Here is my list of all the best places I’ve stayed at in Sri Lanka. These are generally the best budget options, including a few more upper-class places for when you feel you need a bit of pampering.
Mirissa is Sri Lanka’s mad party beach town. Come here if you want crazy drunken beach bar parties until 4 am every night.
Space Garden – (£6)
This is quite a new hostel and when I was there the rooftop communal area was still being built, but it looks very promising! The dorms are modern and clean with bathrooms in each one and occasionally even hot water. Downstairs they have a restaurant and chill area where they offer free breakfast and bottomless tea and coffee. It’s not as close to the beach as some Mirissa accommodation, but still, only a five minute walk away. Out the back, there is a river where you can watch monkeys and Komodo dragons fight over scraps of food.
Hangover Hostel is a more upper-class hostel with a perfect location directly over the road from the beach. It has dorms and privates (£30) with hot water, AC, secure card access and offers an excellent restaurant downstairs with fast wifi, a bar and occasional live entertainment. It’s quite a bit pricier than most Sri Lankan hostels, but if you want to treat yourself it’s worth the extra cash.
Weligama is only a short, ten-minute tuk-tuk ride from Mirissa and is a more chilled out, surfer town. It benefits from a number of decent hostels, two wine shops and a central train station.
Like Hangover Hostel in Mirissa, Hangtime is perfectly located on the beachfront, with an excellent rooftop chill area overlooking the ocean. They don’t serve alcohol but have a great selection of coffee and juices. Rooms are clean and include A/C, wifi and, occasionally, hot water. It’s a great place to meet other travellers and rooftop parties usually continue into the night.
The Classic is a new budget guesthouse in Weligama offering private rooms for as little as £5 a night. Bathroom facilities are shared but since they currently only have three rooms this is not much of an issue. The rooms are basic but very clean and modern, and the beach is about a ten-minute walk away. They do have wifi but it’s based in the owner’s house across the street so it’s a bit weak. Rooms have a fan but no A/C. Despite its simplicity, the Classic was one of my favourite places to stay in Sri Lanka.
Hikkaduwa is kind of like a rich Russian getaway in Sri Lanka. It’s a bit pricey and a bit posh, but still worth checking out.
Casa Hikka Villa (£12 pp – must book entire villa)
If you are a large group of ten looking for somewhere private and peaceful with an enormous swimming pool, BBQ facilities and a small but empty beach, Casa Hakka Villa is the place for you. It’s a private home a short bus or tuk-tuk ride outside of Hikkaduwa with five bedrooms that can sleep up to ten people (all double beds). Two staff live permanently in the house and attend to cleaning and changing bedding, but remain almost invisible the entire time. Just ensure to bring supplies when you come, as it’s a bit far from any shops!
Hansa Surf (£10 – privates)
Hansa Surf is a nice budget hotel on the beach front which spectacular views and an excellent location that makes up for the sub-par conditions. Rooms are pretty basic, with the usual lack of warm water and no A/C, just a fan. However, they are comfortable and include mosquito nets.
Kind & Love Hostel (£4)
Hikkaduwa doesn’t have the same large number of hostels that most tourist spots in Sri Lanka do but fortunately offers up this one gem right next to the railway station. This does, however, mean it’s a bit further from Hikkaduwa’s best beaches… but closer to the wine shop! So swings and roundabouts. And what a name, right? What could possibly go wrong…
Ella is, in my opinion, the best place in Sri Lanka. It’s a secluded mountain hideaway with outstanding beauty, an exceptionally chilled out environment, and just the right amount of party atmosphere.
Tomorrowland Hostel (£6)
Tomorrowland is a fabulous piece of backpacker tradition that is rare to find these days. A truly travel orientated hostel focused purely on helping the customer. They provide free sleeping space for those temporarily without accommodation and offer the option of volunteer work for those who need other means to pay. It has a very hippie, psychedelic, theme which can be quite addictive, making it difficult to leave. Most of the accommodation is in tents, and you are welcome to pitch your own. The only problem is, it’s a bit far from town – so bring supplies!
Sigiriya is where you will find Sri Lanka’s most famous tourist attraction – Sigiriya ‘Lion’ Rock. The rock has been considered sacred by locals for centuries and features ancient temples below and up upon it. Entrance is a rather pricey Rs5000 each.
Boralukanda is one of very few affordable accommodation options in Sigiriya and is within walking distance of the famous Sigiriya Lion Rock. It’s very basic but decent enough for a few nights sleep, which is really all you need in Sigiriya. Wifi is questionable and it offers little to no facilities, but at least it has mosquito nets!
Flower Garden Eco-Village (£30 – privates only)
If you’re a couple and want to splash out on something a bit posher while in Sigiriya, you can’t beat Flower Garden Eco-Village. If for nothing else, it’s huge, bizarrely decorated swimming pool alone is reason enough to stay here. The rooms are fabulous – with modern facilities, satellite TV, tea and coffee machines, A/C and hot water. Breakfast is included, but dinner is pricey.
Unawatuna is a great place for surfing and snorkelling with sea turtles. It’s one of the best beach towns in Sri Lanka and is easily accessible from the nearby city of Galle.
Camp Kush (£7)
Camp Kush is one of the best places to stay on the Sri Lankan South Coast. On first arrival it’s location may be a bit off-putting, as it’s quite far inland away from the beach. However, your fears will quickly be availed by the warm generosity of the host Buchi and the welcoming vibe of the camp. It features private rooms and dorm beds in beautiful grass tipis around a central campfire. Each tipi has electricity and a fan. Transport to the beach and town is quick and easy to arrange with the host, and breakfast is included.
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