10 things to know before you travel to Sri Lanka

Are you planning to travel to Sri Lanka? Still unsure about the visa process, what to do, where to stay, what to eat and what to expect? We’ve got you covered! This article provides a quick and easy Sri Lanka Travel Guide with some travel tips and an overview of everything you need to know before you embark on your journey to this paradise island. Here are the answers to some of your burning questions before you travel to Sri Lanka:

1. How do I apply for Visa?

The Visa application process is undemanding and straightforward. It is entirely electronic and can be done from the comfort of your own home without having to tire yourself in lengthy queues; obtaining the Application, its submission and the approval of such Visa can all be done through the Department of Emigration and Immigration’s online Portal.

2. Do I need to be vaccinated?

There are no compulsory vaccinations for Sri Lanka required by law for travelers to gain entry. However, just a travel tip; to ensure that your stay in Sri Lanka is safe and pleasant one, we do suggest that you are administered with the routine vaccines such as Tetanus, Diphtheria and Poliomyelitis, Measles, Mumps and Rubella as well as cover against the food and water borne diseases, Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

3. How do I change my money?

It is most likely that you will need to exchange your foreign currency in Sri Lanka considering that it is illegal to carry large sums of Rupees into Sri Lanka.
So, where can you get your local currency?

• ATMs- Probably the easiest way to get hold of some cash with a decent exchange rate. Visa and Mastercard are accepted widely. However, the surcharge and fees will vary depending on your card.
• Banks- All Banks have money exchange counters and they also encash travelers cheques for a competitive exchange rate.
• Authorized Money Exchange Bureaus- These are easy to find in Colombo, at airports and in tourist areas. They accept all major currencies and generally do not charge a commission and their exchange rates compete with the Banks.

Tip: Make sure it’s an “Authorized” Exchange Bureau

4. What are the people and their culture like?

The people of Sri Lanka are known for their hospitality, helpfulness and sociability. If you need any assistance or travel tips, be it at a hotel, place of worship or even on the road, do not hesitate to ask a by-stander to experience the true warmth of the Sri Lankan people as they go out of their way to help you.
Sri Lanka being a multiethnic country, its culture is rich, vivid and vibrant. Colorful religious and cultural festivals such as the Perahera processions, Vesak Festival, Sinhala and Tamil New Year etc. are brimming with traditions and customs unique to Sri Lankan Culture which have been passed down from generations, over its 2000-year-old rich history.

5. How do I connect?

Most Telecommunication and Wi-Fi providers in Sri Lanka are easily accessible at the Airport or in any retail shop in the cities. All Network service providers provide special packages for tourist at a special rate and custom made to suit the requirements of tourists. Telecommunication and Wi-Fi are considered to be comparatively cheaper in Sri Lanka than in other countries, so there’s nothing stopping you from sharing your thrilling travels in Sri Lanka with everyone back home.

6. When should I visit?

This Paradise Island is considered to be a year-round destination but the best time to visit depends on the region of the country you hope to explore. Sri Lanka is affected by two monsoons, although the temperature stays constant due to its location close to the equator. If you’re heading to the west and south coasts and hill country, December to March is the best time to visit Sri Lanka. If you plan on seeing the east coast, you’ll get the best weather from April/May to September. However, January to March and Mid-July to September is a fantastic time to travel across the whole country.

7. What must I see and do?

When you plan your trip to Sri Lanka, it is a must to enjoy the sandy sun kissed beaches along the east coast of Sri Lanka, drive through the rugged roads of our National Parks with the wind rushing through your hair, set out to sea on a whale-watching mission, journey down the longest river of Sri Lanka by boat, hike through the luscious green jungles, discover ancient ruins and observe the sacrality of the Temple of the Tooth to truly have a taste of Sri Lanka.

8. What must I taste?

A trip to Sri Lanka is incomplete if you do not indulge your tastebuds with the local cuisine which ranges from tantalizingly spicy to richly sweet. The 70 specialty restaurants at Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts are guaranteed to take your tastebuds on a journey they’ll savour for a lifetime with a range of local and International cuisine on offer.
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9. Where should I stay?

When the days’ adventure and exploration is done, there is no better way to unwind than to enjoy the luxury of a plush and comfortable room. Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts provides unique experiences which are refreshingly authentic and are sure to rejuvenate you after your travels in Sri Lanka with soothing spas, ayurvedic treatment centres and unexpected spaces to relax found across all 13 destinations and prepare you for the adventures to come.

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10. How do I get about?

Getting about in Sri Lanka is easy and is an experience of its own; starting from the famous tuk-tuk rides which are exhilarating and fun to iconic train journeys through lush green landscapes and mountains. Public transportation means such as Buses or Trains are on schedule and can be booked in advance so you can travel in ease. A travel tip would be to always take a metered tuk-tuk to avoid over-payment.

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Author- Shenella Fonseka

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