Ten Things to do in Sri Lanka, On the Cheap!

I swear, I’m not crazy. (Not one of those crazy ladies you see on the subway wearing an all leather leapord-printed leotard in the middle of winter –> if you live in NYC you know exactly what I mean). But every single time I read a new blog, I’m amazed at how a new destination can take my mind away. And then I decide I want to head there, so it instantly goes on my list (update needed). And that’s exactly what happened when I read  Agness’ blogs posts about Sri Lanka. A country I knew NOTHING about. So I asked her to share her favorite 10 experiences of the country, for you know, when I eventually buy a ticket a go… Enjoy! 🙂

Nowadays, Sri Lanka is getting more and more popular travel destination among tourists, budget travellers and holiday makers. Main reasons? It is a place full of contrasts, affordable for any budget (less than $20 per day), yet very hospitable and of course breath-taking when it comes to the landscape. Surprisingly, this place is not only about stunning golden beaches, but also about the incredible wildlife, local culture that nurtures continuously for two thousand years.

Yala National Park

Travel to Sri Lanka is a guarantee of a great adventure as long as you know where to go and what to do to fully enjoy yourself. Here are some ideas of what you might like to do when exploring the Teardrop of India.

1. Safari Experience in Yala National Park.
Although it might be a bit expensive (costs around $30 per person including entrance ticket, 5 hours in the park, jeep rental and tips for the driver), but it was absolutely worth it!

Yala National Park

We have completed a safari in Yala and we were really impressed with the park. You can see leopards, elephants, crocodiles, mongoose, wild boar, deer and endless species of birds. Don’t forget to take your camera, you will take some epic snapshots!

Yala National Park

2. Visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.
You might not be a fan of seeing animals in captivity but this is a somewhat different experience. Watching the baby elephants being hand fed and seeing the elephants going to the river for their bath time is fun. If you are lucky, you can even touch them or ride them!

Touching an elephant for the first time – incredible experience!

3. Hit the beach in Galle.
Are you tired and need to chill out on the beach? There is no better place than Galle to do it. You will be blown away by this beautiful beach mostly known for being quiet and peaceful. Picture yourself with a coconut in your hands and enjoy every second of it!

Sri Lankan paradise on Earth

4. Go elephant riding.
If you love elephants, you can’t miss an elephant ride when being in Sri Lanka. You can have a ride along the natural trails while enjoying the natural environment. Going for one-hour trek through the jungle and the lake where you will be accompanied by an experienced mahout and guide, can be an experience of your life!

Elephant riding

5. Try traditional Sri Lankan food – rice and curry.

Maybe it does not look appealing, but it tastes just delicious. It is a proper treat for spicy food lovers. As you will probably notice, there is a great variety of colours and flavors of curry – fish, meat, and vegetable curries. You can try them all and choose your best one.

Sri Lankan rice and curry

Moreover, you will be surprised by the fact how cheap the food can be. Sri Lanka is a place where you can try many different types of food without paying a lot. Can you imagine yourself dining out for less than $10 per day being full and satisfied? Good, because it is just about to happen in Sri Lanka.

6. Take a train.

Trains in Sri Lanka are a cheap, safe and enjoyable way to get around. Not only you can admire the stunning landscape thought the window, but also have some interactions with locals who are incredibly hospitable people.

Train from Pinnawala to Ella

You don’t need to book your tickets in advance. You can get it anytime at the local train station. Don’t let anyone do it for you as you might get ripped off.

7. Go to Udawalawe National Park.
Whether you can make it to Yala National Park or not, the Udawalawe National Park is a must see. Located near 11km post between Timbolketiya and Tanamanwila, this place will take your breath away and leave you speechless for a long time. It is mostly famous for a large amount of Sri Lankan elephants (more than 700), so you can see the large herds gather to drink water and feed. Moreover, the wildlife is so various here – from wild boar, jackal to toddy cats and Sri Lankan Leopard.

8. Have a photo with a cobra.
You simply can’t leave Sri Lanka without having an epic photo with a cobra. You can spot many cobra charmers in the streets of Sri Lanka who you will offer you a great deal on photo session with a cobra. We just could not turn this offer down!

Photo with a cobra

9. Try surfing.
It does not really matter if you are a beginner or a professional surfer as Hikkaduwa in Sri Lanka is a surfing friendly place for everyone. You can spot bigger or smaller waves here so everyone can have a try. The weather conditions are perfect for those who have never surfed before and additionally you can book an hour or two with a personal surfing trainer.

Do you fancy surfing here?

10. Have a dinner with locals.
There is one thing you will notice when strolling down the streets holding a map of the city and looking completely lost – locals do really care about you and they want to help you out. When Sri Lankan people see backpackers or budget travellers, they don’t try to rip you off. Instead, they invite you home to join them for a dinner.

Friendly locals

Don’t turn down the invitation. Open your heart and let people treat you with some nice food and good stories!

To sum up, Sri Lanka has a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing and activities. Travelling here is a guarantee of a great adventure and unforgettable experience!

Agness is a Polish vagabond who, after graduation, left her comfort zone and set off for a journey of her lifetime. She has been constantly travelling the world since her first flight to China in 2011 (slowly, but surely as she says), living like a local for less than $25 a day. She became a passionate photographer and adventure blogger sharing her life enthusiasm and travel experience with everyone around. You can follow her adventures on her (and her best friend’s) blog – eTrampingor find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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