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Travel Tips

While enjoying the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, please be cautioned about the following areas. After all it's always good to be prepared.

  • Bring your own sun cream and hats which are a must. Get ready for heat and humidity during the afternoon hours.
  • Traditional Sri Lankan food is hot and spicy but chefs will happy to reduce on the spices for children if mentioned and explained.
  • Bear in mind the heat when packing for children. Prams for very young children should be packed.
  • Sri Lankan streets are full of stray dogs & cats. Children should be discouraged in petting them.
  • You are sure to be friend with monkeys and squirrels specially when travelling to the ancient central areas. Please refrain from feeding them because it’s not only hazardous but also a huge problem when they get use to feedings
  • If you are bitten or scratched by any animal wash the wound well with soap and water. Go to a doctor immediately.

  • Mosquitoes - Please take all necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Dengue and Malaria are two of the main words spoken in this part of the region. Cover well during the night and use plenty of repellant. Always rent out an A/C environment when possible.
  • Food & Drink -Avoid dairy products made with un-boiled milk. Do not drink tap water, always ask for bottled and make sure you break the seal by yourself.
  • Drugs are illegal in Sri Lanka.
  • Hospitals - Top class private hospitals are readily available in Colombo. The major towns do have hospital with pharmacies.

  • Tipping - While your bill consists of a 10% surcharge as service charge, tipping a person for his good service can be done in your discreet.
  • Photographs - It is considered disrespectful to pose in front of or beside a Buddha statue. Do not attempt to shake hands with or photograph Buddhist Monk. Muslim families (mainly women) are very conservative; therefore do not try to shake hands without prior consent.
  • Friendship - Sri Lankans are very friendly and Sri Lankan men are very physical. When meeting friends, a handshake will be followed by a hug. They might dance together and hold hands. If you feel comfortable with this, embrace it. Please avoid applying western thinking to what it may signify.
  • Music - Music is loved by the Sri Lankans. In a house gathering or party guitar, shakers, bongos play a great part of their entertainment. Even at most of the hotel restaurants you are sure to find a small band or calypso playing music in the back ground.
  • Gifts giving or receiving - Do not open your gifts at the time you receive them unless stated.
  • Visiting Sri Lankan families - A small gift is advisable.
  • Eating - Most Sinhalese homes offer a glass of water signifying the invitation for the meal. Just touch the glass in accepting the invitation. Feel free to ask for cutlery if you are uncomfortable eating with your hand.

  • Colombo - During the day while touring, linen casuals or denims will be fine. Nightlife will require a smart casual dress code.
  • Religious Sites - Women are advised to cover their shoulders and legs. Please remove shoes & hats when entering any Buddhist or Hindu temple. If you are asked to make a donation and if you chose to, do not give anyone but place it into the donation box.
  • In coastal areas - Bathing suits, shorts, skinnies or casual clothing. Don't forget your sunglasses and hats. While topless sunbathing is prohibited it is advised for women to dress modestly/ decently to avoid unruly hassle and staring in public bathing places in general.
  • Hill Country - Cool climates and much cooler in the evenings. Sweaters and warm clothes advised. Warning on leeches, from small grass leeches to large buffalo leeches. Cover your boots with soap.

  • Please carry your passport at all times. Visa can be extended for a fee in Colombo at the Visa office situated in Colombo 4, Bambalapitiya.
  • Insurance - You are advised to get a policy to cover theft, loss and medical issues.
  • Driving Licence - Your international driving licence is valid for 3 months.

  • Telephone - Outgoing International is code "00". Country code is "94"
  • Mobile Tel - Local mobile connection for about Rs. 1500 and Pre Paid cards can be purchased.
  • Internet - Most Colombo and top end hotels and restaurants are Wi-Fi enabled.

Money / Currency
  • Visa and MasterCard or Sterling pounds, US dollars or euros accepted by the top end vender but we would advise you to change into Sri Lankan rupees by a bank or a recognized money exchange before heading out.
  • All banks are open Mon - Fri 8am - 3pm but closed at the weekends and special holidays. Some main banks include Sampath, Bank of Ceylon, HSBC, Standard Chartarted, Peoples, Hatton national and Commercial

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