Travel Guide for Visiting Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a little island in the Indian Ocean off the south-east idea of India, with tropical and warm environment. It’s a country that has everything; beautiful beaches, high mountains (over 2000 m), tropical forests and lots of animals like wild elephants, leopards, sea turtles, dolphins and whales.
The island is encircled by beaches, and from area, it looks laid out in white! Pretty cool! You can seldom travel anywhere along the coast without bumping upon a sensational stretch of sand, and a lot of them deserted! Sri Lanka is perfect for water sports like diving, snorkeling, kiting and surfing.
Inland you can extend your legs taking walking among tea plantations high up in the mountains above 2000 m. The culture of Sri Lanka is influenced by India, Portuguese, the Netherlands and obviously the United Kingdom (was a British colony until 1948). UNESCO has recognized eight World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka, quite excellent for a relatively little island!
On our journey through Sri Lanka, we visited these locations: Colombo-Galle-Unawatuna- Mirissa-Tangalla-Yala National Park-Ella-Kandy-Sigiriya-Polonnaruwa-Kalpitiya-Negombo
Here we will give you all the travel information and pointers you have to know prior to going to Sri Lanka! We used the Lonely Planet’s Sri Lanka book, which was excellent! We heard from other tourists that the maps are better in the Rough Guide. You can buy both books at Amazon:
#1. What Are The Must-See Places In Sri Lanka?
Here are our leading must-see places in Sri Lanka:
- The beaches on the South Coast: Unawatuna, Mirissa, and Tangalla. They are the most stunning golden soft beaches you can ever picture! Of these 3 beaches, we liked Tangalla Beach one of the most.
- Galle- Wander around the lovely and ancient fort city Galle that has a European vibe to it.
- Yala National Park- Going to Safari in Sri Lanka to see wild elephants, leopards, crocodiles and lots of colorful birds is a MUST!
- Ella- Visit the little and drowsy mountain village Ella, surrounded by lush and green tea plantations as far as your eyes can see.
- Polonnaruwa- Cycling around the ancient ruins of the old capital Polonnaruwa, was an emphasize of our journey to Sri Lanka.
Have an appearance at our suggested two week Sri Lanka travel plan for more information about where to go and how to get around the island.
#2. What Are The Must-Do Things In Sri Lanka?
- Hiking in the stunning mountains around Ella, some of them above 2000 m, is an outright must!
- Climbing Up the Sigiriya Lion Rock, where on the top apparently the royal palace once utilized to be, is certainly a must-do!
- Surfing- The surfing is terrific in Sri Lanka! Both on the west coast, south, and east coast the waves are wonderful for browsing.
- Dolphin Safari- Once you remain in Sri Lanka, going on a dolphin watching trip is nearly compulsory.
- Kite Surfing- We went kite surfing in Kalpitiya (on the North West coast), and it was incredible!
- Whale safari-We did not go on a whale safari due to the fact that we have seen a lot of whales back home in Norway, but Sri Lanka is one of the very best places worldwide to identify large whales.
- Diving/ snorkelling-The diving/ snorkelling is remarkable in Sri Lanka. We went snorkelling outside of Kalpitiya, and enjoyed it! The reefs are some of the world’ s biggest, complete of vibrant fish.
- Eating rice and curry- The national meal rice and curry is something you get served everywhere, and it is very excellent! So delicious and loaded with flavour! The Sri Lankan understand how to use spices.
- Tea Plantations- Walking through the tea plantations and check out a tea factory is a must-do. It makes you appreciate your next cup of scrumptious Sri Lankan tea.
- Train ride- Taking a train trip through the Hill Country, perhaps the most lovely train trip on the planet?
#3. What’ s Cool About Sri Lanka?
- Off the beaten tracks It is simple to avoid the herd of travelers. If you head up North (for instance to Jaffna) or to the East Coast, you will not find numerous tourists.
- The beautiful individuals the people of Sri Lanka are fantastic! So lovely, kind and inviting.
- The delicious food The Sri Lankan food is great! Their rice and curry meal is specifically tasty and full of flavour.
- The perfect climate, Sri Lanka has a sub-tropic climate.
- The excellent beaches you will discover some of the world’s most spectacular beaches in Sri Lanka! And much of them you have all to yourself.
- Wildlife and nature even though Sri Lanka is a little island, it has an excellent wildlife. You can spot animals as wild elephants, crocodiles, leopards, sea turtles, whales, dolphins and lots of gorgeous birds.
- Everything is within a short range the best of everything, is that Sri Lanka is a small island that makes it easy to circumnavigate and see a lot within a short time. This country has EVERYTHING!
#4. What’ s NOT So Cool About Sri Lanka?
We don`t have much to say about Sri Lanka on the cons list.
- Increasing prices one thing that is not so great regarding a travellers spending plan are the increasing prices in Sri Lanka. Just a couple of years back, the accommodation, transportation and entryway charges to sights and temples were more affordable than today. Sri Lanka is more costly than other Asian nations we have actually been to, for circumstances, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, and Cambodia.
- Tourists have to pay WAY more than the residents at sights. Another thing is that foreigners need to pay far more than the residents to get in sites and temples in Sri Lanka. It can in some cases be frustrating having to pay lots of times that of the locals, however there is nothing you can do about it. Simply understand that entrance fees eat up much of your budget plan while traveling in Sri Lanka.
#5. What does it cost? Does It Cost To Travel In Sri Lanka?
The rates are increasing in Sri Lanka, although it is still a budget friendly nation to take a trip in, and has actually still not reached European or USA rates.
- Entrance Fees: Entrance fees (for tourists) will be your most significant expenditures, at approximately 25 US$ per person. Residents pay 35 cents for numerous sites while visitors will pay 10 US$ and upwards! Yep, it feels a bit unjust sometimes.
- Accommodations: As for rooms, you can discover lodgings at all rate levels, from luxury store hotels to more backpacker-like guest homes. You won`t discover excellent accommodation value in Sri Lanka, as you will in for circumstances Thailand. You will have to pay a lot more for the very same requirement as in Thailand. We paid whatever in between 20- 90 US$ for our accommodation, however we did not reside in dormitories, constantly in a double space with bathroom. Some locations we stayed, the accommodation also included food (breakfast, lunch, and supper), like the one at Kalpitiya. You can discover guest homes from around 15 US$, and hotels from around 40 US$. It all depends upon what kind of basic you like; you get exactly what you spend for.
- Food: Food is still of great value, and is tasty! You can find food in all price ranges. The most inexpensive is, of course, street food (1-3 US$), and up. The most pricey dinner we had was around 17 US$, in a great restaurant in Ravana Heights Hotel in Ella. Bare in mind, though, that when purchasing rice and curry, it takes a long time to make, so you will need to wait a while (perhaps an hour or so) to obtain your food. Like among the restaurant, chefs said to us: “We do n`t makes quick food, we make fresh food.” So true, and well worth the wait!
- Alcohol: Alcohol is very inexpensive in Sri Lanka. You will get the local Lion beer for around 2 US$ in restaurants while imported beers are a bit more costly. Cocktails will cost you about 4-6 US$.
- Tipping: As for tipping, a 10 % service cost will automatically be contributed to your food and hotel bills. The tip usually goes into the pocket of the hotel owner, so an additional 10 % is expected for waiters, chauffeurs, and tour guides.
#6. The best ways to Get around in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is a little island, so traveling around is pretty simple. It is quite well-connected by buses and trains that make for fun transportation around the country. Taking buses and trains are inexpensive, even first class on trains is quite economical. If you are not a backpacker it is advisable to preebook the transportation with a reliable travel agent.
Tuk-tuks and taxis are simple to find and are a fast and comfortable way to get between places, although far more pricey than bus and train. For example, will a taxi from the South Coast (for instance Tangalla) to Ella cost around 70 US$, while the bus will be less than 5 US$.
#7. Exactly what are The People Of Sri Lanka Like?
Many of the individuals residing in Sri Lanka are Buddhist (70%) while 8% are Islam, 7 % Hindu and 6% Christian. Individuals of Sri Lanka are real, friendly, kind and respectful. They are very interested in foreigners, smiling and waving, and as a tourist, it is easy to get in touch with the residents. Even the children, not speaking English extremely well, wish to speak to immigrants asking where you are from, what’ s your name and so on. You feel welcomed by the Sri Lankan people, and it is easy to make pals.
The backpackers we met in Sri Lanka were typically older and more mature than the common backpacker you fulfill in other Asian countries. There are more families with kids and not a lot of full-moon-party-18-year-olds as there remain in for circumstances Thailand. Likewise, the Russians tourists visiting Sri Lanka are growing in numbers , mainly to the beaches in the South, like Unawatuna.
#8. What Languages Do They Speak In Sri Lanka?
The 22 million people living in Sri Lanka (2012) speak different languages:
- Sinhala 74% (official and nationwide).
- Tamil 18% (national).
- Other 8%.
English is spoken with complete confidence by about 10%. There is no issue circumnavigating Sri Lanka speaking just English. Street indications and menus (at touristy restaurants) are in both Sinhala and English.
#9. Do I Need A Visa To Sri Lanka?
Everyone that desires to visit Sri Lanka MUST, since 1st of January 2012, obtain a visa. The only exceptions are residents of The Republic of Singapore, The Republic of Maldives and The Republic of Seychelles. However do n`t concern, it is basic, the only thing you have to do is to apply for an online “ETA Tourist Visa” prior to entering Sri Lanka. The online visa stands for 30 days from the date of arrival and can be extended for up to 6 months. The cost of the visa is 15 US$ for SAARC nations (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan) and 45 US$ for others (January 2013).
It is quite simple to obtain Visa extensions for up to 90 days. Extensions are readily available at the Department of Immigration (011-532 9300; www.immigration.gov.lk; 41 Ananda Rajakaruna Mw, Col 10; 9am-4.30 pm Mon-Fri), in Punchi Borella, Colombo. The last payments are received at 3:30 p.m. The department sets the expense in US dollars, however you pay in rupees. You get a visa extension for 3 months, and you can request your extension nearly as quickly as you arrive in Sri Lanka (the 30-day visa given upon entry is included in the three months). You can extend for an additional 3 months after your first extension. So entirely you can get a maximum of 6 months visa to Sri Lanka.
#10. What Are The Entry Requirements To Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is an extremely simple nation to check out, and there are not numerous entry requirements, just that you apply for an online “ETA Tourist Visa” prior to getting in. It is really simple and fast to get the online visa. There is either no requirement for vaccinations.
The only think you will need when entering Sri Lanka, in addition to the online visa, is at least one blank page in your passport which needs to stand for at least six months from the date of entry.
#11. Are There Any Health Issues When Travelling In Sri Lanka?
There are no significant health concerns or risks when taking a trip in Sri Lanka. The greatest risk is probably diarrhea, as in a lot of Asian countries, but we did not have any of that during our five weeks eating anything everywhere. There is a minor danger of getting Dengue Fever and Malaria, so use mosquito repellent and sleep under a mosquito internet (most guest houses have internet over the beds where there are mosquitoes).
Do however bring a small medical set. And do bring sun block! You can purchase sun screen in Sri Lanka, however not all over, and they might not have the sun defense element (SPF) that you want.
Of course, never ever go without legitimate travel insurance! Travel insurance coverage might seem expensive, but it is nothing compared to exactly what medical aid can cost if you require it. This is the something you don’t wish to cut corners on, so get a good one.
#12. How Is The Phone And Internet Coverage In Sri Lanka?
A lot of hotels, visitor houses, and restaurants in Sri Lanka are offering free Wi-fi. In some places the web can be extremely slow; however it’s enough for emails and Facebook and so on.
Phone SIM cards are easy to purchase, for under 5 US$. Having a local SIM card with a regional number is excellent, you get inexpensive local rates, and it is practical for calling lodgings to reserve a space, and taxis/ tuk-tuk. For the SIM card to work, your phone needs to be “opened.”.
#13. When to Visit Sri Lanka?
December to March is the very best time to visit Sri Lanka ´ s West Coast, South Coast and the Hill Country (dry season).
April to September is the very best time to visit the Ancient Cities and the East Coast.
High season for checking out Sri Lanka is December- March, shoulder season is April and September- November, while low season is May- August.
July- August is the time of the 10-day festival ´ Kandy Esala Perahera ´, honouring the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha (in Kandy). It is also the time for the ´ Kataragama Festival ´ in the South of Sri Lanka. Throughout these festivals, you need to schedule lodging well ahead of time.
#14. Is It Safe To Visit Sri Lanka?
Yes, it is safe to visit Sri Lanka. For numerous years, the country was off the traveler map, due to the twenty-six-year-long civil war, which ended in 2009.
Sri Lanka is getting extremely popular with tourists from India. Numerous daily flights between Delhi , Mumbai , Chennai and more cities in South India to Colombo has made Sri Lanka , one of the most preferred holiday destination with the outbound travelers from India . Swan Tours, One of the leading Travel agents in India has been promoting Sri Lanka since 1995. The most selling holiday itinerary to Sri Lanka by Swan Tours, Delhi is https://www.swantour.com/international-packages/sri-lanka/colombo-bentota-kandy-nuwara-eliya-tour-package