Sri Lanka is well on the way to being a new favourite with the backpacker crowd. The fact that it’s quite easy to get around the island without private transport is a big plus. It might be slow and hot at times. but isn’t that part of the backpacker charm? Sri Lanka is full of great places to visit – from idyllic beaches to mountain temples, there’s something for everyone, including a variety of stays including hostels and hotels in Sri Lanka.
Kandy is a city in the central highlands; the weather is a little cooler than in the south, but the mountain views are lovely. It’s a great backpacker spot because there’s so much to do around the area that you can get to easily. There are tea plantations to discover, temples to visit, forests to get lost in and botanical gardens to hang out in. For some great coffee and snacks, try Natural Coffee and Empire Coffee. Both are next to the entrance of the Temple of the Tooth.
Dambulla is a town in the northern plains, inside the Cultural Triangle. It’s a great place to use as a base when discovering not only the Cultural Triangle, but also the ancient cities of Anurhadapura and Polonnaruwa. The rocky outcrops of Sigiriya and Pidurangala are also at your doorstep waiting to be discovered. A good place to stay is Jungle Vista Backpackers, where you can hang out and meet other travellers on a regular basis. You can get to Dambulla by train from Colombo and then take a tuk-tuk to the hostel. There are buses that run between the important sights at the Cultural Triangle.
Unawatuna is a favourite with many backpackers and young families. The beach is nice, there are plenty of places to eat and stay, and the atmosphere is chilled-out. There are plenty of beachside hostels, but for a really unique experience, try Camp Kush. It’s a full-on backpackers’ paradise with huts to sleep in, gardens to play in, sofas to chill on and volleyball courts to play on.
The old walled city of Galle Fort makes for a great day trip, or you can stay for a night or two. The Galle Fort is wonderful for walking around and taking in the sights. The ramparts and the fort are quite interesting as well. A great backpacker hostel in Galle Fort is the Pedlar’s Inn; elsewhere, you can get some great food at Galle Things Roti.