Travel Tips | Travel Guide
With effect from 1st January 2012, all Holiday or Business travelers to Sri Lanka must have Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for entering in to Sri Lanka. Please visit www.eta.gov.lk to obtain your visa.
Department of Immigration and Emigration,
"Suhurupaya", Sri Subhuthipura Road, Battaramulla.
Tel: +94-11-5329000 / +94-11-5329316/20/21/25
You are allowed to bring into the country duty free 1.5 litres of spirits, two bottles of wine, a quarter-litre of toilet water, and a small quantity of perfume and souvenirs with a value not exceeding US $250. The import of personal equipment such as cameras and laptop computers is allowed but must be declared on arrival. However, personal equipment must be taken out of the country upon the visitor.s departure. The import of non-prescription drugs and pornography of any form is an offence.
On leaving the country you are allowed to export up to 10kg of tea duty free.
Website of Sri Lanka Customs : www.customs.gov.lk
No antiques, defined as anything more than 50-years-old - rare books, palm-leaf manuscripts and anthropological material can be exported without permission from the
7 Reid Avenue,
Tel: +94-11 2694523/ 2696917
Department of Archaeology,
Sir Marcus Fernando Mw,
Tel : +94 11 2692840/1
Tel : +94-11-2694727, +94-11-2667155 ,
Purchase and export without licence of any wild animal, bird or reptile, dead or alive, also the export of parts of animals, birds or reptiles, such as skins, horns, scales and feathers is prohibited. Occasional exports are permitted exclusively for bona fide scientific purposes. It is prohibited to export of 450 plant species without special permits. The export of coral, shells or other protected marine products is also strictly prohibited.
Applications for special permission to export fauna should be made to the
Department of Wildlife Conservation,
382 , New Kandy Road,
Tel: +94 11 25060380
And flora should be made to the
82, Rajamalwatta Road,
Tel : +94 11 28666 16/ 2866632
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 encashment receipts can be produced.
Sri Lanka is a photographer's delight. However, permits are required for professionals before you can take photos at certain sites.
All Entrance tickets to individual sites should be paid in local currency only in CASH. Hence make sure to carry enough Sri Lanka Rupees in cash.
Approx cost of Entrance Fees (Per person)
Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage - US$16 / SAARC Countries - US$5
Sigiriya Rock Fortress - US$30 / SAARC Countries - US$15
Pidurangala Rock in Sigiriya - US$4
Village Tour in Sigiriya - US$20
Elephant Ride in Sigiriya- US$10-15
Polonnaruwa - US$25 / SAARC Countries - US$12.5
Anuradhapura - US$25 / SAARC Countries - US$12.5
Mihintale (Near Anuradhapura) - US$3.5
Dambulla Cave Temple - US$10
Temple of the tooth Relic Kandy- US$10 / SAARC Countries - US$5
Kandy National Museum - US$4
Peradeniya Botanical Garden Kandy- US$10
Kandy Cultural Dance Show - US$8
Ceylon Tea Museum Kandy - US$6
Hakgala Botanical Garden Nuwara Eliya- US$10
Galle National Museum - $2
Dolphin & Whale Watching - US$60 (SL Navy) / Other Suppliers - US$60-80
Turtle Hatchery - US$5
Boat Ride in madhu River - US$20 per boat (Max 6pax)
Colombo National Museum - US$4
Colombo Zoo - US$16 / SAARC Countries - US$5
Bundala Bird Sanctuary - US$10
All National Parks - US$25
Jeep charges for safari at National Parks - Varies from $30-50 per jeep (max 6-8pax)
The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee, divided into 100 cents (you rarely come across scents today). Currency notes are Rs.5,000, Rs2,000, Rs1,000, Rs500, Rs100, Rs50, Rs20 and Rs10. Beware of mistaking the Rs500 note for the somewhat similar Rs100 one. To check whether notes are genuine when not given at a bank, look for a lion watermark. Coins, should you have receive them, will be in denominations up to Rs10. Make sure you have plenty of lower denomination notes (Rs50, Rs100, Rs500), especially when travelling and you need to buy small items, fruit, and eat cheap meals, because change is often hard to come by apart from at hotels and big shops.
No inoculations are compulsory unless you are coming from a yellow fever or cholera area. (Cholera is very occasionally reported in Sri Lanka, so is not considered a serious risk.)However, the following vaccinations are recommended, particularly if you plan a long trip or intend visiting remote areas.
Typhoid (monovalent), Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies Children should, in addition, be protected against: diphtheria, whooping cough, mumps, measles, rubella
Remember to plan well ahead with vaccinations. Allow up to six weeks to receive the full course, for some vaccinations require more than one dose, and some should not be given together.
When You are There.....
As most stomach upsets are due to the unsanitary preparation of food, it is useful to know what to watch out for. Under-cooked fish and meat can be hazardous. Fruits that has already been peeled should be avoided. Be careful of food varieties sold by street vendors and served at cheap restaurants. Sometimes there are power outages Sri Lanka, especially away from urban centres, so it pays to be suspicious of all refrigerated foods if you know there has been a recent outage in your area.
Tap water once boiled and filterd its safe to drink. However the best solution is to drink bottled water. There are now many brands available, mostly using spring water from the highlands of the island. Make sure that the bottle carries an SLS certification and that the seal is broken only in your presence. Beware of ice unless you are satisfied it has not been made from tap water.
When you flop onto the beach or poolside lounger for a spot of sunbathing, always remember to apply a sunscreen product with a sun protection factor of at least 15. Remember you are just 600km from the equator. Even with sunscreen, your sunbathing should be limited in time. If you don't apply sunscreen you are liable to become so sunburnt that it will be painful to move, your skin will peel, you will have to start afresh to get that tan, and most importantly you put yourself at risk of serious dermatological disease.
Sometimes those who have spent too long in the sun suffer what is termed heatstroke, the most common form being caused by dehydration. The symptoms are high temperature - yet a lack of sweat - a flushed skin, severe headache, and impaired coordination. If you think someone has heatstroke, take that person out of the sun, cover their body with a wet sheet or towel, and seek medical advice. To avoid heatstroke, take plenty of bottled water, or drink a thambili (king coconut).
Prickly heat rash occurs when your sweat glands become clogged after being out in the heat for too long or from excessive perspiration. The rash appears as small red bumps or blisters on elbow creases, groin, upper chest or neck. To treat it, take a cold shower, clean the rash with mild soap, dry yourself, apply hydrocortisone cream, and if possible, a product that contains salicylic acid. Repeat every three hours.
Cotton clothes are useful at any time of the year but you will need light woollens for the hill country side and waterproof clothing or an umbrella. Modest dress for women is advisable especially off the beach and when visiting religious sites. Don't forget comfortable shoes, sandals or trainers and cotton socks. If you are planning to trek and climb go prepared with suitable gear. Water sports enthusiasts would do well to take their snorkels and diving equipment along.
You may sometimes be overwhelmed by crowds of people in public places (railway stations, markets, bus stands, temples or simply busy streets). "Touts" and hawkers may jostle and push and clamour to show you a hotel and sell you things. Taxis and three-wheelers are often there when you do not need them.
When To Visit
Sri Lanka is a round-the-year destination. For the visitors who seek for sun and sea the best time to visit the island is from November to April (West to South Coast) & from May to October (East to North Coast).
The central highlands are pleasantly cool throughout the year and relatively dry from January to April.
The peak season is from mid December to end February and mini peak season in March-April during Easter and in July-August when festivals and pageants are held through the country.