Sri Lanka Travel Ideas: Colombo Things to Do Under $10

Sri Lanka, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, has grown in popularity as one of South Asia's top travel destinations. It's not without reason that Sri Lanka has become one of the best romantic destinations in the region. 

Whether you plan to explore the tea plantations and beyond in Ella, travel around the sacred city of Kandy, or go diving or snorkeling in Mirissa, Colombo is a great starting point to explore the rest of Sri Lanka. 

In this post, we have Yulia of That's What She Had to share some insights on why Colombo is a perfect place to go for budget travelers in South Asia. She's also going to spill the tea about some Colombo things to do under the budget of $10. Let's find out!

Why Colombo in Sri Lanka is Perfect for Budget Travelers

I am the worst writer in history to start a story with “ever wondered”, but to answer this question, it can be very, very much or very-very little.

On the one hand, Sri Lanka is a developing country with affordable accommodation and cheap, yet with so many delicious foods that are loved by so many budget travelers. On the other hand, Colombo is also the capital city in which it is also one of the most fast-developing cities in Asia.

9 Ideas on What to Do in Colombo Under $10

Some must-try Sri Lankan food.

$10 USD equals to around 1825 Sri Lankan rupees (LKR), and there are some various options that you could choose to buy with it.

  • 25 traditional Sri Lankan fresh loaves of bread or 3 European-style sourdough loaves.
  • 50 egg hoppers (local pancakes for breakfast at a roadside shop or 2 avocado toasts for breakfast at a modern cafe.
  • 38 cups of tea from a hole-in-the-wall kinda shop by the road, or 3 cups of coffee at a fancy coffee shop.
  • Almost 3 movie tickets!!
  • Almost 2 tickets to see the house of Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka's most famous architect
  • 152 bus tickets (given that you are traveling the shortest possible distance, but I doubt that you'd like to take the bus!)
  • One bottle of arrack (local spirit) or half a bottle of European wine (if you're lucky, because imported alcohol is incredibly expensive!)
  • 7 hours of cleaning the house and cooking by a local maid.
  • 76 little mangoes or 7 huge mangoes.

As you can see, the range is quite amazing.

You should remember that Colombo is the capital, and pretty much the only city on the island where social life is bustling.

Pettah neighborhood in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

What to Eat Under $10 in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Restaurants, bars, and clubs are competing to get the attention of ever-busy-city-dwellers. Chefs come up with modern twists on traditional Sri Lankan dishes, bartenders serve the finest spirits delivered from all over the world despite high taxes.

Five-star hotels organize events and parties on a weekly basis, all of which is exciting but costs a pretty penny!

Sri Lankan tea

When I first came to the island in 2010, lunch cost me 150 LKR. I didn't have too many options to begin with, as my lunch almost always came from a small road-side shop or a simple restaurant.

In 2019, you can still buy lunch for 150 LKR, given that you don't mind eating vegetable fried rice every day…

But now, you have all these gorgeous modern spaces that serve organic avo toast with locally sourced ingredients. And sometimes, avo toast is all you need but suddenly your lunch costs 900 LKR instead of 150.

Well, it's still affordable if you come from a first-world country, but the difference is staggering.

The good news is that outside of Colombo, food, hotels, and attractions are usually more affordable, and if you travel around Sri Lanka, you are likely to spend only a couple of days in the capital.

Contributor: Yulia from That's What She Had

Yulia is the she in That's What She Had, a Russian girl who starts some research of a new country by googling “What to eat in…” instead of “What to do in…”, doesn't mind staying in line for cronut under pouring rain for hours, and reads on the history of pecan pie before trying one. She hopes one day you'll visit a place she recommended and order what she had. 

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