Traveling to Sri Lanka means that we come into contact with another country’s history, culture and mentality that is different from ours. As a visitor, it is important to adapt your behavior, but also to be flexible in your expectations. It helps to be prepared that even the most well-planned ingredients in our journey can be completely different.
We will send you airline tickets, participant list and hotel list approximately 7 days before the trip to Sri Lanka. Please note that your name on the flight ticket must be exactly the same as in your passport. One first name is enough, but if you have two or more last names, all last names must be on the ticket. The letters Å-Ä-Ö will be written as AA-AE-OE on the flight ticket according to international rules. If you discover that we have misspelled your name on your booking confirmation, please contact us immediately so that we can correct this before we issue your airline tickets.
Passport, visa and customs
Swedish citizens need a visa to Sri Lanka and a tourist visa can be obtained for a maximum of 30 days on arrival at a cost of 35 USD. However, you must first register at http://www.eta.gov.lk/. Check that the passport is valid for at least six months after returning from Sri Lanka and that there are at least two blank pages for the visa. The passport must not be broken or cracked anywhere. For more information see http://www.eta.gov.lk/ or the embassy in Stockholm:
Embassy of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Strandvägen 39, Box 240 55, 104 50 Stockholm
Tel: 08-663 6523, Fax: 08- 66 08956
Vaccinations and health
When planning to travel to Sri Lanka, it is advisable to consult a doctor, health center or vaccination clinic for advice at least one month before departure. Review your basic vaccination protection in the form of tetanus, polio and diphtheria, as well as Havrix or equivalent against jaundice. When traveling extensively to certain parts of Sri Lanka, medication for malaria may be advisable. Do not drink tap water. Instead, buy bottled water and always make sure to bring in unopened bottles at restaurants. Also use mineral water for toothbrushing for safety. At meals, avoid raw vegetables, ice cream and ice cubes. The bacterial culture in Sri Lanka differs a lot from the one that our Swedish, sensitive stomachs are used to. Remedies for “tourist stomach” are available without a prescription at pharmacies and it can also be good to start eating lactic acid tablets a few days before the trip to strengthen the intestinal flora. At Swedish pharmacies, you can buy Resorb, which is an effervescent tablet that helps to restore the mineral balance if you become ill. It is important that you bring proof of travel insurance and check that your health insurance coverage is valid in Sri Lanka.
Weather and clothing:
Sri Lanka has a tropical monsoon climate. It is hot all year round but usually cooler among the mountains in the highlands (around 20 ° C). Therefore, feel free to bring both a sun hat and sunglasses as well as a warmer sweater. If you want to move all over the country, the best time is between the end of January and April, but it is fine to visit Sri Lanka all year round. Visiting the south and west coasts of Sri Lanka is done with advantage during spring autumn and winter, while from May to August the Yala monsoon period falls. The east coast and the north are visited with advantage during spring and summer, from February to September, especially from May, while between October and the end of January it is the small monsoon. On the east coast, the sea is calm between March and October.
Avoid challenging attire as it may offend the locals. When visiting churches and temples, it is extra important to wear clothes that cover the knees and shoulders. It is also important to take off your shoes when entering a temple or someone’s home
Currency and exchange rate:
The currency in Sri Lanka is called the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). Import and export restriction: SEK 5,000. It is suggested that you exchange a little local currency before traveling on, for example, Forex and then bring euros or US dollars in cash to exchange on the spot. Ordinary credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are common and can be withdrawn at ATMs in all cities. You can pay by credit card at hotels, many restaurants and shops, but not at the small local markets.
Transport and communications:
The major roads in Sri Lanka are of a good standard. Normally we travel with air-conditioned modern buses during our round trips. Check with your telephone operator before you travel what it costs to use your mobile phone. Assume that it is expensive and turn off the internet connection in the mobile. If you are calling from the hotel, find out the price first. If you want to call home, it is cheapest to buy a SIM card on the spot. There are internet cafes in many cities and several hotels have WIFI. However, you must be prepared that the connection may be somewhat swaying.
Sri Lanka is generally a safe country to travel in. As in all countries, it is good to avoid signage with valuables and to be careful when paying by card or withdrawing cash. Here it is left-hand traffic and a different traffic pace than we are used to, so take it extra carefully.
Food and drink:
In Sri Lanka, many spices are grown, which contributes to fantastic, tasty food. Sri Lankan cuisine has been inspired by colonial powers, merchants and southern India. Rice is the staple food served with bread, vegetables, sometimes meat but perhaps more often seafood in tasty curry sauces. The fact that it is also cheap makes it even more fun to try different culinary delights. Here it is common to eat with the fingers. The local beer Lion is cheap and is a good light lager that goes well in the warm climate. Local wines are unusual, however, it is common with arrack, yeast and refined toddy of varying strength.
Shopping – gifts:
Popular items to buy at home can be spices, clothes, jewelry, fabrics, leather and handicrafts. Cinnamon, for example, is world class and so lots of tea of course. Take the opportunity to buy tea if you visit a plantation. It is common sense and bargaining that applies in Sri Lanka. Look at the goods carefully and the price seems too good to be true – then it probably is!
General and mixed:
Local time: Sri Lanka is 4.5 hours ahead of Swedish time during the winter and when we have summer time, it differs 3.5 hours instead.
Baggage: It sometimes happens that the checked baggage gets lost. Therefore, pack important medicines with a certificate from your doctor in your hand luggage. The same goes for valuables.
Electricity: Sri Lanka has 230 volts. An adapter is needed and you can advantageously buy a universal adapter that is available in most electricity stores in Sweden.
Tips & Warnings Wages are low in Sri Lanka. It is common to tip all types of service personnel such as guides, porters, restaurants and drivers.
Languages: Sri Lanka has two official languages Sinhala and Tamil. You do well with English, at least in the tourist resorts.