Travel guide to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka ligger kun 50 kilometer fra Indien formet som en tåre, der på et kort ser ud til at falde fra det indiske kontinent. Landets sydlige del byder på smukke, bakkede landskaber med skønne strande ved kysten. Den nordlige del af landet er en stor slette med høje bjerge, der rejser sig i 2500 meters højde.


Local name
Sri Lanka
66,000 km2
Principal Languages
Sinhala and Tamil
Principal Religion
Sri Lanka is situated 50km from India. The island is 350km long and 180km wide. The northern part of the island is an area with plains and mountains, the largest of which is 2524m tall. The southern part of the island is a beautiful undulating area. It is also in this area that the finest beaches are situated. In the south-western part of the country are large areas with rainforest.

Travel preparation


Best time to visit

You can visit the country all year around, however if you want to avoid the rainy-season then visit the south and west coast between December to March, and the east coast between May and September. There are the most tourists in the country between December and March.


Lonely Planet Sri Lanka Insight Guides Sri Lanka

Local conditions



Sri Lanka Rupee (SLR)

Net cafes

Gradually, there are a large number of net cafés on Sri Lanka. They are all situated in Colombo.

In case of emergency

To call for help on Sri Lanka, dial the following numbers: Police (43 33 33) Fire Service (42 222) Red Cross Ambulance (69 19 05) or (69 54 34) Tourist Police (26 941) or (21 111)


Most hotels add 10 per cent to the bill for the service. If not, it is common that you give 10 per cent as tip. It is optional to tip taxi drivers.


When the time is 11.00 in Britain (summer time), it is 16.00 on Sri Lanka. When the time is 11.00 in Britain (winter time), it is 17.00 on Sri Lanka.

Weight and Measures

On Sri Lanka, the following units of weight and measurement are used: Weight: kilo Length: metre Cubic content: litre


Ask for permission before photographing persons or religious acts. Besides that, there are no special rules concerning photography.

Drinking water

Water for drinking, brushing teeth or for ice cubes must be boiled for at least 20 minutes. It is preferable to buy water in bottles.


On Sri Lanka, the following power source is used: 230/240v AC/50Hz


It is important to respect the inhabitants' religious rituals. Furthermore it is important to wear clothes which cover the body, especially if you visit holy places or private homes. Before entering a private home or a temple, shoes and hats must be taken off.

Business Hours

Shops are open from 09.00 to 17.30 (Monday-Friday) and from 09.00 to 13.00 (Saturday). Banks are open from 09.00 to 17.00 (Tuesday-Friday) and from 09.00 to 12.00 (Monday and Saturday). Offices are open from 08.30 to 16.30 (Monday-Friday, and sometimes also open Saturday morning.

Food and drink

Most food on Sri Lanka is very spicy. A lot of vegetables, fruit, flesh and fish and shellfish are also served. Generally the food on Sri Lanka is fine. Concerning drinks, tea is the national drink and it is considered to be the best tea in the world. Toddy is the juice of palm trees and it is a popular local drink.

Disabled travellers

The conditions for disabled travellers are improving. If you want to travel around in the country it is preferable to contact the places you want to visit before the trip. If necessary it is possible to get help and assistance from the large hotels and travel agencies.


New Year's Day, 1st January Independence Day, 4th February May Day, 1st May National Heroes' Day, 22nd May Ordinary holiday, 30th June Christmas Day, 25th December Day after Christmas Day, 26th December Ordinary holiday, 31st December

Accommodation / Hotel



There are not many camping possibilities in the country. It is usually only possible in connection with arranged trips.


There is a wide range of hotels in the country. In the large cities, there are five star hotels, medium class and inexpensive hotels. In the small towns in the country, there are one and two star hotels, medium class and inexpensive hotels.

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

There are many guesthouses and inns around in the country offering comfortable and informal rooms.


There are hostels in most cities in the country. The price and quality of the hostels vary, but usually they are of a reasonable standard.

Other Accommodation

In many areas it is possible to spend the night in private homes, which is a way to get an insight into the lifestyle of the inhabitants. Ask the local tourist agency for more information. Furthermore, there are cottages and bungalows.

Local transport



There are domestic airline connections between the large cities. There are 12 domestic airports with asphalt landing runs. However, until recently the domestic connections have been cancelled, therefore it is a good idea to check up on that before arranging a trip.


The bus network is thorough and reasonably quick to use, but it can get quite crowded.


There are more than 1500km of railway track on Sri Lanka, and the trains service most towns and tourist areas. The trains are often crowded, and it is therefore important to make reservations in advance. Generally a train journey takes longer than a bus trip


There are yellow cabs in all large cities, and it is easy to hail one on the street. It is a good idea to agree on a price before taking a taxi.

Car rental

There are good car rental possibilities on Sri Lanka, and it is an easy way to get around. It is also possible to hire a car with a driver, and notice that this may be cheaper than hiring a car without a driver.

Special conditions

At the moment the situation in the country is tense. The largest part of Sri Lanka is untouched by the continual hostility between the government security forces and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). However, because of these hostilities it is not a good idea to travel to the Jaffna peninsula and the northern, north-eastern, and eastern provinces. Check out the latest Foreign Office advice.
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