Mini Travel Guide: Sri Lanka

Looking for a travel guide to Sri Lanka? Click through for Sri Lanka travel tips from a local - what to do, where to go, and how to travel Sri Lanka safely, cheaply, and respectfully!

Looking for a travel guide to Sri Lanka? Want to know where the best beaches are and where to find the best street food? You’re in luck! I brought in an almost-local to share her best Sri Lanka travel tips – where to go, what to go, and how to travel Sri Lanka safely, cheaply, and respectfully.

Hello, everyone! My name is Priyan and since 2008, I have visited Sri Lanka every year, sometimes twice! This year too, I have made the trip to Colombo, the beautiful capital of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka boasts of a rich heritage cradled in the Buddhist philosophy. The ruins of palaces and places of worship speak volumes of history and a colourful culture where hospitality and respect for elders reign supreme.
Modern Colombo is vibrant in every aspect. It’s a congested city and if you like a proper order in your life, Colombo is not the place for you. As you go higher into the mountain areas, you will see and feel the peace and serenity of this Paradise Island.
Looking for a travel guide to Sri Lanka? Click through for Sri Lanka travel tips from a local - what to do, where to go, and how to travel Sri Lanka safely, cheaply, and respectfully!

Must Go in Sri Lanka

Arugam Bay

Sri Lanka has some beautiful beaches. However, Arugam bay is a must see. It’s on the east of the country, 300 km from the capital city of Colombo.
The beautiful sandy beach is a haven for swimmers and is also a great venue for surfers. You have many beach resorts to choose from and most resorts come with cabanas on the beach.

Sigiriya, Rock Fortress

The Sigiriya Rock Fortress is considered the Taj Mahal of Sri Lanka. Situated about 170 Km away from Colombo, this is a great tourist attraction. Every Sri Lankan has climbed this rock at least once in their life time to see the frescoes painted on the mirror wall.

The top of the fortress housed a palace which was once home to King Kasyapa who allegedly killed his father to claim the throne. You’ll be amazed by the engineering and design. Climb to the top of the rock and see the outstanding view for yourself!

Looking for a travel guide to Sri Lanka? Click through for Sri Lanka travel tips from a local - what to do, where to go, and how to travel Sri Lanka safely, cheaply, and respectfully!

Must Do in Sri Lanka

Ride an Elephant

There are lots of elephants in Sri Lanka, but wild or tamed. There are elephant rides at the zoo and at lots of tourist destinations. Elephants are usually found in the wild in herds in wild life parks. Many Buddhist temples own elephants and they are used in religious parades.

Water Skiing

Sri Lanka being an island, has some beautiful beaches and many hotels offer various water sports. Water skiing is an enjoyable sport available in the southern coast of Sri Lanka.

If you love the ocean and are a sports enthusiast, you will enjoy the different water sports, the Banana boats the waterskiing, Para-sailing etc.

Must do in Sri Lanka Must Eat in in Sri Lanka

Must Eat in Sri Lanka


This is a rice dish available in Sri Lanka but of Dutch origin. Sri lanka was conquered by the Dutch in the 17th century which means you can still see a bit of Dutch influence. Lamprais came to stay in Sri Lanka as a delicious rice dish that many Sri Lankans enjoy.

The dish consists of Basmati rice, a meat curry, Ash Plantain, Egg plant, a boiled egg, a sambol, and cutlet.

Iced Coffee

Iced Coffee is a delicious drink in Sri Lanka. Most restaurants and hotels serve iced coffee. It’s regular coffee and cream but with a little bit of vanilla added to it and iced. This is a hot commodity, specially because of the warm weather.

An iced coffee will quench your thirst on a warm and sunny day- you can even request a scoop of ice cream in your iced coffee.


Ceylon Tea is world famous. Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was originally known) is home to some of the largest tea plantations in the world. Tea is Sri Lanka’s largest export commodity and a freshly brewed cup of Ceylon Tea is a definite must have.

Travel in Sri Lanka

Cultural Tips for Traveling in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has many places of worship and there is much reverence given to a place of worship in this country. People take their religion seriously, whatever it may be.

Skimpy clothing is definitely not allowed in places of worship. Ladies, remember to cover your arms and legs and wear a long skirt and top with sleeves. Guys are better off wearing long pants than shorts.

Sri Lankans are very hospitable and react sadly if their hospitality is rejected. Any family you visit will make sure to give you a cup of tea or a meal depending on the time of day and it’s good to accept this hospitality. Sri Lankans are very friendly by nature and most of them have a ready smile.

cheap travel in Sri Lanka

Cheap travel tips for Sri Lanka

Try taking a Tuk Tuk; it’s quite inexpensive and lots of fun! It’s a three wheeled vehicle that is covered and affords seating to about 3 people, but can even accommodate up to five people!

Airbnbs are cheaper than hotels and put money directly into the pockets of local families – which is so important! Here’s a beautiful apartment in Colombo for $50 a night and here’s an entire villa (with a pool!) for $90 a night. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s $40 towards your first booking.

Thanks so much, Priyan!  Do any of you have Sri Lankan travel tips to share?

P.S. 7 travel tools I will not shut up about 

photo by Steenbergs // Cyrus Pellet  // Philipp Kämmerer on Unsplash

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  1. Dhebby Wheezh

    Sounds you had an awesome trip! We also have that Tuk Tuk here in Indonesia but called Bajaj and somehow fun indeed!! Have a good day x

  2. FMD

    I love that those things we may find joy in here at home (iced coffee, tea, water skiing, even riding those elephants at traveling fairs) have a whole new and extraordinary flair in other cultures.

  3. Kim

    Well, Sri Lanka just got bumped up my 'must visit' list! Elephants! YES!

  4. Michelle

    Sri Lanka looks incredible. I remember seeing Bourdain's No Reservations episode on it and thinking it looked amazing, and this just rekindled my curiosity. Thank you!

  5. asgreen

    You have to go to the tea country as well!


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