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 one full month around the country; we had an amazing time.
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.
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.
At the end of this guide we included a map with ALL top Sri Lanka hostels. We also included our best recommendation for an itinerary. And some information you should know before visiting Sri Lanka.
Update: Find our big guide to the BEST Things to do in Kandy (including religious festivities)
Your trip will kick off in Colombo, Sri Lanka. While there is rumor, Colombo should be skipped, it is quite the opposite. Do not miss Colombo!
Colombo is the perfect place to start your trip.
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…
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 differnet types of rooms:
Perfect place for solo-travelers, couples and groups!
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.
This boutique design hostel is around 20 minutes by train from Colombo.
The Mount Lavina beach is within a walking distance. It is a superb accommodation with complimentary breakfast, private rooms and a cozy patio.
Also outside Colombo, to reach the city 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!
Sometimes, simplicity is the best! This new cute hostel is recommended to travelers looking for a relaxed, quiet place in the mount Lavinia Area (outside of Colombo).
It has bicycles at your disposal so you can explore the surrounding areas.
In Anuradhapura there are many Bed and Breakfast, Homestays…
It is a bit difficult to find a social place. We found a simple hostel offering dorms, and common areas.
Here we tested two cool places:
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.
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.
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 12 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 your stay at Wanderers Hostel: Booking.com
You probably won’t step Arugam Bay if you are not 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 puppies to cuddle. It is a place where it is easy to meet fellow travelers (solo travelers, that is your oasis!).
The private room is inside a container.
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 get, you probably only will only leave for your surf lessons anyway…
Of course you want to take the famous train ride from Kandy to Ella.
The best hostel in Kandy is Clock Inn Kandy. Besides being a fun, social and hip hostel, the super friendly staff helps you to get on your train ride to Ella. the hostel is located in the very heart of Kandy.
In just 5 minutes you are literally everywhere: The famous temple, the lake, even the local market.
Highly recommended for solo-travelers (male and female) and couples at the same time. People staying here are really looking for the social experience.
Roof Top Terrace and Breakfast: The roof top is where the people come together, have drinks, play board games and mingle. Here on the roof top they also serve the breakfast. Super delicious and freshly prepared in front of you!
Good to know: Clock Inn offers 6 super cool capsule beds on their roof top terrace. They are really popular and hard to book. In case you fancy a capsule, let the team know. In case of a cancellation they can change your booking :)
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.
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.
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 3 different options to stay in Ella:
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.
Smart Tip: download our hostel packing list here.
This place is perfect if you plan to hicke Ella Rock. 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.
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 your stay at: Hostelworld
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:
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.
Set in a beautifully thought-through landscape near to a river, this 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.
Just right on the beach you will find Lucky Beach Tangalle. This cute family-run hostel is a good option if you want to stay in Tangalle.
Location couldn’t be better. You won’t need a tuk-tuk as Lucky Beach Hostel it just a 5 minute walk to the bus station. We recommend to rent a motorbike to get around. There is some stunning beaches!
Compare rates at: Booking.com
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:
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!
And there is another place where to stay in Mirissa. 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.
Located in Matara, you will find Doctor’s House.
This beautiful cool hostel is located on a 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.
Compare rates at: Hostelworld
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!
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.
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!
Compare prices at: Hostelworld
There is two cool places you have to know in Midigama. Both are fantastic places we recommend.
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.
Lime & Co Midi is an eco-hostel with 10 private rooms with ensuite bathroom and 2 x 4 bed dorms, one mixed and one is female only. Midi has a large pool, lots of chill out spots and a communal kitchen.
A perfect spot, especially for digital nomads!
Just across Kabalana beach, a great spot for morning surf, you will find this cool, beach 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!
Also, look at their dorms design: clean, hip, neat, and cool!
On your way from Welligama and Midigama to Unawatuna, we found an epic hostel stop for you.
Oh, yes, seriously!
Have a look at Lime&Co Kaba.
A surfers and eco hostel with only 10 rooms and 2 dorms.
The swimming pool is obviously the highlight and place to be. This is where the travelers get together. Just across the street you can have a dip in the ocean; or let’s better say battle the waves with your board.
Lime & Co Kaba is an eco villa with 2 units, each with 1 double bed with attached bathroom, 2 twin rooms with shared bathroom and a kitchen and dining area. Both units share a swimming pool.
Ready for a dip?
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 Welligama area is better for surfing classes.
We selected 3 best hostels in 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. We seriously prefer AC rooms. Keep this in mind!
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.
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.
Compare rates at: Hostelworld
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.
The cutest hostels we found in Galle is The Pedlar’s Inn. This small, cozy hostel is in the old town.
It fills up very quickly that is why you should book it as soon as possible.
If the Pedlar’s Inn is fully booked, try to stay at Pilgrims hostel. A nice backpacker’s place in the old town.
Below we created a big map for you. This map includes all the recommended hostels from Colombo to Kandy and Trincomalee.
Here is our recommendation for a backpacker itinerary in Sri Lanka. 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.
We went first to Anuradhapura, Trincomalee and then went south. Now, it does not matter if you go first clockwise, or not.
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.
Below in the map you find our itinerary recommendation and all mentioned hostels. We marked them as follows:
5 Star Hostels: Black with White Star
Design Hostels: Blue
Backpacker-Type Hostel: Orange
Other recommendation: Red
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.
The most important articles to check are:
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:
Read the full packing list here.
Do you fancy a discount? C’mon, who doesn’t?!
You can find all our valid discount for hostels here.
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This list of the best Backpacker and Luxury Hostels, the 5 Star Hostels, will always stay up to date.
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.
1 hostel per destination & hostel lists. We only pick the #1 hostel for all destinations.
This guide is an exception since it covers all backpacker accommodations in Sri Lanka.
We unbox the hostels and check all their pros and cons. For each destination, there can be only 1 hostel be chosen to be a 5 Star-Awarded Hostel.
This is your shortcut to your hostel-picks, saving you lots of time in your accommodation research.
And for sure, it gives you the security of a top-hostel choice without any bad surprises.