FAQ SRI LANKA

  • Safety & Security

    http://smartraveller.gov.au provides regularly updated advice services on safety issues involved with international travel.

    We always recommend that you keep your belongings in a safe place while travelling and make use of hotel safes where available. Ensure you keep your cameras, sunglasses etc handy and never leave them unattended in public places.
     

  • Visa

    Australian travellers need to obtain a visa prior to arrival. Tourists should apply online through the Electronic Travel Authorization System and pay the requisite application fee. It's recommended that you apply before you travel; there is an ETA desk at the international airport where you can apply on arrival (credit cards or US Dollars only), but you could be subject to long delays.

    Your intended stay in Sri Lanka should end at least two months before the expiry date of your travel document.

    Please refer to the below link for further details:

    http://www.immigration.gov.lk/web/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=152&Itemid=197&lang=en

    http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp?locale=en_US

     

  • Health / Vaccinations

    We recommend that you consult your doctor before visiting Sri Lanka regarding the relevant vaccinations. Standard medications, such as mosquito repellent, diarrhoea tablets, Malaria tablets etc can be useful. While in Sri Lanka, whenever possible, drink bottled water or at least ensure the water is boiled before consuming. When eating, your chauffeur/ guide will stop at recommended eateries.

    Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination and has a number of reputable hospitals and qualified doctors. There are also many medical centres located across the country.

    However you may find that some remote areas lack hospital facilities hence we encourage you to carry all your necessary medication while on tour. For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (visit the below link; http://www.traveldoctor.com.au or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia).
     

  • Travel Insurance

    We highly recommend that travel insurance is included in your plan; at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. It is a small price to pay for undesired outcomes and for the peace of mind.
  • Currency

    The official currency of Sri Lanka is the Rupee (LKR). There are now many ATM machines throughout Sri Lanka, which accept Visa, MasterCard & American Express. Although this is a safe and convenient way to access money during your trip we do recommend that you carry some money as cash for when ATMs cannot be accessed.

    Most currencies can be exchanged to Sri Lankan Rupee through banks and licensed Money Exchangers. Money exchanging services is provided round-the-clock at the arrival terminal and all the banks during bank operation times.

    All major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops and restaurants but only in the bigger cities. Some banks will allow cash advances against a credit card.

    Please refer to the below link for the foreign exchange rates.
    www.xe.com/ucc/
     

  • Communication

    The suggestion is to buy a SIM card since it is considered the cheapest and the most convenient option. Mobitel and Dialog Mobitel have the best island wide coverage. Etisalat, Hutch and Airtel are some of the other providers. If you wish Island Hopper Tours can organise this on your behalf. In order to make use of the local providers make sure your phone is not locked to a network. You can get your phone unlocked by your provider in most cases. Toping up your phone is very simple, you should be able to find a "Communications" shop in almost every town, they will do what is called a "Reload", please note you will need your mobile number and you will need to know which network you are on.

    You can also call overseas from majority of the hotels however higher charges may apply. There are also many communication centres that provide IDD (International Direct Dialling) facilities, however is not the most convenient option.

    The offices of internet service providers, internet cafés, postal and courier services are located everywhere in Sri Lanka. And, most of the hotels do offer free wifi services.

    The country code for Sri Lanka is +94
     

  • Electricity

    Electricity is accessible generally without any intermission in everywhere in Sri Lanka. The voltage of the electricity provided in Sri Lanka is 220-240 volts. Additionally the utility frequency of the power supplied is 50 Hz.

    Primary Socket Types: Indian, Europlug

    Sri Lanka uses two kinds of sockets, Indian & Europlug, and is different to Australian
    sockets, so make sure you carry your travel adaptor or you can purchase one from
    supermarkets/ electrical stores, when you are in Sri Lanka.
     

  • Flight information

    For Australian travellers there a few options. You can transit via (Kuala Lumpur) Malaysia, Singapore, (Bangkok) Thailand, Hong Kong & (Dubai) UAE when travelling to Sri Lanka. The best option is to fly from Australia with Emirates/Qantas to Malaysia and then fly with Sri Lankan airlines to Colombo. Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways & Malaysian Airlines also offer flights to Colombo. Air Asia & Malindo Air (only from Perth) are budget airlines that flies to Colombo via Malaysia. There are currently no direct flights to Sri Lanka from Australia.
  • Transport

    The common form of transport for the general public is by bus and this is the cheapest option. Busses are usually crowded, especially during the peak times (early morning and evenings). Trains are also an option for travelling, once again crowded and is not comfortable.

    Generally tourists avoid travelling by bus or train unless to experience the local transport. However there are some sightseeing trains that are comfortable which can be organised as a part of your package. The next cheapest and a fun option is to hop on a Tuk Tuk (three wheeler). Generally they charge about Rs50 a Kilometre and most of them have meters now . First time riding on a Tuk Tuk can be exciting but also scary as they tend to manoeuvre through the traffic.

    In recent times, a number of companies have introduced the private taxi services. This is a much comfortable option when travelling and the vehicles are air conditioned. The drivers also speak English. The cost may vary from Rs75- Rs150 a Kilometre.

    The latest addition to Sri Lankan transport is travel via a helicopter. This is an option if you are interested in an adventure or need to get from one place to another in a short time whilst enjoying some breathtaking views.
     

  • Weather & climate

    Generally speaking, upland areas of Sri Lanka are cooler and more temperate, with a yearly average around 16-20ºC (60-68ºF), and coastal areas are warmer with average temperatures around 27ºC (80ºF). The March-June season experiences slightly higher temperatures (up to 33ºC / 92ºF), while the temperatures in November-January are a few degrees lower (around 24ºC / 75ºF at the coast). Sri Lanka weather along the shores is made more comfortable by cooling sea breezes. The surrounding sea remains rather constant at roughly 27ºC (80ºF) year-round. Humidity is typically rather high in Sri Lanka, averaging out at around 80% year-round.

    The Climate experienced during 12 months period in Sri Lanka can be characterized in to 4 climate seasons as follows.

     - First Inter-Monsoon Season - March - April
    - Southwest Monsoon Season - May - September
    - Second Inter-Monsoon Season - October - November
    - Northeast Monsoon Season - December - February

    Get the Sri Lanka's' latest weather forecasts from: http://www.meteo.gov.lk
     

  • What to wear

    Sri Lanka is a tropical and a warm country, hence, the recommendation is to wear light clothing made out of cotton. We also recommend you wear sunscreen and a hat when you are exposed to the sun.

    If you are travelling to the Hill Country (Nuwara Eliya), you may require a light sweater as the temperatures could drop below 16 degrees.

    Shorts and a t-shirt with sandals (thongs, slippers) are probably more suitable. Everyone entering the religious areas is required to be respectful by wearing clothing that is below the knee length. Modern and Western attire is acceptable if you are going to a night club, bars/pubs and when inside the hotels.
     

  • Cameras/ photographs

    Sri Lanka provides you with an abundance of photo opportunities ranging from the breathtaking sites, landscapes, wildlife, festivals, food and people. However, whilst in Sri Lanka, please ask for permission before taking photographs of people and respect their wishes if they refuse. Photographing Buddhist Monks is not taboo but can create awkwardness so assess the situation and if in doubt ask. Please be mindful that some local people may expect a tip for having their photo taken, so clarify this before taking any photographs to avoid offending anyone.
  • Responsible travel

    Sri Lankans are a very warm and hospitable people, who welcome visitors to their beautiful island. Therefore we recommend several suggestions to keep in mind whilst in Sri Lanka to reciprocate the friendliness and respect.

    Be mindful of dressing and behaving respectfully in religious areas. Whilst visiting religious sites please dress modestly and do not touch holy men and monks, do not pose for photographs on religious statutes and all shoes/socks need to be removed prior to entering any temples.

    Some other general advice includes:

    - Avoid carrying or purchasing any illegal drugs in or out of Sri Lanka as the penalties can be severe (Imprisonment etc).
    - Wear appropriate clothing in public places (Avoid wearing attire that may be considered too revealing).
    - Conduct bargaining in a light-hearted and courteous manner.
    - Always ask permission before taking pictures of people.
    - Do not touch clergymen.
    - Do not smoke or consume liquor inside National Parks and Nature Reserves.
     

  • Tipping

    Though not compulsory, if you're happy with the services provided, it is appropriate to tip. For taxi drivers, hotel and restaurant staff, Rs100 ($1) is probably the minimum expectation. You may tip your coach driver or your personal driver as well.
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