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Travel Tips

When to visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a year round destination with an abundance of sunshine all year round. The average temperature is around 27°C - 30°C in most parts of the Island. The temperature gradually drops as the land rises towards the hill country, with some parts of the highland as low as below 10°C.

The island has two wet monsoon seasons; briefly between May and July in the south-west region and between December and January in the north-east. However, Sri Lanka has no off season per se as clear blue skied bright sunny days are the general rule even during the wet season.

“Ayubowan! Yathra Travels is a Total Destinations Management Company which is based in Sri Lanka. Our mission is to provide a true Sri Lankan holiday to all our visitors

If you choose to call us please do so during office hours. 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM Monday to Friday and 9.00 AM to 12.30PM on Saturday, Colombo time.

Sri Lanka is 5 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Median Time).

Booking in advance

The peak season is between December to March as many European travelers prefer the warm sunshine and the golden beaches of Sri Lanka. It is common that most popular hotels are overbooked due to the limited room inventory in the country especially along the coast (Beach Resorts) and in Kandy the Hill Capital of Sri Lanka.

Apart from this period, the months of July & August could be also considered a peak period in Kandy due to the famous “Esala Perahera” which is a must to see for all travelers.

Therefore, it is advisable to book in advance if you are planning a trip during the peak season.

What to pack

Sri Lanka is a tropical country and cotton clothes are the most ideal to wear and of course your bathing suits are a must if you are visiting the beaches. Sun tan lotion could be very handy as it can be very hot sometimes.

If you are visiting the cultural and religious sites, it is a must that you wear appropriate clothing. Gents are required to wear trousers to cover their knees or a “sarong” with a shirt or T-shirt. Ladies should ideally wear decent attire such as a trouser or a skirt to cover the knees and a blouse or t-shirt. It may not be advisable for ladies to wear deep necked or a sleeveless top.

 

How about Visa?

If its a short visit such as a holiday, sightseeing or visiting relatives or friends, the visitor should obtain a Electronic Travel Authorization also known as ETA prior to arriving in Sri Lanka. The ETA can be obtained through the official government website www.eta.gov.lk by filling in some basic information and by making the relevant visa fee online. The ETA holders will be issued a 30 days short visit visa at the port of entry in Sri Lanka

The Nationals of Singapore and Maldives are exempted from the ETA as they will be granted visa on arrival.

For further details on the above please visit the official government website www.eta.gov.lk

 

Language

Sri Lanka has two official languages- Sinhala and Tamil - with English used as a link language. English is widely spoken throughout Sri Lanka , with the exception of remote villages.

 

Currency/ Money Exchange

Foreign currency and Traveller’s Cheques may be changed at any hotel, although commercial banks offer better rates. Converting Sri Lankan rupees back to a selected foreign denomination could be done at the airport banks which are open 24 hours of the day. Please retain your money changing receipts.

Currency notes are in 10s, 20s, 50s, 100s, 200s, 500s, 1000s,2000s ,5000s.

Foreign Currency regulations

Visitors to Sri Lanka bringing in more than US$10,000 should declare the amount to the Customs on arrival. All unspent rupees converted from foreign currencies can be re-converted to the original currency on departure as long as enchashment receipts can be produced.

Credit Cards

Hotels and shops accept most international credit cards. No surcharge is required for their use. Cash advances may be acquired against credit cards at certain bank ATMs. Most widely accepted cards are American Express, Visa and MasterCard.

It is advisable to enquire if your card type is accepted by the establishment before the use of any services.

Banks are generally open from 9.00am to 3.00pm from Monday to Friday. Most city banks close at 3.00pm, while others offer night banking facilities. Banks are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, all public holidays and special bank holidays. ATMs are most found adjoining bank branches island-wide.

Shops

Most shops open at 10.00am and close at 6.00pm. Shops are usually closed on Sundays and Full moon (Poya) days. The full moon poya day has religious significance for Buddhists and alcohol is not served in hotels, bars and public recreational areas on this day.

Customs

You may be required to open your baggage for inspection. Refrain from carrying prohibited or restricted goods. Certain types of animal products, antiques and gold are not allowed to be taken out of the country.

Important! Retain your shopping receipts, especially for gems.

Immigration

Embarkation forms are available at the airport check-in counter and need to be filled and handed over to the immigration desk prior to departure.

Photography : Restrictions & Permits
Sri Lanka is an amazing island and therefore its a given that most visitors bring a camera of some kind when they visit the country.
When visiting temples or other religious sites, please remember that photography should not be carried out in a manner causing disrespect. Flash photography is to be avoided when photographing murals.

Tourists who wish to visit and photograph the principle ancient monuments in Sri Lanka are required to purchase a ticket which entitles them to visit and photograph historic monuments.

 

Electricity

230/240 Volts AC, 50 Ac. Round Two and three pin plugs are used mostly.

Embassies/ Consulates

A list of embassies is given in the local telephone directory which is provided in most hotel rooms. If not, one may be obtained at the hotel concierge’s desk. Please contact us if further assistance is required.

Medical Facilities

Minor health problems can be treated by the doctor made  available by the resort, the hotel or resort will have a doctor within the hotel premises or nearby. Pharmacies can generally be found at the commercial centre of most towns.

If there are any major medical emergencies, Colombo and other major cities in Sri Lanka are equipped with modern and state of the art private hospitals that offer the latest in conventional medical and surgical therapies.

Communication

International Direct Dialing (IDD) facilities are available at all city hotels, resorts, post offices and telecommunication centers. Postal services are provided at most hotels and at the local post office or authorized sub-post offices. Telegrams and faxes can be handed over to the hotel reception for transmission.

Tipping

It is customary to tip drivers, guides and hotel housekeeping/restaurant staff if the service is satisfactory. This is solely at your discretion. The average tip is 100 rupees for Housekeeping and 10% of your meal bill for restaurant staff.

 

Food & Drink Tips

Your hotel provides safe and high quality food. Ask for recommendations of other restaurants and pubs outside the hotel you wish to visit. Drink plenty of water during the day to avoid dehydration.

Water

Filtered, mineral and bottled drinking water is available at most retail shops. Avoid drinking water from taps.

Contact if you choose Yathra as your travel partner
Hotline : +94 11 4 378 598