Sri Lanka Travel Tips /

What you should expect on arrival?

You will arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake (30km North of Colombo). If you are lucky enough to land while the sun is still out, you will notice Sri Lanka's rich green foliage the moment you begin descent. Remember to fill out your disembarkation form before you proceed to the sparkling new wing of the Island's Airport. Most often, many flights arrive at the same time, but as long as you have your documents ready and don't allow any over-eager travelers to cut in line, the smiling immigration officers will send you sailing through towards your adventures in Sri Lanka.

Airport clearance process

Being a small Airport, the clearance process is not too complicated. You will be able to get your SRI LANKA: Discover Paradise disembarkation form from a flight attendant before you land, or from the desks in the immigration area. Make sure you have them filled out before you get in line at immigration.

• When you have your bags, if you have any goods to declare, make sure you fill out a customs form before you get into the exit line. These forms can be found at the desks near the luggage carousels.

• The porters will be more than happy to assist you with your bags, and are usually paid USD 01 per bag to help you move your bags and push your trolley.

Heat and humidity on arrival

The moment you step out of the well-air conditioned airport, prepare for Sri Lanka's warm and humid climate. Put your jacket away and drink lots of water. The average temperature is 29°C. Average temperature at cities as follows;

- Colombo : 28 - 33°C

- Kandy : 22 - 28°C

Currency & Credit Card

Local currency is Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR) and the average exchange rate is USD 01 = LKR 175/-. However most places like Hotels and Restaurants accept credit cards such as American Express, Visa and Master cards. There could be up-to 3% surcharge to be paid when settling bills with credit cards. Also money can be exchanged on arrival at the Airport or at your hotel or at banks.

Bank working hours: Generally 05 days working from Monday to Friday from 0900 HRS to 1500 HRS and some institutions work on Saturdays as well (Half day 0900 HRS – 1100 HRS)

Security

No major concern, clients can freely move around in all parts of the country.

Clothes

Cotton garments are ideal as Sri Lanka is a tropical island. However, viscose/cotton mixed garments are commonly worn. Light clothing is recommended in the lowland areas and light woolen clothing is suitable in the hill country. A sun hat and sunglasses may help you to escape the heat during daytime. A good thing to keep in mind is, despite the tropical weather, some hotels have a 'no shorts' policy at dinnertime. So bring comfortable alternatives.

Footwear

If you plan to spend most of your time on the beach, bring comfortable sandals. If you intend to hike or do most of your sightseeing on foot, then bring comfortable walking shoes that are easy to pack and clean. Also, if you plan to visit some of the nicer restaurants or nightspots in the city of Colombo, you will need to bring shoes with you as most of these places have "no sandals" policies.

Temple etiquette

When visiting a Buddhist or Hindu temple you should remove your footwear and headgear. Your legs and shoulders should be covered as a sign of respect. Some Hindu temples even ask men to go shirtless in order to enter the inner sanctum. In most temples, you will be asked for a donation. However, the traditional practice is that you make a donation only if you wish to. Any money you decide to donate should be placed in the donation box.

Public nudity

Public nudity, including females being topless, is not only unacceptable but also illegal in Sri Lanka.

Local customs

The traditional way of greeting people is by placing your hands together (as if to pray) and saying “AYUBOWAN”,which means “may you have a long life”. When entering ANY temple or places of worship, knee and shoulders should be covered as a sign of respect.

Health tips

We advise you the carry insect repellent so that you can safeguard yourself from mosquito bites 

Water

We strongly recommend that you drink bottled mineral water ONLY, which is widely available throughout the country.

Swimming & bathing

Most of the coastal areas of Sri Lanka are safe for sea bathing, but please avoid swimming when the red flag is visible or when the sea is rough. We suggest that you always use a high factor sun cream and remember to drink plenty of bottled water. A sun hat and sunglasses may help you to escape the heat during daytime.

Medical

Should you require the service of a doctor, please speak to your guide or the hotel reception and they will refer you to a doctor.

Tipping

Tipping is customary, but not obligatory. But, if you feel that you received a good service, then we suggest that you do so.

Public transport

Travel by the public transport system is not for the faint-hearted. But for those who are looking for some adventure, we suggest a short ride in a public transport.

Photography

We suggest that you go ahead and gather as many delightful memories as possible.

Touts

Like many other destinations, Sri Lanka is not an exception. Hence, a polite “NO” will suffice to ward off their
attention.

Electricity 

220 Volts/50 Hz Ac. Two and three pin round and square plugs are used.

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