Time in Sri Lanka:     srilanka_map

Getting There

Normally all visitors to Sri Lanka travel by Air and flights arrive at the "Bandaranaike International Airport" Aviation Code CMB.

The Airport is located in "Katunayake" 35 km north of Colombo, and 6 km South of Negombo.

Occasionally cruise liners doc at the Colombo & Galle Harbors.

When to Visit

Sri Lanka is a round-the-year destination.

However for visitors who are interested in adventure and other activities following are the best time to visit the Island:

Sun & Sea All year
Kandy Perahera (The Procession) End of July or August
Kite Surfing May to October
(Wind blows at an average of 18 – 20 knots 24 hours a day for 7 days a week)

December to March
(wind blows at an average of 15 – 20 knots in the afternoon usually 4-5 days a week)
Whale and dolphin watching November to April
Surfing in Arugam Bay April to October
White Water Rafting May to December

Where to Stay

Sri Lanka offers visitors an array of excellent accommodation facilities to suit all budgets from luxury hotels to low budget accommodations. In the peak season (November to April and in August) it is advisable to reserve accommodation well in advance.

Sri Lanka offers you Boutique Hotels, Villas, Bangalows, Star Class Hotels (up to 5 Star), Eco Hotels, Resort Hotels, Guest Houses, Lodges, Hostels, Home Stays and etc.


Time Difference

Sri Lanka Standard Time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT.


230 - 240 volts, 50 cycles AC.

If you are bringing a laptop computer, it is advisable to use a stabilizer.

What to Wear

Sri Lanka is a tropical country located closely to the equator. Therefore it is sensible to wear cotton clothes throughout the year, but you might need light woolens for the hill country. Better to carry waterproof clothing or an umbrella when you are travelling around. .

Modest dress for women is advisable especially off the beach and when visiting religious sites. Be attentive to remove hats and shoes before entering a temple. .

It is recommended to wear comfortable shoes, sandals or trainers. If you are planning to trek and climb go prepared with suitable gear. It is easy for the Water sports enthusiasts if they take their snorkels and diving equipment along. .

The health risks in Sri Lanka are different to those encountered in Europe and North America. Bowel diseases such as diarrhea and amoebic dysentery are common and there is a slight risk of dengue fever, and a variety of fungal infections.


Vaccinations for Typhoid (monovalent), Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Rabies are recommended if you plan a long trip or intend visiting remote areas.

In addition to the above, children should be protected against Diphtheria, Whooping Cough, Mumps, Measles and Rubella.

Do remember to plan well in advance as some vaccinations will need up to six weeks to receive the full course, some vaccinations require more than one dose, and some should not be given together.

There is no high risk of malaria, however if you are planning to get medications you should start one week prior to travel, continue during the trip and finish four weeks after your return.

Upset Stomach

As most stomach upsets are due to the unsanitary preparation of food, beware of under-cooked meals. Salads can be risky unless washed thoroughly and also fruits that have already been peeled should be avoided. Be cautious of ice cream, especially with the varieties sold by street vendors.


It is advisable to drink bottled water when you are travelling around the island. There is array of brands available, however make sure that it has "SLS" certification and that the seal is broken only in your presence. Use ice cubes only if you are convinced that has not been made from tap water. Bottled water is available in 500ml, 1000ml, 1500 ml, and 5 Liter containers.


It is highly recommended to apply a sunscreen product before going onto the beach or poolside lounger for sunbathing. This will reduce the risk of getting sunburns and other dermatological diseases. Pair of sunglasses is a must-have.

Prickly Heat

Prickly heat rash occurs when your sweat glands become clogged after being out in the heat for too long. The rash appears as small red bumps mainly on elbow creases, groin, upper chest or

neck. To treat it, take a cold shower, clean the rash with mild soap, dry yourself, apply hydrocortisone cream, and if possible, a product that contains salicylic acid.

Heat Stroke

Heat strokes may occur when you spend too long in the sun and it's a common form of dehydration. Therefore it is advisable to drink plenty of bottled drinking water or King Coconut Water (Thambili in Sinhala), when you are in the beach.

Local Health Care

Minor health problems can always be treated by doctors with practices in the resorts and elsewhere in the country. Sri Lanka's physicians are particularly experienced in dealing with locally occurring diseases. If you have a more serious problem, Colombo has modern, well-equipped private hospitals offering the latest in conventional medical and surgical therapies.

Mosquito/Insect repellent

It would be useful to bring mosquito and insect repellent, especially if a visitor plans on hiking or trekking.

Travellers with Special Needs

Travellers with special needs, especially if they visit 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 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 keen to support.


Sinhala, Tamil and English are widely spoken throughout Sri Lanka, with the exception of remote villages where it might be Sinhala only or Tamil only. Most of the signboards are often in English.

Sri Lanka's Currency

The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee, divided into 100 cents. Available currency notes are Rs 5,000, Rs 2,000, Rs 1,000, Rs 500, Rs 100, Rs 50, Rs 20 and Rs 10. On the currency note there is a lion watermark; remember to check whether the notes are genuine when not given at a bank. Coins, are denominations up to Rs 10.

Make sure you have plenty of lower denomination notes (Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500) when travelling around as change is often hard to come by in the small shops.


Most of the banks are open from 0830 hours to 1500 hours Monday to Friday. Some banks in major cities are open from 0830 hours to 2000 hours Monday to Friday and on Saturday mornings.

However ATM machines are available across the island and you can withdraw money using international credit cards or debit cards.

Credit Cards

Most of the hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards. Some establishments may try to add a surcharge, which is illegal.

Visa, Master Card & American Express cards are the often accepted Credit / Debit cards in Sri Lanka.

General Tips

Photography, Restrictions & Permits

Being a picturesque island, tourists don't forget their cameras when they visit the country. The stunning beaches, lush green misty mountains, wildlife, archaeological remains and the warm smiles of Sri Lankans provide great opportunities.

However there are important restrictions that apply to photography regarding Buddhist imagery. When capturing pictures of a temple or other religious site, it should not be carried out in a manner causing disrespect. It is strictly forbidden to be photographed in front of or beside any statues and murals. Further, remember switch the flash off and flash photography can damage old murals.

Tourists who wish photograph the principal ancient monuments in Sri Lanka are required to purchase a ticket from Central Cultural fund Offices at Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Kandy.

Central Cultural Fund,
212/1, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Tel: +94-11 2587912 /2500733 /2581944


There are a huge variety of bottled soft drinks, including well-known international brands. King coconut (Thambili in Sinhala) is a safe to drink and refreshing option.

Local beer and spirits are widely available. Most hotels also serve foreign Liquor, Beer & Wines. You can also purchase them from Liquor stores available around the island.

Please note that Alcohol is not sold on Poya (full-moon day of the month) days.

Public Places

You may sometimes be overwhelmed by crowds of people in public places Rrailway 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. Three – wheelers (Tuk Tuks) are often there when you do not need them.


Threats to personal security for travellers in Sri Lanka are very 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, Contact Number + 94 11 2382209