27 Best Hostels in Sri Lanka (Beach Hostels, Unique Experiences and our best Itinerary Tips)
Photo by Oliver Sjöström

27 Best Hostels in Sri Lanka (Beach Hostels, Unique Experiences and our best Itinerary Tips)

Looking for the best hostels in Sri Lanka? We prepared something super useful for you; the coolest hostel selection for backpacking Sri Lanka + itinerary ideas.

When you are looking at this page, it can only mean you are about to start your Sri Lanka Trip.

Oh, we envy you! We stayed once in 2017 for full month around the country; we had an amazing time. We came back in 2022 for two months. What an adventure! We are sharing everything you need to know right here. All non-bias and first-hand!

Important: You need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. You can check with iVisa.com which visa you need and how to get it. Here is our complete review on iVisa and how it works for Sri Lanka.

Overview: Best Hostels by Traveler Type

🏄🏾‍♀️ Best Hostel in Weligama:The Spindrift Hostel Weligama
🐢 Best Hostel in Matara:Spindrift Madiha
🚂 Best Hostel in Ella:Hangover Hostels Ella
🥳 Best Party Hostel:Why Not Backpackers
🏄‍♀️ Best Hostel for Surfing:Surfing Wombats
👩‍💻 Best for Digital Nomads: Hangtime Hostel in Weligama
😍 Best Boutique Hostel:Spindrift Hostel Madiha
🏖️ Best Beach Hostel: The Doctors House
🙏 Best Hostel in KandyBanana Bunks

From wild Elephants feeding to diving with turtles and sharks and spotting a wild leopard. The people, the culture, the food, the landscape – it’s fantastic. In the process enjoying this unique country, we collected a great list of the best hostels in Sri Lanka.

Good to know: We actually stayed at all these places personally – they are handpicked and recommended to be safe, fun and clean!

Staying at one of these hostels? ❤️

Share your photo and tag us @hostelgeeks on Instagram.

We are Hostelgeeks and we discover the worlds greatest hostels, including the best hostels in Sri Lanka.

We traveled all the way around, starting in Colombo to the North-East in Trincomalee, Kandy, Ella and finishing our trip on the Southern Beaches.

So, here you go.

Hostels in Sri Lanka are fairly new, and you will find a wide range of quality. From really worn-out places to backpacker-party hostels to epic boutique hostels and 5 Star Hostels.

This list will help you to chose well.

If you want to skip directly to a specific location, here you have the city/ town list.

If you want to know all the best hostels around Sri Lanka, just keep scrolling:

Really helpful for your planning: Check out our hostel and itinerary map too.

We included a map with ALL top Sri Lanka hostels. We also included our best recommendation for an itinerary – based on our first-hand experience. And some information you should know before visiting Sri Lanka.

Because, well, we have actually been here!!!

Update: Find our big guide to the BEST Things to do in Kandy (including religious festivities)

Best Hostels in Colombo

Update March 2022: Skip Colombo!

All good hostels in Colombo closed permanently or are not open yet. There is no reason to stay in Colombo anymore, since the city is quite underwhelming. The only reason we recommended to stay in the capital were the hostels; these are gone atm. This might change in the future again.

Please check our recommended itinerary for Sri Lanka here.

Your trip will kick off in Colombo, Sri Lanka. While there is rumor, Colombo should be skipped, I don’t think you should do this.

Colombo is the perfect place to start your trip. Why?

1st, here you find many fellow travelers you either just arrived too. And 2nd, you will meet travelers that just finished their round-trip of Sri Lanka.

SCORE! This means you will find instantly someone to travel with plus the freshest travel information you can imagine. Of course, that would only happen if you stay at a social place, with cool vibes and communal areas. That is why we start this list with…

  1. Bunkyard Hostels
  2. Clock Inn Dehiwala
  3. Island Hostels Mount Lavina

Important though: Only stay 1 night here. Colombo is not the most exiting area in Sri Lanka.

1. Bunkyard Hostels in Colombo

The perfect place to start and end your trip is Bunkyard Hostels. It is a super stylish hostel, very clean with fun events like pizza trucks.

Their communal area is the place to meet other fellow travelers. Looking for someone to travel with? Or just curious about the last information about weather/ places to go around the country?

Head to their lounge and start conversations with the other fellow travelers you will find there. On top, enjoy lunch with traditional food for a few $ – it is super tasty, trust us!

Bunkyard has many different types of rooms:

  • big dorms,
  • small dorms,
  • private rooms (with private bathroom)
  • only female dorms
  • budget private room (shared bathroom)…

Perfect place for solo-travelers, couples and groups!

Book Bunkyard Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Having fun at Bunkyard Hostels Colombo, Sri Lanka

On the map, you will find also other hostels mentioned for Colombo.

These are places we would recommend for the end of your trip.

More chilled-out places, further out the city, but with cool vibes. Perfect to recover and reflect about all your Sri Lankan experiences.

2. Clock Inn Dehiwala (Colombo)

This boutique design hostel is around 20 minutes by train from Colombo.

The Mount Lavina beach is within a walking distance. It is a great accommodation with complimentary breakfast, private rooms and a cozy patio.

It is a not a super social hostel, I feel. For this I would rather stay at Bunkyard. Here you hang out with many more backpackers.

Book Clock Inn Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Best hostels outside Colombo , Clock Inn Dehiwala

Relax at Clock inn Dehiwala, Mount Lavina, Colombo

3. Island Hostels Mount Lavina (Colombo)

Also outside Colombo, to reach the city from Island Hostel you will only have to take the train. The train station is around 3-5 minutes by walk.

This hipster hostel with capsule design beds comes with a rooftop terrace and… a swimming pool!

Personally, I recommend installing the App PickMe. It is basically the Sri Lanka Uber for Tuk-Tuks. You have the price beforehand and it is easy to install and use. You pay in cash though, keep this in mind.

Book Island Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Cozy private bed at Island Hostels, Colombo

Take a dip at Island Hostels

Best Hostels in Anuradhapura: Fig and Geko Hostel

Old colonial house with functional, clean furniture.

Fig and Geko Hostel is the place to stay if you want to socialize with other guests. Your bed comes with a mosquito net (really useful in the area). The staff/hosts are more than helpful with local information, recommendations, itinerary suggestions, and onward travel info.

Don’t hesitate and ask.

Book Fig and Geko Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Fig and Geko hostel, Anuradhapura

Best Hostels in Kalpitiya: Kalpitiya Beach Hostel

Kite surf lovers, listen up!

This hostel is just 50 meters from the ocean beach and 1.5 kilometers to the main kite surf lagoon. Kalpitiya Beach Hostel is a great budget choice for kiting, diving, or just chillin’ on the sand under the palm trees…

A balance of peace and tranquility with a friendly funky vibe.

Book Kalpitiya Beach Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Kalpitiya Beach Hostel is one of the best hostels in Sri Lanka

Best Hostels in Trincomalee: Wanderers Hostel

To be fair, Wanderers Hostel is not in Trincomalee, is in Uppuvelli.

It is just one village next to Trincomalee.

We personally think Uppuvelli is the best place to stay in the Trincomalee area. Trincomalee will be just your bus stop point. If you want to enjoy the beach vibes and relax, head to Uppuvelli. Matt went here for diving (really recommended) and Anna went on a Snorkeling trip and even saw small sharks at Pigeons Island.

Wanderers hostel offers simple bed rooms with a good communal area where people sit around to drink and get to know each other every night.

It is just 3 minutes to the beach, less than 5 minutes to all of the bars/ restaurants.

Smart tip: Head to Fernando’s Bar, (our favorite in the area) and enjoy a coconut on the beach. Cheers!

Book Wanderers Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Wanderers Hostel in Trincomalee

Best Hostels in Arugam Bay: Little Lagoon Hostel

You probably won’t visit Arugam Bay unless you are planning to surf.

If so, Little Lagoon Hostel is an amazing place to stay in. It has a beautiful garden, with cozy hammocks to chill and doggies to cuddle. It is a place where it is easy to meet fellow travelers (solo travelers, this is your oasis!).

In fact, Little Lagoon Hostel made it to our list of favorite beach hostels worldwide.

The private room is a refurbished old shipping container. Super cool!

Being ‘good market approved’, Little Oasis is a sustainable hostel that cares about recycling and looking after the environment.

This hostel is small and away from the hustle and bustle, meaning, you will have to walk a bit more to get there. But once you arrive, you probably will only leave for your surf lessons anyway…

Book Little Lagoon Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Best Hostels in Arugam Bay

Best Hostel in Kandy: 2in1 Kandy, Kandy

Of course you want to take the famous train ride from Kandy to Ella. We have a recommendation on how to secure your ticket for this unforgettable experience. And we also found two great hostels in Kandy:

  1. 2in1 Kandy Hostel
  2. Banana Bunks

2in1 Kandy Hostel

2in1 Kandy Hostel is the hostel with the best view in Kandy. It is a little bit outside of town but you can use bus transport or tuk-tuk to visit the city. The hostel is small with a personal touch and very clean. It has all the facilities you need, and a great balcony for a beautiful sunrise view!

Everything you need you can find here, even a hairdryer! You can wash your laundry at a very reasonable price. And free coffee and tea are a nice addition. The staff is very welcoming and super helpful with recommendations.

In total, this is a very good value for money.

About the train ride: Make sure you let the team know you want to take the train. Again, they will help you to get the tickets! This is important since sometimes “tickets are officially sold out“, but you can always organize some.

Book 2in1 Kandy Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Banana Bunks (with Swimming Pool)

A new gem in the city of Kandy is Banana Bunks. As the name suggests, it is a hostel, although it might not look like one at first glance.

Their swimming pool is one of the highlights here. There are not many hostels with swimming pools in Sri Lanka. That is one of the reasons to stay here.

More reasons are their beautiful bali-style interior design and the lush tropical garden. Just take a look at the photos below.

Cons: Unfortunately, there are only two bathrooms for the two, big dorms (6-bed and 8-bed), which is clearly not enough. There is weirdly a curfew at 11pm. This feels quite odd nowaday.

All in all, it is a gorgeous hostel but it has its hickups. At times, it also does not feel (yet) like a fun backpacker place to meet and mingle. Keep this in mind.

Location wise you are not in the city. You have a to take a tuk-tuk. The easiest and cheapest is using the app PickMe. It should cost ±200/ 300.

Where do you sleep?

  • Deluxe King Room 1 queen bed
  • Deluxe Twin Room 2 twin beds
  • 6-Bed Dorm
  • 8-Bed Dorm

Banana Bunk Beds does not offer female-only dorms atm.

Book Banana Bunks here

Compare prices: Hostelworld | Booking.com

One of the few hostels in Sri Lanka with a swimming pool: Banana BunksBoutique Hostel Dorms at Banana Bunk Beds, one of the best hostels Kandy has to offer Beautiful Bali Design at Banana Bunk Beds

NEW: Best Things to do in Kandy, Sri Lanka

We wrote up a huge guide to the coolest and best things to do in Kandy.

We cover all the amazing stuff like the scenic train ride (and how to score better deals), Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, and the famous Esala Perahera festival.

Find the full guide to things to do in Kandy here.

19 Wonderful Things to Do in Kandy, Sri Lanka - Probably the Most Scenic Train Ride of your Life

Best Hostels in Ella

Ella, where your stunning train ride will end (or begin) was the cradle of hostels in Sri Lanka. It is a beloved place because there are also many restaurants to chill out with tasty western food, and incredible landscapes.

We give you a few different options to stay in Ella:

  1. Hangover Hostels Ella (our personal choice!)
  2. Ella Escapade Hostel (Ella Rock)
  3. Tomorrowland
  4. Bunk Station Hostel

1. Hangover Hostels Ella (BEST Choice)

A fairly standard, clean, nice hostel with great location – bus station, train station, all the cool pubs and restaurants are within 5 minutes by walk.

Hangover Ella is just off the main street, and on the social area you have direct views to tea plantations. Fancy a yoga class there?

Bear in mind breakfast and towel are not included in room rate. Make sure you bring your own towel and padlock.

Also, you are not directly “downtown” in the village. So you it is more quiet to sleep at night. When staying central, you can basically forget about sleeping early. Many bars have live music until 11pm. Something to keep in mind.

Smart Tip: download our hostel packing list here.

Book Hangover Hostels here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

2. Ella Escapade Hostel by Nomatic

This place is perfect if you plan to hike Ella Rock, Ella Escapade.

The scenery is incredible and it is very peaceful. Rooms are basic but everything you need is there.

It is a little walk to the center – around 30 minutes, but if you want to relax, enjoy the views and chill, it is your place. They provide breakfast, lunch and diner so you actually don’t need to move.

Book Escapade Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Ella Escapade Hostel by Nomatic

3. Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland is one of the most famous hostels in Sri Lanka. You will hear a lot about this place.

Tomorrowland is a bit far from the city centre in Ella (it takes a 15 minute bus ride or a tuk tuk into town) but it does mean you are away from the tourist hub.

They have a quirky tent set-up and open dorms with views to tea plantations. A DJ is playing every night, so don’t think about this hostel if you don’t want to party.

Expect a very laid back backpackers vibe and be ready to sleep in nature.

Not everyone’s cup of tea, but an experience itself.

Book Tomorrowland here

Book your stay at: Hostelworld

Tomorrowland Ella

4. Bunk Station Hostel

Bunk Station Hostel hit the scene in early 2019 and is the perfect place for sociable backpackers.

There are a total of 4 dorms up for grabs, hosting 8 or 10-beds, depending on your preference. This includes a female-only option.

What else is on offer?

  • Dining area & kitchen
  • Common area w/ books & sofas
  • Free tea & coffee
  • Themed nights

Location: just 1km from Ella Town and all of the central must-see and do sights.

Book Bunk Station Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Bunk Station Hostel is one of the best hostels in Sri Lanka

Bunk Station Hostel is one of the best hostels in Sri Lanka

Best hostels in Yala National Park (near Tissamaharama)

Chances that you are planning to go on a Safari in Sri Lanka are high. We have to say, it is a great place to experience a Safari – and see wild animals!

Expect to pay around 30-40 € for a Safari experience.

Bear in mind, prices should depend on how many people will share the car with you. Ask for how many people are joining to find the fairest deal.

The most connected town to reach Yala Park is Tissamaharama. You can get there even by public bus.

From the bus stop, you will have to take a Tuk Tuk to your accommodation. Hopefully is not the first you take in the country – cause Tuk Tuks are fun!

Super Yummy Food Tip: Have lunch or dinner at Calorian Restaurant (check google maps). Cheap prices and lots of great food. We went twice, and became friends with the owners, lovely people!

Here’s our top places to stay we loved:

  1. Funky Leopard Safari Hostel
  2. Gem River Edge
Asking for directions: We had an amazing time at Yala National Park, Sri Lanka.
Asking for directions: We had an amazing time at Yala National Park, Sri Lanka.

1. Funky Leopard Safari Hostel (Yala)

Placed in very nice and quiet area and not too far from the entrance of the park, Funky Leopard Safari Hostel is the place to be if you are traveling solo.

It is located on a new made building with very clean and modern facilities. They provide unlimited internet connection (which works fast!).

Each bed comes with an own outlet – connect and charge your devices. You will find a lovely environment with a garden, terrace, and balcony.

The staff is attentive and you can also order dinner here if you don’t wanna go out and explore the area.

Book Funky Leopard Safari here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Funky Leopard Hostel dorm

2. Gem River Edge (Yala)

Set in a beautifully thought-through landscape near to a river, Gem River Edge hostel comes with a stunning dining area and nice touches throughout.

About the decoration: lots of shells, stone pillars, lit murals etc. The staff is friendly and you can order dinner and lunch here. They will also offer you a Safari in case you want to join.

Unfortunately, they do only offer private rooms. So the common areas are not really hostel-like. Yet of course, it always depends on the people staying there at the same time.

Backpacker Tip: bear in mind this is an eco lodge, so there will be bugs.

Book Gem River Edge here

Compare prices atHostelworld

Room at Gem River EdgeGem River edge Eco Lodge

Best Hostels in Tangalle: Nest Residence

Tangalle has no real hostel options anymore, since Lucky Beach Tangalle closed down.

Howevere, you should stay at Nest Residence. This cute family-run guesthouse is a good option if you want to stay in Tangalle.

We recommend to rent a motorbike to get around. There is some stunning beaches!

Nest Residence is run by a Sri Lankan Family, offering accommodation and delicious food.

Book Nest Residence here

Compare prices at: Hostelworld.com

Best Hostels in Matara to Mirissa: The Doctor’s House

Located on the way from Matara to Mirissa, you will find two legendary hostels:

  1. Spindrift Madiha
  2. The Doctor’s House

These hostels are nearby, just 500m apart. We tell you what’s your best choice here.

Insider Tip for Coffee Lovers and Brunchers: Just a 5min walk from both hostels, you will find Swell Café, one of the best coffee places in the country (in my coffee-nerdy opinion!)

1. Spindrift Madiha, near Matara

How about some Bali vibe?

After Weligama, Spindrift opened their 2nd hostel in Sri Lanka at Madiha Beach, near Matara. It is named Spindrift Madiha – simple to remember! It is just a 10km drive from Weligama and 8km from Mirissa. So, yet again, you can see how nearby all these small villages are.

Madiha Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area; both for sun bathing and surfing.

Spindrift Madiha comes with a big swimming pool, surrounded by tall palm trees. The hostel itself offers double private rooms as well as 4 bed and 6 bed dorms.

Last but not least, you can also expect Yoga classes and as always, plenty of social activities. This is one of the best hostels in Sri Lanka for Solo-Traveler!

Important for you: In season, this hostel is booked up super early! Book as soon as possible! I know, this is not ideal since plans change but just keep in mind, this hostel is super popular.

Book Spindrift Madiha here

Compare prices: Hostelworld | Hostelz.com

Spindrift Hostel, Madiha, one of the best hostels in Sri Lanka for female solo traveler Spindrift Hostel, Madiha, one of the best hostels in Sri Lanka for female solo traveler

2. The Doctor’s House

This beautiful cool hostel is located on a 200 years old, restored colonial building (it was an Ayurvedic hospital) right at the beach.

They have a cool outdoor bar and chill area with fab food and tasty cocktails. The little decorative touches everywhere will make you feel a little like you’re in the jungle.

The facilities are neat, and the outdoor shower is just fantastic.

Important to know: Lockers here are to small to fit any sort of DSLR camera or large laptops.

Even more important: There are only 2 dorms at The Doctors House. It is a popular place and sold out fast. If you want to stay here, act fast. There are also beautiful bungalows/ private rooms.

Alternatively, you find other hostels in the area and can just go to Doctors House to hang out. This brings us to Spindrift vs Doctors House:

Our best recommendation (in a perfect world) would be to stay at Spindrift and go over to Doctors House for an occasional drink and their special events.

Why?

The dorms and accommodation in general is much better at Spindrift plus you have the cool pool. Doctors House makes points by hosting these incredibly cool events.

Also: Wednesday and Saturday are party days. This is when people from the area will come to chill at this place. It is awesome and one of our favorite hostels in all Sri Lanka.

Book The Doctor’s House here

Compare prices at: Hostelworld

Best hostel in Matara, Sri Lanka

Best Hostels in Mirissa

Mirissa and Weligama, the surfing areas in the South of Sri Lanka right next to each other. Both are great spots to enjoy cool hostels, surf, some hidden beach bars, you name it.

Best hostels in Mirissa are:

  1. Hangover Hostel Mirissa
  2. Mister Hostel Mirissa
  3. Why Not BackpackersParty Hostel!

Oh and keep in mind, there is always the Secret Beach for a gorgeous sunset with a Cocktail in your hand.

Here in Mirissa you will also find the popular Coconut Tree Hill – check our featured image above 😉 Here you may get your most instagrammable photo from your Sri Lanka trip.

1. Hangover Hostel Mirissa

Hangover Hostel is a fun backpacker hostel just across the beach with a rooftop terrace ocean views (and yoga classes!).

We had a fun 3 nights stay here while our trip through Sri Lanka.

On the dorms: huge lockers and comfy beds with clean design. On the common area: entertainment shows (even with fire!), cool staff willing to help you find hidden gems (ask for directions to the Hidden beach) and plenty of fellow travelers looking to hang out.

They also offer Yoga in the morning. Ask the staff about the schedule. The yoga lesson is always extra, not included in the price.

Good to know: Although the name indicates it is a party hostel, it is more a backpacker hostel. They do not party hardcore. There is the events of partying, but only until 10pm. Then the party people move to a club or anything in the area, and the travelers who fancy some sleep, can sleep like a baby in the hostel.

We really like that!

So don’t worry, this is a fun, social place!

Book Hangover Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Best Hostels in Mirissa; Hangover Hostels Best Hostels in Mirissa; Hangover Hostels

Yoga at Hangover hostel Mirissa

2. Mister Hostel Mirissa

And there is another place with a fun name for where to stay in Mirissa: Mister Hostel. Just a 4-minute walk from the beach, you will find this backpacker hostel.

Rooms comes with air conditioning, and bed dorms have an individual light and curtains. There is a laid back atmosphere and cool activities. It is more laid back, so this is what I personally liked here. For the parties, you can head out to the Doctors House, Cheeky Monkey or any other bar really.

Book Mister Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

dorm at Mister Hostel

Party Hostel in Mirissa, Sri lanka: Why Not Backpackers!

This is the craziest party hostel in Sri Lanka: Why Not Backpackers!

It is located in central Mirissa, near the beach and many restaurants. But this is not its highlight. Kick back at the big swimmingpool, join the daily beer pong and drinking games.

This is a party hostel by definition!

For more parties in the area, there is obviously the famos Cheeky Monkey in Midigama.

Book Why Not Backpackers here

Compare prices: Hostelworld | Hostelz.com

Party Hard at one of the coolest Party Hostels in Sri Lanka: Why Not Backpackers in MirissaDrinking? Sure! Party Hostel in Mirissa, Sri lanka: Why Not Backpackers!

Best Hostels in Weligama

Weligama is definitely the place to stay at if you wanna surf in South of Sri Lanka. Make sure you stay at a hip cool hostel, like the brand new Spindrift Hostel.

The small towns of Mirissa, Weligama, Ahangama and Midigama are super close by! It is just a 10 minutes Tuk-Tuk ride, really. You can also just rent a scooter. It costs between 1000 and 1500 rupees per day. Make sure you take a full video of your scooter with any scratches and issues. This saved us discussions and money.

So instead of focusing on the town itself, I recommend focusing on which hostel you prefer.

The Spindrift Hostel in Central Weligama

The Spindrift is a classy backpacker hostel located in the heart of Weligama and just a few seconds walk to the surfers paradise of beautiful Weligama beach.

Update: Spindrift is now a 5 Star Hostel. Read our full review here.

This is one of the coolest hostels in Sri Lanka, perfect for beach lovers, surfers, and female solo-travelers.

It opened its doors in 2018 and is the new kid in town. If you are into instagramable hostels, come here!

Book Spindrift Hostel here

Compare prices at: Hostelz.com |Hostelworld | Full Review

The Spin Drift Hostel in Weligama, Sri Lanka

Best Hostels in Midigama: Surfing Wombats

Whether you are staying here or not, you will hear about this place when you are in the area. They have the absolute best pizza and pasta in the area! So if you are fancying some Western, or even more Italian Food, come here. Not gonna lie: I love Pizza🤣

Surfing Wombats itself is actually epic as well! Initially, this hostel was not high on our list, but I was wrong.

It is one of the hostels with the best hostel vibes in the country!

It is easy-going, friendly, fun. They organize different activities and even ping-pong tournaments. When I walked in, I thought it is just 30-40 friends living here. You see, this is what makes a fantastic hostel.

In fact, this hostel feels more like a surf camp. I would estimate that a good 90% of people staying here are actually surfer – of all levels. You are in short walking distance to two great breaks and a nice chill beach, named “Midigama Beach”…who knew…

For the Sunset Lover: For the most beautiful sunsets, head over to Coconut Beach for its tiny beach bars run by locals.

Where do you sleep:

  • 8-Bed Mixed Dorm
  • Double Private Room
  • Triple Private Room
  • Tent

The dorms are spacious and the beds are big and comfortable.

Book Surfing Wombats here

Compare prices: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Surfing Wombats - one of the coolest Backpacker Hostels in Sri Lanka Surfing Wombats - one of the coolest Backpacker Hostels in Sri Lanka

Best Hostels in Kabalana/ Ahangama

The Mellow Hostel

Just across Kabalana beach, a great spot for morning surf, you will find this cool, beach hostel, Mellow Hostel.

I know, the village names are confusing. Keep an eye on the map with all hostels. Basically, starting from Galle you have:

  • Unawatuna
  • Kabalana
  • Ahangama
  • Midigama
  • Weligama
  • Mirissa
  • Matara

Anyway, in Kabalana, the best hostel in Mellow Hostel.

The vibes are great and chilled. Relax at the garden, hang out on the hammock or simply enjoy a tasty smoothie bowl under the sun (or palm tree). Each room comes with a private bathroom and many rooms have a terrace, what a wonderful way to wake up!

The hostel is located directly in front of the Kabalana beach. This is a perfect beach for beginner. Nearby you also have great spots for advanced surfer.

Also, look at their dorms design: clean, hip, neat, and cool!

Book Mellow Hostel here

Compare prices at: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Design Hostel in Sri Lanka: Mellow Hostel

Best Hostels in Unawatuna

Unawatuna is most know for its beautiful beaches, and their palm swings. Have you ever touched the sunset? Some people also come to this area for surfing, but we do personally think Weligama area is better for surfing classes.

We selected two best hostels in Unawatuna:

  1. The Rockstel
  2. Cycling Hostel

1. The Rockstel (Unawatuna)

A little far from town (around 20-30 minutes walk or a Tuk Tuk ride), you will find this small backpacker hostel.

The room is very basic with no air con, just a fan. It is basically a fun party hostel where staff is always engaging to get people involved.

The Rockstel Unawatuna is a 20 beds-hostel located in the jungle.

It is conveniently located among 4 beaches – two in the South and two in the North; easily accessible with a 5 min shortcut that lead to the main road, right next to the bus stand and full of tuk tuks.

This small hostel offers 3 AC rooms (two of them with ensuite facilities) and one without AC. The room without AC is a dorm with individual fans for each bed. We really recommend to go with AC rooms.

For the social butterfly traveler it is worth it to mention the hostel has three common areas full of sofas, a small kitchen for guests and a great social vibe.

Surf trips and parties become the main attractions along with other organized activities by a friendly team of locals. An authentic hostel experience for the more active backpackers, offering a mix between having a blast and a chilled atmosphere.

Book The Rockstel here

Compare rates at: Hostelworld

Party Hostel in Sri Lanka, The Rockstel

2. Cycling Hostel (Unawatuna)

New, modern and clean place. This family-run hostel is a great place for backpackers in Unawatuna.

Each bed comes with its own fan, reading light and locker. Breakfast is included and portions are big.

Book Cycling Hostel here

Compare rates at: Hostelworld | Booking.com

Cycling Hostel in Unawatuna

Best Hostels in Galle: Pilgrims Hostel

Galle is a small cute town in Sri Lanka where many locals and travelers come to visit the Fort. We do totally recommend you to watch the sunset here, that is why, staying around is a great idea.

Make sure to check out our map with all destinations and places to stay.

Not many travelers are taking the train from Galle to Colombo. We did it and we must say: it is less crowded than the Kandy train and it is also beautiful. The train rails are next to the beach-side.

We recommend to stay at Pilgrims hostel in Galle.

A nice backpacker’s place in the old town. Pilgrim Hostel has the advantage of being right in the historic centre. However, the rooms are also smaller and the price is higher. If you stay for 1 night only, go for it, since it saves you time plus you can actually enjoy the bars at night and walk home in just 2 minutes.

Book Pilgrims Hostel here

Pilgrim's Hostel: Best hostel in city center galle, Sri Lanka Dorms at Pilgrim's Hostel in Galle, Sri Lanka

Best Hostel in Hikkaduwa: Steffis’ Mandala

Our latest highlighted hostel on this list is Steffi’s Mandala in Hikkaduwa.

The small fisher town of Hikkaduwa is perfect for travelers, backpackers and surfers. Kick back at the beach, join their sunrise and sunset yoga classes with amazing beach view.

Book Steffi’s Mandala Hostel here

Compare prices: Booking.com | Hostelworld

Beach hostels in Sri lanka? In Hikkaduwa you can enjoy Steffi's Mandala Sea View from Steffis' Mandala in Hikkaduwa Rooms at the best Hostel in Hikkaduwa: Steffis' Mandala

All Hostels on a map

Below we created a big map for you. This map includes all the recommended hostels from Colombo in the West to Kandy in the Center and Trincomalee in the North.

Oh and of course the magical South with Weligama Hostel, Mirissa and Galle. It is also a perfect surfing spot! Below in the map you find our itinerary recommendation and all mentioned hostels. We marked them as follows:

  • EPIC and Design Hostels: Red
  • Backpacker-Type Hostel: Purple
  • Other recommendation: Blue

(You can activate and deactivate the different layers in the left sidebar. You can open the map in a new tab here)

Our recommendation: Sri Lanka Itinerary

We added our recommendation for a backpacker itinerary in Sri Lanka inside the map above. You see, Sri Lanka is perfectly to travel in a circle. It is actually quite a big island. You will be starting and ending your trip in Colombo.

So it is important to choose a Sri Lanka itinerary without zig-zagging all the time. This is key to not waste time and money.

In our case, we went first to the North to Anuradhapura, Trincomalee, then to the center with Kandy and Ella, and then went South. Now, it does not matter if you go first clockwise, or vice versa.

If I were you, I would have a look on the weather conditions. It may make sense to start in the South, when the weather prediction for the North isn’t that good. Here’s a good guide on 2 weeks in Sri Lanka. Again, plan a bit ahead, it’ll be worth the time preparing.

The Spindrift Hostel in Weligama, Sri Lanka - 5 Star Hostel

More Useful Information

All our Sri Lanka Guides for you:

Your Travel Insurance for Sri Lanka

Better safe than sorry! Make sure you get your travel insurance sorted out before hitting the road. This is essential and cheaper than you might think.

Read our full review of World Nomads as well as our guide how to pick a travel insurance.

Travel Insurance

FAQ

Anything not clear yet? Below we list all the frequently asked questions. Check it out, backpackers in Sri Lanka!

How much is a Hostel in Sri Lanka?

A dorm in a hostel in Sri Lanka costs between $6 and $15. You can calculate $9 on average. Compare prices Hostelz.com to get updated rates.

Where can I backpack in Sri Lanka?

Basically, you can backpack anywhere in Sri Lanka. There is no "no-go zone". It is a safe country with many great hostels and a fun backpacker scene. It is easy to meet fellow travelers, too.

What are the best hostels in Sri Lanka?

Hostel Guide

We know Sri Lanka and the hostels around the country. We are traveling since 2007, staying in the coolest places around. Therefore, we decided to put together this list of great Sri Lankan Hostels. And not just that.

We also created a big guide to Hostels, covering:

Hostel Packing List

Okay, after finding all these super cool places, it’s time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality hostel, it totally reduces the things you need to pack.

You can buy pretty much anything around Sri Lanka anyway. So no need to pack everything you own!

Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you need to pack.

The main things to pack are:

  1. earplugs
  2. eye mask
  3. key chain flashlight
  4. the right backpack, the Nomatic (our review of Nomatic here) or Lowe Alpine Lightflite 45 Pack
  5. packing cubes
  6. generic padlock (fitting all locker types)
  7. quick-dry travel towel
  8. universal power adapter
  9. travel-sized toiletries

Read the full packing list here.

Download Hostel Packing List

Discounts & Promo Codes

Do you fancy a discount? C’mon, who doesn’t?!

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive exclusive promo codes we only share via email. You can subscribe to our newsletter right here.

This list of the best Backpacker and Luxury Hostels, the 5 Star Hostels, will always stay up to date.

We will keep adding all the greatest budget accommodations. Whether it is a Design Hostel, Boutique Hostel, Eco or Green Hostel – we will have a close look on these backpacker accommodations.

Other 5 Star Hostels

Besides the listed accommodation, we also put together the best hostels in the world; the 5 Star Hostels.

We stayed in a former winery in Santorini, in a former jail-now 5 Star Hostel and many more. And we share all of those unique budget accommodations with you.

Hostelgeeks is your shortcut to your hostel-picks, saving you lots of time in your accommodation research.

We now cover as well curated 3-best hostels guide to following places:

Visa to Sri Lanka

Wanna know if you need a visa to Sri Lanka in a fast and simple way? Read our full review on iVisa, the  shortcut for your visa around the world.

Here you can directly check if you need a visa for Sri Lanka.

How to get to Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is well connected. You will arrive in Colombo, since all international flights leave and arrive here.

We enjoy Skyscanner, Omio.com and Kiwi.com to find cheap flights all over Asia including Colombo and Delhi.

This new website has super cool features like a so-called radius search. Just draw a circle over Europe and find the cheapest rates for the area.

Here is our review of Kiwi.

We took a flight from the Maldives over to Sri Lanka. It is a very common itinerary. There is also direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo.

How to find cheap flights around the world? Kiwi in review and our best secrets to finding flights

Airbnb in Sri Lanka

Airbnb is always an interesting option, right?! It can be cheaper, more comfy even. In case you are a first-timer on Airbnb, here is our 35€ discount for Airbnb.

We cannot recommend any special places since it is always changing. Just keep an eye on it and click around.

Good to know: As a solo-traveler, Airbnb is not the best option to stay. Better choose a hostel-accommodation so you can actually meet more people plus it is cheaper!

Any questions?

Please bother us! We want this guide to be as useful as possible for you.

We traveled all the way through Sri Lanka to hunt down all these cool places. We hope this guide is your answer to where to stay in Sri Lanka.

If anything is missing, please drop us a line! We are here to help you to stay in safe and cool hostels!

Love and safe journey,
The Hostelgeeks

– – –
pin it now, read it later

Best Hostels in Sri Lanka - the ultimate guide

Update: The hostels listed below closed permanently, unfortunately.

Lime & Co Midi in Midigama

Update: Lime&Co has closed its doors for good, unfortunately.

Lime & Co Midi is an eco-hostel with 12 private rooms (6 twins and 6 doubles) with ensuite bathroom. Midi has a large pool, lots of chill out spots and a communal kitchen.

A perfect spot, especially for digital nomads!

Best Hostels in Sri Lanka: Lime and CO

The West Coast House (in Midigama)

The West Coast House is one of these hostels where you feel instantly at home.

Relaxed vibes, bean bags in the garden, nice food, and puppies running around. For the dorms, they used recycling materials. Also, you will find a water refill on the common area.

Heather is the owner and she wants you to make your stay comfortable. Meals will be cook and shared together – what a better way to make new friends than a nice meal?

Located over a road from the beach, the location is closed to many surf spots.

Book West Coast House here

Compare rates at: Booking.com

Best hostels in Weligama, Weast Coast Hostel

La Boheme (Unawatuna)

This boutique hostel is next to the Unawatuna beach and it comes with a unique vibe and an incense smell.

La Boheme has a relaxing atmosphere in the lounge area, nice decorated bathroom and comfy dorms and private rooms. All beds have a mosquito net and towel and linen are provided.

Good to know: most of the rooms do not have A/C but they do come with a fan. Keep this in mind!

Book your stay at La Boheme here

Compare rates at: Booking.com

Private room with A/C at La Boheme, Unawatuna

Best Travel Websites we recommend ❤️
(Fresh Update 2022)

Booking Hostels and Discounts 👏👏👏

As a user of Hostelgeeks, you also have access to exclusive hostel discounts. For booking hostels, there are three sites you need to use:

We recommend installing the Hostelworld App. It is very handy!

How to find cheaper Flights ✈️

The first websites you should check are Skyscanner, Kiwi.com, and Google Flights.

In our review about Skyscanner we walk you through the entire process how to find cheaper flights and how to reserve.

Travel Insurance made easy 🤒

We have used World Nomads on our travels around South East Asia and Europe.

We are currently using Safetywing and Iati Seguros. We wrote detailed guides about these insurances:

Smartest Travel Tools you need to know 🤓

Find all our recommended travel tools and websites here.

Get your Smart Packing List (Free Printable)

Knowing what to pack and what not pack is essential. For instance, you need a one-fits-all padlock.

We created the ultimate list of smart items to bring.

Download Free PDF Packing List

Best Hostel Packing List