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Sri Lanka Travel Guide

Because of its shape and location on the map, Sri Lanka is often affectionately nicknamed 'the teardrop of India'. But here at STA Travel, we don't think it's that fitting. Sri Lanka seems to be one of the happiest islands on earth, with non-stop sunshine and beaming smiles. And amazing food, epic hikes, bags of culture and a hefty history to boot. Go beyond the beaches and get to know the real Sri Lanka with our travel guide...

Sri Lanka Fast Facts


Languages Spoken

Most Sri Lankans speak Sinhalese, with the second language being Tamil. Many people who work in the tourism or transport industry will be able to talk to you in great English.



Sri Lankan rupee (LKR). R1 is approximately 13 LKR.


Time Zones

Sri Lanka is on the same time zone as India: GMT+05:30.



FR. R24,490

10 Day Guided Sri Lanka Adventure + Accommodation + Activities + Return Flights!

Our 10 day trip exploring the beautiful country of Sri Lanka; home to exotic animals, stunning scenery, beaches and culture, and some of the friendliest locals you’ll ever meet. Begin in Negombo, then head out to Sigiriya Rock for the epic views of the countryside. Visit a tea plantation, and enjoy learning about Sri Lankan cuisine at a local cooking school. Ride on the famous blue train, then set off on Safari in search of the local wildlife.

Includes visits to Negombo, Sigiriya, Kandy, Ella, & Unawatuna; return flights, airport taxes, 9 nights’ accommodation, most activities & transportation!

Select departure dates between: 13 Feb 2021 - 05 Jun 2021

T&Cs apply.

Sri Lanka Travel Costs



There are plenty of local bottle shops and bars in Sri Lanka. A local beer will cost you around 300 rupees (R23). Imported beers and spirits will set you back a little more.



Don't expect to pay more than R70 for a slap-up street dinner of curry, dhal or string hoppers. Snacks, such as kottu are even cheaper. A sit down meal in a nicer restaurant will cost up to R140.

tuk tuk


A taxi in the capital of Colombo will cost you around 50 rupees per kilometre - that's around R4! For a 10 km taxi or rickshaw ride, don't pay more than R40.


Other Transport

A three hour bus journey in Sri Lanka will cost you up tp 400 rupees (around R30). A train ticket from Colombo to Kandy is 100 rupees for 2nd or 3rd class, or 500 rupees (R40) for 1st class air-conditioned. Both options are reliable and safe.



A bed in a hostel or cheap room in a local homestay with other backpackers will set you back around R130 a night; perhaps a little more in popular beach spots like Hikkaduwa and Arugam Bay.



Sri Lankan accommodation is all about the bargains. You'll be able to find a spacious and clean en-suite room in a 3* hotel for around 4000 LKR (R300) per night, or a room in a family guesthouse or homestay for less (we recommend this option of you want to immerse yourself in the culture). Beach resorts can cost upwards of R1370.

G Adventures and Contiki Sri Lanka tours

Check out our latest deals on adventure tours across Sri Lanka. Terms and conditions apply.


Sri Lanka Express

FR. R13,225SAVE R1,334
  • 1 Country | 8 DaysTop City: Negombo, Kandy, Ella, Unawatuna & Galle
  • Discover Sri Lanka's incredible cultural and natural highlights on this eight-day tour
  • Explore a spice plantation, look for elephants on safari in Udawalawe National Park
  • Visit a stunning tea plantation
  • Travel by private vehicle to the historic town of Nuwara Eliya and enjoy some free time
  • Begin the journey to Udawalawe National Park and visit the Elephant Transit home
  • Enjoy a afternoon wildlife safari through Udawalawe National Park
  • T&Cs apply.


Sri Lanka Encompassed

FR. R20,255SAVE R5,064
  • 1 Country | 14 DaysTop cities: Colombo, Kandy, Galle
  • Embark upon Dutch canal boat ride in Negombo
  • Explore Sigiriya Rock Fortress and the Dambula Cave Temple
  • Spice plantation and tea factory visits
  • Temple of the Tooth guided tour in Kandy
  • Take a trek to Ella Rock. Yala National Park safari for a game drive to spot some of the park's wildlife.
  • Galle Fort and city tour and relax on pristine beaches in Mirissa.
  • T&Cs apply.



FR. R24,305
  • 1 Country | 10 DaysTop cities: Negombo, Kandy, Ella, Colombo
  • Join in a guided tour of the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. Learn more about the spices used in Sri Lankan cuisine.
  • Take a train from Kandy to Ella, known as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world.
  • Visit a tea plantation for an insight into one of Sri Lankan most famous exports. Visit the Udawalawe Elephant Transit.
  • Jump aboard a 4x4 vehicle for a game drive in Udawalawe National Park.
  • Take part in a Sri Lankan cooking demonstration; Stop at a turtle conservation centre.

Flights to Sri Lanka

If you're flying to Sri Lanka from South Africa then you will most likely have a stopover and land in Colombo. Flights from South Africa average a time of 14 hours. Local transport comes in the form of rickshaws for shorter journeys, and a reliable (and colourful!) network of busses for the longer ones. Not to be missed, is the jaw dropping train journey between Colombo, Kandy and Ella.
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When to go to Sri Lanka

Average temperatures in Sri Lanka are in the high twenties on the coast and high teens in the hills. The south of Sri Lanka experience rains from May to August. The best time to visit the south and west coast of the island is from January to April. Further north, it's dry and hot from May to September. Sri Lanka is an amazing travel experience at any time of year
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