Rent: 1000rs a day for a scooter.

What to do
Rent a scooter and go explore around, 10 Km west you have Rekawa beach, which is a turtle sanctuary where at night you can go watch mother turtle lai there eggs on the beach, and where during the day you’ll find a magnificent long deserted beach with strong waves. East of Tangalle you have Talalla, a beautiful beach not so touristy. Tangalle is also cool to explore, waves are strong but you can still go in if you dare ;).

Unawatuna

Touristy beach with beautiful light blue water.

Budget
Sleep: 1500rs for a nice double room, westayed at Ranga rest, cute room but no WiFi.
Eat: If you go to the main street and walk maybe 700m east, you’ll find a local place called two brothers, good food and cheap prices. You cal also go trough the beach, is just behind a rasta bar, if you reached Pearl divers you went to far.
Rent: 700rs for a scooter at Kumari Tours, first place to your right when coming from the main road.
Do: 25 Eur for 1 dive at Pearl Divers.

What to do
We rented a scooter for the day and went around, with 200rs in gas you can go all the way up to Kosgodo, kilometer 73, and check the turtle reserves, 500rs for a ticket. Between Unuwatuna and there you will see beautiful deserted beaches, except by a few fisherman’s and some long forgotten trash, that are totally worth stopping for.

Hikkaduwa

Great place to rest and surf, you got to be good at surfing though (not me)

Budget
Sleep: 1000-1300 rs a night, we stayed at Jupiter guest house, real cool place with friendly people and right infront of the beach.
Shooping: Swimming suits are real cheap, something like 5usd-10usd a piece. Bought mine at Sithija tailors, next to Jupiter guest house.
Eat: If you take a bus (10rs), hitchhike a ride, or take a tuc-tuc to the center you’ll be getting a high quality local meal for CHEAP!

What to do
If you’ve been travelling from north to south this is you time to relax, take the sun, enjoy the waves, chill till sunset and do nothing. If you still feel active and full of energy, rent a motorbike and explore the other beaches close by. If you feel like surfing either take clases or just rent a board an jump in the water.

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