Sunday, November 02, 2014

Budget and Safety Tips in Solo Traveling Sri Lanka and Maldives

4-days quick solo trip in the island countries of Indian Ocean
February 25 to March 01, 2014 

1. If planning to visit Sri Lanka or Maldives, it is highly recommended to visit both due to the following;
- Filipinos are visa on arrival in Sri Lanka with very relax immigration. Though as per their website they require return ticket and show money, I did not do both even not bothered by the usual questions. On the other hand, Filipinos are free visa fee and visa upon arrival in Maldives. Mandatory requirements are return ticket and confirmed hotel booking.
- transiting from Colombo up to 48 hours maximum is free of charge.
- roundtrip fare from Colombo, Sri Lanka to Male, Maldives is much cheaper due to proximity to each other (nearest neighbor country).
- Sri Lanka has very, very cheap cost of living compared to very high cost of Maldives (plus the additional charge and tax on ALL food and service availed).

2. Colombo Airport has approximately 35km distance to downtown. Bus #187 is the cheapest public transportation to downtown, Colombo Fort and Central bus station for only 200 lkr ($1.3). Almost 2 hours travel time going downtown (because it passed through the inner roads) and an hour only going to airport (because it passed through the express highway). Rickshaw (tuktuk) = 100lkr min (provincial) 200lkr min (colombo) and average meal = 400lkr

3. Sri Lanka is very, very safe to travel even for solo backpackers. Sri Lanka is like a mixed of India and Myanmar culture, custom, language and way of living. They treat foreigners as special and fairly in fare negotiations. Backpacks/Luggage can be safely stored in the ticket booth of major parks for free of charge. I left my backpacks both in Dambulla and Sigiriya. It was guarded by staff(Dambulla) and police (Sigiriya).

Maldives island tour (Baros)

Maldives island tour (our speedboat service)

Maldives island tour (other tourists speedboat service)

Maldives island tour (Kuda Bandos shores)

Maldives island tour (Kuda Bandos shores)

Maldives island tour (1st floor with balcony beachfront accommodation for only $110 on 2 days)

4. It is highly recommended to book all adventure packages (island hopping, diving, etc) in Maldives rather than pre-booked online due to the following;
- You can negotiate the prices to much cheaper price
- Compare to other packages whats best fit your interest
- You can choose well the best adventures that fits your Maldives stay

5. Its a fact that everything in Maldives is expensive. On food budget, all hotels have free breakfast included. All full day island resort tours have lunch included. The only independent budget to monitor is your snacks and dinner. For me, I have an average of 150mvr ($15) for dinner which includes a meal, milkshake and water.

6. For Maldives island tours, ensure and look for the picture of the islands included. There might be a possibility that if you did not asked well, they will just bring you to some ordinary resort. Furthermore, payment can be made DURING the trip and request for invoice copy. Full island tour must consist of the following;
- guide with boat crew and guide fee
- 3 islands (high-end island resort, uninhabited island and local island)
- lunch with drinks (water & soda)
- roundtrip pick-up and transfer to your hotel
- snorkel gears
- resort entrance fees
- no additional payment to be made, as in the agreed price during negotiation is the final.
- BONUS (if the travel agency is kind enough):
* Sandbank (additional to 3 islands)
* Snacks (additional to food accommodation)
* Any souvenir item

7. As much as possible exclude Friday on budget planning as this day has irregular public transportation, limited package tours and visitation not allowed on exclusive resorts. Most travel agencies provide water activities only on this day such as snorkeling, diving and fishing. Whale submarine is also not available on Fridays.

Colombo Airport 2nd stamp for double entry tourist visa

Sri Lanka public transportation (rickshaw/tuktuk)

Sri Lanka public transportation (rickshaw/tuktuk)

Sri Lanka public transportation (bus #187 in Colombo Fort)

Sri Lanka public transportation (Colombo Fort)

8. Maldives' isle is comparable to Philippines' El Nido (Palawan) and Calaguas Island (Camarines Norte). Forget about Boracay Island as this place is highly commercialized, not suitable for typical beachbumming anymore.

9. I saw in one island (Baros), there were two baby sharks roaming around just near the shore, which is also near the room cottages (water villa). Be careful on swimming, snorkeling and diving.

10. (Tax & sevice charge included) Milkshake - 50-90mvr; average meal - 150mvr;
500ml water - 9mvr; Exclusive full-day island resort (1) - 130mvr min. Fridge Magnet - 45mvr @  Chandhanee Magu (Male)



  1. This is both informative and helpful at the same time. I'm planning to go to Maldives next year - I just don't know where to start ... :)

    1. @Russ; to tell you honestly I don't have fixed itinerary when I plan my visit in Maldives. I just know only that there are travel tours that can offer cheaper prices compared to online query. What I did was upon arrival, I just asked the hotel receptionist for all those travel tours that fits my budget :)


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