spanish spanish italian english

Travel Tips

Visiting 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 island. The temperature gradually drops towards the hill country, experiencing a temperature as low as 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 sé as clear blue skied bright sunny days are the general rule even during the wet season.

Sri Lanka is 5½ hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Meridian time), 2½ hours behind Singapore and 4½ hours behind Australia EST (Eastern Standard Time).

Booking in Advance

The peak season is from December to March as many European travellers 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 coastal areas (Beach Resorts) and in the Central Province Kandy, the Hill Capital of Sri Lanka. Apart from this period, the months of July and August could be also considered a peak period in Kandy due to the famous “Esala Perahera” which is a must to see for all travellers. Therefore, it is advisable to book in advance if you are visiting Sri Lanka during the peak season.

Organizing Your Trip

If you are interested in booking a Round Trip programme, the flight times are an important component when making the maximum use of your stay. Habarana is a central point when visiting cultural sites such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, and Dambulla and is approximately 3 hours away from the Katunayake International Airport. Most travellers prefer to drive up to Habarana directly from the airport when they arrive in the morning. Most European and Middle Eastern carriers arrive early morning to Sri Lanka which is ideal for most travellers. Overnight stays close to the airport or in Colombo is considered practical for late evening arrivals.

How about Visa's?

It is not a complicated process to obtain a visa to visit Sri Lanka as many nationals are granted a visit visa on arrival which is valid for 30 days. However, please visit the Sri Lanka Visa page for more information and to check if you are required to obtain a visa prior to arrival.

Currency/ Money Exchange

Foreign currency and Traveller's Cheques may be changed at most hotels , although commercial banks offer better rates. Converting Sri Lankan rupees back to a selected foreign currency could be done at a number of different banks, which are available inside the airport that are open 24 hours,for your convenience. Please make sure to retain your money changing receipts. Sri Lankan currency notes are in 10s, 20s, 50s, 100s, 200s, 500s, 1000s, 2000s and 5000s.

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. However, 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 1.00pm from Monday to Friday. Some 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, and on June 30th and December 31st. 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. It is of utmost importance that you 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.

Water

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

Electricity

220 Volts/50 Hz Ac. 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

If you need a doctor, please contact the hotel reception. The hotel will have a doctor within the hotel premises or nearby. Pharmacies can generally be found at the commercial centre of most towns.

Communication

International Direct Dialling (IDD) facilities are available at all city hotels, resorts, post offices and telecommunication centres. 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 and Drink Tips

Your hotel provides safe and high quality food and we, as a policy do not recommend restaurants outside the hotel. Always wash and peel fruit before consumption. Drink plenty of water during the day to avoid dehydration.