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Sri lanka Travel FAQs

Sri lanka Travel FAQs

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Published by Mohan Perera
Travel FAQs
Travel FAQs

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Published by: Mohan Perera on Sep 06, 2007
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Sri lanka Travel FAQs
When to go?
Sri Lanka is a round-the-year destination. the best time to visit the island is from November to April. The Southwesterncoastal area (where most of the beach resorts are located.) gets the monsoon rains from the end of May to October.The central highlands are pleasantly cool and relatively dry from January to April. The peak season is mid December to mid January and March-April during Easter.
Health
Most travelers will return home having experienced no problems apart from travelers diarrhea. Health facilities aregood in the main cities. Most hotels will arrange a local doctor in an emergency.
Documents
Visitors from most countries with a valid passport are issued with free entry visa for 30 days, on arrival. You may applyfor an extension by paying a fee; the maximum stay is 6 months. You will need to have an onward or return air ticket,and sufficient foreign exchange (about US$20 a day).
What to wear 
Cotton clothes are useful at any time of the year but you will need woolens for the hills and certainly waterproof clothing. Take some long sleeve lightweight cotton shirts and trousers for evening (preferably in pale colors) as theyprotect against mosquitoes. Modest dress for women is very advisable especially off the beach and certainly whenvisiting religious sites. Don't forget comfortable shoes, sandals or trainers and cotton socks; also take a sun hat andsunglasses. If you planning to trek and climb go prepared with suitable gear. Water sports enthusiasts would do wellto take their snorkels and diving equipment along.
What will it cost?
Most food, accommodation and public transport especially rail and bus are very cheap compared to the west. There isa widening range of inexpensive but clean places to stay and eat at. Budget travelers (sharing a room) and usingbuses and trains to visits sites can expect to spend about Rs850/=-950/= (about US$ 14-15) a day to cover accommodation food and travel. Those sharing a double room in fairly comfortable hotels and hireling a car or a taxifor travailing should budget for around Rs. 3,000/= (US$50) a day.
Money
Sri Lankan currency is Rupee (Rs.) It is not possible to purchase these before you leave home so it is best to getsome local currency from the airport bank when you arrive. Shops and hotel in town accept most major credit cardsalthough it can some time be more expensive than paying cash. It is fairly easy to get cash using a visa or MasterCard at and authorized bank and to cash dollar and sterling travelers, cheques issued by a well-knowncompany.
Getting there
Usually all visitors to Sri Lanka travel by air. Flights arrive at the Bandaranayake International Airport, 35 km north of Colombo, and 6 km of Negombo. A number of tour operators from UK and some West European cities offer goodvalue package holydays between October and April.
Time
GMT +6 hrs (altered for power saving)
 
Heat and humidityEven in December - January daytime temperatures can be high and after a long flight it can be very trying.
Pressure
You may sometimes be overwhelmed by crowds of people in public places (railway stations, markets, bus stands,temples or simply busy streets). "Touts" and hawkers may jostle and push and clamour to show you a hotel and sellyou things. Taxis and three - wheelers are often there when you don't want them, much less when you do. It is best toremain calm and accept this as a part of south Asian life.
Safety
In general the threats to personal security for travelers in Sri Lanka are remarkably small. However, both men andwomen traveling alone have occasionally reported harassment so it is more pleasant to travel with a companion. Thefar North and most of the East of Sri Lanka have been subject to political violence and civil war and are not accessibleto visitors. The rest of the island is still a very safe place to visit. Thefts do sometimes occur. It is essential to takegood care of personal valuables when you are carrying them, and when you have to leave them anywhere. It is bestto keep your passport, TCs and valuables with you at all times. as many hotels don't accept liability for valuables leftin safe deposit boxes. Keep a record of vital documents (e.g. passport details, TC number). If you have anythingstolen, report it to the police as soon as possible.
Women Travelers
Compared with many other countries it is relatively easy and safe for women to travel around Sri Lanka, even on their own, though most people find it an advantage to travel with at least one companion. On the beaches and touristcenters, some women have experienced harassment form local men. By taking some simple precautions you canavoid both personal harassment and giving offence.
Where To Stay
Sri Lanka has a wide range of accommodation in the popular beach resorts though the choice diminishes as youmove to less popular beaches and inland towns. You will find luxurious 5-star resort hotels in superb beach locationsor clean, comfortable and safe mid-price hotels and family guest houses which are excellent value, or very cheapsimple rooms if you are traveling on a shoe string or aim to stay several weeks.In the peak season (mid-January and during Easter) bookings can be heavy so it is best to reserve accommodationwell in advance, which you can do by fax either from abroad or in Sri Lanka itself. However, and always try to arrive aspossible in the day, or your reservation may be cancelled.
Food And Drink
Most visitors are surprised - and often delighted - at the enormous variety of delicious food available in Colombo, thebeach resorts and the hill stations. You can usually choose freshly prepared seafood delicacies along the cost andtraditional Sri Lankan And Indian dishes as well as Continental, Chinese and sometimes even Thai and Japaneseoptions. Rice and curry are the staple main course, while hoppers, String hoppers are Sri Lankan specialties. Thedesserts, often made from rice and coconut, can be excessively sweet, though local palm treacle ladled over freshbuffalo milk curd can be quite delicious.Please note: Vegetarian food is much less common in Sri Lanka than in India and can be difficult to get in places.A wide variety of delicious tropical fruit grows throughout the year, pineapple, papaya and banana being particularlygood.
Drink
Sri Lankan tea is prepared as in the West and coffee too. There are a huge variety of bottled soft drinks, including

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