Whether you are coming to this beautiful island or just searching for some helpful information, continue through the text, and you will be ready to shine.
I am still updating based on my personal experiences and tips from others and locals!
I hope at least one advice will be helpful for your journey.
Before you go…
- Seasons – South and West from September to April. East and North from April to September. The central part is possible to visit anytime.
- Visa – use the original link! There are also links which charge much more money, or it is fake.
- Passport must be valid six months from the expected date of departure from Srilanka.
- Language – many locals, many tourists places, big cities and definitely Colombo speak and know English. Sinhala and Tamil are the main languages.
- Money exchange – bring Dollars or Euros to Srilanka and trade at the island. I would even think that there are not many countries where you can change your currency for their Srilankan Ruppies.
- Download these apps – Pickme – an official app for ordering a tuk-tuk or a car, Uber, Mapsme – a map of Srilanka, Googlemaps, Tripadvisor – all mentioned can help a lot with travelling.
- Bits of advice for packing – recommend buying as many things as possible at the island. Everything is quite cheap and of good quality—hygiene supplies, creams, flip-flops, clothes, scarfs, glasses.
- Don’t forget – passport, printed visa document, insurance cards, money in cash, electronics as chargers, power banks etc. Vaccination – if you feel you need some, check some information with your doctor.
- Strict controls which take time – last a couple of months the controls are more stringent and take more time, advice three hours before your flight from Srilanka.
- Exchange money – the exchange rate is similar to the places at the airport as well as outside. I recommend you to exchange money because usually drivers and some shops don’t accept cards!! YOU NEED CASH!
- Buy/or don’t buy a Simcard – Dialog or Mobile – you can purchase a Simcard immediately at the airport, very easy and very fast, go there as your first stop because after some time it can be crowded. Prices and offers are the equivalents as outside the airport. You need to prove by your passport.
- Internet at the airport – there is free online internet, you have to fill some columns like name, passport number etc.
- Coffee place – when you come or when you leave, there are coffee places open with some snacks and water.
- Toilets – toilets are over the airport, they cleaning them very often. I saw the cleaners all the time.
- Change your clothes – when you land to Srilanka, I recommend you to change your clothes in the first toilets you see.
- When you are leaving, be aware of things you can take with you in the luggage as herbal medicine, fruits, alcohol, wooden statues, shelves etc.
- Bus from the airport precisely in front of the main exit goes through highway to Colombo for around 150 Rps.
- Tuktuks and scooters are not allowed to the airport. Nearly 2 km from the airport (at the road is the police) is a place with shuttle service to go there for free.
You feel safe and welcome all over the island. Be respectful to the local people as well as don’t support cheating and animal business. Enjoy always green nature, fruits and healthy cuisine. Enjoy sunset, beach and variety of animals.
V. with Love
Useful information in general…
- Searching trains.
- Use Pickme and Uber as much as possible to avoid to be cheated.
- I wish you not to get scammed.
- Drink water from plastic bottles.
- Be aware of spicy food (I recommend you to eat a yoghurt afterwards, you can buy everywhere, it is common even for locals).
- Travelling is taking a lot of time there, and you won’t make it faster.
- Touristic places are more expensive than nontouristic.
- Buy a Simcard, it offers big data packages for low prices.
- If you are a single girl, be careful and avoid situations as walking around in the evening or wearing provocative clothes. Many men will try to talk to you, but if you keep your distance and be aware, nothing can happen.
- Travelling by bus or by trains are the cheapest options for experiencing the culture, people and breathtaking views.
- International driving licence needs for driving at Srilanka.
- Make duplicates of your documents and have a couple of places where you hide your original documents and the copies to avoid problematic future situations.
- Always wear a helmet on a scooter.
- Always respect rules in sacred places and temples. In essence, mainly women hide your knees and arms, shoes off and leave them where is pointed, don’t take pictures (ask, if you are interested, and locals tell you if you can, usually will be ok and people appreciate your attitude and respect)!
- There are specialised shops to buy alcohol almost in every city (it is not usually possible to purchase except these shops, ask locals).
- Many Buddhist places and touristic places are for a fee (sometimes pretty high prices), don’t be surprised. Mainly in Hindu temples, they don’t ask money.
- Enjoy fresh fruits because there is always a season for something.
- Drink at least one coconut per your stay – please don’t use a straw ( I am always drinking without, tell locals, and they will adequately cut the coconut to drink easily).
- At touristic places be aware of “two menus”—one for locals and one for tourists. Ask twice if the prices won’t fit your estimation.
- Please, don’t follow the animal cruelty as riding on elephants, hunting “wild” animals at safaris, “playing” with turtles, going for a watch of whales and don’t pollute the nature.
- Srilanka has one of the highest numbers of festivals. Four religions and the state holidays bring many free days to their calendar as well as specific and beautiful ceremonies.
- The cigarettes are costly.