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Map

Sri Lanka Map

Regions
Region Image

Colombo

Colombo is your gateway to Sri Lanka and well worth popping into before exploring the rest of the country. The heartbeat of the country and its seat of government, its colonial past evident across the city. There is a huge amount to do in the city ranging from its vibrant gem trade to beautiful treks just a short drive away. Make sure you send some time in its Fort and Galle Face areas and have some time to unwind as well. 

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Galle

Galle is like no other place you will visit in Sri Lanka. Following the arrival of the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch and then the British, each has left its indelible mark on this magnificent fort city on Sri Lanka’s southern coast. Whether it’s taking a tour of the fort with its superb array of buildings, going whale watching, or visiting a local plantation Galle offering is really unique in Asia.

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Kandy

Sri Lanka’s capital until 1815, the town of Kandy itself is built around Kandy Lake and is renowned for its scenic Hill Country boutique hotels and the surrounding views will be enough to entice you to explore some more. Make sure you visit the nearby temples and the Knuckles range for those once in a lifetime moments. 

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Sigiriya (Cultural Triangle)

Situated in the centre of the island, North of Kandy, Sigiriya (cultural triangle) includes the World Heritage cultural sites of the Sacred City of Anuradhapura, the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, the Ancient City of Sigiriya, The huge Aukana Buddha and the Ancient City of Dambulla. It could be argued that these are amongst the finest ancient monuments in the world. As well as these sites, the majestic national parks are also something to make sure you have time for. 

Key Facts

Weather

Most of the country (excluding the south-west and centre) is tropical with noted wet and dry seasons. Towards the centre, it’s generally warm summers and mild winters with the south west prone to rain all year round. 

Currency

The Sri Lankan Rupee is the national currency. ATMs are easily found in most towns and credit cards are widely accepted. Moneychangers are available in major tourist areas but check the rate before you make the exchange. 

Electrics

230 V; Plugs A & C* (Some outlets are a combination of type A and C and can accept either type plug). We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit.

Visa requirements

You will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. You can get a short stay visa online at: Electronic Travel Authority (ETA ). Although it is still possible to get a tourist visa on arrival, it is recommended that you do this before you travel.

National Food & Drink

Rice is the staple diet in Sri Lanka but be sure to try it with different curries, blended from local Sri Lankan spices. Also, seafood is very widespread, particulary along the coast. Make sure you taste a hopper and a kotthu rotti, the national dish.

Local Culture

Sri Lanka has a long Buddhist heritage and its proximity to South India have a huge impact on its culture. The national sport is cricket and Sri Lanka is among the best sides in the world.

Times zones

Sri Lanka time is 30 minutes off the top of the hour which is used in most places in the world. It is 5.5 hours ahead of GMT, 4.5 hours behind Australian EST and 10.5 hours ahead of American EST

Language

The national languages of Sri Lanka are Sinhala and Tamil. English is very widely spoken in the main tourist areas and is often the language of communication between different groups of Sri Lankans. 

Shopping

There’s a huge amount of local products to buy ranging from handicrafts, tea, gems, spices, batik and masks. Make sure you come ready for a good negotiation which is certainly expected.

History

Sri Lanka’s independence came in 1947 following from Portuguese, Dutch and British rule – each leaving their own unique mark. More recently, the 30 year long civil war has now completely ended and Sri Lanka is working towards its own reconciliation. 

Transport

You will arrive in Colombo. The domestic flight service is improving but generally it is travel by road. New highways have improved the travel times immeasurably to the major tourist centres or if time permits, take a local train.

Business Hours

Generally most shops and cafes are open till late but banks do shut around 3pm.

Geography

Sri Lanka consists mostly of flat to rolling coastal plains, with mountains rising only in the south-central part. It is cooler inland towards Kandy in the Hills and travel from each side can take longer than expected to avoid the hilly central region. 

Communication

Improving all the time, 3G coverage is available in most of the major tourist areas and Wi-Fi is available in most hotels and some cafes. We recommend you check before travelling.

Health

Healthcare is widespread and is generally of a good standard. However, if your issue becomes acute, head back to Colombo for the best service available.

Drinking Water

It’s advisable to drink bottled water at all time in Sri Lanka, particularly when outside of the main areas. Make sure that when you buy the bottled water, it is properly sealed as new as there have been cases where old bottles have been refilled with other water supplies. 

Key dates

Jan 01 – New Year’s Day
Feb 04 – Independence Day
March/April – Good Friday
25 Dec – Christmas Day

Also, every Poya (Full Moon) is also a holiday and there are certain attractions which will be closed – check before travel

Top Things To Do

Visit a Tea Plantation

Visit a Tea Plantation

Sri Lankan tea is world famous and comes in several varieties. In fact it’s the fourth largest tea producer in the world and is one of the country’s main exports. Take the time to visit one of the fantastic plantations, sip some tea and enjoy the scenery.

 

Galle Fort

Galle Fort

Probably Sri Lanka’s top urban destination, the Galle Fort is not to be missed. The enchanting old town, its shops, galleries, hotels and architectural splendour is a great day for all visitors.

The National Parks

The National Parks

Sri Lanka’s climate lends itself to a plethora of vegetation unique in the country and a wide range of lush greenery. Make sure on your trip to Sri Lanka you explore the national parks, their wildlife and fauna.

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