My travel guide to Sri Lanka is a personal experience of my travels to Colombo in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia with beautiful landscapes and beaches. Whether you are going to Sri Lanka for first time or repeatedly, you should keep these things in mind.
Sri Lanka Travel Guide: First Thing is Visa
First thing first, Sri Lankan visa is very easy to obtain. Many countries’ citizens can get Sri Lanka visa on arrival at the airport which include most of the western countries.
Pakistani citizens and SAARC countries can also get online visa which is called ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization). This ETC costs $24 USD and will be easily approved by Sri Lanka immigration in 48 hours. Once you receive that via email, just print it and go to Sri Lanka and show it to the immigration for further processing.
Visit the official website for applying visa online:
Arrival at Airport in Colombo
Okay, so you have arrived at the airport. Here you need some local currency to buy a sim card and hire a taxi to Colombo. Look, the airport is not in Colombo, it’s in Negombo city.
Colombo is some 30KM away from the airport. There are many currency exchange shops at the airport and you should be able to exchange some foreign currency there. You can also withdraw from the ATMs. I don’t know about ATM withdrawal charges. but bring some cash with you.
Sri Lankan currency is called LKR (Sri Lankan Rupees). as of now, $1 USD = 190 LKR. You can buy a sim card from a shop at the airport. I bought a sim card for $7 USD with 5GB internet data and it worked very well.
Now it’s time for you to hire a taxi if you stay in Colombo. The taxi will cost $20 from Airport to Colombo. If you stay at Negombo city then you can also use Tuk Tuk which is a three wheel car. That’s available outside the airport and is the most cheapest way of transport in Sri Lanka.
Where to stay in Colombo?
I personally stayed in Colombo 3 area which I liked a lot. You know what, Colombo is divided into 10 different sections called Colombo 1, Colombo 2, Colombo 3 etc. I would suggest to stay at Colombo 1 to 5. That’s the place you can find most of the attractions and beautiful scene. You can visit the beach by walk from that area. and it’s not expensive.
Accommodation Cost in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is overall not an expensive country. but when it comes to Colombo, it’s a little bit expensive as per South Asia, and there is a valid reason for that because it’s an Island country. Still, you can find a good hotel in above mentioned areas for $30 to $50 USD per night.
I got a hotel for $40 per night in Colombo 3. There are hostels for backpackers which you can book online if you are on a tight budget. Hostel will generally cost between $5 to $10 per night.
I used agoda.com to book hotel in Sri Lanka and I recommend you to use agoda for hotel or hostel booking in Sri Lanka. just go there and put your dates and city name in Sri Lanka and you should be able to find options according to your budget. You can also try AirBNB for more cheaper options.
Transport in Colombo, Sri Lanka
It’s very easy to roam around in Colombo using public transport. They have the tuk tuk (3 wheel) and local buses which costs pennies. I used Tuk Tuk during my trip and it wouldn’t cost me more than $2 USD for a 3/4 KM ride in the city. But remember to always fix the price with Tuk Tuk rider before sitting in. Uber is also working in Colombo.
You can use local bus for long distance travel in the city and you should use train for intercity travel. The Colombo/Kandy route is very famous for train journey in Sri Lanka. I did that myself and you should do it too. Also read: My Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide
What to do in Colombo?
Colombo is a massive city with lush green gardens, high rise buildings, many temples and beautiful beaches. You can also find massage centers referred to as “SPA” in Colombo, And night life do exist in Colombo too. There are plenty of places to go in Colombo but I would list a few which I visited personally.
- Big Temples (For Tourism Purpose)
- Mount Livonia Beaches
- Galle Face Green
- Colombo Gulf Club
- Colombo Museum
- Colombo Forts
- Colombo Zoo
- Massage Centers on Galle Road
- Casinos & Clubs in Colombo 3 (If you like to)
Food Options in Sri Lanka
Now a days, Colombo has progressed a lot and there are numerous restaurants and cousines for tourists. You can easily find Indian and Chinese food in Sri Lanka. when I first visited Sri Lanka in 2014, I had struggled a lot to find Pakistani food but now there are many options. in my last visit in 2019, I found many nice restaurants in Colombo. Food is not expensive and I would mention that fast food chains such as KFC and McDonald are also available in Colombo.
I hope my travel guide to Sri Lanka was helpful. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this, and please share your experience if you already have been to Sri Lanka or Colombo.
Happy Traveling Mates!