Solo Travel Srilanka with a shoe string budget.

Tripoto
22nd Mar 2019

Trinconomalle

Photo of Solo Travel Srilanka with a shoe string budget. by Chandrasekar RC
Day 1

No of Days: 9

Budget (Colombo to Colombo): 8000 INR (110 $)

How to reach Colombo from Negombo International airport!

Straight out from the customs check, you'll notice all the Forex booths. Personally I don't see much a value in converting your Indian currency to SriLankan Rupee at Forex. You can use your debit cards at the ATM available near the forex booth. SriLankan banks charge very less for the International withdrawal. Withdraw 20000 LKR (SriLankan Rupee). That's all you need for the whole 9 day trip.

Crossing the Forex booth you'll notice the sim card booths where you can buy one. I prefer Dialog 4g. Affordable and the connectivity is good throughout SriLanka. Airtel is crap btw.

Exit the airport gate. Walk right for 50 Mts and cross the road. You'll see a public/private bus stop. Buses to Colombo are available every half an hour. Not sure about the availability in the late nights and early mornings. Bus no 170. Air-Conditioned buses. Bus Fare in 150 LKR. The bus goes directly to Pettah, Colombo Major Bus Terminus.

What was my Itinerary?

1. Start from Colombo.

2. Travel Up North along the West coast.

3. Reach North and then to the Eastern Srilanka along the east coast.

4. Use only Public Mode to Transport.

5. Spend as less as you can.

6. Back to Colombo on Day 9

Tracked using Google Maps Location History.

Photo of Pettah, Colombo, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC

Where to stay in Colombo?

There are n number of Backpackers hostel in and around Colombo. If it's seasonal, i prefer booking your hostel via Booking.com (One of the websites where you find cheapest accommodations.) The Other cheaper way is to find the hotel on booking.com and approach the place directly. The difference in price is close 500 LKR.

If you haven't stayed in a Capsule/Pod hotel. Then Colombo is the place where you'll find one. This place is little expensive when compared to the Backpackers Hostel. But it's a must try if you're in for a new experience.

Where to stay in Colombo?

There are n number of Backpackers hostel in and around Colombo. If it's seasonal, i prefer booking your hostel via Booking.com (One of the websites where you find cheapest accommodations.) The Other cheaper way is to find the hotel on booking.com and approach the place directly. The difference in price is close 500 LKR.

If you haven't stayed in a Capsule/Pod hotel. Then Colombo is the place where you'll find one. This place is little expensive when compared to the Backpackers Hostel. But it's a must try if you're in for a new experience.

How to Reach the Capsule Hotel via Public Transport!

From Pettah Central Bus Terminus, reach the Floating Garden Market. It's walkable and you have to cross two parallel roads. Local Bus terminal is available next to the floating market.

How to Reach the Capsule Hotel via Public Transport!

From Pettah Central Bus Terminus, reach the Floating Garden Market. It's walkable and you have to cross two parallel roads. Local Bus terminal is available next to the floating market.

Lotus Tower as seen from Floating Garden Market, Pettah.

Photo of Solo Travel Srilanka with a shoe string budget. by Chandrasekar RC

Take Bus no 100, Fare should be around 15-20 LKR. Get down @Liberty Stop. And it's walkable from there. You can always rely on Google maps Or you can use Uber from Pettah Bus Terminus to reach the place. Fare should be close to 200-300 LKR

Day 2

Kalpitiya - How to reach and what's there!

Start from the capsule hostel. Bus stop is 50 mts from the place and take the same bus no 100. Get down at Pettah central bus terminal. There is a direct bus no 07 to Kalpitya. I am not sure of the Timing. Meanwhile you can take any Buses that goes to Puttalam or Jaffna or Anuradhapura. Buses to these places are often. Bus no 04 goes to Puttalam and you can get down at Palaviya. Bus fare is 177 LKR. It takes 3-4 hrs to reach. You can have your lunch at Palaviya. Buses to Kalpitya from Palaviya are available often. Bus fare to Kalpitya from Palaviya is close to 100 LKR.

Kalpitiya is nominally the best location for Kitesurfing in the country. The summer kitesurfing season is from May to October during the south west monsoon while the winter season is from mid December to mid February during the north east monsoon. Kiteboard Tour Asia held a tour event in Kalpitiya in September 2017.

Take Bus no 100, Fare should be around 15-20 LKR. Get down @Liberty Stop. And it's walkable from there. You can always rely on Google maps Or you can use Uber from Pettah Bus Terminus to reach the place. Fare should be close to 200-300 LKR

Where to stay in Kalpitya!

Get down at Kurinchanpitiya, 10 KM's before Kalpitiya. You can get auto to the hostel or you can walk directly from the bus stop. It's close to 3kms from the bus stop. Don't pay online. Check availability and approach the place directly. I paid 1400 LKR for a day. It could be lesser and you can bargain as well.

Located very close to the beach.

The beaches were empty, as it was a low season. You could hardly see travellers. The beach is all yours.

On the way to Kalpitiya beach hostel.

Photo of Kalpitiya Beach Hostel, Kandakuliya, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC

Kalpitiya beach

Photo of Kalpitiya Beach Hostel, Kandakuliya, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC

Kalpitiya beach hostel

Photo of Kalpitiya Beach Hostel, Kandakuliya, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC
Day 3

Bicycles are available at the hostel for free. Started to Kalpitiya kite spot early morning and came back to hostel. I met two Portuguese travellers at the hostel. Along with them, I planned for Dolphin watching. Dolphins and whales are very common in these area. If you are lucky, you can see both on a single day.

Kalpitiya Beach

Photo of Kalpitiya Beach Hostel, Kandakuliya, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC

I find whale and dolphin watching quite expensive compared to one I did later in Trincomalee. I paid 4200 LKR for Ocean Lanka (Dolphin watching). This was the most expensive activity on my list. Luckily after one hour of sea drive, we were able to spot few dolphins.

Next destination on my list was Mannar islands. Have to reach there before sunset as it's hard to get a direct bus from Puttalam.

Around 1.30 pm, left the kalpitiya beach hostel. Got a bus back to Puttalam. Puttalam is a big Town and you'll get direct buses to Mannar, Anuradhapura or Colombo from here. There are two ways to reach Mannar, one via Wilpatu National Park and the other via Anuradhapura. The park is 1,317 square kilometers (131, 693 hectares). There are no proper roads if you took this route to Mannar. Government buses are still running in this route. The roads look more like Jeep trials. The last bus that goes to Mannar via Wilpatu is @3.00 pm from Puttalam. You have to wait near the big mosque to get the Bus. This place is 500 Mts away from the Puttalam bus terminal.

You are about to experience one of the beautiful bus rides ever in your life. Bus fare to Munnar from Puttalam is 254 LKR. While you are still on the bus, you can see herds of elephants, deers, peacocks and lots of other birds.

Lakes in Wilpatu National park

Photo of Puttalam, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC

The point where the national park road ends

Photo of Puttalam, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC

I find whale and dolphin watching quite expensive compared to one I did later in Trincomalee. I paid 4200 LKR for Ocean Lanka (Dolphin watching). This was the most expensive activity on my list. Luckily after one hour of sea drive, we were able to spot few dolphins.

Dolphins ????

Photo of Solo Travel Srilanka with a shoe string budget. by Chandrasekar RC
Photo of Solo Travel Srilanka with a shoe string budget. by Chandrasekar RC

Reached Mannar islands by 6.00 PM. Need to figure out a place to stay. The cheapest I could find on booking.com was Mannar Guest House, walkable distance from the Bus Terminal. I paid 1500 LKR for a night stay. They served food in the guest house itself. String hoppers and fish curry, the best meal I had in Srilanka.

Day 4

What to see in Mannar Islands!

From Mannar, you'll get buses to Thalai Mannar every half an hour from the Mannar Bus Stand. Fare should come around 80 LKR. Thalai Mannar is the last stop when you board the bus. Two important things to see here are Thalai Mannar Pier and Adam's Bridge.

Look at the Starred Places

Photo of Mannar Island, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC

How to Reach Adam's Bridge.

Read the below Instagram post foe reaching Adams's bridge.face

Talai Mannar Pier

End of the Indo-Lanka Railway at Talai Mannar Pier. India is only 18 miles away but the last ferry to Rameswaram left in 1994 (loaded with refugees fleeing the civil war in Srilanka).

Copyrights @ Paolo Faresi.

Photo of Talaimannar, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC

Mannar Dutch Fort:

From Mannar Bus stop, head straight towards the Jaffna Highway. Take a left near the bridge and you'll reach the fort in 5 mins.

Baobab Tree

It was planted by some Arab traders some 800 years ago. The oldest and the largest baobab in Sri Lanka. This tree was calculated 723 years old in the 2003 study. The circumference of the tree is is 19.5 meters and its 7.5 meters tall. This is most popular of the all due to its size and age.

Boabob Tree at Mannar Island

Photo of Baobab Tree Pallimunai, Pallimunai Road, Mannar, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC
Photo of Baobab Tree Pallimunai, Pallimunai Road, Mannar, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC

The Next destination was Jaffna. From Mannar bus stand there are frequent buses to Jaffna. Bus Fare is 200 LKR. Started from Mannar around 6.00 PM and reached Jaffna by 8.00 PM.

Where to Stay at Jaffna?

Yaarl Hostels in Jaffna is one of the cheapest place to stay. I stayed in a shared Dormitory for two days and I paid 1100 LKR per day. The staffs are super friendly and they'll bombard with all the information you need.

Information available @ Yaarl hostel to the nearby places.

Photo of Yaarl Hostels, Jaffna, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC
Day 5

What to visit in Jaffna!

There are so many places to visit in and around Jaffna(Yaazhpanam). I've been to few places with in the two day time frame.

First spot was Point Pedro. It was the north tip of SriLanka. The place name of Point Pedro is a corruption of the Portuguese "Ponta das Pedras" meaning "the rocky cape". The name of the town in Tamil is Paruthithurai, which literally mean "Cotton Harbour". The harbor exported cotton to South India for centuries.

Jaffna to Point Pedro Bus No: 750. Fare - 35 LKR. If the Public Transport buses are not available. Outside the Central bus terminal, you'll see private buses operating to same places. The Bus number will be same to the destination place.

Jaffna to Keerimalai - Bus No:788

Keerimalai is famous for its hot water springs and there's nothing much around to see there. After scorching heat, returned back to the Hostel for a nap, planning that i would visit the local attractions in and around Jaffna.

Jaffna Public Library.

Jaffna to Keerimalai - Bus No:788

Jaffna Dutch Fort.

Photo of Jaffna Dutch Fort, Jaffna, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC
Photo of Jaffna Dutch Fort, Jaffna, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC
Photo of Jaffna Dutch Fort, Jaffna, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC

Pannai park: Rest yourself by immersing in the amazing sunset from the Pannai bridge.

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil is a significant Hindu temple, located in Nallur, Northern Province, Sri Lanka.[2] The presiding deity is Lord Murugan or Katharagama Deviyo in the form of the holy 'Vel' in the Sanctum, the primary shrine, and in other forms, namely, Shanmugar, Muthukumaraswami, Valli Kaanthar with consorts Valli and Deivayanai, and Thendayuthapani, sans consorts in secondary shrines in the temple.

Photo of Nallur Kandaswamy Temple, Jaffna, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC
Day 6

To reach Nainativu, you have take a bus from Jaffna Central bus terminal to Kurikaduwan. Bus No: 776. Fare - 80LKR. Get down at the last stop. From there you have to take a ferry to Nainativu. From Kurikaduwan, you can reach either to Delft Island or to Nainativu. Ferries to Nainativu are available every half an hour till evening. But to the Delft island, the ferries are limited and timings are fixed. Timings to Delft island from Kurikaduwan. 11.00 Am, 1.30 PM, 4.00 PM.

Couldn't cover much of Jaffna as I planned, because of the weather. It was too hot for any to roam outside. I've decided to visit Jaffna again when the weather is warmer. Next on my destination was Mullaitivu.

Buses to Mullaitivu are frequent from Jaffna Bus terminal. The Fare is 200 LKR.

Where to stay at Mullaitivu?

This is one of the best place to stay in Mullaitivu. Though there aren't much attractions nearby, the place is secluded from the city and very peaceful. People are very welcome. I paid 1500 LKR for a night

The Beaches are very silent and less crowded.

Photo of Mullaitivu Beach (முல்லைத்தீவு கடற்கரை), Beach Road, Mullaitivu, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC
Day 7

There's a Tsunami memorial next to the guest house. Apart from this, there's nothing much to visit here from a traveller perspective.

Tsunami Memorial @ MUllaitivu

Photo of Mullaitivu, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC

Where to eat in Mullaitivu?

Ammachchi Traditional Food is one of the cheapest place anywhere in Srilanka. It'll be a heaven for Vegetarians, as the place serves only veg food at affordable rates.

Next on my list was Trincomalee. Last bus from Mullaitivu to Trincomalee was at 3.00 PM. If you miss that bus. You have to take a bus to Vavuniya and from there you have to take another bus to Trincomalee.

Bus fare to Vavuniya from Mullaitivu is 140 LKR. Vavuniya to Trincomalee is 150 LKR.

Where to stay at Trincomalee?

This was the cheapest stay out of all my stays in Srilanka. This was a shared Dormitory, but most of the Dorms are free and you end up a being a single occupant of it. I paid 950 LKR for a night.

Day 8

The staffs at the hostel are super friendly and they ready to help your stay and travel comfortable by all means. Trincomalee is famous for whale watching and you'll hear stories that you could watch whales from the shore. But I was lucky enough to watch a herd of Dolphins.

The staffs at the hostel will help you with all the bookings for whale and Dolphin watching. I paid 3000 LKR for whale watching.

Dolphins :)

Photo of Solo Travel Srilanka with a shoe string budget. by Chandrasekar RC

What to see in Trincomalee?

Photo of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC

Crystal clear water @Trinco Beach.

Photo of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka by Chandrasekar RC
Day 9

Took an over night bus to Colombo from Trincomalee. Fare-360 LKR.

Reached Colombo by early morning and headed to airport directly. The Bus no is 170 and the fare is 150 LKR.

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