When To Visit
Sri Lanka is a round-the-year destination for the visitors who seek for sun and sea the best time to visit the island is from November to April. The South coastal area, where the most of the beach resorts are located.Tangalle, located in the South coast has been declared a new tourist attraction. Many development projects have also been planned such as hotels and other infrastructure to make the East a new tourist destination in Sri Lanka.
The central highlands are pleasantly cool and relatively dry from January to April. The peak season is mid December to mid January and March-April during Easter with a mini peak season in July and August when festivals and pageants are held through the country.
What To Wear
Cotton clothes are useful at any time of the year but you will need light woollens 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.
Usually all visitors to Sri Lanka travel by air; flights arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport, 35 km north of Colombo, and 6 km of Negombo. A number of tour operators from UK and some West European cities offer good value package holydays throughout the year
You may sometimes be overwhelmed by crowds of people in public places (markets, bus stands, temples or simply busy streets). "Touts" and hawkers may jostle and push and clamour to show you a hotel and sell you things. Taxis and three - wheelers are often there when you do not need them.
In general the threats to personal security for travellers 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
Where To Stay
Sri Lanka Offers visitors an excellent range of accommodation facilities to suit all budgets from luxury hotels to low budget accommodations. In the peak season (mid-January and during Easter) bookings can be heavy so it is best to reserve accommodation well in advance through Tour operators/ travel agents, booking online and through our travel planner.
Sri Lankan ‘Ceylon’ tea is prepared as in the West and coffee too. There are a huge variety of bottled soft drinks, including well-known international brands. Thambili ( king coconut water )is a safe and refreshing option. Local beer and spirits are widely available. Bottled mineral water is available in 5 star hotels. Please note: Alcohol is not sold on Poya (full-moon day of the month) days.
Travellers With Special Needs
Travellers with special needs, especially if they visit Sri Lanka without a companion, should note that the country has relatively few facilities for disabled people, although greater awareness and improvements are evolving. There.s no need to worry at Colombo's Airport as wheelchairs and assistance in boarding and disembarking are available. Buildings, offices, and banks are becoming better-equipped with wheelchair ramps and suchlike. If you arent travelling with a companion, you'll find that Sri Lankans will be only too eager to assist.
Sri Lanka's Currency
The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee, divided into 100 cents (you rarely come across scents today). Currency notes are Rs.5,000, 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 receive 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.
Banks are open from 0900 hrs to 1300 hours Monday to Friday. Some city banks close at 1500 hrs, while some are open on Saturday mornings. It.s easy to withdraw money across the island at ATMs using international credit cards or debit cards.
Most hotels, restaurants and shopping centres accept credit cards. Some establishments may try to add a surcharge, which is illegal.
Sri Lanka Standard Time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT. (Allowance should be made for summer-time changes in Europe.)
230 . 240 volts, 50 cycles AC. If you travel with a laptop computer bring a stabilizer.
Sri Lanka has two official languages . Sinhala and Tamil - with English as a link language. Most people have some knowledge of English, and signboards are often in English.
Photography, Restrictions & Permits
Sri Lanka is a tremendously photogenic island, so it.s hardly surprising that most tourists bring a camera of some kind when they visit the country. The stunning landscapes, the captivating fauna and lush flora, and the stupendous archaeological remains provide great opportunities: a bonus is that Sri Lankans love to be captured on film. So it.s easy to capture the traditional rural lifestyle. You.ll find villagers, farmers, fishermen and tea pluckers will readily stand in front of your viewfinder. Your subjects will often ask to have a copy of picture sent to them. This may be laborious, but it is a reasonable courtesy as many may never have seen a picture of themselves. It is also understandable that many will also expect a token recompense for allowing themselves to be photographed.
There are some important restrictions that apply to photography regarding Buddhist imagery. When you visit a temple or other religious site, remember that photography should not be carried out in a manner causing disrespect. For instance, it is strictly forbidden to be photographed in front of or beside any statues and murals. Note that flash photography can damage old murals.
There are Beautiful Natural and Ancient Sites in SriLanka. REMEMBER
- If everyone takes home a plant, a flower a fruit.what will be left in the forest? Take only memories and photos.
- Do not speed in vehicles, do not drive off the trail.all this destroys fragile nature
- Keep quite, listen to the sounds of nature…it’s what you came to hear.
At Archaeological Sites
- Do not scratch your name on anything except your own note book
- Avoid standing on ancient walls, pushing and moving ancient stones and bricks
- Be respectful if photographing people near shrines and statues, even if they are ruins
- if there are resident Bhikkus, get permission from the head priest before proceeding
- In functioning monasteries please visit at allowed times, do not disturb the meditating monks
At a Wewa or Stream
- Be respectful towards villagers that use the water.
- Be mindful of animals that use the water.
- Be sensible and consider your own safety. Check with locals regarding particular dangers of the location
Tips for Travelling
Compared with many other countries it is relatively easy and safe for women to travel around Sri Lanka, even on their own, though most people find it an advantage to travel with at least one companion. On the beaches and tourist centres, some women have experienced harassment form local men. By taking some simple precautions you can avoid both personal harassment and giving offence.
Although it might appear dangerous for a woman to travel in Sri Lanka, unpleasant experiences are rare. In general, Sri Lankan males are courteous to females and bad verbal behaviour of a few rarely escalates to anything more physical or threatening.
Sri Lanka’s society is conservative and many Sri Lankans will judge ladies by their dress style. The short skirt and figure hugging blouse are considered to be worn by someone who has loose morals.
Although Sri Lanka is small in size travelling around the island can be frustrating and time consuming. The country’s narrow roads, congested with pedestrians, cyclists and trishaws make travelling difficult. However, once you leave the hustle and bustle of Colombo, you can enjoy many scenic drives around the coastal line or in the hill country. Sri Lanka is beautiful and even though small in size offers visitors many travel options.
Traffic drives on the left. Flashing lights mean that the driver is asserting right of way. Avoid remote areas and travelling at night.
An extensive network of services to most parts of the Island is afforded with reasonable quality by the Sri Lanka Central Transport Board
(Tel: (11) 258 1120; website: www.transport.gov.lk).
Private bus drivers are paid according to the number of passengers and can often drive rather dangerously.
Ideal for short journeys within towns and cities, and for short excursions, the country’s many trishaws would be happy to offer you a ride. The vehicles are mainly Indian-made Bajaj rickshaws. Most trishaws are not metered. Always agree on a fare beforehand. Most drivers offer a decent fare, charging approximately Rs. 50 per kilometre.
This is available from several international agencies. Air-conditioned minibuses are also available. Motorised rickshaws are also readily available for hire in towns and villages. Chauffeur-driven cars are less expensive and recommended.
Most roads are tarred, with a 56kph (35mph) speed limit in built-up areas and 75kph (45mph) outside towns. The minimum age for driving a car is 18.
In order to avoid bureaucratic formalities in Sri Lanka, an International Driving Permit should be obtained before departure. If not, a temporary licence to drive is obtainable on presentation of a valid national driving licence. This must be endorsed at the AA office in Colombo. (www.motortraffic.gov.lk)
Help is just a call away
The visitors to the country as well as the locals can reach for help in case of a health emergency or in any danger though following numbers. The emergency access numbers could be contacted through all the telephone and mobile operations in the country while many mobile services offering emergency calls despite low signals and low credits. However most of the emergency services are restricted to town centres and suburbs while police stations and hospitals offer emergency care in rural areas.
Emergency Services Telephone NumberPolice Emergency Hotline : 118 / 119
Ambulance / Fire & rescue : 110
Accident Service-General Hospital-Colombo : 011-2691111
Tourist Police : 011-2421052
Police Emergency : 011-2433333
Government Information Center : 1919
Report Crimes : 011-2691500
Emergency Police Mobile Squad : 011-5717171
Fire & Ambulance Service : 011-2422222