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  • Writer's pictureRoshan Dhanasekar

Where to stay in Sri Lanka - A hostel guide

Accommodation, among other things, adds up to how your travel pans out. It can either make or break your entire plan. With an intense passion towards travelling solo, I prefer staying at hostels because it turns out to be the cheapest option if you are on a budget and lets you connect with people from different walks of life while you are travelling solo and indeed lets you make friends for a lifetime. 

During my recent trip around the island nation of Sri Lanka, I stayed at hostels - the sole reason being that I was on a budget and travelling solo can sometimes get lonely. And if you are planning a trip to Sri Lanka, on a budget and looking for a place to accommodate yourself, here’s a guide to the hostels that I stayed, which I loved. 

Bunkyard Hostels, Colombo

Located in the urban side of the city, staying at the Bunkyard Hostels would be the perfect way to start your trip in Sri Lanka. With its modern architecture with hippie elements, this hostel is anything and everything that you would look forward to in a hostel. With spacious rooms, a common area to chill, a dining area which can be your makeshift office during your stay and the warm-hearted hosts made my stay and start to my trip an exciting, happy and a memorable one. 

Bunkyard Hostels has its franchise in Weligama and book directly with them to avail exciting discounts. 

Fresco Lion Villa Hostel, Sigiriya

Nestled in the wilderness of Sri Lanka is this beautiful villa-cum-hostel where I stayed during my time at Sigiriya. As the name suggests, this is more of a villa than a hostel. This property has four family rooms, out of which one is converted into a five-bed hostel dorm. I don’t which stars of mine aligned, I had this entire property to myself during my stay. This is the kind of villa that I would want to stay, tucked away in the middle of nowhere and waking up to the sounds of the birds chirping. 

On the hindsight, I have to say that I was pretty scared to have had the whole villa and the property to myself because once the sun sets, it's totally dark and you can’t venture out on an evening walk or anything leisure of that sort. If you are looking to get away from the crowd, have a peaceful stay with one of the most humble hosts that I’ve come across during my time in Sri Lanka, I highly recommend this hostel.

Deck on the Hills, Kandy

As the name suggests, this literally was a deck on the hills. A little away from the city-centre, this hostel is situated on the second floor, overlooking the Hantana hills in Kandy. With an attached restaurant and bar, I loved my time here especially because of the people who managed this property. There was an instant connection between us when they realised I’m from Chennai and that I can speak Tamil. 

One of the best thing that I loved doing here was to have my morning coffee sitting at their rooftop restaurant space overlooking the foggy Hantana hills as the sun graced me with its warmth.

Laughing Leopard Hostel, Nuwara Eliya

Oh Boy! Even though I was here only for one night, it was my best night in my entire 2 weeks in Sri Lanka. Cosy, spacious, and hippie is how I’d like to describe this place. When people say things like, ‘that place had a vibe’, I could never imagine how it felt or would feel, but after staying at this hostel, I now know what that means. 

Sanjay and Ashwin took the best care of me and threw a great last Friday party to all the folks staying in the hostel under the starry night with a bonfire to keep us warm, arak and ginger beer to get the conversation going and met some of the amazing folks who shared the same passion of travelling. And their homemade food, god, I could go back there just to have the delicious, authentic Sri Lankan food. 

What are you thinking? Chart Nuwara Eliya on to your list of places to visit while in Sri Lanka and book your accommodation here at the Laughing Leopard Hostel, because it’s worth it. Also, did I tell you that they have two amazing dogs? Yes, now go ahead and book your stay. 

Bunk Station Hostel, Ella

Modern, minimal and beautiful - this is how I’d like to describe this hostel. And it was worth every penny that I paid for this hostel because I had my friends stay in other hostels and their experience was not as good as they expected it to be. Bunk Station Hostel has spacious rooms with clean linens and the cleanest washroom with running hot water (which I was most excited about).

Apart from this, they have a common area with a space to read, a dining area and kitchen for the midnight Maggi lover in all of us.

Satori Beach Hostel, Mirissa

Imagine a beach holiday with private beach, a dorm with a view, delicious vegan food, and sunbathing under the Sri Lankan sun. Imagined all of it? Would you want to experience all of it? Satori Beach Hostel in Mirissa would be the best option because YOU WILL NOT REGRET DOING SO. 

I’m not going to saying anything more because these pictures would have spoken for themselves. But one thing, actually two things that I would say is - I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets from here and the folks who are working and managing the hostel are one of the most kind-hearted folks that I’ve come across during my time in Sri Lanka. 

Also, what better way to be welcoming the new year by the beach, with a bonfire, beer and some amazing people?

Hangover Hostels @ Colombo Intl. Airport, Negombo

As the trip came to an end, I did not want to stay in the city of Colombo, but somewhere really closer to the airport because I wanted to get that tad bit of extra sleep before I hopped on my flight. And, Hangover Hostels @ Colombo Intl. Airport was a perfect option for me. 10 minutes away from the airport, this hostel was hippie, modern and minimal. Ever fancied living inside a container (which is refurbished, of course)? Book your accommodation here, because you’ll not regret it. 

Hangover Hostels has their franchises in Ella, Mirissa and Sigiriya, book directly with them to avail exciting discounts. 

Looking back at my time in Sri Lanka, I’ve heard stories from a fellow traveller about how they have had horrible experiences at the place of their stay or how their hostel was entirely different from the pictures which were put up on the booking website. Touchwood, I didn’t have any such bad experiences and I would want to thank each and everyone who made it possible for me during my time in Sri Lanka.

What is or was your favourite place to stay in Sri Lanka? Do you prefer hostels over hotels just like me? Let me know in the comments below or write to me at and follow me through my travel adventures on Instagram @weirdlyrosh.

Happy and safe travels!

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