Sri Lanka - Frequently Asked Questions
Table of contents
- When is the best time to go?
- Do you need a visa?
- How can I get there?
- What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
- What is there to see and do?
- Where are the best beaches?
- Is it cheap to eat out?
- Do I need any vaccinations ahead of travel or do I need malaria tablets?
When is the best time to go?
Sri Lanka is an all-year-round destination, as complex weather patterns mean that there's always a stretch of the island's coast that's dry and warm. There are two main monsoon seasons, one that hits the south-western coast between May and August and another that affects the north and east from October to January. That said, the busiest period in Sri Lanka is from December to March, when the popular south coast is accessible and when tourists flock here to enjoy its glorious beaches. This is also the best time of year to visit the inland hill country.
Do you need a visa?
Anyone wishing to visit Sri Lanka (except Singaporean, Maldivian and Seychelles citizens) needs to apply for a visa before travelling to the country. The process can be completed online and is straightforward. You'll receive a 30-day tourist visa, which costs US$30 (equivalent to £19 approximately). Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from your date of entry to Sri Lanka.
How can I get there?
There are regular direct flights from the UK to Sri Lanka, with British Airways and Sri Lankan Airlines both offering nonstop services to the Indian Ocean island. The flight takes around 11 hours from London to Sri Lanka's capital of Colombo. Other carriers, including Emirates and Etihad, offer flights with one stop.
What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
The local currency is the Sri Lankan rupee and it's easy to change US dollars, Euros or Sterling once you arrive in the country, either through a money changer or a bank. There are also plenty of ATMs, especially in Colombo and other major cities. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in most tourist areas, while Amex and Diners Club can also be used in some places.
What is there to see and do?
Sri Lanka is an incredibly varied country, with a lot of amazing attractions. It is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the impressive Sigiriya rock fortress and the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. There are also some fantastic national parks in Sri Lanka, such as Horton Plains and Yalla, where you have the chance to spot leopards, among other exciting animal species. There's also the opportunity to get up close to elephants by visiting one of the sanctuaries that looks after these beautiful animals. Along Sri Lanka's coast are some of the world's most picturesque beaches - think golden sweeps of sand fringed by palm trees. In the capital, Colombo, you'll find an interesting mix of colonial buildings and a cosmopolitan city with some excellent shopping malls - look out for Odel and Barefoot if you want authentic Sri Lankan wares.
Where are the best beaches?
Although there are stunning beaches all along Sri Lanka's coast, many of its most beautiful - and most developed for tourism - are located on the southern coast. The likes of Beruwala, Bentota and Galle are among those regularly named as the top stretches of sand in the country.
Is it cheap to eat out?
There's a lot of variety on Sri Lanka's restaurant scene, particularly in Colombo. It can be very cheap to eat out here if you stick to local establishments. Visiting these eateries will also give you the chance to sample delicious and authentic - but often very spicy - Sri Lankan dishes.
Do I need any vaccinations ahead of travel or do I need malaria tablets?
Many of the usual travel vaccinations are recommended before visiting Sri Lanka, including hepatitis A and B, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, typhoid, TB, Japanese encephalitis and rabies. If you're unsure of what you need, visit your doctor well in advance of travelling. The only vaccination that's required under international law when visiting Sri Lanka is yellow fever if you're arriving from a country that has a risk of yellow fever transmission. There is also a slight risk of malaria in many parts of Sri Lanka, so it's advised that you take malaria tablets before, during and after your holiday.
Sri Lanka Holidays Browse all
Located in Negombo, on the west coast of Sri Lanka, Club Dolphin offers a relaxing and comfortable stay at the heart of one of Asia's most diverse countries.
- Cottages are spread throughout the gardens and have air conditioning, mini fridge and cable TV
- Club Dolphin is set in acres of coconut groves, beside a golden sand beach and backing onto a canal
- The hotel has two pools, one activity pool and a quiet pool, with the main pool winding through the resort
Discover local life in a fishing village, explore rainforests, Temples and much more on Sri Lanka's West Coast, and enjoy great value for money
- All rooms include a balcony or terrace with either Partial Sea View or Ocean View
- Enjoy Yoga, Snooker, access to 2 Swimming Pools & much more
- Access to the Sahana Spa and leave your daily stress behind with the magical touch of various spa treatments
Enjoy a wonderful beachside haven of tranquillity, days of luxury and the chance to see the island's green hills carpeted by lush plantations
- All rooms feature a Balcony or Terrace with spectacular views
- Enjoy the huge selection of activities including Volleyball, Tennis, Squash & more
- Relax at the Ayurveda Wellness & Spa with the best quality services that will make your stay unforgettable
Private tour visiting many great cities such as Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Kandy
- English speaking chauffer guide for the Entire Round Tour
- Enjoy the game drive through Minneriya National Park which is a home to sambar deer, leopards and elephants and features the ancient Minneriya Tank
- The Highlights of Sri Lanka Private Tour showcases some of the most interesting cultural and historic sites in the world
Sink into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean before a luxury getaway break to Sri Lanka
- Treat yourself to a revitalizing message at the spa or plunge into the island’s longest swimming pool in Sri Lanka
- Fabulous dining and nightlife and a wide range of watersports and recreation
- Complimentary WiFi in all rooms and selected public areas in the Paradise Island
Take advantage of this twin destination combination treat
- Enjoy themed nights with flavours from around the world in Sri Lanka
- Discover the wonder of Old and New Delhi with a guided, full day city tour
- Visit the City Palace, an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways
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The Highlights of Sri Lanka Private Tour and Beach showcases some of the most cultural and historic sites in the world,...
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Set upon Sri Lanka’s southern coast, the Hibiscus Beach Hotel offers tranquillity and seclusion at an affordable price....
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Stay in a world of luxury and comfort at Citrus Waskaduwa, a fantastic beach retreat with top of the range amenities and...
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Club Med recently announced plans to locate an all-inclusive resort on the island of Sri Lanka. The resort, to be called Club Med Ceylon, is expected to open in 2019 and will feature 327 rooms. Club Med, which is known throughout the world as a premier holiday destination, will likely increase the visibility of Sri Lanka as a holiday spot.
The Shangri-La Hotel Colombo in Sri Lanka is scheduled to open to guests this winter, in time for Christmas. The luxury hotel will be Shangri-La’s second property on the island, and it will have 500 guest rooms and suites, and 41 serviced apartments. Located on ten acres of land along the Galle face promenade, the hotel will offer panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.
The new Kumu Beach hotel is set to open on Sri Lanka’s west coast in August 2017. The boutique resort will feature 10 luxury rooms overlooking Balapitiya beach and will join Teardrop Hotel’s portfolio of local high-end hotels that include The Wallawwa and Fort Bazaar.