One of the biggest unfulfilled desires for almost every Sri Lankan is to go on a trip to other countries. But unfortunately, as a developing country, Our financial status is a bit lower to afford those kinds of experiences. 10.9 Percent of the Sri Lankan population is under the poverty line according to the report of the World Bank in 2021. Even a case study has proven that the majority of the Sri Lankan middle class people are travelling out of the country more often. Shocking ha? We’re not actually poor in money, We’re poor in information. Many travel agencies around the island fix very high costs for their travelling guidance to any foreign country. In reality, it’s enough to spend so much less than they fixed. But the problem is most of us have no idea where to travel, what are the requirements, how to choose the cheapest flight, and how to travel on a low budget.
To find the answers to all those questions read this entire article without skipping a single point.
Why we should travel to another country?
When it comes to travel EXPERIENCE is one of the important factors to achieve. While travelling we can earn many different experiences. Because we get out of our comfort zone when travelling. Travelling to another country can give you more exposure to many various cultures and you’ll get the chance to meet different community people. You can learn about their culture, tradition, habits and much more. This will gradually change your mindset and the way you approach life. Travelling and Learning can improve your wisdom.
Visa and Legal Process
To enter a foreign country every non-resident person, need a VISA. This is to stop illegal immigration and criminal activities. For Sri Lankan passport holders, there are 39 countries providing On-arrival-visa facilities. On-Arrival-Visa means you don’t have to apply for a visa before you depart from your native country. After you arrived in that particular country you can obtain a visa from the immigration department at the Airport. But for the majority of countries, it’s mandatory to apply for a visa before starting your journey. To get the visa for those countries you have to fulfil certain requirements while applying. Commonly required visa documents are:
• Covid-19 Vaccinated medical report.
• Letter of invitation.
• Visa application fees.
• A photocopy of the information page in the passport.
• Travel insurance.
• Proof of financial support for the entire trip.
• Proof for purpose of travel.
Other than these documents some countries request more documents based on their foreign affairs laws. In the current situation, every country has been requesting travellers to Inject at least 3 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and certify it, in order to prevent infections.
Here are some cheapest countries for Sri Lankans to afford a foreign trip on a budget.
- The Philippines
- Every cost mentioned in upcoming lists is suitable for 2 Adults for 5 Nights. Plus, additional 50,000
LKR was added in case of any emergency. Choose the perfect destination for your budget.
1. Republic of The Philippines – 511,000 LKR
One of the Island countries in Southeast Asia. Situated in Western Pacific containing over 7000 various-sized islands. The Philippines is relatively a bit more expensive than any other Southeast Asian country. Sri Lankan citizens, have to apply for a visa to enter the Philippines. Visa Requirements:
• Visa application form.
• Passport Size Photos.
• Negative Covid-19 test result.
• Vaccination proof of Covid-19
• Accommodation bookings.
• Travel bookings-round trip flight.
• Cover letter
• Current details- Employed proof letter, If studying: Letter of absence acceptance by school.
• Bank statement for the Last 6 months.
For flight fare, it’ll cost 187,966.45 LKR/person for Sri Lankan Airlines and 200,740.87 LKR/person for Air Asia. For cheap flight tickets, you can browse on the internet or you can contact the nearest travel agency for a fair price. But before buying compare the prices.
To Travel between cities, you can use public transport like the bus. Busses in Manila city are so much cheaper. For 10 Km it costs you 160 LKR/person. As mentioned earlier Philippines has many islands around it. So, travelling towards any island you can use ferries. Ferries from Manila to Cebu for 3 hours sailing will cost 4100 LKR/person in the economical class.
You can easily find decent accommodation from all over Manila city. It’s really cheap and safe for tourists. You can choose either hostels or personal rooms. A decent quality room for 2 adults requires 7500 LKR/night without food. It’s up to you to add breakfast or dinner to your package. Rice, noodles, and skewered meat dishes are famous and cheap in the Philippines. But you also can prefer some other options like Chinese or even Italian. For ordinary meal plan costs, you 3500 LKR/person for 3 times.
The Philippines is popular for scuba diving and other water sports activities such as boating. If you want to involve in those activities, it’ll additionally cost you some amount. Be prepared according to your plans.
2. Bangladesh – 500,000 LKR
Bangladesh is situated East side of India in the Bay of Bengal. It’s famous for being the world’s largest river delta formed by the Brahmaputra and the Ganges River and also the home of Bengal tigers. Sundarbans mangrove forest is also belonging to Bangladesh and is the largest forest added to the UNESCO world heritage zones list. More than this Bangladesh is also really cheap to travel to and to get a better Asian experience. Sri Lankan tourists need a visa to travel to Bangladesh. Visa requirements:
• Passport with at least 6 months of validation.
• Email address.
• Your professional photo.
payment options to pay the visa application fee. To fly from Colombo to Dhaka, Indigo Airlines costs 194266.08 LKR/person and Sri Lankan Airlines costs 212558.56 LKR/person for a round trip.
Bangladesh is also one of the countries that provide the cheapest public transport. In Dhaka, it costs 800 LKR to travel 10Km of distance. It helps tourists to visit the place to place inside the country. You can easily find affordable accommodation inside Dhaka city. It costs you around 5000-7000 LKR/night for 2 adults. Each accommodation around Dhak city is safer. In case of any emergency, every area has a police patrol that works 24/7. Like Sri Lankans, Bangladesh people also like Rotti and daal, you can also find more variety of foods. For 2 adults it costs 800 LKR for an entire day meal. Also, you can find many street food shops in Dhaka city. Bangladesh has many stunning architectures and massive forests all around the country. You can visit them and enjoy nature.
3. The Republic of Indonesia – 515,000 LKR
Indonesia is an island country that contains eighteen thousand small and big islands between the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific Ocean. Indonesia offers a lot of unique experiences and landscapes to everyone who travels there. Volcanos, massive tropical rain forests, various architectures from Dutch colonization, Coral reef sea shores, vibrant cities like Jakarta, Sumatra alone lands and more. It’s home to many beautiful scuba diving and snorkelling spots. More than this Indonesia is really cheap to live.
Have you ever heard that one Sri Lankan Rupee equals 42 Indonesian Rupiah? From this conversion You can assume how cheaper this country is. Sri Lankan citizens need to apply for a tourist visa to enter The Republic of Indonesia. To apply for the visa you can contact the local Indonesian embassy at Sarana Road, Colombo or you can apply via E-visa facilities provided by the Indonesian government. Required documents to apply for a visa:
• Visa application form.
• Passport-sized photo.
• Health documents.
• Vaccination documents.
• Passport copy.
• Travel bookings.
• Bank statement.
Air Asia and Sri Lankan Airlines are giving the cheapest flight fares to fly to Jakarta or Bali. It costs almost 183,595.61 LKR/person. You can save some money by booking your ticket as earlier as you can. As I said before Indonesia has a lot of islands. To travel between those islands tourists can use boats and ferries. It’s much cheaper for a 3 hours ride. Apart from that inside the cities like Jakarta people uses public transport and taxis to move from place to place. Travelling between regions costs 1,191 LKR/person for busses. Other than this you can choose taxis or self-drive to travel across the city. To self-drive, you can apply for a SIM A driver’s license in Indonesia and then you can rent a vehicle. Rent costs 26,000 LKR/day. It’s not the cheapest option, but for your own convenience, you can go for a rental
Jakarta is relatively safe for living in. It’s really easy to find inexpensive hotel rooms with decent services. A two stars hotel costs you approximately 6,500 LKR/night for two adults. You can choose other staying options like apartments or even hostels. It depends on your budget and needs.
Indonesia has a mixed type of food tradition with over five Southeast Asian countries, French and Dutch. It gives you the privilege to taste different types of foods. Street food is also popular all over Indonesia. For an entire day meal, it costs 6,000LKR/day for two adults. It’s not much cheaper but you can buy groceries at the local market and prepare your own dishes on a budget.
Indonesia has many marine sports and activities. If you want to involve in those you should keep some more money with you. That’ll never cost you more than 10,000 LKR per person.
4. The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal – 450,000 LKR
As Sri Lankan natives we’ve never seen snow through our bare eyes. Nepal is the cheap and best option to experience snow in order to its location. Nepal is located in the Himalayas. The world’s tallest mountain Mount Everest is situated there. From October to December is the best time to visit Nepal when the sky is clearer and you can enjoy the Sky and mountains. And March to May is also better months to visit the country.
For the SAARC nationals, Nepal issues 30 Days free entry tourist visa for the first time in the year of applying. Then after visa fee will be applicable for each application. Sri Lankan people need to apply for a visa to travel to Nepal.
Required documents to apply for visa:
• Duly filled Application form.
• One Passport Size photograph to be affixed to an application form and the signature of the
applicant should be placed covering the photo and form.
• Copy of the Passport.
• Original Passport with at least 6 months validity.
• Immediate previous passport.
• Children below 12 years of age should submit a copy of their birth certificate.
Air India and Indigo Airlines are providing the cheapest flight journey to Nepal. It costs around 171,136.03
LKR/person. If you’re travelling all the way from India then you could choose other land vehicle
options which is way cheaper than Flights.
Nepal has many mountains and peak landscapes which means you have to use any motor vehicle to travel across the country. Otherwise, it’s hard to walk or ride a cycle between the destinations. You can hire local cabs to travel inside Kathmandu city. In buses, within 500 LKR-800 LKR, you can travel but it’ll be time-consuming because of the narrow and spiral-shaped roads.
Around Kathmandu city, you can easily find the best hotel rooms at affordable price points. It costs approximately 5000LKR/night for two adults. If you’re going alone or you don’t need a room you can sleep in the temple halls and that’ll be free of charge. Even some of them may require additional charges. Check before your stay and make sure whether they’re paid or not. When it comes to food in Nepal, there are a lot of small restaurants and fast food shops. Of course, they’re so cheap as you can easily finish your entire day’s meal within 2000 LKR/person.
Nepal is a great country to find peace. I have a lot of temples and meditation spaces all over the Kathmandu city. The pure and cold water, wind, and atmosphere from the Himalayas make your mind and body relaxed. Try Nepal for your next vacation.
5. Malaysia – 380,000 LKR
If you want to experience the modern European metropolis lifestyle on a budget, Malaysia would be a perfect choice. Malaysian culture is totally influenced by Indian and European mixed cultures. But this rich culture never going to cost you so much. Yes! Malaysia is super cheap for Sri Lankan tourists. As a Sri Lankan, you need a visa to fly to Malaysia. You have to submit all the necessary documents to get issued a visa. Required documents to apply for a Malaysian visa:
- Application Form.
- Current and if any previous passports.
- Request Letter from the applicant (Typed).
- Proof of employment. ◦ Employment confirmation letter (on company letterhead) ◦ If self-employed the same has to be mentioned on the visa request letter ◦ For Business owners /
Directors copy of BR, form 48 or 20 both Original and copy. ◦ Any other sort of employment
should be mentioned on the visa request letter. For Unregistered businesses or freelancers any
document to show proof of business.
- Travel Itinerary
- Accommodation details
- Bank statement for the last three months (Originals & copies only in A4 size) Both, Originals
and A4 size copies with a minimum balance of USD 500 The copies should be verified by the
bank, or copies attached with a bank balance confirmation letter. Current and Saving accounts
only. (if submitting a fixed deposit slip (copy verified by the bank) & the reason should be
mentioned on the visa request letter given by the applicant)
- Marriage certificate / Birth Certificates (English translations Original & Copy only) For children
Birth certificate (Mandatory during each travel) For adults (if married) Marriage certificate
(Mandatory during each travel)
- No Objection letters Children below 18 years old, and travelling without their parents or
one of their parents. Married Women travelling alone, below the age of 40 years old (from
Husband) Unmarried women travelling alone, below the age of 25 years old (from
- To fly towards Malaysia from Colombo, Air Asia & Indigo airlines are giving reasonable flight fares. For further options, you can choose Sri Lankan Airlines, but it’s a bit more expensive. An air ticket to Malaysia
costs almost 130,000 LKR/per person.
- If you’re planning to use public transport to travel across the country, better you should buy a touch-n-go (TnG) card for 1600 LKR. Visit here to explore more about Malaysian public transport. If you choose
taxies it costs you 250 LKR for the first Kilometre and then 10 LKR for each 150m.
- You can find many hotels in Kuala Lumpur with absolutely no effort. A fine hotel room with an attached
bathroom and a twin bed costs you 6000 LKR/night for 2 adults. You can get offers when you book
your hotel room in advance with the help of online bookings.
- Kuala Lumpur contains so many shopping malls and restaurants. Not exactly like New York, But it’s
relatively high in count. You have numerous options to eat in Kuala Lumpur. You’ll be able to find
Indian foods which are exactly related to Sri Lankan food in Jalal Masjid India and Little India. Those
areas in Kuala Lumpur have tons of Indian restaurants with cheap price points. A full-day meal costs
almost 3500 LKR/person. But if you like to cook you can prepare your own food if your hotel has that facility.
- Malaysia is one of the gems in the Indian Ocean. A lot of Beautiful and interesting places located all around
6. Kingdom of Cambodia – 414,000 LKR
The Kingdom of Cambodia is situated on the Indochinese mainland in Southeast Asia. It’s a land of rivers, plains
and forests. Cambodia refers to only one landmark Angkor wat temple to their tourists. The world’s biggest temple Angkor wat requires 3 days to fully explore its infrastructure. But this is not the only tourists’ attraction in Cambodia. Cambodian national museum, Royal palace of Cambodia, Bayon Temple and much more to visit.
Fortunately, as a Sri Lankan citizen, you don’t need to apply for a visa to reach Cambodia. Cambodia gives 30-day on-arrival visas for Sri Lankan passport holders. To fly to Cambodia Sri Lankan airlines and Air Asia are giving flight fares so cheap price. It’ll be 185,000 LKR/person for a round trip.
To travel between cities, you can hire a private vehicle. But it’s more costly than public transport. Cambodia has various bus routes and travel services for tourists. Busses in Cambodia costs 900 LKR/person on average for a single trip. It depends on the distance you’re travelling.
For accommodations, you can easily find a room at the price of 3000 LKR/night for 2 adults. Dormitories and hostels are much cheaper but they slightly have some security issues. Before staying in such places please double-check your safety.
Cambodian food is a bit different from our Sri Lankan dishes. Their cuisine contains a lot of insects. Before you eat any food from a street food stall or restaurant, be aware of the ingredients. Because it may cause food poisoning. But you can also get the usual rice and curry for an affordable price. You can finish your entire day’s meal within 1800 LKR/person. The main attraction in Cambodia is Angkor Wat.
Tourists can purchase one-day tickets or three days tickets to explore the entire temple. But it’s impossible to know the entire time within one day. So, it’ll be better if you purchase 3 days ticket. Costs will be differed according to the ticket.
7. The Republic of Singapore – 380,000 LKR
Singapore is a sovereign island country situated in Southeast Asia. One of the smallest and most densely populated countries in the world. Singapore is one of the Four Asian economic Tigers. Do you want to experience the Western lifestyle in your neighbourhood country, then Singapore would be the best option for that. This small country holds enormous amounts of shopping malls, restaurants, parks, and entertainment spots.
Luckily Sri Lankans don’t need to apply for a visa before getting into Singapore. Singapore ministry of foreign affairs provides An Arrival visa for Sri Lankan citizens. For cheapest flight tickets to Singapore, you can approach Sri Lankan Airlines or Air Asia. It’ll cost you around 146,000 LKR/per person. But it might cost you less than this if you book your ticket so earlier.
Travelling inside Singapore city is so much effortless. The most efficient government established multiple public transport options to travel across the city. Singapore’s MRT – Mass Rapid Transit covers almost every corner of the city. Prices for the trip depending on the distance you’re travelling. It costs you around 1500 LKR/person for an average ride. You can also choose other options like taxis. But it’s more expensive than public transport.
Singapore is one of the most luxurious cities in the world. This means the accommodations like hotel rooms are slightly expensive in Singapore. The cheapest hotel rooms cost is starting from 20,000 LKR/night for two adults. But there’s no compromise for quality and services.
Singapore has numerous restaurants and street food stalls. Even the food is also a bit more expensive than in Sri Lanka. However, you can enjoy Malay and Chinese mixed food. And also, Indian food. The price for food is around 15,000 LKR/ day for 2 adults. But it depends on the place you’re eating. Even though it’s an expensive country than Sri Lanka you can still enjoy the western lifestyle and things.
Keep an umbrella with you while you’re out Because the tropical climate of Singapore means It will be raining at any time of the day.
8. The Republic of India – 250,000 LKR
India is the exact replica of Sri Lanka. India and Sri Lanka share not only borders but also shares so many historical events. Indian sub-continent is the biggest country in South Asia. It has numerous amounts of ethnic groups and communities, Various cultures, and Different landscapes from hot desserts to cold mountains and rainy forests. Those all give a variety of experiences. If you want to explore what life really is, then travelling to India would be the best and cheap option.
Sri Lankan citizens need to apply for a Visa to travel to India. For the application process, you don’t have to approach the Indian embassy, you can go with an online process called E-Visa from your home. This process requires certain documents such as:
• Digital photo of yourself.
• Scanned Passport Information page.
• Payment method.
For the cheapest flight fare, you can fly with Air India, Indigo and Ari Lankan Airlines. Generally, it costs you around 65,000 LKR/per person. I hope a ferry service would be established between Dhanushkodi and Mannar.
You can use public transport to travel across the places and even between states. But Chennai is one of the most populated cities in the world. Public transport inside the downtown and city centres would be so crowded. But when it comes to budget travel plans, public transport is the cheapest one. It costs approximately 500 LKR/per person. But you can also hire cabs, and three-wheelers according to your convenience. But be aware of the cost you’re paying for them, whether it’s fair or not.
Accommodations like rooms, and lodges are really cheaper in India. But you should be cautious about your safety. As another option, you can stay in hotel rooms. That costs you 5000 LKR/night for 2 adults. To getoffers of up to 20 per cent book your hotel rooms online.
India is popular for spices, masalas and ingredients. Through the many different restaurants and hotels, you can enjoy the taste of traditional India. You will have an enormous number of options for food. A full-day meal plan for a person costs 1000 LKR/person for a day.
When travelling on a budget, it is important to choose your destination wisely. Some countries are much cheaper to visit than others. Before starting your journey, completely study about the country from top to bottom. It helps you to prevent unnecessary problems. It’s even better to learn a few important words in the native language of the country you’re going to visit. There will be a lot of chances to spend more money than you expected while visiting another country. To reduce this risk, have a journal with you and note all the spending. It brings all the unimportant spending to your attention and gives you the idea to prevent overspending.While packing your luggage, try to include all the mandatory items so that you can avoid spending on those items in another country. If you want to know more about packing your luggage for an international trip, leave a comment below. Hope you all have a safe and happy journey.
Share this with your favourite travel partner and plan your next trip to another country