The beauty of this tiny island is simply breath-taking. Known for its endless soft-sanded beaches, enchanting ancient ruins, imposing mountains, colorful festivals, tempting water sports, dense wild-life, and diverse ethnical groups and off the top warm smiles from the locals of Sri Lanka is bound to make you come back again.
Make it a priority to plan your own journey there before this relatively undiscovered gem takes its rightful place at the top of travellers’ must-visit lists. Here are few things you need to know before you travel to Sri Lanka!
Why Sri Lanka ?
Sri Lanka is a pearl shaped island located off the southernmost tip of India and surrounded by the warm Indian Ocean.
It is many peoples’ idea of paradise. Possibly one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful creations, Sri Lanka is a varied and scenic country, offering what most travelers would consider the best of both worlds – exploration of its culture and endless stretches of tropical beaches. However, what makes Sri Lanka a truly unique destination is its spectacular scenery – filled with intricate paddy fields, rising mountains, and pounding waterfalls.
For hundreds of years, travelers have been enchanted by Sri Lanka’s beauty and diversity. The legendary 13th-century explorer Marco Polo once declared that Ceylon is “undoubtedly the finest island of its size in all the world”
Consider this as your personal invitation to escape into complete serenity, come – discover the island which will take you on an ideal retreat beyond paradise.
Bandaranaike International Airport (airport code CMB) at Katunayake, is the main International Airport in Sri Lanka located 30 kilometers north of the island nation’s capital of Colombo. Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport is the second international airport. This is placed in the deep south of the country close to the fast-developing coastal town of Hambantota.
Our Capital City
Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte is the administrative capital and seat of the national legislature and Colombo is the commercial center of Sri Lanka.
Our Accepted Currencies
Sri Lanka’s unit of currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee. Exchange currency only at authorized outlets such as exchange kiosks, banks and hotels. Larger hotels, selected restaurants and shops in Colombo and other main cities such as Kandy and Galle accept US dollars. We do not recommend traveler’s checks as they are not as widely accepted as in previous years.
Our Delicious Sri Lankan Cuisine
Sri Lankan dishes are based on rice, with a large variety of vegetables, fish & fruits. The uniqueness of Sri Lankan food influenced by invaders and traders – Indians, Arabs, Malays, Moors, Portuguese, Dutch and English all whom have left a mark on the Sri Lankan diet, will surely make your trip a voyage of culinary discovery! Most coastal towns have excellent seafood including prawns & delicious crab. Being a tropical country, Sri Lanka is blessed with a large variety of fruits.
The majority of Sri Lankans speak Sinhala, with Tamil as the second language. English is widely spoken and understood in the urban regions. It is the language of business & commerce.
While religious festivals make the majority of the holidays in Sri Lanka, significance is given to Full moon poya days during which the sale of alcoholic beverages, meats and fish is prohibited. Some shops and businesses are also closed on poya days while the New Year festival in mid-April and the two-day long holiday for Vesak in May see a general pause in government, mercantile and banking sectors, when the country takes time off to celebrate or to catch a breath.
Our Visa Requirements
A signed, valid passport and a tourist visa. Your passport must remain valid for at least 6 months beyond the completion of your trip. It is also imperative that your passport has enough blank visa pages available for entry and exit stamps. The government of Sri Lanka has implemented an electronic travel authorization system, commonly known as an ETA. To obtain an ETA you must apply online. More information regarding the ETA system can be found here http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/ . Please read and follow all instructions carefully to avoid any possible complications on arrival in Sri Lanka.
Photography is not permitted at some locations, which may include government buildings, museums, art galleries, private houses, etc. These areas are usually clearly marked. Unless you are shooting a crowded public scene, it is considered courteous to ask permission before taking pictures of local people, especially small children. Please be respectful of local people who do not wish to be photographed.
The Sri Lankan population is composed of multi-ethnic groups and the religion in Sri Lanka is inevitably diverse. Various communities in Sri Lanka recognize four of the world’s major religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.
Our Shopping Malls
Shopping in Sri Lanka can be great fun as the cities are filled with markets and malls bursting with colorful goods. Popular purchases include clothes, handicrafts, tea and souvenirs. Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo is an ideal place for shopping where one can see so many different items with the reasonable price. Most malls are more than just shopping destinations. They’ve got huge food, gaming, and entertainment zones as well.
When to travel
Sri Lanka has a tropical climate: hot and humid. The island is divided into a dry (north and east) and wet zone (southwest) each with its own distinct weather patterns. Between May and September, monsoons bring rain to the south-western part of the island; while the dry season occurs December to March. In the northeast coastal regions, the monsoon season occurs between October and January and the dry season runs between May and September. In the Cultural Triangle and the Tea Country, elevations affect the temperatures and it is much cooler in this part of the country. Overall in Sri Lanka, the best weather can be found from December to mid-April which is known as the peak season of the year.
What to pack
During day time, conservative clothing such as lightweight pants, loose shorts, trousers and at the least, short-sleeved shirts are recommended. During evenings, smarter clothing is appropriate for evening dining in city restaurants. Formal clothing is not necessary. Visits to temples and other religious sites require conservative dress. Arms, legs and shoulders should be covered – no shorts. This applies to both men and women. Comfortable, walking shoes with low or no heels are recommended. Carry a pair of socks, since shoes must be removed when entering certain religious building. A Sweater or lightweight jacket if you are travelling to hill country. Lightweight raincoat or an umbrella to avoid unexpected rain shower issues. Swimming suit, sunglasses, sun block and a sunhat, Mosquito repellent.