You have quite a lot to explore in this petite island, before you do take few minutes read these travel tips which will be very useful to you!
The South-west Monsoon: May/June
The North-east Monsoon: December to February
So, we advise you to check the whether thoroughly before planning your itinerary.
There are only two international airports in Sri Lanka. Main one is the Bandaranayke International Airport, 35 km north of Colombo, and 6 km off Negombo.
When you’re visiting Sri Lanka give it a try to local, authentic foods and street food. Sri Lankan Food culture is a mix of different cultures. Rice and Curry is the most basic meal for most of Sri Lankans which they have as a main course. You can have steamed or boiled rice with fish or meat curry with vegetable curries and fruit curries (Mango Curry / Ambarella Curry is divine!) However, you should keep in mind usually Sri Lankan curries are rich in spices, hot and tangy. If you think you can’t tolerate spicy food always go for mild curries and you can basically have a decent rice and curry anywhere in the country. If you can eat Rice and Curry by your right hand rather than using cutlery, you’ll delight your local hosts as well as bonding with them.
Some other culinary options that are available for you to try are, Seasonal fruits, Curd and Treacle, Local Beverages, Kottu, Roti, Pittu, String Hoppers, Hoppers, Naan, Helapa, Coconut and Honey Pancakes mostly originated from rice, whole-wheat flour coconut, wheat and lentils.
In most of the hotels in Sri Lanka, you will usually find two kinds of plug sockets – one with round holes (type D/M) and the other with rectangular prongs, which can easily fit UK plugs (type G socket). If you are still unsure, it’s always advisable to carry around a universal travel adapter.
You will see that there are so many wine stores in every major city/ town Sri Lanka, even though it says “wine” store, it mostly sells spirits, arrack and beers that also mostly Sri Lankan ones. If you want good branded wine and spirits, you can always go to a super market with a bar which is quite cheaper than the ones they sell at hotels and restaurants.
All the Sri Lankan bars and wine stores are closed on Poya (Full Moon) days as a tradition but that doesn’t mean you cannot have a small drink in your place and have a good time, just make sure you buy it day before the Poya day.
We have a very unique cultural differences than other countries. Our national Dress is something outstanding. Back in the days Sri Lankan men used long sleeves white shirts along with sarongs or white shirts with long trouser whereas for ladies Saree or Osari.
Cotton clothes are useful at any time of the year but you will need light woolens for the hills and waterproof clothing or an umbrella. Modest dress for women is advisable especially off the beach and when visiting religious sites. Don’t forget comfortable shoes, sandals or trainers and cotton socks. If you are planning to trek and climb go prepared with suitable gear. Water sports enthusiasts would do well to take their snorkels and diving equipment along.
When your exploring the cities casual clothing is fine but not in a provocative way where you’ll get into uncomfortable situations. Likewise, if you are visit any religious places wearing white clothes (long sleeve or mid sleeve blouses/ long skirts or loose pants or trousers) recommended for both ladies and gentlemen.
Religious head covering isn’t allowed in Buddhist temples. Please remember to remove or refrain from wearing any head covering when visiting a temple. You should also remove hats and footwear before entering temple premises.
Many Sri Lankans greet each other with the phrase “Ayubowan”. It is a simple way of greeting which means “may you live long”, a unique way of praying for your health. Why not learn few basic phrases while you are here, add some new words for your vocabulary? More of simple phrases you can easily learn;
“Isthuthi” – Thank you.
“Kohomada” – How are you?
“Puluwan” – Can do.
“Keeyada” – How much?
“Hondai” – Good.
“Lassanai” – Beautiful.
“Samawenna” – Sorry.
Sri Lankans are known to be extremely friendly with everyone. We will definitely treat you with our smiles that comes from the bottom of our hearts, being forever grateful for visiting our tiny yet beautiful island. Don’t hold back yourself, connect more with us, we will help you create unforgettable memories.
Import on arrival: visitors to Sri Lanka are officially required to declare all currencies, valuable equipment, jewellery and gems etc. so they can be taken back on departure. Visitors are not allowed to bring in goods in commercial quantities or prohibited / restricted goods in commercial quantities
Giving a tips solely depend on you. If you are satisfied with the service given, why not give a tip as a token of appreciation, it is not a must but sometimes people do expect it. If you are travelling alone without a guide and like a bit of adventure you will definitely engage in few hiking activities.
Emergency Ambulance Contact Number – 1990
Public Hospitals are almost every location. (National Hospitals in Sri Lanka)
Private Hospitals and Clinics are available almost every location in Sri Lanka
Asiri Central Hospital – Colombo 10
Asiri Hospital – Colombo 05
Lanka Hospitals – Colombo 05
Durdans Hospital – Colombo 03
Here’s some of the commonly recommended vaccinations for you for a short-term visit.
Another important medical factor is carrying mosquito repellents. It is known that after a heavy rainfall Malaria and Dengue spreads within the Country. Cause prevention is better than cure!
All the top hotels offer a one-day laundry service, although prices vary widely. Cheaper launderettes are available in most towns, although quality is inconsistent.
If you are planning on exploring our island for a few days or weeks, you will surely want to make some calls and share your experiences on social media despite of your current location, although every hotel provides WI-FI, most of the WI-FI provided in the public places aren’t that strong, so we recommend the tourists to purchase a SIM card from the airport itself. There are attractive packages starting from $10 where you get around 9 GB and calls worthy of Rs350, which will allow you to access any website, social media as your heart desires. Recommended service providers, Mobitel and more…
The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee, divided into 100 cents (you rarely come across scents today). Currency notes are Rs5,000, Rs2,000, Rs1,000, Rs500, Rs100, Rs50, Rs20 and Rs10. Beware of mistaking the Rs500 note for the somewhat similar Rs100 one. To check whether notes are genuine when not given at a bank, look for a lion watermark. Coins, should you have received them, will be in denominations up to Rs10. Make sure you have plenty of lower denomination notes (Rs50, Rs100, Rs500), especially when travelling and you need to buy small items, fruit, and eat cheap meals, because change is often hard to come by apart from at hotels and big shops.
Visitors bringing into Sri Lanka an excess of $10,000 in any foreign currency should declare the amount to customs on arrival, to allow that much to be taken out again. Keep exchange receipts so you can easily exchange excess rupees back into foreign currency on departure.
Banking Hours: All banks in the country open for the public from 0900hrs to 1300hrs from Monday to Friday, but some banks have extended their opening hours until 1500hrs and are also open on Saturday. There are ATMs for obtaining cash with credit or debit cards in every town: look for the sign equivalent to the one on your card. Some ATMs do not return the card. Some ATMs do not return the card until after the transaction is completed, so don’t pocket the cash and leave without collecting your card.
In general, the threats to personal security for travelers in Sri Lanka are remarkably small. It is more pleasant to travel with a companion as it is advised not to travel alone especially after dark. The island including the North and East is safe to visit. If you have anything stolen, report it to the tourist Police, (a special tourist police set up to look after the needs of the tourists. Contact Tel Number + 94 11 2382209/ +94 11 2421451
Smoking in public areas in Sri Lanka is prohibited, but there are designated smoking areas for restaurants/pubs/cafes etc. Some establishments have a designated smoking area inside.
In Sri Lanka sustainability is a long-term goal. If you want to stay at an eco-friendly hotel there are several options in Sri Lanka, you can try. From supermarkets to five-star luxury properties sustainability is in practice.
Sri Lanka Standard Time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT.
Tuk Tuks are very common in Sri Lanka, you can literally find Tuk Tuks anywhere at any time, especially in the tourists’ destinations. Even if you are tempted to take the bus, it can get tricky at times, and if you get lost it would take you some time to get back on track, so we recommend using Tuk Tuks, that also Tuk Tuks with a meter fixed on, we don’t want you getting overcharged. Uber and Pick me is very popular in Sri Lanka at the moment and you can order a Tuk Tuks from these apps too. That way there is no way you will be getting overcharged.
If you are intending on visiting Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, and Jaffna or down south, taking a train would give you an amazing experience. Passing all the beautiful mountains and long dark tunnels if you are going to Nuwara Eliya, Ella or the sea breeze along with breathtaking views of beaches if you are going to down south. The main railway station Colombo Fort has train time tables which are pretty easy to understand and there is a train schedule online as well, in any case you can always seek help of the locals around, we will gladly assist you, if you are lucky enough you will find a friendly companion to accompany you along the way.
If you need any help booking your train tickets, we are glad to help you. Ask us!
It’s true we are a petite island, but we do have domestic flights facility for anyone who is willing to pay a little extra. It’s a bit expensive here as there are a very limited companies that provide this service. You can use a domestic flight to go to destinations like Arugambay as it will take more than half a day to go there if you are starting your journey from Colombo. Also you can fly to Nuwara Eliya which will give you an amazing bird view of our beautiful country. Few operating domestic flights;
Cinnamon air for scheduled flights | Charter flights | Senok aviation for helicopter services.
A Sri Lankan visa is an endorsement on a passport or a similar document to facilitate the legal entry of non Sri Lankans into the country and to regulate the period of their stay and the conditions governing such stay.
A Visit Visa is an entry permit signifying the consent of the Sri Lankan Government for the admission of a foreign national to the country. The Visa contains details of the period of time and the condition/s of the stay. There are two sub-categories which come under visit visas.
Tourist Visit Visa
A Tourist Visa is issued to bona-fide tourists who want to enter Sri Lanka for sightseeing, excursions, relaxation, visit relatives or yoga training for a short period of time.
Business Visit Visa
A Business Visa is issued to foreign nationals who visit Sri Lanka for business purposes for short periods of time. This visa may be issued for single, double or multiple journeys.
Regarding visa information, you can contact the official source for visas and immigration in Sri Lanka.
Department of Immigration and Emigration
Suhurupaya, Sri Subhuthipura Road,
Hot line: 1962
Tap water is not 100% safe in Sri Lanka. Make sure to drink bottled water or filtered water. Make sure that the bottle carries an SLS certification and that the seal is broken only in your presence.
Surely you cannot resist when you see a cute dog, cat or even a monkey wandering around and coming to you when you have some food, as much as your heart melt down, please be very careful because most of these stray animals have rabies and they are not being given any vaccinations, if they bite you it could cause trouble and you will need to get some vaccinations as well. Same goes with wild animals when you are on safaris. Some are not used to humans at all. I am sure you are familiar with term “wild animals cannot be tamed” so better to be safe. If you come across any injured stray animal while you are on tour, do not hesitate to contact Embark, a foundation which rescues stray animals and find them forever homes.