Climate – Because the island lies just north of the equator temperatures remain almost constant throughout the year. However, rainfall varies widely. In the southwest and central highlands, the best period to travel is from late October to early March, after the southwest monsoon has finished. However, the North and east are affected by the northeast monsoon during this period and are dry but hot from June to October. The central highlands are much cooler throughout the year but are very wet both during the southwest monsoon (June to October) and the Northeast Monsoon (October to December).
Customs & Imports – On arrival visitors are officially required to declare all currency, valuable equipment, jewelry, and gems even though this is rarely checked. All personal effects should be taken back on departure. Visitors are not allowed to bring in goods in commercial quantities, or prohibited/ restricted goods such as dangerous drugs, weapons, explosive devices, or gold. Drug trafficking or possession carries the death penalty, although this is very rarely carried out on foreigners. Tourists are generally asked to fill out a baggage declaration form prior to entering the country.
Currency – The Sri Lankan Rupee is made up of 100 cents. Notes are in denominations Rs.5000, Rs.1000, Rs.500, Rs.100, Rs.50, and Rs.20. coins in general use are Rs.10, Rs.5, Rs.2, Rs.1. visitors who bring in excess of $10,000 into Sri Lanka should declare the amount on arrival. It is also illegal to bring Indian or Pakistani rupees to Sri Lanka. There is several ATMs and several 24-hour exchange counters at the airport which gives a good rate of exchange. Plastic money is accepted right around the country in almost all the places so that carrying physical money is required minimally.
Electricity & Adaptors – Electricity is 230-240V and square three pins are made a must since recently replacing the round adaptors. Although you may find round adapters used around the country. It is always a good idea to carry a travel adapter or two with you. Power cuts were once frequent and were done to a timetable since the country relies mostly on hydropower and the irregular rains affect that, yet, almost all the places have their own power generators.
Emergencies – For any kind of emergency right around the country, the 24-hour police helpline 119 is available, or for medical emergencies, the 1990 ambulance service is available too. If at any chance all hospitals have an operating emergency section all throughout the day.
Entry to the country – Citizens from other than Maldives and Singapore are required to get Electronic Travel Advice on www.eta.gov.lk once confirmed ETA is valid for 30 days and can be renewed easily at requirement. The ETA does not permit you to work in the country under any circumstance. ETA charges $100 for a 30-day visa. Entry requirements to the country may change from time to time and are always duly updated on the ETA website. All consulates and embassies are scattered in and around Colombo city for easy reach.
LGBT Tourism – It is an understanding that runs along with the traveler community and you can find yourself LGBT friendly accommodation. Even though by law it is a no, LGBT tourism remains secretive, but in the touristic parts of the country, it is understood than spoken publicly.
Insurance – Although Sri Lanka does not suffer from being a crime-ridden society, accidents and delays can still occur. Full travel insurance is advised, at the very least get a medical insurance and coverage for personal effects. It is advisable to select the best matching policy from your local office.
Internet – Basically all hotels, lodgings, and cafés has WIFI, for a continuous connection you can always check up with the mobile service provider, you decide to go with while in Sri Lanka and maybe get a plan fixed.
Time – Sri Lanka is 5.5 hours ahead of Greenwich time
Photographs taken – As anyway it is always advised to get prior permission before a person is being photographed, Sri Lankan’s are usually very friendly and responsive when their photo is being taken. Photographing sites are dependent upon the regulations for that specific location. while most spots are free to be photographed, certain regulations on using flash and cameras, in general, may come forward.
Tipping – Tipping is complete to be decided by you, nevertheless, a 10% tip is a norm to compliment the services being rendered to you, when you are happy. Tipping drivers & guides are accepted practice, and it is especially beneficial on long tours when drivers may be away from home for long periods.
What to take with you – Travel light. Most essentials are available in the cities, items are cheap and laundry services are generally speedy. Take light cotton clothes – it is a good idea to have some very lightweight long sleeve cotton tops and trousers which can protect you from mosquito bites. It can get cooler by the evenings specially in central highlands and warm lightweight clothes is a smart idea too. Loose clothes are most advised for travelling and trainers or canvas shoes might come in handy. Swimwear is at popular outlook at all beach areas, but swimming in inland, lakes, and ponds, it is advisable to speak to a local prior.
Communication – It is advisable to switch up to a local mobile service provider upon landing in the country (you can buy connections at the airport). This may give you uninterrupted connection and affordable calling rates.
Cultural differences – While Sri Lankans are very friendly and hospitable it is important to allow space to cultural differences. It is understood not to pose with religious leader statues, and taking off shoes and hats while walking into religious places is a norm. Speaking hush and maintaining decent conduct is also a norm. Generally wearing clothes to cover shoulders and knees is expected when visiting religious places. Being sensitive to these cultural differences and having a general idea of them are expected.
Water conservation – Water is considered sacred in the cultural context in Sri Lanka and is essential in many ways. The country survives most of its power requirement through hydropower. Using water carefully is a norm generally understood.
Electricity conservation – Just like water, power conservation is also a generally understood norm and is advised when you are traveling to the country. Try and conserve power where possible, small tips like taking lights down when you leave a room, and switching off the AC when not being used may be a good place to start.
Waste pollution – Since the country is moving little by little to biodegradable options, it is a plus to take with you re-usable bags and use a re-usable bottle other than dwelling on plastic options. Pledging to our own policy of conservation, we will provide you with a reusable bottle and we always encourage you to substitute your polythene usage to reusable, degradable options.
Excess baggage – Baggage limit is at 20kg and is levied beyond a point. These 20 kilos do not include one bag of hand luggage which should weigh on or under 7kg. Books and laptops carried in hand are excluded from both baggage and hand luggage weight.
Food and beverage – Locals eat barehanded without any cutlery and rice as the main carb along with freshly done fish or meat is the popular and most available local dish. Sri Lanka is also known for a wide variety of fresh fruit being sold around the country in stalls, but if you have allergies and doubts with certain kinds of fruit, its best to enquire first. Most hotels and cafes serve a whole range of international dishes branching out to several cuisines, if you want to give a try those are available too.
Sri Lanka is popular for its street food and just as with any street food, very few stomach complaints are associated. Pleasing a twist of the tongue, you can always give this a try, be sure to ask your local guide/ vendor about the ingredients and the taste, since most these might match the local palette which is a bit spicier than what it’s like in the western part of the world. Another point to note is to keep yourself properly hydrated; Sri Lankan temperatures can lie between 32-38 degrees in an average and enough water, coconut, or king coconut water can help to keep you properly hydrated.
Festivals – Sri Lanka is one of the countries with many festivals. One being a multi-cultural and multi-religion country, one of the more common holidays are full moon Poya days which fall on every month. On religious holidays alcohol and meat are not served specifically on Poya holidays.
General health conditions – It is advised to get all necessary shots after a friendly chat with your local hospital or general practitioner. Mosquito related diseases are quite common, so packing a mosquito repellent, a sting cream, a skin allergy cream may be advised. Pharmaceutical supplies are not as widely available in the outskirts than in Colombo, if you have forgotten to pack, Colombo might be a stop to reassess and fill up the essential medicine take. These may also include common stomach problem tablet-like Imodium or similar. If you are sexually active, relevant protection supplies, a sun protection cream of over 12 factors, and a general painkiller plus an antiseptic cream maybe few ideas to fill up on.
Language and religions – More than 80% of the Sri Lankans are Buddhists and speak the Sinhala language which is also the national language of the country. Tamil and English are equally spoken next and Catholicism, Hinduism, and Islam are the religions that follow in the order of followers.