Eat, sleep & drive: a practical guide to Sri Lanka

As always, we start our blogpost series with a practical guide, to help you organise your trip to this fantastic destination.

Flying to Sri Lanka

As always, when you live in central Europe like we do, be sure to check out flight prices from different airports. We flew out from Frankfurt Airport – which is really comfortable. Though it is a fair drive from home (about 400 km), flights from Frankfurt are often a lot cheaper than flying out from Brussels. In this case, we saved about € 800 on our flights – which can get you a long way in Sri Lanka!
It was the second time we flew out of Frankfurt and this time we had some serious traffic jams along the way. In the future we will always book an airport hotel before flying out, just to be more relaxed. When we went to the Seychelles we stayed at Hampton by Hilton, which offers excellent deals.
Parking at Frankfurt airport is easy, but we recommend booking in advance. For this trip, parking set us back € 277 (we were gone for 26 days).

Flying over the Maldives

Entering the country

Sri Lanka requires an e-visum to enter the country. All information can be found on the offical website,


There is no malaria risk, but dengue, chikungunya & leishmaniasis are a risk. Good protection against insects is needed. Some of the hotels offer extra protection through mosquito nets.
The Belgian government has an excellent website (and app) called Wanda, which tells you all you need to know about health risks. Go directly to their page in Dutch or English.

Getting around

There are a lot of options to get around in Sri Lanka. For the cheapest way, you can rely on trains & buses. You can also rent a tuk-tuk and go for slow travel. A lot of families choose to hire a driver & car for the entire trip, but we found that to be too expensive. In the end we made good uses of the services of Less Taxi, a taxi company that uses local taxi drivers to transport you from one location to the other. They operate through the whole island. You simply send a whatsapp message with the details for the transport, and Less Taxi arranges everything. You then receive a whatsapp with the details of your driver (car, license plate, name of your taxi driver & the fee). They offer the cheapest taxi deals. Even when our hotel offered a transfer, we bargained for the price and not a single one of them could go lower. The taxi service was always perfect. We had one issue where a driver asked for an extra fee because our hotel was further away than he had expected. However, one phone call to Less Taxi & the matter was solved without us having to pay any supplement.

You do need a local sim card to use this service, because you can’t always rely on wifi. But this is something we always buy anyway. You can find details on their website, and as you can see on TripAdvisor as well: they get excellent feedback.

Our full roadtrip

Local guides

We usually explore by ourselves, but we did hire a local guide in Anuradhapura. Siri takes you in his tuktuk to view all the different sites in this ancient city. We learned so much about Buddhism that day. Siri is an excellent guide and very good with children. We’ll take you on the full tour of the day in one of the upcoming blogposts. You can contact him for a booking on Whatsapp +94 76 606 69 76.


We mostly ate in our hotels, because it wasn’t expensive & we didn’t feel like going out again in the evening. We tried some excellent street food (coconot and banana roti) when we were in Anuradphura.
We found it more difficult than in other countries to find something more Western for Febe (who is still a picky eater), though some places (Ella, Kandy) are easier for that.
A lot of the food consists of curries (but all curries taste more or less the same due to the use of the ever present curry leaves, which is an acquired taste). The food is spicy, even when they say it is not spicy at all. A typical breakfast often consists of roti with sambol (a spicy fried onion mix), fruit, eggs (sometimes egg hoppers), while dinner is often a curry with a lot of side dishes.

Hotel recommendations

For our hotels, we always try to book through For the first time on our travels, we had an issue with a hotel. The day before we would arrive, we received a text message saying the hotel had new owners and there wasn’t a room available for us. We then found out that has an excellent customer service, where for no extra charge we were offered a different hotel. You can decide on which hotel you want – though because it was high season and very last minute we didn’t have any options on the same standards of the original hotel. Still, it was a relief to get the help we needed.

  • Negombo

    We stayed at Ging Oya Lodge.

    Recommended for: it’s excellent cooking, the peace and quiet, birdwatching & the free kanoes you get with your stay. They also have a large pool, which is always a bonus.
  • Wilpattu

    We stayed at Wild Wadi Wilpattu.

    Recommended for: the enormous hospitality. The cooking was excellent and the safari they arranged was great.
  • Anuradphura

    We stayed at Hotel Heladiv.

    Recommended for: the relaxed hotel garden. It’s in a quiet area of the city, which for us is always an added bonus. The pool is smaller, but nice. Lovely restaurant!
  • Sigiriya

    We stayed first at Back of beyond Jungle Hideaway Pidurangala.

    Recommended for: the quiet location, walking distance to Pidurangale Rock. And ofcourse for the tree houses you can stay in. Sleeping in open air, protecting your belongings from monkeys… You either love it or hate it, we loved it. They also offer great activities – we did an excellent night safari to spot Loris and they took us on a great safari to Kaudulla.

    Our next stay was a litte further away, still in the same region at Dehigaha Ela, where we stayed in another tree house.

    Recommended for: going completely off grid, the great hospitality of the hotel owner & staff, the free fish spa in the river.
  • Kandy

    We stayed at Villa Shenandoah.

    Recommended for: the great food, the great hospitality of the hotel owner, the wide views over the city and the infinity pool.
  • Ella

    No recommendations due to our last minute hotel shift. The hotel we stayed in had a lovely view and a good shower but that was it. Breakfast was far below standard, the room wasn’t clean, wifi & airco didn’t work well at all.
  • Yala National Park (Kataragama)

    We stayed at Gem River Edge.

    Recommended for: the great hospitality of the owner, the excellent food (without a doubt the best food we had, only vegetarian though!), the beautiful garden & river next to the hotel grounds. The offer a great safari option.
  • Udawalawe

    We stayed at Jungle Paradise.

    Recommended for: the great swimming pool & the excellent safari options they give.
  • Sinharaja

    We stayed at Sinharaja Forest Edge.

    Recommended for: the location on the forest edge. They have excellent hiking options, with local guides to assist you.

We hope that we have given you some inspiration to start planning your own trip to this stunning island. As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

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