Welcome to Sri Lanka. The land of cinnamon and sand. An ancient spice island washed by the endless blue waves of the Indian Ocean.

It’s known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, an island where the culture and cuisine of India meet the trade route colonial legacies of Britain, Portugal and the Netherlands. From misty highland tea plantations to the palm-fringed beaches of the south, Sri Lanka’s subtle spiritualism and unique natural beauty stick with you long after the journey is over.   

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Classic Sri Lanka , October 2016

Judy Bendl

Classic Sri Lanka , October 2016

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Sri Lanka holiday information

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Local culture of Sri Lanka

Geography & environment

Shopping guide to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka festival calendar

Food & drink in Sri Lanka

Further reading

Sri Lanka travel FAQs

The following countries need a visa to travel in Sri Lanka:

  • Australia: Yes - in advance
  • Belgium: Yes - in advance
  • Canada: Yes - in advance
  • Germany: Yes - in advance
  • Ireland: Yes - in advance
  • Netherlands: Yes - in advance
  • New Zealand: Yes - in advance
  • South Africa: Yes - in advance
  • Switzerland: Yes - in advance
  • United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
  • USA: Yes - in advance

Foreign passport holders need to obtain their visa prior to entering the country. This can be done online, here: www.eta.gov.lk

This site also has detailed application forms and information. The process is relatively simple and costs about US$20 for most countries. 

Sri Lankans are hard workers, but wage conditions are still pretty poor in much of the country. A tip is always appreciated, if not always expected in Sri Lanka tourism. A small amount should suffice. When in restaurants, just add 10% to the bill. 

Internet access is on the rise in Sri Lanka, but it may be patchy in the more remote areas. Internet cafes are easy to find in large cities like Colombo, but the speed may be slower than what you’re used to. Most major hotels we use will have access to wi-fi. 

Mobile phone coverage is generally good in urban areas, but starts to suffer as you move away from the cities. Make sure global roaming is activated if you want to call home, but be aware you can incur extra charges. 

Please be aware that squat toilets are the most common type in Sri Lanka. It’s normal to carry your own toilet paper and soap (or hand sanitiser) as they are not always provided. Western-style flush toilets are usually found in the more up-market restaurants and hotels. 

  • Soft drink = 100 LKR
  • Beer = 200-250 LKR
  • Simple lunch at local restaurant = 300 – 400 LKR
  • Seafood dinner = 1,000-1,500 LKR

We don’t recommend you drink the tap water in Sri Lanka. Filtered water is a better option. Try using a refillable bottle or canteen rather than buying disposable bottles. Also remember to avoid iced drinks and always peel your fruit before eating it. 

Sri Lanka is by and large a cash economy, but credit card facilities do exist in the more up-market restaurants, 5-star hotels and major tourist shops. Smaller shops and cafes probably wont have card facilities, so it pays to withdraw an appropriate amount of cash at the beginning of the trip, enough to cover basic expenses in rural areas.

ATMs are becoming more common in larger cities like Colombo, so finding one shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Smaller towns and isolated communities on the other hand will have very few. Please withdraw cash in advance before leaving the major cities. 

Yes. All Peregrine passengers are required to purchase travel insurance prior to their Sri lanka trip. Your insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day. 

For a current list of public holidays in Sri Lanka go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/sri-lanka/public-holidays