Travel Guide to Sri Lanka: Things To Know About Colombo

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 the first time or repeatedly, you should keep these things in mind. 

Travel guide to sri lanka
A view of Colombo, Sri Lanka – Source Internet

Table of Page Contents

Sri Lanka Travel Guide: First Thing is Visa

First thing first, the Sri Lankan visa is very easy to obtain. Many countries’ citizens can get a Sri Lanka visa on arrival at the airport which includes most of the western countries.

Pakistani citizens and SAARC countries can also get an 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 immigration for further processing. 

Visit the official website for applying for visa online:

The author of this blog (Abdul Wali) at Bandaranaike Airport, Colombo

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 of 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 in Negombo city then you can also use Tuk Tuk which is a three-wheel car. That’s available outside the airport and is the 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 staying at Colombo 1 to 5. That’s the place you can find most of the attractions and beautiful scenery. You can visit the beach by walking from that area. and it was 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 the areas mentioned above for $30 to USD 50 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. The hostel will generally cost between $5 to $10 per night. 

I used to book a 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 cheaper options.

I stayed at Juliana Hotel in Colombo 3, $60 USD per night!

Transport in Colombo, Sri Lanka

It’s very easy to roam around in Colombo using public transport. They have the tuk-tuk (3 wheels) 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 a local bus for long-distance travel in the city and you should use the train for intercity travel. The Colombo/Kandy route is very famous for the train journey in Sri Lanka. I did that myself and you should do it too. Also read: My Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide

The Colombo 3 area in Galle Road where I stayed in Jullina Hotel!

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 nightlife does exist in Colombo too. There are plenty of places to go to 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)
The famous Tuk Tuk in Colombo, Sri Lanka – Source Internet

Food Options in Sri Lanka

Nowadays, Colombo has progressed a lot and there are numerous restaurants and cuisines 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’s are also available in Colombo. 

Me at the Colombo Beach – Sri Lanka
Me in a temple 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! 

8 thoughts on “Travel Guide to Sri Lanka: Things To Know About Colombo”

    • Sri Lankan don’t hate Pakistan, and why should they hate? when I see people hating Pakistan I find the reasons for that which are religious extremism and terrorism in general and other problems in common such as corruption, security situation and many other problems as you know, we have to overcome these problems in order to make Pakistan a better country for living.. and to be honest, I don’t really know whether Indian hate Pakistan or not, because I’ve not yet seen any Indian who says they hate Pakistan or Pakistanis.

    • I”m from Sri Lanka and I can say that Pakistanis are well received in Sri lanka than Indians. 🙂 Pakistan has been and still continue to be the closest ally to Sri Lanka in many difficult situations.

      Usually Sri Lanka is a tourist friendly country there are no hatred towards any people / ethnicity specifically here anyway.

    • Hi,
      You can go to Sri Lankan embassy in Islamabad or Consulate in Karachi and can pay the fee there when submitting your application, Now a days from Pakistan you can’t get Visa on arrival, you have to get the visa before you go. And combine ticket means I had a single ticket from Karachi to Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka to Malaysia, Malaysia to Thailand and then from Thailand to Karachi.

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