21 Tips when Travelling to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an Island consisting many wonders including stunning golden beaches, lavish green topped mountains, beautiful forests and breathtaking scenery of waterfalls and rivers. Many tourists visits Sri Lanka in numbers to witnesses this great majestic sights and to be amazed.

Regardless of its distinction as a radiant island and a leading tourist destination, the mystery of Sri Lanka’s fascination lies with its People. The spicy flavour loving, tea drinking people and who loves cricket are well known for their hospitality and for their warm hearts. With a culture improved with three thousand years of knowledge and Buddhism being the base, the Sri Lankan culture is so flexible it absorbs the blend of religions and races. Sri Lankan people has an enormous love towards each other regardless of standings, race and religious beliefs.


1. Visa Information

All guests (with the exception of those holding Maldivian or Singaporean passports) require a visa to visit Sri Lanka. Acquiring a visa is amazingly simple as it should be done in advance through the official government website by paying a due amount via credit card. Try not to utilise different sites as they will charge additional. If you have not been able to get a visit visa in advance, it can be acquired at the immigration arrival hall where there is a special desk for visitors with immigration issues.

2. Immigration Information

All visitors who are arriving from different countries with or without a Sri Lankan passport, should fill the immigration forms. Sri Lankan passport holders should fill the immigration form when they are on departure. For more information visit the immigration website.

3. Best times to travel Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan weather rarely changes into different climates, but it rains at times constantly. Most of the times it’s either hot or cold. Then again the hill country area has much cooler weather which has brought up a beautiful environment along with breathtaking scenery. Here are some of the most visited parts of Sri Lanka and the best times to visit. 

  • The hill country – central part of Sri Lanka
  • The best times to visit the paradise is from December to April where the climate is much cooler and a reason for freshness in the area, to produce such amazingly colourful trees, flowers and nature scenic.
  • Sothern coastal area of Sri Lanka
  • Best times to travel to the southern coastal area of Sri Lanka is from November to April. But these beaches tend to be in top conditions at all times, hence visitors are encouraged to visit the coastal areas of Sri Lanka at any time.

    4. What to pack?

    What to pack

    When travelling to Sri Lanka pack as little as possible. Since the Island is a tropical country it is ideal to pack cotton clothes and swimwear if you are planning to visit the coastal areas of Sri Lanka. Make sure to bring a sun tan lotion as it might not be available in local shops, bring a pair of sunglasses, and pack medicines and prescriptions.

    5. Whom to travel with? The best travel agents in Sri Lanka

    Hotelstaysrilanka.com is one of the best online travel agency in Sri Lanka. Hotelstay offers tour packages which cover the best parts of Sri Lanka according to the customer’s preference. Hence visit our website or contact us to get all relevant information about your tour or about your visit to Sri Lanka.

    6. How Money exchange rates work?

    For all visitors with foreign currency and traveller’s Cheques, it can be changed at any commercial bank where they offer reasonable rates or even at hotels they will change but for additional rates. When going back in case if you in need of converting Sri Lankan rupees into foreign currency, the facility is there at the airport banks which are open 24 hours. Sri Lankan currency note values are 20, 50,100, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 rupees. Be aware that Sri Lankan rupee is different from the Indian rupee as well as the value.

    7. Shops in Sri Lanka and open hours

    In Sri Lanka most of the shops open at 10 am and close at 6 pm and some closes at late night and most of them are closed on Sundays. And note that alcohol is not served in hotels, bars, restaurants or any place since they are not allowed to sell alcohol as Full moon (Poya) day is a special day for Buddhists.

    8. Accommodation Information

    Sri Lanka being one of the top tourist destinations, the accommodation is reasonable in many hotels and has a variety of accommodation packages. For a tourist who is on a budget can find standard, decent hotels for a reasonable amount and for tourist who likes luxury could find plenty of luxury hotels and villas in Sri Lanka according to their preference.

    9. Electricity usage and how it works in Sri Lanka

    Most places in Sri Lanka, Two and three pin round and square plugs are used, power running at 220 Volts/50 Hz Ac.

    10. Credit card usability in Sri Lanka

    Credit cards are accepted in many places. At bank ATM’s there will an additional charge for every cash withdrawal. Contact or go and meet a bank officer for any queries and clarifications. Banks are generally open from 9 am to 1 pm on weekdays and city banks are open from 9 am to 3 pm during weekdays. Most of the banks are closed on Saturday, Sunday, Poya and bank holidays But the ATM’s runs 24/7. 

    11. Emergency numbers

    Dial 119 for any emergency.

    12. Use a Google maps

    Use a map for assistance if travelling to rural areas, if you are having Google maps application in your mobile, we recommend that you use the service for extra guidance.

    13. Communication Information

    IDD offices are accessible at all city hotels, resorts, post offices and communication centers. Postal assistances are given at most hotels and at the local post office or approved sub-post offices. Faxes can be given over to the hotel reception for transmission or through a fax authority.

    14. Few custom regulations

    Tobacco products will not be offered a duty-free allowance. Some products such as antiques, gold and animal products are not allowed to be removed from the country. Retain your shopping recipes if you have made any jewellery purchases.

    15. Book in advance

    The peak season of tourism in Sri Lanka is between December and March where many European, western travellers prefer the golden beaches and the warm hot sun of Sri Lanka as it the winter times in those parts of the world. Hotels in popular locations should be booked in advance to get the desired accommodation, especially in Kandy where the “Esela Perahara” takes place which cannot be missed by any tourist.

    16. Food and drinks

    Filtered bottled drinking water can be found most retail shops and supermarkets and make sure that you don’t drink tap water in Sri Lanka. As per food, Sri Lankan food are mostly spicy and has exquisite variety of flavored curries. A normal rice and curry would cost around 200 – 300 Sri Lankan rupees.

    17. Taxi information

    Transportation costs are low compared to many other countries in the world. Bus rides are quite cheap which starts from just 8 Sri Lankan rupees per 2.50 kilometers, Tuk rides costs only 50 rupees per kilometer, Uber taxi costs depends on the type of ride you choose and will provide an estimated costs when you put a drop off location in the application and Kangaroo taxi cabs are available which will cost around 2500 Sri Lankan rupees if travelling to Colombofrom the Airport.

    18. Giving tips

    Giveaway tips at your convenience. Not a necessity to give away tips at major restaurants and hotels.

    19. Time Zone

    Sri Lanka Standard Time (SLST) is the time zone for Sri Lanka. It is 5 hours and 30 minutes in front of GMT/UTC (UTC+05:30).

    20. Internet facilities in Sri Lanka

    Sri Lanka has the internet reach to all parts of Sri Lanka especially if you have a SIM from the service providers such as Dialog, Mobitel, Airtel and etc. where they have covered many areas with 4G facility and island wide 2G and 3G facilities. And all major hotel provide WI-FI access and many other hotels and villas provides WI-FI but if they are providing this facility they state it under their accommodation facilities.

    21. Embassies / consulates

    At many major hotel rooms in Sri Lanka there is local telephone directory which includes a list of embassies and their hotline number. US Embassy is in Kolpetty, Colombo 3.

    If you are interested to know more information when travelling to Sri Lanka and other related information please email us: bookings@hotelstay.lk or contact our Hotelstay experts: +94 11450 6936/+94 773921456.