FAQ

VISAS & CUSTOMS FORMALITIES

Yes you need to get visa to enter Sri Lanka. You can obtain visa on arrival or get it online kindly see the below link for online visa.

 

http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/

WEATHER CONDITION

The rainy season start for North in the month of August they believe after completing the ritual festival that the rainy season will start and in the month of November, December, April, end of May Sri Lanka accept rain

Whale watching season start in the month of November to April in Mirissa and from May to October the whale watching season starts in Trincomalee.

FOOD & LODGING

While rice is the staple diet of most Sri Lankans, there're plenty of fresh vegetable and fruit available throughout the country. Also, there is a fabulous variety of fish along with several types of red meat. Most coastal towns have excellent seafood including prawns & delicious crab.

All the major restaurants in the country offer all kinds of international food & beverage.

Sri Lankan food, The dishes is spicy and tasty but can be a little too piquant for the foreign palates. It's worth trying nevertheless. In hotels you'll be served food which is a little toned down due to the sensitive stomachs of most tourists.

Sri Lanka, being a tropical country, is endowed with a tantalizing variety of fruit that includes Mango and Banana, Rambutan, Pineapple, Mangosteen, Papaya , Woodapple, Melon, Passion fruit, Guava, etc., among many others. These are available for purchase on both Supermarkets and roadside fruit stalls for relatively low prices.

'Halal' food isn't much common in major hotels. The Galadari and Holiday Inn in Colombo serve halal food as does the Confifi group of hotels (Eden, Riverina & Club Palm Garden). Apart from the Halal restaurants in Colombo and Kandy, they're hardly elsewhere. The best alternative seems to be seafood.

The food is exclusively based on Sri Lankan rice and curry menu. The curries are mostly Sri Lankan vegetables; chicken and fish may be included.

Banks take 0.5% handling fee and generally a commission, which differs from bank to bank. We recommend you to convert only that amount of money you need for spending.

 

There's plenty of fresh fruit juice available both in major restaurants and smaller ones. It's as much delectable as healthy. Popular international soft drinks are found even in the small village boutiques. Thambili or King Coconut is a refreshing sweet, clean and cheap natural drink you'll find by the wayside.

Sri Lanka has its own variety of local beer. Also, two variations of local liquor exist, ie.Toddy & Arrack. Toddy is a natural intoxicating drink, tapped from the palm trees. Fermented and refined toddy becomes Arrack. Imported beer and foreign liquors cost almost the same as in most western countries.

Please keep with you whatever receipts of exchange (including ATM receipts) for monies declared. This will be useful when re-exchanging to foreign currency and taking your money back out of the country.

No. Smoking and having liquor in public areas is banned in Sri Lanka. The smoking ban is also in effect at enclosed public places such as restaurants and social clubs.

We offer a wide range of accommodation from private boutique hotels, villas, eco lodge and tents. But, some of our nature & adventure trips involve travelling to remote or undeveloped outstation destinations where hotel accommodation of International tourist standard may not exist & facilities are relatively poor.

TRAVELLING & PHOTOGRAPHY

The best & driest seasons are from December to March on the West & South Coasts and in the hill country, and from May to September in the East Coast.

Sri Lanka experiences two monsoons; the rainy season in the East coast is the dry season in the south west coast & vice versa. This makes Sri Lanka a year around destination, and there is always a 'right' season somewhere in the island.

Out of season travel has its own benefits; while the big crowds go away, most airfares & accommodation prices too go down, with many special offers thrown in. On the coast the average temperature remains around 27°C. The temperature rapidly falls as the altitude gets higher & higher.

You should take off your shoes and hat when entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple. If you're carrying an umbrella, unfurl it. Your legs & shoulders should be covered; never enter a temple in beach wear (i.e. shorts or singlet)

Where as we encourage travelers to pack their video cameras, there are some places where we do not allow you to film. In small villages, at home-stays or trekking, we do not permit the use of videos as local people have requested this and we ask for courtesy and discretion with still cameras.

Ask permission before taking pictures either of people or inside temples or other sacred places. For example, it is forbidden to take photographs inside the cave temple complex of Dambulla. Never use flash on murals inside temples and other places; it can cause damage them.

You aren't allowed to use flash at the frescoes at Sigiriya, but where there is no ban, please behave responsibly. Never pose beside or in front of a Buddha statue (i.e. with your back to the statue). Such conduct is considered extremely disrespectful. Don't photograph a monk without asking permission.

Tourists are sometimes asked for money for taking photos. Always ask before you photograph whether payment is expected. Our accompanying representatives will be able to guide you on this

Tourists are sometimes asked for money for taking photos. Always ask before you photograph whether payment is expected. Our accompanying representatives will be able to guide you on this

There are many franchised photo shops such as Kodak & Fuji with advanced digital imaging services in major towns. Almost all types of digital data storage devices are accepted. It's always advisable to keep a backup of your pictures before handing it over for processing.

It's always advisable to bring a USB cord (camera to PC) so you transfer the pictures to a PC. Internet cafes are ideal for this. Simply copy the pictures to the PC and then burn them into a CD. This is much cheaper and can keep your memory cards empty.


POWER & ENERGY

The voltage is Sri Lanka is 220 / 240 volts.

Sri Lankan hotels have two types of plug bases; either the UK (Type G) or India (Type D). 
*Do not confuse with the larger 15 Amp plug which is used for 'heavy duty' appliances like air-conditioners, and microwave ovens. 

Plug type

Pins

Amps

Plug base compatibility

UK (Type G)

3 rectangular pins

13 Amps

Accepts Type C (by tricking Earth socket). Need an adapter to accept Type D

Euro plug (Type C)

2 round pins

5 Amps

Compatible with Type G and Type D (by tricking Earth socket)

India (Type D)

3 round pins*

5 Amps

Accepts Type C (by tricking Earth socket). Need an adapter to accept Type G

Strictly avoid inserting a 110V – 120V appliance (E.g. hairdryer) into a Sri Lankan 240V plug base; you might find it catching fire in your hands!

LOCAL CUSTOMS AND ETIQUETTE

Always give and receive and eat with your right hand. It is extremely bad mannered to use your left hand for eating. Respect cultural differences, the local laws & import regulations and make sure your behavior doesn't violate environmental responsibility.

LANGUAGE & COMMUNICATION

While Sinhala and Tamil are the official & most widely spoken languages in the country, English is a link language which is generally understood by most people. English is spoken at all hotels, major restaurants and shops. Road signs are mostly written both in Sinhalese & English throughout the

Telephone facilities are widely available all over the country. There're telephone kiosks which accept coins. But the clarity could be low & talk time could be brief. Apart from them, there're communication canters found throughout the country that provide IDD facilities as well as Internet facilities.

All mobile operators support the GSM technology on GSM 900 / 1800 bands. WAP & GPRS is extensively supported. 3G and wireless broadband is available in Colombo. Wi-Fi zones are found in selected spots in major towns.

Dealing in, Sri Lanka's country code is 94. To ring a number in Colombo, for instance, dial ++94112XXXXXX. If it's a mobile number that you want to call, dial it after the country code. If it's a Mobile number, for example it should go like ++9471XXXXXXX.

If you have a 'dual band' & unlocked phone, you can choose a local SIM and top up cards (recharge cards) from several mobile operators, namely, Dialog, Mobile, Etisalat, Hutch and Airtel. Dialog has a counter at Katunayake Airport where you can buy a connection for Rs. 1500/=

Dialing out, you need to dial '00'and the relevant country code before the number. Dialing within the country, inside a particular district, say, Colombo, you don't have to dial its area code (for example, just dial 2XXXXXX) But, for an outstation call, you can't do without the area codes.

Most hotels provide internet facilities. Internet cafes with ADSL connection are found in most towns. Connections in remote towns will be slow. The average cost of surfing in a Cyber Cafe is about Euro 0.50 per hour. Many 5 star and some boutique hotels provide free WiFi facilities to guests.

MONEY & BANKING

The country's currency is Sri Lankan Rupee and is available in a range of denominations, namely, Rs. 10, Rs.20, Rs. 50, Rs. 100, Rs.200, Rs. 500, Rs. 1000, Rs. 2000 & Rs. 5000. For low price purchases, it's convenient to have coins and bills of lower denominations on hand.

Yes, you can. They'll quote the price in US Dollars or Euros and collect the payment in Sri Lankan Rupees at the existing exchange rate.

The Rupee is the only currency used at most of the local outlets. However, major tourist hotels and other tourism establishments accept USD and Euro, etc. So, it's advisable to have it and change on hand as and when required.


It depends on your primary account currency. If your account is in Kuwait Dinar, bring that (or you'll lose on converting to a third currency). You can convert the currency to Rupees on arrival at the airport.

In this case, it's better to bring freely exchanged international currencies like USD or Euro. You will find many currency exchange counters at the arrival lounge (after walking past baggage clearance and customs). Also, convert some of your money into local currency for tipping, shopping and other diverse expenses.

The exchange of foreign currency is only allowed at banks, money changes and Hotels. You can easily encase Travelers Che-ques at any major bank. Thomas Cook and Visa are the most widely accepted.

 

You can bring any amount of money in foreign currencies into Sri Lanka. It could be in TCs, Bank drafts or currency notes. But, if the total is more than US $15,000 (or its equivalent in Euro or some other currency) that sum must be declared to Sri Lanka Customs.

If you intend to take out from Sri Lanka a sum exceeding US $5000(or its equivalent in Euro or some other currency) in currency notes (out of the money brought in), you must declare the total amount brought in, even if it's less than US$ 15,000.

Please keep with you whatever receipts of exchange (including ATM receipts) for monies declared. This will be useful when re-exchanging to foreign currency and taking your money back out of the country.

The Re-Exchange (purchase of foreign currency) can only take place on your departure at the Bank counters at the airport. Remember that they will only accept bank receipts (not Money Changer receipts).

Credit Cards are extensively used and accepted by local establishments (even in small towns). The most popular card types are Visa and MasterCard, with Amex being used to a lesser extent. It'd be a convenient option to use your Credit Card (valid for international use) whenever possible.

No, they aren't. Due to exchange regulations in the country, local establishments will determine your payments by applying the exchange rate prevailing at the date of payment.

ATM's are located in most of the cities. You're allowed to take cash against Visa / MasterCard in most ATM's. However, as different banks accept different cards, we recommend you to ensure that your card is valid for use in Sri Lanka by contacting your bank. Watch out for the Maestro or Cirrus logo!

Instead of International Bank Account Numbers (IBAN), Sri Lanka like most other Asian countries, USA and Australia use the current Bank Identifier Code system (BIC or SWIFT code) along with the BBAN (Basic Bank Account Number).

Institution

Hours

Open Days

Closed

Banks

09:00 - 15:00

Mon - Fri (some open Sat morning)

Sundays, Poya Days*

Government Offices

09:30 - 17:00

Mon - Fri (some open Sat morning)

Sundays, Poya Days

Shops

10:00 - 19:00

Mon - Fri (most open Sat morning)

(Some open Sun morning), Poya Days

Post Offices

10:00 - 17:00

Mon - Fri (Sat morning

Sundays, Poya Days

CLOTHES & ACCESSORIES

like to recommend that you pack some warm clothes if you are planning to visit the hilly regions, where the evenings tend to get chilly.

It's advisable to bring one set of Evening wear as larger hotels insist on 'long attire' for men during dinner (no shorts and no sandals). Ladies could come in dresses, skirts or long shorts, but not in any beach / swimwear.

You should take off your shoes and hat when entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple. If you're carrying an umbrella, unfurl it. Your legs & shoulders should be covered; never enter a temple in beach wear (i.e. shorts or singlet)

You should take off your shoes and hat when entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple. If you're carrying an umbrella, unfurl it. Your legs & shoulders should be covered; never enter a temple in beach wear (i.e. shorts or singlet)

Try getting a sarong. It's very light, comfortable and packs down to almost nothing; also it suits all purposes and occasions, including the temple etiquette.

SHOPPING & ENTERTAINMENT

Sri Lanka has a wide variety of splendid handicraft on sale. Sri Lankan masks are a very popular collector's item. Other recommendations are batiks, wood carvings, gemstones, semi- precious stones, lacquer-ware, handmade Silver- and Brass objects and don't forget the famous 'Ceylon Tea'.

The places with some active night life are Colombo, Negombo and Hikkaduwa. Colombo has some decent pubs, night clubs, karaoke lounges and bars. There is a growing pub-culture among the young crowd in Colombo. Friday and Saturday nights are the days for all night partying.

Tipping is accepted. Although a 10% service charge is included in bills for food and accommodation, tipping is a customary way of showing your appreciation for services rendered.

Your housekeeping staff, doorman, bellboy all expect a little tip. A tip between 100 - 200 rupees ( 1-2 USD) for each service is considered adequate. You guide or driver on tour will expect something between US$ 5 to 15 a day (depending on your level of satisfaction)

OTHER QUESTIONS

Visit the official Sri Lanka Tourism website for more information.

Comments are closed