Sri Lanka Travel Info
We recommend that you consult your doctor before visiting Sri Lanka regarding the relevant vaccinations. Make sure you also bring your standard medication and all other useful items such as mosquito repellent, diarrhoea tablets, Malaria tablets etc. While in Sri Lanka always drink bottled water or at least ensure the water is boiled before consuming. When eating, consider the old advice to be on the safe side: `boil it, bake it, peel it or ignore it.’ Avoid eating street food and wash your hands with soap before each meal.
Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination and has a number of reputable hospitals and qualified doctors. There are also many medical centres located across the country. However you may find that some remote areas lack hospital facilities hence we encourage you to carry all your necessary medication while on tour.
Safety and Security
We always recommend that you keep your belongings in a safe place while travelling and make use of hotel safes where available. Ensure you keep your cameras, sunglasses etc handy and never leave them unattended in public places.
The internal conflict in the country has now ceased meaning that unexpected security incidents should not happen. The people in Sri Lanka can now walk freely and enjoy a peaceful lifestyle. This also has increased the amount of tourists coming to the country within the past months. We wish that all communities in this country will live peacefully as a single nation.
For Australian travellers there a few options. You can transit from Malaysia, Singapore or either from Hong Kong when travelling to Sri Lanka. The best option is to fly from Australia with Emirates/Qantas to Malaysia and then fly with Sri Lankan airlines to Colombo. Air Asia also flies from Perth to Colombo via Malaysia. There are currently no direct flights to Sri Lanka from Australia.
Sri Lankan Airlines has been recognised through numerous global awards as providing a high level of quality, service and reliability. Sri Lankan airlines provides a number of flights to and from Europe, States and Asia. It also affiliates with many other reputable Airlines such as Emirates, Singapore and Malaysian Airlines, in order to assist your journey in comfort.
Organising a holiday can be an extremely exciting time but can also involve a lot of planning in order to maximise your enjoyment and comfort. Even after careful planning and taking all possible precautions, unfortunate incidences that are beyond anyone’s control can occur. Therefore we highly recommend that travel insurance is included in your plans as it will minimise financial and other risks that can occur during your travel. It is a small price to pay for undesired outcomes and for a peace of mind.
The currency is Sri Lankan Rupees. A rupee is equivalent to 100 cents. There are coins in Rs 1, 2, 5 and notes in Rs 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 2000. Please refer below link for the foreign exchange rates.
The common form of transport for the general public is by bus and this is the cheapest option. Busses are usually crowded, especially during the peak times (early morning and evenings). Trains are also an option for travelling, once again crowded and is not comfortable.
Generally tourists avoid travelling by bus or train unless to experience the local transport. However there are some sightseeing trains that are comfortable which can be organised as a part of your package. The next cheapest and a fun option is to hop on a trishaw (three wheeler). Generally they charge about Rs 75-100 a mile. Always make sure you negotiate the price before taking a ride. First time riding on a three wheeler can be exciting but also scary as they tend to manoeuvre through the traffic.
In recent times a number of companies have introduced the private taxi services. This is a much comfortable option when travelling and the vehicles are air conditioned. The drivers also speak English. The cost may vary from Rs 100-200 a mile.
Most comfortable option is to hire a vehicle with a driver. They operate under different conditions with a variety of fleet options, so ensure you fully understand the terms before proceeding ahead. We deal with a several reliable companies that hire out the driver and the vehicle. We organise your customised tours through these operators. Our set tours include private air-conditioned luxury coaches or vans and are also organised through a reliable operator.
The latest addition to Sri Lankan transport is travel via a helicopter. This is an option if you are interested in an adventure or need to get from one place to another in a short time whilst enjoying some breathtaking views.
What to wear
Sri Lanka is a tropical and a warm country. The recommendation is to wear light clothing made out of cotton. During the day times it’s best to avoid wearing dark colours as it may attract extra heat. We also recommend you wear sunscreen and a hat when you are exposed to the sun.
If you are travelling to the Hill Country (Nuwara Eliya), you may require a light sweater as the temperatures could drop below 16 degrees.
Shorts and a t-shirt with sandals (thongs, slippers) are probably more suitable for men. Women are advised to dress modestly when dressing in general public and avoid wearing mini-skirts, or anything that is too exposing, as this may offend or attract unwanted attention from the general public. Everyone entering the religious areas is required to be respectful by wearing clothing that is below the knee length.
Modern and Western attire is acceptable if you are going to a night club, bars/pubs and inside the hotels as long as you avoid general public.
The suggestion is to buy a SIM card since it is considered the cheapest and the most convenient option. If you wish we can organise this on your behalf. You can also call overseas from majority of the hotels however higher charges may apply. There are also many communication centers that provide IDD (International Direct Dialling) facilities, however is not the most convenient option.
Sri Lanka provides you with an abundance of photo opportunities ranging from the breathtaking sites, landscapes, wildlife, festivals, food and people. However we offer some simple suggestions regarding photography etiquette, whilst in Sri Lanka. Please ask for permission before taking photographs of people and respect their wishes if they refuse. Photographing Buddhist Monks is not taboo but can create awkwardness so assess the situation and if in doubt ask. Please be mindful that some local people may expect a tip for having their photo taken, so clarify this before taking any photographs to avoid offending anyone.
For taxi drivers, hotel and restaurant staff, Rs 100 ($1) is probably the minimum expectation. You may tip your coach driver or your personal driver.
Sri Lankans are a very warm and hospitable group, who welcome visitors to their beautiful island. Therefore we recommend several suggestions to keep in mind whilst in Sri Lanka to reciprocate the friendliness and respect.
Be mindful of dressing and behaving respectfully in religious areas. Whilst visiting religious sites please dress modestly and do not touch holy men and monks, do not pose for photographs on religious statutes and all shoes/socks need to be removed prior to entering any temples. Some other general advice includes:
- Never carry any illegal drugs in or out of Sri Lanka as the penalties can be severe (Imprisonment etc).
- Wear appropriate clothing in public places (Avoid wearing attire that may be considered too revealing).
- Conduct bargaining in a light-hearted and courteous manner.
- Always ask permission before taking pictures of people.
- Do not touch clergymen.
- Do not smoke or consume liquor inside National Parks and Nature Reserves.
- Drink bottled water and avoid drinking water from the taps and natural streams.
- Sri Lanka is a hospitable and relaxed Nation. Therefore please allow extra time when shopping, travelling, checking out of hotel rooms, ordering food or pretty much any activity.
- Sri Lanka uses a range of sockets, so your full range of travel adaptors may come in useful. Specialised Sri Lankan adaptors can be bought in major hotels and many shops. US sockets tend to be used, although older hotels, especially in the Hill Country, may use UK sockets.
- If you decide to leave your valuables in your hotel room, please ensure that you store them in a safe deposit box (available in most hotels and resorts).
- Avoid the purchase and use of any illegal substances in Sri Lanka, as there are serious penalties (imprisonment etc).