Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka
Best time to travel to Sri Lanka is between the main rainy seasons. The period from November to April is the driest season on the south west coast and up in the hills. Here, some of the best beaches and many other places of tourist interest are located. Therefore, period between November and April is the best time to visit this region and this period is also considered as tourist season in Sri Lanka.
May to September is the best time to visit east coast, as it is dry during this period. Hence, Sri Lanka is round-the-year destination-there is always a good time to visit at least some part of the country
Sri Lanka Currency
Sri Lanka has a decimal currency system. One Sri Lanka rupee is divided in to 100 Sri Lankan cents. Currency notes are in the denominations of Rs.10/-, Rs. 20/-, Rs. 50/-, Rs. 100/-, Rs.200/-,and Rs.1000/-Rs.2000/-, Denominations clearly marked in additional to Sinhala and Tamil . Coins commonly in use are the following Denominations; 50 cents ,One Rupees, Tow Rupees, Five Rupees and ten Rupees.
For up to date currency rates, please click the link below:
These rates are subject to fluctuation each day. Traveller’s cheques earn slightly more. Note: The rates apply to all bills paid in foreign currency at hotels, travel agents or shops are licensed to transact business foreign currency only. Foreign currencies other than Pound sterling, U.S Dollars, Deutsche marks and Japanese Yen are not necessarily accepted at provincial banks.
Visitors to Sri Lanka bringing in excess US$ 10,000 should declare the amount to the Customs. All unspent monies, which were converted from foreign currencies declared on arrival, can be re-converted to original currency. You are required to produce encashment receipts.
Many hotels and shops accept reputed Credit cards. Cash advances are possible against Credit cards in certain banks.
•Declare all your currency, valuable equipment, jewellery and gems.
•If you have nothing to declare you can go through the GREEN CHANNEL.
•Your baggage should NOT contain goods for others, goods in COMMESTRICTED GOODS. Some of them are; Dangerous drugs, Weapons & explosive Devices and Gods.
•You are required to take back all your personal effects at your departure.
•You are entitled to;
◦i. 2 liters of spirits ,2 bottles of wine.
◦ii. A small quantity of perfume and souvenirs not exceeding US$ 250/- in value.
Professional Teams Filming and photographic equipment will be allowed and a bank guarantee or on a refundable deposit of the duty payable on the items.
• All currencies in excess of your declared amounts on arrival.
•Any Gems and Jewellery or valuable equipment not declared on arrival or NOT PURCHASED in Sri Lanka out of funds declared in to the country
•Gold (curd, Bullion or coins)
•Firearms, explosives and dangerous weapons.
•Antiques, statues, treasures, old books, etc.
•Animals, birds, and reptiles and their parts (read or alive)
•Tea, Rubber and Coconut plants.
•Dangerous drugs. Warning do not carry dangerous Drugs. Drugs mean death by law and effect.
Duty free shopping
The duty free shop at the transit and departure lounge of the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake has an extensive range in well known brands of liquor, hi-fi equipments, wrist watched cameras, films, perfumes cosmetics, electrical appliances, cigarette lighters and souvenirs.
Payment is accepted only in foreign currency. Passengers arriving of duty free liquor from the duty free counter which is situated after immigration checkpoints.
You are entitled to take out what you have declared and brought into the Country and whatever you have purchased locally like gems, jewellery..
Visitors are required re-export articles brought in as personal effects. Make sure that you take back cameras and photographic equipment and any transistor radios, recorders and sound equipment declared on arrivals .The Customer check is usually oral. However, random examinations of baggage is carried out.
Departure and Transit lodge
There are several shops in the transit & Departure lounge of the Bandaranaike International Airport , Katunayake which sell gems, ceramics, handicrafts, batiks, cut-flower , books and picture postcards of Sri Lanka . Payment is accepted only in foreign currency.
Retain some of your hotel and shopping receipts specially for gems. Those worlds make customs clearance easy.
Alcohol and Bars
Alcoholic drinks are freely available at public bars, restaurants, wine shops, stores & super markets. However sale of liquor is prohibited on Poya Days (Full Moon Days).most hotel bars and restaurants also observe this rule.
Sri Lanka has a five day week. In addition to Saturdays and full moon (poya) day of each month is a public holiday. All places of entertainment (including cinemas) and bars are closed on Poya day. Hotels make special arrangements for customers to order their drinks the day before a poya Holiday.
Tipping is optional. It is left o the customer to tip if satisfied with service. Most hotels and restaurants include a service charge of 12% in any bill. In the event of your wishing to give a tip, about Rs 100 – Rs 200 is generally considered affair tip.
EMS Lanka (International) – D. R. Wijewardena Mw, Colombo 01, Tel : 2447844, 2328359 Ext. EMS . EMS ( Domestic )Post master General’s Office, Colombo 01. Tel 2447844
FedEx Express – 65C, Dharmapala Mw, Colombo 07 Tel 4522222, 2255846, 2487871
Aramex – 14, Albert Crescent, Colombo 07 Tel : 267977, 4728100
Antron Express – (Pvt) Ltd _ no. 16/5, Elliot place, Borella Tel: +94 112 370840
TNT International Express – 315, Vauxhall St, Colombo 02. +94 112 3084 44
DHL – 130,Glennie St, Colombo 02 Tel +94 112 304304
Domestic Express – 35/8, Polhingoda Ed, Colombo Tel: +94 717 47147, +94 4619 918
If you plan to spend most of your time on the beach, bring comfortable sandals. If you intend to hike or do most of your sightseeing on foot, then bring comfortable walking shoes that are easy to pack and clean. Also, if you plan to visit some of the nicer restaurants or nightspots in the city of Colombo, you will need to bring shoes with you as most of these places have “no sandals” policies.
Sri Lanka is a tropical country and so the climate is usually humid. It is best to bring light cotton clothes, light weight suits and loose clothing, hats, sunglasses, sneakers, cotton trousers and swimming gear. Most of the known hotels insist on formal attire on dinners, therefore it is advisable for men to bring suit or ‘long attire’ while ladies could come in dresses or skirts.
When visiting a Buddhist or Hindu temple you should remove your footwear and headgear. Your legs and shoulders should be covered as a sign of respect. Some Hindu temples even ask men to go shirtless in order to enter the inner sanctum.It is also advisable to dress modestly at religious sites. Do not enter the temple if you are wearing shorts and singlet.
In most temples, you will be asked for a donation. However, the traditional practice is that you make a donation only if you wish to. Any money you decide to donate should be placed in the donation box.
Public Nudity, including females being topless, is not only unacceptable but also illegal in Sri Lanka, although a few German-owned hotels may make an exception in designated areas. Ask your hotel on their policy about this.
Topless sunbathing is absolutely not allowed anywhere.
What to Pack
Here are suggested items that you may bring when you travel to Sri Lanka: adhesive tape; antiseptic wound cleanser; bandages; emollient eye drops; insect repellent and insect bite treatment; nasal decongestant; oral rehydration salt; scissors and safety pins; paracetamol and analgesic cream; sterile dress; clinical thermometer; lotion; antihistamines for allergy symptoms; anti-fungal powder; sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) and sunglasses; and water disinfectant or iodine tablets.
It is safe to drink bottled water or mineral water which is available at most hotels and other establishments.
Insect/Mosquito repellent and Tick Precautions
Buy them at you home country (recommend)
Diseases like malaria and dengue are spread through insect bites. So the best protection against these diseases is to prevent insect bites. Here are some suggestions to prevent insect bites: wear (Cotton)long sleeves, long pants, hats and shoes outdoors; use insect repellents containing 30-50% DEET or apply frequently 7% and 20% picaridin to the exposed skin.
One should always ask permission before taking photographs of people or religious sites. Travellers should not offer money when taking photographs to the minority groups or to local people.
Visitors should not pose in front of the sacred statues particularly if they are wearing scantly clothes. Although travelers are welcome to bring their cameras or video cameras certain places may prohibit photography or filming. Taking photographs of places with military importance should also be avoided.
In Sri Lanka the voltage is 220/240 volts. The country has two kinds of plug bases: the UK (Type G), rectangular plug; and the India (Type D), round pin. So it is rather safe to bring an adapter or ask the reception of the hotel to send you an adapter.
Travelers from Australia and New Zealand are advised to bring electric plug converters suit to their camera battery chargers , shavers and mobile phone chargers.Or else they can be bought in any supermarket in the island.