We have stepped into heaven. The air is warm and clear; the roads are orderly and clean. Our driver hasn’t honked his horn once. He even used his signal when switching lanes! What is this civilized planet we have stepped into? We loved Sri Lanka. It was one of those countries that we actually felt sad leaving. We met inspiring people, saw magnificent sites and enjoyed awesome adventures. Sri Lanka has everything that a traveler could possibly want: adventure, spirituality, fine beaches and nightlife. A vacation to this destination will never disappoint. This Sri Lanka travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
Fast Facts about Sri Lanka Travel
- Sri Lankan power voltage is 230 V 50 Hz; Power sockets D
- The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) and is around 133 LKR o 1 USD
- Shops are usually closed on Sundays and Full moon (Poya) days. The full moon poya day has religious significance for Buddhists and alcohol is not served in hotels, bars and public recreational areas on this day.
- Water is not potable in Sri Lanka. Avoid water that is not boiled or bottled. Avoid raw vegetables and pre-cut fruit as much as possible.
- Restrictions apply when taking photographs in temples and/or religious sites, particularly posing in ways that can be interpreted as disrespectful, posing in front of or beside Buddhist statues/murals or using flash photography.
- Tuk Tuks are the most common taxi service in Sri Lanka, but make sure that the Tuk Tuk you are getting into has the words “Metered Taxi” so as to avoid being overcharged.
Top Packing Tips
Sri Lanka is a destination with an abundance of sunshine all year round. Temperatures rest at around 27°C – 30°C for most of the island. The temperature can dip slightly depending on altitude. Sri Lanka has two wet monsoon seasons: briefly between May and July in the south-west region and between December and January in the north-east. These wet seasons are often riddled with clear blue sunny days, as a result Sri Lanka has no off season and it is pleasant to visit at any time during the year.
- Dress conservatively. When visiting cultural and religious sites, travellers are recommended to wear appropriate clothing. Women should ideally wear long pants or skirts to cover their knees and avoid deep V necks or sleeveless tops, while men are recommended to keep their shoulders and legs covered.
- Noise-cancelling headphones – Bus travel is the cheapest way to travel in Burma, but these buses are infamously known for the booming sound of their TV playing the latest music video or soap opera episode – make sure you come prepared.
- Warm clothes – it can cool off at night, so make sure to pack a light-weight sweater, cardigan or a pashmina to keep you warm on those chilly nights.
- The protection basics – Travellers should stock up on the essentials: sun block (SPF+30), mosquito/insect repellant containing DEET or a pyrethroid insecticide, sunglasses and a hat.
- Refillable water bottle – as mentioned above, the water is not potable in Sri Lanka. Consider taking a portable water bottle on your trip.
Top Things to do in Sri Lanka
See our round up post of all the Top Things to do in Sri Lanka
- Surf, Sun and Sand in Hikkaduwa – One hundred kilometers south of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s Capital City, the beach scene begins. For surfers, it is the perfect spot to try your hand at the board.
- Spot Leopards at Yala National Park – the park is known as the best place anywhere in the world to spot a Leopard in the wild.
- Hike in Sri Lanka’s Highlands – it is the perfect place for a little adventure travel as you can hike the hills for days on end.
- Help Save Sea Turtles – At the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery, Chandrasiri Abrew is working to make a difference.
- Embark on an Adam’s Peak Pilgrimage – Adams Peak is Sri Lanka’s Holiest mountain and each year Pilgrims flock to climb its 5200 steps.
- Visit Dodanduwa Temple – Sri Lanka has its fair share of holy sites. Temples, like this one in the small town of Dodanduwa, dot the landscape.
- Visit Sigiriya – The important archeological site, Sigiriya is impressive. Gracing the covers of many Sri Lankan Guide books, it just may be Sri Lanka’s most recognizable site.
- Have Dinner with Locals – Nothing feels better than being invited to someones house for dinner.
- Visit Paradise – Unawatuna is a beach located right on the southern tip of Sri Lanka. The highway bypasses this area and travelers can walk on quiet streets checking out shops and vendors and eating in cafés without inhaling fumes.
- Explore Yala National Park – It is an incredible park filled with wildlife: elephants, peacocks, monkeys, jackles, crocodiles and monitor lizards to name a few.
- Go to Udawalawe National Park – This park is particularly special because it is home to the Elephant Transfer Home an orphanage and rehabilitation centre for orphaned and injured elephants supported by the Born Free Foundation.
A Bit about Sri Lanka
- Top Secret in Hikkaduwa – A Review
- Sri Lanka – Visa Extension
- Fine Dining, Budget Backpacker Style
- Train Travel, Sri Lanka