Category: Sri-Lanka

Budget Friendly Hotels in Sri Lanka

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The mesmerizingly beautiful island country of Sri Lanka is known for its love of spicy food and friendly people. This exotic land packed with lush flora, elephants, intriguing ancient monuments and majestic beaches and peaks alike, is one of the top tourist destinations of Asia. There is no dearth of good accommodation in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. However, you are better off if you book well in advance, much before you land in this country, especially if you are travelling during peak season. The top 5 budget hotels mentioned below will only make your stay at this resplendent country more memorable.

1. Ocean Edge Suites & Hotel

Modern and comfortable with all the amenities you are looking for, this hotel is conveniently located near the railway station and the National Art Gallery. At INR 6000 per night, it offers a view of the Indian Ocean for guests, which is a treat for the work-weary eyes. With free Wi-Fi, you don’t have to worry about connectivity. You can also access the fitness centre, the indoor swimming pool, and the spa and wellness centre. Don’t miss the fun experience of dining at the in-house restaurant this hotel plays host to. The front desk (which is open 24-hours), offers facilities such as money exchange and car hire.

Location: 24, 10th Lane, Marine Drive, Colombo 00300, Sri Lanka

2. Best Western Elyon Colombo

A wonderful option for business travellers looking for budget accommodation, Best Western Elyon offers a classy stay at just INR 5000 per night. Not only does the hotel offer free Wi-Fi in rooms, it also allows the use of its Business Centre. The hotel is located conveniently 2.8 km away from Bambalapitiya Railway Station. The tour desk will make any travel arrangements you need and there is a 24-hour reception where things like room service, car rentals and laundry happen in a breeze.

Location: 102 A, Kirulapone Avenue, Baseline Road, Colombo 5, Sri Lanaka., Kirillapone Ave, Colombo, Sri Lanka

3. Ceylon City Hotel

If staying luxuriously on a budget in the heart of the city of Colombo is something you want, then Ceylon City hotel makes for an amazing choice. At INR 5000 per night, the hotel offers 24-hour room service, free Wi-Fi and, in fact, has even won the prestigious award from World Luxury Hotel Awards 2016, getting selected as the Best Luxury Family Hotel. The in-house Flamingo Restaurant that dishes up lip-smacking Sri Lankan delicacies and global cuisine is another highlight here. Rooms offer a stunning view of the Indian Ocean and all you need to do to reach the gorgeous Colombo Beach is a walk for 10 minutes from the hotel.

Location: 11 Upatissa Rd, Colombo, Sri Lanka

4. GSH Colombo

The Great Southern Hotel is better known as GSH and is a true budget hotel for people travelling to Colombo. At only INR 3000 per night, it offers pleasant accommodation, packed with all modern amenities. The rooms are good-sized, the staff is very helpful and the hotel is rather conveniently located, with supermarket, bus stand, money exchange point, shopping malls, etc. all at a comfortable distance. There’s an in-house restaurant too that must be tried. Other amenities of this property are free car parking, airport shuttle services and luggage storage.

Location: 382 Galle Rd, Colombo 00600, Sri Lanka

5. Hotel Janaki

If you are looking for serenity and elegance in the heart of the city, Hotel Janaki fits the bill well. Priced at only INR 3000 per night, the hotel offers modern, gracefully designed accommodation. While here, you can enjoy free Wi-Fi in the public areas, an inviting outdoor swimming pool and two restaurants serving sumptuous cuisine. While the Sapphire Restaurant has global cuisine on the menu, at the Lotus Restaurant you can get your fill of delicious Indian dishes. And their high levels of prompt service ensure you bid adieu to the hotel with a smile.

Location: Fife Rd, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka on a Budget

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Tourism is a significant contributor to the Sri Lankan economy, which translates into expensive tickets to most places of interest. While it is worthwhile to spend on entry fees to popular places, you might want to include some free sightseeing in your schedule to ease the budget without compromising on entertainment. While you are already aware of the popular tourist spots, let us add a happy mix of some free things to see and do on your Sri Lankan vacation.

Galle Fort

An epitome of strength and archaeological excellence, Galle Fort is one of the most prominent tourist places situated towards the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. Built by the Portuguese in 1588, this manmade marvel has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Flanked by the ocean on three sides, the fort houses mini markets, coffee shops, restaurants and museums, including the National Maritime Museum. A complete world in itself, the streets of Galle are enveloped in a unique old world charm, which is further accentuated by the simple and rustic lifestyle of the fishermen families staying here. In the evenings, you can walk up to the lighthouse, or visit the Meera Mosque and the Dutch Reformed Church.

Adam’s Peak

If the idea of a trek strikes your mind while in Sri Lanka, Adam’s Peak (also known as Sri Pada) is the place to be. Ascending the peak takes around 2 to 3 hours as thousands of natural and manmade stairs lead you to the summit. The path is well lit, and lined up with refreshment shops. Mid-way, you will come across a Peace Pagoda built in 1978, and the view from the top is a soul-stirring experience.

Pettah Market

Buying souvenirs or packing in some local flavour comes naturally while exploring a new country. One walk through the Pettah Market in Colombo, and you are sorted. Jewellery, apparel, artefacts and handicrafts – you name it, and the tiny shops tucked into each other will likely have something to pique your interest. Bargaining is the mantra to get the best deal, but if you are not keen, simply sign off with a smile; the shopkeepers here are too busy for a chase!

Viharamahadevi Park

If you like green spaces and want a relaxing break, you can visit the Viharamahadevi Park, earlier known as the Victorian Park. The largest park in Colombo City, it has a number of water fountains, a small zoo and a play area for children. And yes, do not miss out on the popular Buddha statue. The Park has an illustrious history, and was built by some of the most well-known British architects during Sri Lanka’s pre-independence era.

Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque

While you are exploring Colombo, this imposing red structure cannot miss your sight. Built in 1909 under the aegis of the Pettah Muslim Community, the Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque is one of the oldest structures of the city. Also known as the Red Mosque, it was not built by seasoned architects, but by Habibu Labbe Saibu Labbe, an unlettered yet creative hand who drove its construction through sheer talent and passion. It is believed that the mosque once stood as a landmark for sailors approaching the city.

New Kathiresan Kovil

Kathiresan Kovil is a Hindu temple dedicated to Skanda – the War God. Located in Bambalapitiya, a small township, you will come across two Kathiresan Temples – the New Kathiresan Kovil and the Old Kathiresan Kovil. If you happen to visit Colombo in the month of July or August, you can participate in the Vela Festival, which kicks off from the New Kathiresan Kovil. The two temples house shrines of Lord Ganesha, Lord Indumpan and Lord Murugan, amongst others. The colourful frescos and statues of the temple attract locals and tourists from varied ethnic groups.

Sri Lanka for History Buffs

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Besides its natural vistas and azure seas, Sri Lanka is a treasure trove for history buffs—especially with its many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We let you onto the top museums, heritage sites and ruins to see, and history walks to participate in.

Besides its natural vistas and azure seas, Sri Lanka is a treasure trove for history buffs—especially with its many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We let you onto the top museums, heritage sites and ruins to see, and history walks to participate in.

Adam’s Peak in Central Highlands

This UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises of several sites including the Horton Plains, the Knuckles Range and Adam’s Peak. The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka are home to some endangered flora and fauna species, most notably the endemic Sri Lankan leopard. However, for history buffs, the protected area of most relevance is the Adam’s Peak. It is the highest point of the range at 2,243 metres above sea level, where, it is believed, there is a large footprint of Lord Buddha.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum in Colombo is the perfect place to satiate your thirst for knowledge. As soon as you set foot inside the Italian-style mansion housing the museum, you’ll see antiques and artefacts from all over Ceylon. There are a more than 100,000 items on display here, and a vast collection of rare historical books chronicling the country’s history and cultural journey.

Galle Fort

An abode of temples, churches and lush sceneries, Galle is bestowed with unimaginable beauty and cultural wealth. The Seenigama Temple and the Galle Lighthouse are obvious tourist havens, but lovers of history must find their way to the ancient Galle Fort. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built in 1588 by the Portuguese and was a trader’s port. When the Dutch took over Sri Lanka in 1640, they added most of what we see today to the fort.

Dutch Period Museum

Spend a day exploring the prestigious Dutch Period Museum, which was the residence of the Dutch governor in the 17th century. Eventually, it became a Catholic seminary, only to be used by the military as a hospital later. Before it was converted into a museum in 1977, it was also a police station and then, a post office. Today, it houses Dutch furniture and other colonial artefacts.

Colombo City Walks With Mark Forbes

The most striking thing about Colombo is its beautiful mix of modern life and colonial heritage. Go for a heritage walk around the city with Mark Forbes, a resident of Dutch, German and British lineage. The 2.5 hours walk commences at the Dutch Hospital and takes you through the historical fort and Pettah Market.

Polonnaruwa Cycling Tour

Start early on a bicycle and spend the day exploring the ruins of Polonnaruwa. This is perhaps the best way to see the Quadrangle—Menik Vihara, Rankot Vihara, Alahana Pirivena, Jetavana monasteries, and other ancient sites. These ruins include clusters of important religious buildings, famous Buddha statues and shrines. The cycle tour will take around three to four hours to cover the entire town. Do take the time to savour the stunning scenery along the way.

Sigiriya

This ancient fortress, built on top of a rock, overlooks lush forests and is popular for its manicured gardens. The palace ruins have earned it a UNESCO World Heritage Site status, and the huge sculpted lion paws at the entrance are dramatic, to say the least. To unravel Sigriya’s mysteries and secrets, you’ll need to climb up a flight of vertigo-inducing stairs. The glowing frescos, Pidurangula rock, the flat-topped summit, and a graffiti-inscribed wall are all well-worth your time, history buff or not.

Arcade, Independence Square

Dating back to 1885, Arcade is a quaint shopping complex that was once the Jawatta Lunatic Asylum. Whether you are in the mood for some shopping or not, history beckons you here. Its high ceilings, glass atria and wooden staircases have been thoughtfully resorted to retaining its heritage value.