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Basic Sinhala Phrases For Travel in 2024

Looking to learn some basic Sinhala phrases? You’ve come to the right place!

The rhythmic waves of the Indian Ocean, the echo of ancient temple bells, and the aroma of spices and tea – Sri Lanka is a feast for the senses. Earlier this year, I spent 4 months exploring Sri Lanka and it was an incredible experience.

From the lush tea gardens of Kandy and the central highlands to the golden beaches of the south and east coasts, there’s a huge amount to see and do in this small island nation.

Learning a few basic words and phrases in Sinhala will deepen your connection with this enchanting island and its people.

Plus, in my experience, Sri Lankans are always amazed and impressed when visitors make the effort to speak their language. They’ll give you an extra-big smile and welcome you with open arms.

Basic Words in Sinhala

Sinhala, also known as Sinhalese, is the mother tongue of the Sinhala people, who make up the largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka. It’s spoken by about three-quarters of Sri Lankans and reflects the island’s unique identity.

Sinhala is a melodious and expressive language, with a beautiful flow, that rolls off your tongue in a satisfying way.

Whether you’ve come to Sri Lanka to surf, go on safari, or see the iconic Sigiriya rock fortress, start your Sinhala language adventure with these simple words. They’re your first step towards engaging in meaningful conversations in Sinhalese.

  • ආයුබෝවන්Āyubōvan – Hello
  • ගිහිල්ලා හමුවෙමුGihillā hamuvemu – Goodbye
  • ස්තූතියිStūtiyi – Thank you
  • කරදර නැතිවKaradara nætiva – You’re welcome
  • කරුණාකරKaruṇākara – Please
  • ඔව්Ov – Yes
  • නැතNæta – No
  • සුභ උදෑසනක්Subha udæsanak – Good morning
  • සුභ දහවලක්Subha dahavalak – Good afternoon
  • සුභ සැන්දෑවක්Subha sændævak – Good evening
  • ආහාරĀhāra – Food
  • ජලයJalaya – Water
  • නානකාමරයNānakāmaraya – Bathroom
  • මමMama – I/me
  • ඔබOba – You
  • අපිApi – We/us
  • Ē – That
  • යන්නYanna – To go
  • කන්නKanna – To eat
  • ලියන්නLiyanna – To write
  • බොන්නBonna – To drink
  • හොඳHoṇḍa – Good
  • ඒක හොඳයිĒka hoṇḍayi – It’s good
  • නරකNaraka – Bad
  • සතුටුSatutu – Happy
  • දුක්Duk – Sad
  • තියුණුThiyunu – Spicy
  • තියුණු නැතිThiyunu næti – Not spicy
  • රසවත්Rasavat – Tasty
  • උණුUnu – Hot
  • සීතලSītala – Cold
weekend-getaway-captions-two-chairs-overlooking-kandy-in-sri-lanka

Common Sinhala Phrases

Unlock the essence of daily interactions with these common Sinhala phrases. They’re perfect for immersing yourself in the rhythm of local life in Sri Lanka.

  • ඔබට කෙසේද?Obata kēsēda? – How are you?
  • මම හොඳයි, ස්තූතියිMama hoṇḍayi, stūtiyi – I’m good thanks
  • ඔබ හමුවීමට සතුටුයිOba hamuvīmata satutui – Nice to meet you
  • මගේ නම…Magē nama… – My name is…
  • සමාවෙන්නSamāvenna – I’m sorry
  • කණගාටුයිKaṇagātui – Excuse me
  • මට උදව් කරලා දෙන්න හැකිද?Mata udav karalā dennæ hækida? – Can you help me?
  • කොයි ලස්සනද!Koyi lassanada! – How beautiful!
  • පසුව හමුවෙමුPasuva hamuvemu – See you
  • පසුව හමුවෙමුPasuva hamuvemu – See you later
  • සුබ පැතුම්!Suba pætum! – Good luck!
  • මම කැමතිMama kamathi – I like
  • මම කැමති නෑMama kamathi næ – I don’t like
  • මට තේරෙන්නෑMata tærænnæ – I don’t know

Basic Sinhala Phrases for Travellers

Navigating a new country is always easier when you’re armed with a few handy phrases in the local language.

These traveller-focused Sinhala phrases are your companions on your Sri Lankan journey. From the bustling streets of Colombo to the tranquil beaches of Mirissa, they’ll definitely enhance your experience.

  • මට වෙන් කර ඇති කාමරයක් තිබේMata væn kara æti kāmarayak tibē – I have a reservation
  • කරුණාකර, නානකාමරය කොහේද?Karuṇākara, nānakāmaraya kohēda? – Where are the bathrooms, please?
  • ___ වෙත කෙසේ යන්නේද?___ vet kēsē yannēda? – How do I get to ___?
  • මේකේ මිල කීයද?Mēkē mila kīyada? – How much is this?
  • ඔබ ඉංග්‍රීසි කථා කරනවාද?Oba iṅgrīsi kathā karanavāda? – Do you speak English?
  • ආසන්නතම හෝටලය කොහේද?Āsannatama hōṭalaya kohēda? – Where is the nearest hotel?
  • මම අහිමි වී ඇත. ඔබ මට උදව් කරන්න හැකිද?Mama ahimi vī æta. Oba mata udav karanna hækida? – I’m lost. Can you help me?
  • මෙම ප්‍රදේශය සුරක්ෂිතද?Mema pradēshaya surakṣitada? – Is this area safe?
  • මෙම ප්‍රදේශය රාත්‍රී කාලයේ සුරක්ෂිතද?Mema pradēshaya rāthrī kālayē surakṣitada? – Is this area safe at night?
  • ඔබේ අතිත පැහැදිලිකම සඳහා ස්තූතියිObē atita pæhadilikama sandahā stūtiyi – Thank you for your hospitality
sri-lankan-man-grinning-while-leaning-out-of-the-door-of-a-train

Useful Sinhala Phrases for Information

Here are some basic Sinhala phrases that can help when it comes to gathering information.

  • මට ප්‍රශ්නයක් තියෙනවාMata praśnayak tiyenavā – I have a question
  • මේක සිංහලෙන් කියන්නේ කොහොමද?Mēka siṅhalen kiyannē kohomada? – What is this called in Sinhala?
  • කරුණාකර, මට පහසුවෙන් කියන්නKaruṇākara, mata pahasuven kiyanna – Can you speak slower, please?
  • මම සිංහල හොඳින් කථා කරන්නේ නැහැMama siṅhala hoṇḍin kathā karannē næhæ – I do not speak Sinhala very well
  • මම තේරුම් ගන්නේ නැහැMama tærum gaṇnē næhæ – I do not understand
  • කරුණාකර, ඒක නැවත කියන්නKaruṇākara, ēka nævata kiyanna – Can you repeat that please?
  • මට තොරතුරු අවශ්‍යයිMata thorathuru avashyayi – I need information
  • තොරතුරු කාර්යාලය කොහේද?Thorathuru kāryālaya kohēda? – Where is the information office?
  • මේකේ අර්ථය මොකක්ද?Mēkē arthaya mokakda? – What does this mean?
  • දැන් වෙලාව කීයද?Daṇ velāva kīyada? – What time is it?
  • ඔබේ ඉ-තැපැල් ලිපිනය කුමක්ද?Obē i-tæpæl lipinaya kumakda? – What’s your email address?
  • ____ සිංහලෙන් කියන්නේ කොහොමද?____ siṅhalen kiyannē kohomada? – How do you say ____ in Sinhala?
  • මේක/ඒක මොකක්ද?Mēka/ēka mokakda? – What is this/that?
  • මට ඔබේ දුරකථනය භාවිතා කල හැකිද?Mata obē durakathanaya bhāvithā kala hækida? – Can I use your phone?

Useful Phrases for Directions in Sinhalese

Mastering a few key phrases for directions in Sinhalese can be very useful if you plan to explore Sri Lanka beyond the usual tourist spots. The following will help you discover the hidden corners of this gorgeous island nation.

  • … කොහේද?… kohēda? – Where is the…?
  • … වෙත කොහොමද යන්නේ?… vet kohomada yannē? – How do I get to…?
  • කරුණාකර, ඔබේ සිතියමේ මට පෙන්වන්නKaruṇākara, obē sithiyamē mata penvanna – Can you show me on the map?
  • ඉස්සරහට යන්නIssarahata yanna – Go straight ahead
  • දකුණට/වමට හැරෙන්නDakuṇata/vamata hærenna – Turn right/left
  • එය ලඟ/දුරින්Eya laṅa/duriṅ – It’s near/far
  • එය කෝණේදීEya kōṇēdī – It’s around the corner
  • මේ කෝණයිMē kōṇayi – This is the corner
  • … වෙත යන මාර්ගය කුමක්ද?… vet yana mārgaya kumakda? – Which way is it to…?
  • මම එහි යාමට පා ගමනින් හෝ ටැක්සියක් අවශ්‍යද?Mama ehi yāmata pā gamanin hō tækṣiyak avashyada? – Can I walk there or do I need a taxi?
ambewela-railway-station-in-sri-lanka

Basic Sinhalese Phrases for Transportation

Sri Lanka has a great public transport system. This section will help you navigate it with ease and avoid any misunderstandings.

During my time in Sri Lanka, I found the following phrases extremely useful, whether hailing a taxi, taking a tuk-tuk ride, or catching a train or a local bus.

  • ටැක්සියක් කොහේදී ගත හැකිද?Tækṣiyak kohēdī gata hækida? – Where can I get a taxi?
  • … වෙත යාමට මුදල් කීයද?… vet yāmata mudal kīyada? – How much does it cost to go to…?
  • මම … වෙත යාමට කැමතියිMama … vet yāmata kæmatiyi – I want to go to…
  • බස් නැවතුම කොහේද?Bas navætuma kohēda? – Where is the bus stop?
  • බස් නැවතුම් ස්ථානය කොහේද?Bas navætuma sthānaya kohēda? – Where is the bus station?
  • ඊළඟ දුම්රිය කීයටද පිටවෙයි?Īḷaṅa dumriya kīyatada piṭaveyi? – What time does the next train leave?
  • …ට යන්න කීයද කාලයක් ගන්නවාද?…ṭa yanna kīyada kālayak gannawāda? – How long does it take to get to…?
  • මම කොහොමද ගුවන්තොටුපළට යන්නේ?Mama kohomada guwanṭhoṭupaḷaṭa yannē? – How do I get to the airport?
  • මේ බස් රථය …ට යනවාද?Mē bas raṭhaya …ṭa yanawāda? – Does this bus go to…?
  • මට ආපසු ගමන් ටිකට්පතක් ඕනේMaṭa āpasu gaman ṭikaṭpaṭhak onē – I need a round trip ticket
  • ටිකට්පත් කොහෙන්ද මිලදී ගන්නේ?Ṭikaṭpaṭh kohenda miladī gannē? – Where do I buy tickets?
  • නම් සුරැකිණි ඉන්නේ මට රැකවරුනෙකු ලවා ගැනීමට – Nam surekeni inne mata rekawaruneku lava ganima – I plan to hire a driver if possible

Basic Sinhalese Phrases About Accommodation

These accommodation phrases will help you ask about room availability, room types, pricing, amenities, and more.

You may even find you’re offered a discounted rate for making the effort to speak a little Sinhala. That’s what happened to me, anyway!

  • ඔබට කාමර තිබේද?Obaṭa kāmara tibēda? – Do you have any rooms available?
  • රාත්‍රීයකට මිල කීයද?Rāthrīyakaṭa mila kīyada? – How much does it cost per night?
  • මිලට උදෑසන කෑම ඇතුළත්ද?Milata udæsan kæma æṭulatda? – Is breakfast included in the price?
  • මට ද්විත්ව කාමරයක් ඕනේMaṭa dvitva kāmarayak onē – I need a double room
  • දෙක් ඇඳක් ඇති කාමරයක් තිබේද?Deka æṇḍak æṭi kāmarayak tibēda? – Is there a room with two beds?
  • මට හොඳ දසුනක් ඇති කාමරයක් ඕනේMaṭa hoṇḍa dasunak æṭi kāmarayak onē – I want a room with a nice view
  • නොමිලේ Wi-Fi ඇත්ද?Nomilē Wi-Fi æt̊da? – Is there free Wi-Fi?
  • කාමරයේ වායු සමීකරණය තිබේද?Kāmarayē vāyu samīkaraṇaya tibēda? – Is there air conditioning?
  • උකස් යන්ත්‍රය කොහේද?Ukas yantraya kohēda? – Where is the elevator?
  • ව්‍යායාම කාමරය කොහේද?Vyāyāma kāmaraya kohēda? – Where is the gym?
  • කාමරයක් බුක් කරගන්න ඕනේKāmarayak buk karaganna onē – I would like to book a room
  • කාමර සේවාව තිබේද?Kāmara sēvāva tibēda? – Is there room service?
  • කාමරය අසුචියිKāmaraya asuciyi – The room is dirty
  • මම මේ හෝටලයේ ආරක්ෂිතව සිටිනවාMama mē hōṭalayē ārakṣitava siṭinavā – I feel safe in this hotel
  • ඔබට ප්ලග් ඇඩැප්ටරයක් තිබේද?Obaṭa plug æḍæpṭarayak tibēda? – Do you have a plug adaptor?
  • කාමරයේ සේෆ් තිබේද?Kāmarayē sēf tibēda? – Is there a safe in the room?
  • (හතර) වනදා උදේ මාව ඇහැරවන්න(Hatar) vandā udē māva æhæravanna – Can you wake me up at (Seven) a.m.?
  • බිළිඳුන්ට නිදන කූඩයක් ඕනේBiḷiḍunṭa nidana kūḍayak onē – I need a crib for the baby
  • චෙක් අවුට් කාලය කීයද?Chek avuṭ kālaya kīyada? – What’s the check-out time?
Riding-a-motorbike-scooter-in-sri-lanka

Helpful Sinhalese Phrases for Shopping

When venturing into Sri Lanka’s vibrant markets, knowing a few Sinhala phrases can certainly enhance your shopping experience.

These phrases will help you engage with local vendors, find good deals, and bring home unique souvenirs.

  • මම … සොයමින් සිටිමිMama … soyanmin siṭimi – I am looking for…
  • මෙය කීයද?Meya kīyada? – How much does it cost?
  • මෙයට වට්ටමක් තිබේද?Meyaṭa vaṭṭamak tibēda? – Is there any discount?
  • වට්ටමේ මිල කීයද?Vaṭṭamē mila kīyada? – How much is the discount?
  • එය වැඩි මිලයිEya væḍi milayi – That’s too expensive
  • ඔබ මිල අඩු කරන්න හැකිද?Oba mila aḍu karanna hækida? – Can you lower the price?
  • මම ක්‍රෙඩිට් කාඩ් එකෙන් ගෙවනවාද?Mama kreḍiṭ kāḍ eken gævanavāda? – Can I pay with a credit card?
  • කෑෂ් පමණයිKæṣ pamānayi – Cash only
  • මෙය වඩා විශාල වෙලාවක් තිබේද?Meya vaḍā viśāla velaṭ tibēda? – Do you have this in a larger size?
  • මෙය වෙනත් වර්ණයක් තිබේද?Meya veṇat varṇayak tibēda? – Do you have this in another colour?
  • මම මේක ආපසු දෙන්න ඕනMama mēka āpasu denne ona – I want to return this
  • ඇඳුම් අඳින කාමර කොහේද?Ānduma aḍina kāmara kohēda? – Where are the fitting rooms?
  • සමාවෙන්න, සුපර්මාර්කට් එක කොහේද?Samāvenna, suparmārkaṭ eka kohēda? – Excuse me, where’s the supermarket?
  • ඇඳුම් සාප්පුව කොහේද?Ānduma sāppuwa kohēda? – Where’s the clothing store?
  • මට මල්ලක් ඕනේMaṭa mallak onē – I need a bag
  • මට දේශීය නිෂ්පාදන කොහෙන්ද හමුවෙන්නේ?Maṭa dēshīya niṣpādana kohenda hamuvennē? – Where can I find local products?
colourful-sri-lankan-rice-and-curry

Helpful Phrases for Dining Out in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan cuisine is rich, varied, and utterly delicious. Some of my favourite dishes are cashew curry, beetroot curry, pumpkin curry, and (of course) dahl.

The following dining phrases will help you explore local eateries, order dishes, explain any dietary requirements, and enjoy Sri Lanka’s culinary delights.

  • දෙන්නකට මේසයක් ගන්න පුළුවන්ද?Dennakata mēsayak ganna puḷuvanda? – Can I get a table for two?
  • කරුණාකර, මෙනුව පෙන්වන්න හැකිද?Karuṇākara, menuwa penwanna hækida? – Can you please show me the menu?
  • දවසේ කෑම කුමක්ද?Davasē kæma kumakda? – What is the dish of the day?
  • මම කැමති…Mama kamathi… – I would like…
  • මට යමක් යෝජනා කරන්න හැකිද?Maṭa yamak yōjanā karanna hækida? – Could you suggest something for me?
  • කෑමේ මට මොනවා යෝජනා කරනවාද?Kæmē maṭa monavā yōjanā karannavāda? – What do you recommend to eat?
  • මට …ට ඇලර්ජියක් තියෙනවාMaṭa …ṭa alarjiyak thiyenavā – I’m allergic to…
  • මේ කෑමේ … තියෙනවාද?Mē kæmē … thiyenavāda? – Does this dish contain…?
  • ඔබට ශාකාහාරී / වීගන් විකල්ප තිබේද?Obaṭa śākāhārī / vīgan vikalpa tibēda? – Do you have vegetarian/vegan options?
  • මම මස්/මාළු/කිරි නොකන්නේMama mas/māḷu/kiri nokannē – I don’t eat meat/fish/dairy
  • මේක ශාකාහාරීන්ට හොඳද?Mēka śākāhārīnṭa hoṇḍada? – Is this suitable for vegetarians?
  • මේක මොකක්ද?Mēka mokakda? – What is this?
  • මට මේක කැමතියිMaṭa mēka kamathiyi – I like it
  • කරුණාකර, බිල එක දෙන්න හැකිද?Karuṇākara, bila eka denne hækida? – Can I have the bill, please?
  • මේක රසවත්! ස්තූතියිMēka rasavat! Stūtiyi – It was delicious! Thank you
sigiriya-rock-fortress-at-top-of-lions-rock-sri-lanka

Sinhala Question Words

Question words are an integral part of any language, and Sinhala is no exception.

Stimulate engaging conversations and learn more about Sri Lanka with these Sinhala question words. They’re key to unlocking deeper insights into the local culture and lifestyle.

  • මොකක්ද?Mokakda? – What?
  • කොහෙද?Kohēda? – Where?
  • කවදාද?Kavadāda? – When?
  • කවුද?Kavuda? – Who?
  • ඇයි?Æyi? – Why?
  • කොහොමද?Kohomada? – How?
  • කුමක්ද?Kumakda? – Which?
  • කීයද?Kīyada? – How much?
  • කීයක්ද?Kīyakda? – How many?
  • කාගේද?Kāgēda? – Whose?
  • කීයක්/කීයද?Kīyak/Kīyada? – How much/How many?
  • ඒක…ද?Ēka…da? – Is it…?
  • කරන්න පුළුවන්ද?Karanna puḷuvanda? – Can
  • වෙනවාද?Venavāda? – Will
  • මේක මොකක්ද?Mēka mokakda? – What is this?
  • ඒක කවුද?Ēka kavuda? – Who is that?
  • මේක කොහොමද?Mēka kohomada? – How is it?
  • ඒක ඇයි?Ēka æyi? – Why is it?
  • ඇයි මේක?Æyi mēka? – Why this?
  • …තුල මොනවාද තියෙන්නේ?…tula monawāda tiyennē? – What is in …?
  • … කොහේද?… kohēda? – Where is …?
  • … තියෙනවාද?… tiyennawāda? – Is there a …?

Numbers in Sinhala

Understanding the Sinhala numbering system is useful in a wide range of scenarios, especially when it comes to transactions, discussing times, and navigating transportation.

Below is a list of simple numbers along with some larger ones:

  • බිංදුව – Binduwa – 0
  • එක – Eka – 1
  • දෙක – Deka – 2
  • තුන – Thuna – 3
  • හතර – Hathara – 4
  • පහ – Paha – 5
  • හය – Haya – 6
  • හත – Hatha – 7
  • අට – Aṭa – 8
  • නවය – Nawaya – 9
  • දහය – Dahaya – 10
  • එකොළහ – Ekolaha – 11
  • දොළහ – Dolaha – 12
  • දහතුන – Dahathuna – 13
  • දහහතර – Dahahathara – 14
  • දහපහ – Dahapaha – 15
  • දහසය – Dahasaya – 16
  • දහහත – Dahahatha – 17
  • දහඅට – Dahaṭa – 18
  • දහනවය – Dahanawaya – 19
  • විස්ස – Wisak – 20
  • තිහ – Thissak – 30
  • හතලිහ – Hathalisak – 40
  • පනස් – Pannasak – 50
  • හැට – Hathasak – 60
  • හැත්තෑව – Haththawisak – 70
  • අසූ – Asuwasak – 80
  • අනූ – Anuwasak – 90
  • සිය – Siya – 100
  • දහස් – Dahasik – 1,000
  • දහස් දහසක් – Dahasik Dahasak – 10,000
  • ලක්ෂ – Laksha – 100,000
  • මිලියන – Miliyana – 1,000,000

To form numbers in between these, you combine the tens and units. For example:

  • “Twenty-one” is Wisak eka (විස්ස එක) (20 + 1)
  • “Thirty-two” is Thissak deka (තිහ දෙක) (30 + 2)
  • “One hundred and twenty-three” is Siya wisak thuna (සිය විස්ස තුන) (100 + 20 + 3)
beautiful-sunset-over-the-sea-at-a-beach-in-southern-sri-lanka

See Also

If you’re interested in learning another South Asian language, check out my post on Basic Hindi Phrases For Travel.

Final Thoughts: Basic Sinhala Phrases For Travel

Equipped with these essential Sinhala words and phrases, you’re all set to dive into the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Sri Lanka.

Language is a gateway to richer experiences, new friendships, and a deeper understanding of this enchanting island. Let these phrases be your guide as you discover the warmth and beauty of Sri Lanka.

Embrace the journey and have an amazing time!

Finally, if you want to take your Sinhala learning to the next level, there are loads of great materials on LiveLingua.com.

IMPORTANT: Never travel without travel insurance!

Here are three companies that I’ve used, and thoroughly recommend:

  • HeyMondo – the best value travel insurance provider on the market. They cover virtually every country in the world, they have an easy-to-use app, and their policies are straightforward and upfront, with minimal (often no) deductibles and excesses.
  • SafetyWing – if you’re a digital nomad like me, it’s essential that you have suitable insurance. It’s super flexible and affordable, you can sign up for as little or as long as you want, and can activate and deactivate it whenever you need to.
  • World Nomads – for adventurous travellers, covers 200+ activities that many other insurers won’t, such as skydiving, heli-skiing, rock climbing, rafting, scuba diving, cliff jumping, and kiteboarding (not available for residents of every country – check here).

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