Sri Lanka

The Climate in Sri Lanka is tropical and consists of very distinctive dry and wet seasons. The average temperature of Sri Lanka usually ranges from 28 – 32 degrees Celsius which may differ due to global weather conditions as a whole. The temperature can vary from being as low as 16 degrees Celsius in Nuwara Eliya which belongs to the central highlands and to as high as 32 degrees in Batticaloa along the Eastern coast of the island. However there are certain areas along the coast that are cooled by the ocean breezes. The coldest months according to the mean monthly temperature are December and January while the warmest months are April and August.

November to March

The principal tourist season in Sri Lanka is during November to March when it is the dry season for the South Western and Southern coastal areas and the Central Highlands. November through to March are also the months when most foreign tourists visit the island, the majority of them escaping the European winter. During Christmas up to the New Year which is one of the main holiday seasons, accommodation rates in most tourist hotels hit the highest levels all over the island in view of the sharp upsurge of inward traffic of tourists into the island. Advance bookings of hotel rooms during this period are highly recommended.

 

April to September

The secondary tourist season that spans from April to September are the ideal months to tour the ancient cities of the North Central Plains and the Eastern Coast.

 

July to August

July / August is the time of the Kandy Esala Perahera, the 10-day festival held in homage to the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha, and also the time of the Kataragama Festival in the South. In both towns, accommodation just before, during and immediately after the festivals is very difficult to come by. Rates could shoot up to double or still higher. The tourists who wish to arrive in Sri Lanka during this period are advised to make bookings of hotel rooms well in advance.

travel Guide

The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee, divided into 100 cents (you rarely come across scents today). Currency notes are Rs. 5,000, Rs 2,000, Rs 1,000, Rs 500, Rs 100, Rs 50, Rs 20 and Rs 10. Beware of mistaking the Rs500 note for the somewhat similar Rs100 one. To check whether notes are genuine when not given at a bank, look for a lion watermark. Coins, should you have receive them, will be in denominations up to Rs10. Make sure you have plenty of lower denomination notes (Rs50, Rs100, Rs500), especially when travelling and you need to buy small items, fruit, and eat cheap meals, because change is often hard to come by apart from at hotels and big shops.

Banks are open from 0900 hrs to 1300 hours Monday to Friday. Some city banks close at 1500 hrs, while some are open on Saturday mornings. It’s easy to withdraw money across the island at ATMs using international credit cards or debit cards. Most hotels, restaurants and shopping centers accept credit cards

Sri Lanka Standard Time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT. (Allowance should be made for summer-time changes in Europe.)

230. 240 volts, 50 cycles AC. If you travel with a laptop computer bring a stabilizer

Sri Lanka has two official languages. Sinhala and Tamil - with English as a link language. Most people have some knowledge of English, and signboards are often in English.

Sri Lanka is a tremendously photogenic island, so it’s hardly surprising that most tourists bring a camera of some kind when they visit the country. The stunning landscapes, the captivating fauna and lush flora, and the stupendous archaeological remains provide great opportunities: a bonus is that Sri Lankans love to be captured on film. So it’s easy to capture the traditional rural lifestyle. You’ll find villagers, farmers, fishermen and tea pluckers will readily stand in front of your viewfinder. Your subjects will often ask to have a copy of picture sent to them. This may be laborious, but it is a reasonable courtesy as many may never have seen a picture of themselves. It is also understandable that many will also expect a token recompense for allowing themselves to be photographed.

There are some important restrictions that apply to photography regarding Buddhist imagery. When you visit a temple or other religious site, remember that photography should not be carried out in a manner causing disrespect. For instance, it is strictly forbidden to be photographed in front of or beside any statues and murals. Note that flash photography can damage old murals.

Cotton clothes are useful at any time of the year but you will need light woolens for the hills and waterproof clothing or an umbrella. Modest dress for women is advisable especially off the beach and when visiting religious sites. Don't forget comfortable shoes, sandals or trainers and cotton socks. If you are planning to trek and climb go prepared with suitable gear. Water sports enthusiasts would do well to take their snorkels and diving equipment along.

You may sometimes be overwhelmed by crowds of people in public places (railway stations, markets, bus stands, temples or simply busy streets). "Touts" and hawkers may jostle and push and clamor to show you a hotel and sell you things. Taxis and three - wheelers are often there when you do not need them.

In general the threats to personal security for travelers in Sri Lanka are remarkably small. It is more pleasant to travel with a companion as it is advised not to travel alone especially after dark. The island including the North and East is safe to visit. If you have anything stolen, report it to the tourist Police, (a special tourist police set up to look after the needs of the tourists. Contact Number + 94 11 2382209

Travelers with special needs, especially if they visit Sri Lanka without a companion, should note that the country has relatively few facilities for disabled people, although greater awareness and improvements are evolving. There’s no need to worry at Colombo's Airport as wheelchairs and assistance in boarding and disembarking are available. Buildings, offices, and banks are becoming better-equipped with wheelchair ramps and suchlike. If you aren’t travelling with a companion, you'll find that Sri Lankans will be only too eager to assist.

Tipping is customary, but not obligatory. But if you are keen to know what is acceptable in local terms, it ranges between US$.5/- per day up to US$.25/- per day depending on the level of satisfaction of your driver when it comes to individual / family travel. For group travel other than the guide, the coach crew is to be tipped too. The amount for a day can vary depending on group size, but the recommended amount is US$.15/- to 40/- per day.