Woman backpacking in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka – Backpacking Guide For This Versatile Country

This post was last updated on February 25th, 2020 at 02:05 pm

We are getting more and more questions about backpacking in Sri Lanka lately. What can you expect? Do you have to take anything into account? One thing is certain. There is plenty to see in this small but very versatile country. That’s why backpackers have been finding their way to Sri Lanka for years.


Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, the rest of the world found out about it too. The pristine tropical beaches, the beautiful ancient temples, the friendly locals, the delicious food and the world’s best surfing spots make Sri Lanka a great place to be these days. Prices are still competitive and as a backpacker you can spend a long time traveling on a small budget. Backpacking in Sri Lanka is becoming increasingly popular among travelers.


Backpacking in Sri Lanka

Backpacking is one of the nicest ways to explore a country. Not everyone is into it, but it offers you a lot of freedom. For example, you are not tied to a certain schedule.


During a backpacking trip in Sri Lanka you can decide yourself where you are going and when. Backpacking in Sri Lanka has become more popular in recent years. We recommend going there right NOW. Because in a few years, Sri Lanka will be the new Backpack Walhalla like Thailand and Vietnam are today.


The island is a perfect place for backpackers. Because of the short distances you can easily go everywhere. The population is incredibly friendly, you will find beautiful nature, culture and for the active ones it has some of the best surfing spots in the world!


Transportation Options

You will mostly use local transportation. In Sri Lanka it is mainly the buses and the train that you travel with. The train is slow but it also gives you a lot of time to enjoy the beautiful landscape in Sri Lanka. The famous trains of Sri Lanka run on the most beautiful routes in the world. It is, therefore, absolute enjoyment on the train.


Buses come in all shapes and sizes. From state buses that go to all places (which are often old) to new express buses and minivans. A bus trip in a three-hour state bus costs you about a dollar, for a minivan or coach you often pay double.


Green trees and bushes with a train
Beautiful nature between Kandy and Ella can be seen from the train

TIP – Read more about transportation in Sri Lanka here.


Flight Tickets to Sri Lanka

If you want to fly to Sri Lanka, you can only land in the capital, Colombo. Most flights are indirect with stops in Dubai for example. Even when you fly from Brussels or Düsseldorf you will have to transfer. Nowadays, booking a ticket is easy.


There are enough online providers who all offer affordable tickets to Sri Lanka.


Spending the Night in Sri Lanka

It is of course possible to prepare and plan your trip at home. When planning, you can determine what you want to do from day to day and adjust your accommodation accordingly. That way you are always sure of a place to sleep. One of the nicest things about backpacking in Sri Lanka is the freedom you experience while traveling. Traveling one receipt at a time, every day, is such an exciting adventure.


Sri Lanka is a great country for backpacking. There are enough options to find a good hotel or hostel even if you have not booked it in advance. In addition, the distances are fairly small so you can always travel further if one place doesn’t meet your expectations. And the friendly population always helps you, so if you really can’t stay anywhere, there are plenty of locals who want to help you.


Hotels and buildings near a lake with a forest
No matter where you stay, when you go outside you will have a beautiful view (like here in Kandy City)!

TIP – Read more about spending the night in Sri Lanka here.


Best Things to Do in Sri Lanka

There is so much to see on this beautiful little island. From pristine tropical beaches, 2,000-year-old temples, friendly smiling locals, herds of wild elephants, and delicious food to the world’s best surfing spots. Best of all is that all these places are very competitive in prices. A visit to Sri Lanka often comes down to making choices. The advantage of Sri Lanka is that it is relatively small.


It is easier to travel around and see all the highlights. If you have limited time during your backpack trip through Sri Lanka, you will have to make choices.


Beach with small waves and rocks in Mirissa
Mirissa has great beaches where you can try surfing


Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a tropical climate so the average temperature is around 27°C (about 81°F). However, you can reduce the best time to visit Sri Lanka to a number of months. From December to April, the west coast and the mountainous center are the best to visit.


These are the driest months; this dry weather continues from April to September to the east coast. The seasons pass over different parts of the country. After these months, more rain comes into the country. The monsoon runs from May to August, which means that the sea can get a little wilder. Be aware that it can get quite hot in the summer!


Average temperature and rainfall on Sri Lanka
Average temperature and rainfall on Sri Lanka


TIP – Read more about the best time to visit Sri Lanka here.


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