Sri Lanka Travel

Why Sri Lanka?

Description about Sri Lanka and its diversity

Sri Lanka is definitely the paradise island of the Indian Ocean with compactness and diversity. The bio-diversity is incredible in Sri Lanka in comparison to its size and you will be surprised to understand that the island itself is a bio-diversity hotspot. The capital city is Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte although its commercial capital is, Colombo. Time zone in Sri Lanka is (GMT+5:30). The island gained independence in 1948 and today is govered by a Parliamentary Democratic System. Sri Lanka’s main exports are tea, rubber, coconut and garments. The land is blessed with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, uncountable waterfalls and rivers, picturesque mountains, ample glassland and an astounding degree of wildlife highilghted by mammals, birds, fish and some spectacular butterflies. In fact, the two largest animals found on land and sea could be witnessed here – the Elephant and the Blue Whale! Sri Lanka is a fantastic getaway – may it be summer or even winter – because the island has its own climatic conditions to match every possible season! Above all, the country is a fabulous MICE destination with numerous conference and event facilities.

Geography

Size of the island (Length and width)

Length (432km) and Width (224km)

Geographical regions

There are two main climatic zones called the Wet Zone and Dry Zone. Moreover, the country is distinguishable into three elevation zones: Central Highlands, the Plains and the Coastal Belt

Demographic Factors

Education / Literacy

The literacy of Sri Lankans is 92% and in which terms one of the highest ranked countries in South Asia

Religions

Sri Lanka is a multi-religious country. With the majority of its population being Buddhists (Theravada) there are Christians, Hindus and Muslims living in Sri Lanka

Ethnicities

Sri Lanka is also a multi-ethnic country. The majority of its population comprises of Sinhalese 74.9%, Sri Lankan Tamil 11.2% and Sri Lankan Moors 9.2%. (Dept. of Census and Statistics, 2019)

Languages spoken

Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages spoken in Sri Lanka. However, English is a widely used language in Sri Lanka and you should not be finding difficulties in conversing with Sri Lankans in English.

Population density

According to the 2017 statistics Sri Lanka has a population density of 21.4million (Dept. of Census and Statistics, 2019)

People and hospitality

Sri Lankans are a very hospitable nation. The people are very friendly and would go out of the way to help you. Smiling is customary in Sri Lanka and failing to smile back would be considered offensive. The most popular greeting among locals would be Ayubowan (pronounced as Ayu-bo-wan) meaning, ‘May You Live Long!’

Weather and seasonality

Monsoon patterns

Two main monsoons – South West Monsoon brings rain to the South West part of the island between May to September while the North East Monsoon brings rain and wind to the North and Eastern regions between October to January. However, what is noteworthy is that these monsoon patterns have changed recently whereas rains and dry periods could come up quite unexpected.

Seasonal tourist traffic – Southern Coast/ East Coast

Winter marks the tourist inflow to the Southern and Central parts of the island and reaches its peak between December to March. Meanwhile, the East Coast experiences the highest tourist inflow during the peak months of July and August when the weather is perfect for a beach vacation.

Rainfall

The annual rainfall varies from under 900mm in the driest parts (southeastern and northwestern) to over 5000mm in the wettest parts (western slopes of the central highlands)

Temperature

The mean annual temperature varies from 27°C in the coastal lowlands to 16°C at NuwaraEliya, in the central highlands

Humidity

The average monthly relative humidity ranges from 75% in January to 83% in October

Food and drink

Eating outside – average food prices

Finding food outside hotels is quite easy in Sri Lanka, especially if you are staying close to a town or city. If you plan to eat outside your hotel you could obtain breakfast for an approximate cost of USD 3 – USD 4 whereas lunch and dinner consumed outside hotels would vary at approximately USD 7 to USD 10 respectively.

Types of food

Most hotels in Sri Lanka offer International Buffets whereas there are so many Indian and Chinese restaurants one could find in and around Colombo. Meanwhile, most parts of the island have international fast food chains like Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonald’s, Dominos and Subway). However, it is noteworthy that Colombo is the place with the largest variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food options.

Types of drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)

There are various types of drinks available in Sri Lanka (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Sri Lankans love and take pride in their homegrown Arrack made from the fermented sap of coconut flowers or sugarcane, and also with grain (e.g. red rice) or fruit. But, if you walk into a pub or a bar in the island you will find various local and international brands of spirits and beer available. Bars close at 2100hrs.

How to find good restaurants

The best way in finding a good restaurant may be checking their online reviews and ratings. If this is too much of a hassle, then simply ask your guide for some tips and help!

Clothing

Attires acceptaed in Temples and religion places

There are no strict regulations when it comes clothing in Sri Lanka. Other than in places like Nuwara Eliya (where the weather tends to get colder) you could simply wear summer clothes, short-sleeved garments, soft jeans etc. Swimwear is allowed along beaches of Sri Lanka, but nudity could be considered as an offensive act, hence illegal. On the other hand, you are expected to dress conservatively when visiting religious places such as temples. This would simply mean wearing clothes that cover your shoulders and knees.

Restrictions on revealing clothes/ concern on nudity etc.

Nudity and indecent exposure is an offense in public/common areas. We would not encourage you to get involved in religiously sensitive activities such as dressing like a buddhist monk, displaying tattoos of lord buddha as well as using religious symbols on clothing etc.

Transportation system

Modes of transport (land, sea, rail, air)

There are various modes of transport in Sri Lanka. Ground transport is done by cars, vans and buses. There are also numerous Tuk-Tuks available all over the country at cheaper rates. But, we would not recommend you to use Tuk-Tuks due the risk of accidents being fragile vehicles. Rail transport is quite popular too with trains carrying 1st Class (A/C), 2nd and 3rd Class operating across the island during all times of the day. However, if you do not pre-book, train tickets could get sold very fast in Sri Lanka. Air transfers are done by either Seaplanes or fixed-wing aircrafts or helicopters. Please speak to your local tour operator for further informaiton

Airport Transfers and Taxi services

There are many taxi services at the airport arrival lobby. But, most tour companies provide transfers to their clients and these vehicles are insurance/passenger covered. They are also inspected by transport departments of such organizations from time to time making this mode of transfer the most recommended option.

Things to watch out – risks involved

Sri Lanka is generally a very safe place to travel. But, it would be advisable to check your travel advisories prior to your travel. While you are on tour, please keep all your valuables and belongings in safes provided at hotels. There is quite a high traffic flow near cities, so you might need to be extra cautious when crossing roads. Due to the number of stray dogs found along streets, in case one bites you inform your tour guide at your earliest. Especially, if mountain climbing or similary risky activities are involved you should abide by the instructions given by your guide/trekker. Always use seatbelts during all excursions. If you are trekking, please wear leech socks. Last but not least, Sri Lanka is a malaria-free country. Yet, bring mosquito/insect repellent when travelling to Sri Lanka.

What to take

Travel kit and essentials, First Ait Kits

It is advisable to carry your personal first aid kit when travelling. Recommended inclusions in this kit would include bandages, antiseptic cream, gauze, plasters, antiseptic wipes, a scissor, Ibuprofen, paracetemol etc.

Connectivity

Phone and internet coverage/facilities in Sri Lanka

There are five different carriers in Sri Lanka (Dialog, Mobitel, Etisalat, Hutch and Airtel). Sri Lanka introduced 4G technology in 2013 and could be reached in most parts of the island. However, as you head further inland into more rural/remote areas mobile coverage could be limited to none. Meanwhile, the electric current is 230V, 50 cycles. Besides the primary plug type, which is similar to Indian plugs, you may well find US-, EU- and British-style plugs in your room. Adaptors are readily available at markets, supermarkets and tourist shops for under USD 05.

Entry Requirements

Methods of applying visa – reputed website(s)

You can apply visa to Sri Lanka online through the ONLY reputed government portal (https://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp?locale=en_US)

Medical concerns

Requirements of vaccines

There is no requirement of obtaining vaccines before arriving in Sri Lanka

Methods of obtaining medical care (Private/Government Hospitals, Institutes etc.)

Healthcare in Sri Lanka is offered efficiently by both Government and Private Hospitals located across all districts of the island. Due to the infrastructure facilities getting to the closest hospital even at a more remote location would not take more than 45minutes to 1 hour.

Insurance requirements

Importance of obtaining travel insurance before arriving

If you are planning to visit Sri Lanka obtaining travel insurance is a MUST and highly advisable

Money

ATM machine availability (Differences in urban and rural setups)

ATM machines are found everywhere in the country starting from the airport. However, the availability of ATMs could reduce as you head into the rural areas. Therefore, ensure that you use them at the nearest town/city before heading into a rural setup

Banks

There are many private and government banks operating in Sri Lanka through which we advise you to exchange your currency. If you cannot find a bank, then the most recommended option would be to exchange your currency from a registered money exchange center

Tipping guidelines

Tipping is a way of life in Sri Lanka. Tipping your guide is completely at your discretion. If you are obtaining short services (porters/restaurant staff/bar keepers/room boys/photo stops/shoe keeping etc. an approximate figure of LKR 100 per service (2 – 4 pax) is advised.

Meanwhile, it is advisable that you allocate approximately LKR 500 – LKR 1000 (per group) for Long Services such as safaris, excursions, rafting etc.

In case of an Emergency

Important hotlines

Tourist Police – 1912 / +94 11 2 421 451

Ambulance / Fire & Rescue – 110

Police Emergency – 118 / 119

Accident Service-General Hospital-Colombo – +94 11 2 691 111

Government Information Center – 1919

Report Crimes – +94 11 2 691 500

 

 

 

 

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