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Sri Lanka travel info
General information for the traveller new to Sri Lanka.
All visitors to Sri Lanka must possess a passport that is valid for at least 3 months beyond the length of their proposed stay. Certain nationalities are entitled to a free visa on arrival at Colombo airport, while other visa applications need to be made to a Sri Lankan Consulate or Embassy abroad – allow 4 days for processing. An extension of stay can be obtained while in the country and should be applied for at the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo.
The import and export of local currency is limited to Rs1000.
Visitors may take the following into Sri Lanka duty free:
- Alcohol – 2 bottles of wine and 1.5litres of spirits
- Tobacco – 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 340g of tobacco
Precious metals such as gold, platinum and silver must be declared on arrival.
Penalties for carrying or trafficking illegal drugs are extremely severe.
Sri Lankan time: GMT +6 hours
Sri Lankan Rupees (Rs) – Check current exchange rates.
100 cents = Rs1
Notes issued – Rs1,000, Rs500, Rs100, Rs50, Rs20, Rs10
Coins issued – Rs5, Rs2, Rs1, 50 cents, 25 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents, 2 cents, 1 cent
The official languages of Sri Lanka are Sinhala, Tamil and English.
A 10% charge is automatically added to bills in most top hotels and restaurants. There is no need to tip taxi drivers and if tipping hotel porters, they should receive around Rs10-20 per bag.
Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 3.00 pm at national banks
The international dialling code for Sri Lanka is 94
When making international telephone calls from Sri Lanka, first dial 00 + country code + area code + telephone number
Local Telephone Codes
Anuradhapura 025 Batticaloa 065 Colombo 01 Jaffna 021 Kandy 08 Mathara 041 Negombo 031 Polonnaruwa 027 Ratnapura 045 Trincomalee 026
230-240 V, 50 cycles AC
Round 3-pin plugs are used in Sri Lanka.
Tap water is not considered safe for consumption and ice cubes should be avoided. Bottled water is widely available throughout the country.
Medical facilities are not always of a good standard and it is recommended that you take out adequate health insurance covering evacuation. Cholera and malaria are both considered serious risks and all necessary precautions should be taken. Consider inoculations against typhoid, polio, hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis and take advice regarding anti-malarials. It is always best to check the current situation and any vaccination requirements with a doctor when planning your trip.
- Colombo – Colombo Bandaranayake
International Airport Departure Tax
Air travel is limited in Sri Lanka and only a few airports offer flights:
- Colombo – Ratmalana
- Gal Oya
Domestic Airport Departure Tax
As with many Asian countries, modest dress is required; shoulders and legs should be covered when visiting temples or shrines. All visitors to temples should remove their shoes before entering and heads should be uncovered. Topless sunbathing is prohibited throughout Sri Lanka.
Many countries have diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka.
Useful Sources of Information
Further information on Sri Lankan culture and tourist attractions.
Sri Lanka Tourism