Most tourists bypass the capital of Sri Lanka altogether to head straight to isolated beaches and the emerald green hills of the country. Little do they know that Colombo is teeming with life in the form of colonial architecture, breathtaking temples, and sprawling markets.
It will be no surprise that in the crowded city squares and even in the back streets you can find a culture not often presented to travelers. Even if you decided to stay on the tourist trail, you will be wowed with all the lush gardens and museums Colombo has to offer!
With a massive city like Colombo, you will spend quite some time sorting through dodgy budget dorm rooms and proper backpackers hostels.
We made picking the perfect hostel easy with this master guide! No matter how you like to travel we have a hostel in Colombo for you!
Get ready to smell the roses or take a dip in the ocean, we are bringing you one step closer to vacationing in Colombo!
Table of Contents
Quick answer: The Best Hostels in Colombo
- Best Overall Hostel in Colombo – Bunkyard Hostels
- Best Party Hostel in Colombo – Colombo Beach Hostel
- Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Colombo –My Little Island Hostel
- Best Cheap Hostel in Colombo – Groove House Hostels
- Best Hostel for Couples in Colombo – Island Hostels Mount Lavinia
- Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Colombo – Clock Inn Dehiwala
- Best Hostel with a Private Room in Colombo – Colombo Lavinia Beach Hostel
Best Hostels in Colombo
Best Overall Hostel in Colombo – Bunkyard Hostels
- Shared Kitchen
If you could not already tell from the wordplay with the name “Bunkyard Hostel”, this backpackers hostel in the heart of Colombo is junkyard themed. That does not mean you will be staying in a dump by any stretch of the imagination, but you will actually be staying in a hostel with tons of recycled materials!
Other than Bunkyand Hostel’s efforts to go green, this is also a pretty awesome hostel with their relaxing lounges, cafe, and atmosphere perfect for late-night of cracking open a beer and chatting with other backpackers. That is what staying in a hostel is all about, right?
Best Party Hostel in Colombo – Colombo Beach Hostel
- Rooftop Terrace
- Shared Kitchen
Although Colombo is a massive concrete jungle, let’s make sure you are not confined to the city. You will be just minutes away from feeling the sand between your toes when you check yourself into Colombo Beach Hostel!
Not only will you be escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, but the neighborhood around this backpackers hostel is also well known for their crazy bars and infamous nightlife!
It’s not just the party outside the hostel which will have you fall in love with this youth hostel, Colombo Beach Hostel also has their very own cocktail nights to make sure their backpackers never go without a drink!
Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Colombo – My Little Island Hostel
Been on the road for a while and need a place to just kick back, relax, and meet fellow travelers? If you are in Colombo My Little Island Hostel is THE hostel to go to for solo travelers looking to meet other backpackers. The entire layout of this youth hostel was built with socializing in mind!
Other than all the outdoor terraces and hangout spots around My Little Island Hostel, you will be blown away with the on-site restaurant and even a spa! Looking to hangout, chow down, or pamper yourself? This backpackers hostel was made for you!
Best Cheap Hostel in Colombo – Groove House Hostels
- Live Music
- Pub Crawls
- Movie Nights
Looking to free up some cash to keep the travels going as long as possible? Groove House Hostel is your go-to place for some of the cheapest beds in Colombo!
Since you are paying for a dirt-cheap bunk in a hostel, it must be a pretty shabby place, right? Wrong! This backpackers actually puts all of the other hostels to shame with their live music, pub crawls, cozy lounges, and even movie nights.
Sure you are paying for one of the cheapest dorm beds in Colombo, but you are getting the best hostel experience on the island!
Best Hostel for Couples in Colombo – Island Hostels Mount Lavinia
- Swimming Pool
Regardless if you couples out there are just coming into Sri Lanka or about to fly out, let’s make sure all the memories you make are full of romance and love. There is no better place for you lovebirds to cozy into than Island Hostels!
Located at Mount Lavinia, also known as the “Golden Mile” of beaches, you will be just minutes away from taking a dip into the sea! With loads of restaurants and bars nearby, you will be strolling around each evening, hand and hand, trying to decide what romantic restaurant to catch the sunset in.
It gets even better at the hostel. With terraces, lounges, and even its very own swimming pool, Island Hostels is the perfect place for you and your boo to shack up into!
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Colombo – Clock Inn Dehiwala
- Work Station
- Free Breakfast
Before you fly out of Sri Lanka are you digital nomads out there needing a place to crash for a few days to put the last finishing touches on that new blog post or youtube video? Clock Inn Dehiwala will hook you up with a hostel which comes with its very own work station, lounges, and a strong internet connection so you can get your editing done with ease!
After you close your laptop, Cock Inn will continue to give you the best Colombo experience possible! Start each day with a delicious breakfast free of charge! After you scarf down your food, where to next? It’s up to you! This backpackers hostel puts their guests right smack in between the beach and downtown meaning its a breeze to get anywhere you want to!
Best Hostel with a Private Room in Colombo – Colombo Lavinia Beach Hostel
- Shared Kitchen
Needing to have that perfect nights sleep and not willing to gamble having a snorer in your hostel? Why not check yourself into a private room? At Colombo Lavinia Beach Hostel they will put you up in a single room which won’t bleed your wallet! And that is just the beginning!
This backpackers hostel has homey vibes, complete with its very own outside terrace, garden, shared kitchen, and even a pool!
You may want to go ahead and cancel that flight, Colombo Lavinia Beach Hostel may have you moving to Sri Lanka for good!
More Best Hostels in Colombo
- Close to Train Station
Although they may call themselves a hostel, C1 Colombo Fort gives more of a poshtel vibe. While this means you may not have crazy pub crawls and beer pong every night, you will get a good nights sleep and an extremely clean hostel!
Other than getting some peace and quiet, the location of C1 Colombo Fort is what will really make you want to stay at this hostel! Putting you right smack in the center of the action, you will be minutes from the train station and most of the famous historical sites and nightlife areas in Colombo!
Needing a good nights sleep or just wanting to be in the heart of the city? C1 Colombo Fort is just the hostel for you!
- Rooftop Terrace
City Rest is another backpackers hostel which gives off more of a hotel feeling. With all of the perks rolled up into this hostel, you won’t even feel like you are missing out on the party with the other backpackers!
At City Rest they have their very own cafe serving up delicious dishes, a bar where you can crack open that cold beer, lounges, and even a rooftop terrace offering stunning views of the Colombo skyline!
Did we not mention you will be staying in the center of Colombo? Literally, everything will be at your fingertips while staying at City Rest! And believe us, there are no shortage of fun things to do in Colombo.
- Free Breakfast
Most people don’t quite take a liking to Colombo, but if you stay at Hostel at Galle Face you are sure to fall in love with the city! Located downtown, backpackers will be just minutes from all of the best historical sites, bars, and restaurants, and the fun doesn’t stop there!
Hostel at Galle Face is cozy and intimate, meaning its lounges are the perfect place to just kick-back and meet other backpackers. Needing to head out early to explore or catch your plane/flight? This backpackers hostel will have you waking up to a piping hot breakfast before setting out on your new adventure!
What to Pack for your Colombo Hostel
Pants, socks, underwear… Here are some other items you might not have thought to pack.
1. TRTL Travel Pillow: Long flights and bus rides are quite uncomfortable (most obvious statement of the day). Most travel pillows… Well, you know how they are. TRTL travel pillow is different. I mean, look at it! It’ll cuddle you to sleep every ride and it does a pretty damn good job of supporting your neck so you don’t get that stiffness or legendary popping when you stir.
2. Noise-Cancelling Earbuds: Noise in hostels… is a thing. Your bunkmate coming in late, motorbike traffic just below your window, construction on the property or the round-the-clock rooster that seems to follow you to every f*cking hostel. Having a way to escape the noise while you sleep makes for a well-rested morning. Noise canceling ear-buds are a great solution, just put on your favorite artist or load a quick Netflix episode to fall asleep too.
3. Padlock: Keep your stuff safe, guys. Unfortunately not all dorm lockers share the same security standard. You’ll want a lightweight lock that can fit all the various dorm lockers you’ll clip it to. Having a padlock that is flexible and can fit a variety of locker styles is the best way to make sure none of your belongings wander away while you are out.
4. Active Roots Microfiber Towel: Quick-drying, lightweight, super soft and compact – the Active Roots Microfiber Towel is essential for every backpacker. No need to use the scabby towels your hostel may or may not provide! Use it for drying off, as a yoga towel or even as a picnic blanket – the options don’t stop here. Made of antibacterial material, you don’t have to worry about your towel starting to smell unpleasant either after lots of use.
5. Universal Travel Adapter: Not every country has the same electrical plug style, so carry along a universal travel adapter. You’ll want one that covers varying voltage levels, has protection from power surges, a fried laptop is not fun, and enough ports so you don’t have to spend all day individually charging your devices.
6. Active Roots Water Bottle: Hostels are increasingly meeting backpackers’ demands for potable (drinkable) water. Now is better than ever to start traveling with a reusable water bottle! Aside from cutting down single-use plastic, The Active Roots stainless steel water bottle will also keep your favorite beverage hot or cold all day long and it’s sized perfectly to fit an entire bottle of wine. ‘Nuff said.
It doesn’t matter if you are planning on staying downtown close to all the historical sites or are wanting to head straight to the beach, Colombo is a city with many faces meaning no two days will ever be the same!
With a rich history and vibrant culture, you could spend weeks exploring everything that Sri Lanka’s capital has to offer!
Still don’t have your mind made up on where to stay in Colombo? We got you covered. If you are a traveler wanting that best Colombo experience possible, check yourself into Bunkyard Hostels, our pick for the best hostel in Colombo!
Pull out your guide books or layout your towel, your Colombo adventure is just a few clicks away!
Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.
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Noodle addict. City dweller. Aaron Radcliffe is the marketing ninja for The Broke Backpacker, founder of Nomads Nation and Co-Founder of Ditch Your Desk.