Information from A-Z

Arrival/Airport

at present Majority of the International flights arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA/CMB), 35km north of Colombo, the main airport!

There is a second International Airport, at the southern coast of the island, Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), Opened recently in Mattala, near Hambantota.

Visa information: www.eta.gov.lk 

Climate

The climate in the island is called “tropical”. Due to the country’s position close to the Equator, the temperatures remain fairly constant year round. Coastal and lowland areas enjoy average daytime temperatures of around 26-30 C and above during the hottest time of the day. Temperatures decrease with altitude, reducing to 18-24 C in Kandy and a cool 15-19 C in Nuwara Eliya. Nights in the hill country can be quite chilly, with temperatures sometimes dropping below 5 C. Humidity is high everywhere, rising to 90% at time in the southwest and, averaging 60 -80% across the rest of the island.

Currency

 the Sri Lankan currency is the rupee, abbr. R./Rs/RS/or LKR.

Coins come in denominations of Rs. 1, 2,5 and 10.
Notes come in denominations of Rs. 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000.

Try to avoid extremely dirty or torn money, break big notes and do stock up on change whenever you can -for tips and taxis etc.

Drinking

water- tap water is not drinking water, but it is fine to use for brushing your teeth. Ice-cubes in hotels and restaurants are made from boiled/filtered water and generally safe for consumption. For drinking use bottled water and ensure the seal is not broken

Dress-code/etiquette/behaviour

Sri Lanka is fairly westernised and has seen tourism for more than 40 years. However, cultural differences can be found everywhere. Sri Lankans are very proud of their country, they smile a lot, are generally friendly and don’t like to say “no”. Please observe some general guidelines:

Nudity and topless are not permitted on Sri Lankan beaches

All visitors to temples, kovils and churches should be appropriately dressed: in temples you have to take off your shoes and head gear, shoulders and knees must be covered. You are however permitted, to keep socks on, if the floor is too hot or if you are worried about getting your feet dirty. Refrain from taking photographs posing in front of religious statues and relics

Refrain from sitting on, touching or carving/writing on relics and historical places Electricity – Sri Lanka’s electricity run at 230-240V Round or square three-pin sockets are common in the hotels. Adaptors (multi-plugs) are cheap or could be borrowed from the housekeeping department.

Entry requirements – please see “visa”

Festivals

Insurance

It is essential to take out insurance before travelling to cover against illness, injury, theft, loss and even lost baggage cover. Please check with your insurance agent for detailed information and suitable travel package.

Internet/phones

most of the Hotels do have Wi-Fi and are offering internet access free of charge. If you need a constant connection while in the island, all Sri Lanka telecom providers offer various mobile broadband packages rather cheap. Dialog, Etisalat, Mobitel, Airtel and Hutch.

Phones

It is generally cheaper to replace your SIM card with a local one, which can be purchased upon arrival at the airport arrival hall. You can get a signal now pretty much everywhere on the island, apart from very remote locations.

To call home from Sri Lanka, dial 00 and then the country code: 0044 UK, 00353 Ireland, 0061 Australia, 0049 Germany, 0043 , 0064 New Zealand, 0027 South Africa, 0091 India, 00601 Malaysia

The country code to Sri Lanka is +94, then the area code, minus the Zero and then the subscriber number!

Holidays

 Sri Lanka is probably the country with more holidays and festivals than any other country in the world, with four major religions being practised and their main holidays recognized. The Buddhist full moon holiday- POYA- is a monthly public holiday and all offices, schools and businesses are closed. There is a ban on the sale of alcohol in shops, hotels and restaurants on Poya and various other public holidays. For further information see the “events”

Newspapers

Sri Lanka has a good selection of English language newspapers, including The Island, Daily Mirror, Daily News and the Sunday’s papers, Sunday Leader, Sunday Times and Sunday Observer.

Office hours

Banks, government offices and most businesses work from Monday to Friday 9/9.30 am to 5/6 pm. Supermarkets, shopping centres and outlets in Colombo and major cities are open seven days a week, from 9 or 10 am until 8 or 9 pm. Small shops in the towns and villages are also open during week-ends.

Passport/immigration

please ensure all members of your party do have valid travel documents. Ensure, you hold a passport valid for a minimum period of six months from the date you arrive in Sri Lanka. Pls. refer www.immigration.gov.lk for further information & details.

Pharmacy

Pharmacies in Sri Lanka are widely found and marked with a green cross on white background.

Pharmacy

Refrain from taking photographs posing in front of religious statues and relics. Ask for permission before taking any photos of people, especially of women and children. Time – Sri Lanka is five hours and thirty minutes ahead of GMT. It does not follow Daylight Savings time. During summer 4,5 hrs ahead of UK, 3,5 hrs. Ahead of Europe, in winter 5,5 hrs ahead of UK, 4,5 hrs ahead of Europe.

Tipping

visitors will be generally expected to offer a tip for most services, even on top of agreed fees and even though a service charge is included in invoices. The waiter, room-boy, your driver or guide and other little helpers all would expect a tip. The size of it should depend on the service rendered and expertise exercised.

TV

Sri Lanka has its state run television, Rupavahina, Eye Chanel and ITN, which is broadcasting mainly in Sinhala and Tamil. Most hotel do have satellite TV channels, offering an increasing number of English-language channels, like BBC, CNN, National Geographic, as well as various sports & movie channels. DTW, the German channel and the French TV5 is partly also available.

Visa & immigration

Please be advised that Sri Lanka has introduced an on-line visa system for all travellers arriving in Sri Lanka from January 1, 2012.

Please ensure you have applied for your visa via ETA website www.eta.gov.lk prior to arrival .Keep a printout of the confirmation/ Acknowledgement/ reference number with you at the time of arrival in CMB.

Weddings

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s leading honeymoon destinations and many couples actually get married in Sri Lanka. Most hotels do offer specific wedding packages. Please do contact us for further information.