Travel HacksThat you Should know when visiting Sri Lanka.
Want to visit Asia but want to avoid the tourist crowds in Thailand and Indonesia? Sri Lanka is a good place to start.
Sinhalese and Tamil are the official languages of Sri Lanka. Many residents will speak some English as well, especially in tourist areas.
The currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LRK). Just like the dollar, one rupee equates to 100 cents. You'll find the following denominations:
- Notes - 5000, 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20.
- Coins - 10, 5, 2 and 1.
Tipping for good service is customary in Sri Lanka due to the low wages. The normal tip range is between Rs.300 and Rs.800, depending on the kind and quality of the service you received.
While your daily budget may vary based on your desired mode of travel (backpackers vs. 5-star hotels), you can budget for the following*:
- Meal at a local restaurant: $2.30
- Domestic beer: $3.00
- Coffee: $3.50
- Bottle of water: $0.40
- One-way public transport ticket: $0.20
As you can see, after factoring in meals, activities, and lodging, we recommend allocating the following per day per person.
- Budget - cheap eats, one activity, hostel/ homestay accommodation : $60.00
- Mid-range - cheap eats, two activities, 3-star hotel accommodation : $120.00
- Luxury - restaurant meals, safari tour, 4 to 5-star hotel accommodation : $200.00
Must Do Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has something to suit everyone's tastes. Whether you are an energetic visitor looking for cultural experiences, want to kick back and enjoy the landscape, or want to reach maxo-relaxo status, Sri Lanka has something for everyone.
You'll almost certainly fly into Colombo. Allow yourself a couple of nights to tantalise your palate at some of the country's top restaurants and to overwhelm your senses at the Pettah market.
It is located on a plateau surrounded by mountains that are home to tea plantations and a biodiverse rainforest. Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is renowned for walking, is located in the city's centre. Kandy is well-known for its important Buddhist structures, such as UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa), which is commemorated annually with the magnificent Esala Perahera parade.
Kandy is a thriving town where old customs, arts, crafts, rituals, and ways of life have been preserved. Be prepared for beeping motorbikes, unusual odors, and stunning handicrafts.
Ella is a tiny town in the Badulla District of Uva Province, approximately 200 kilometers east of Colombo, at an elevation of 1,041 meters above sea level. The region boasts a diverse bio-diversity, with a wide range of vegetation and wildlife.
Galle is a city on Sri Lanka's southwest coast. It is famous for Galle Fort, a fortified medieval city established in the 16th century by Portuguese colonists. The Dutch built stone sea walls that enclose car-free streets with architecture that reflects Portuguese, Dutch, and British authority. Among the notable structures is the 18th-century Dutch Reformed Church. Galle Lighthouse is located on the fort's southeast corner.
Unawatuna is a town in Sri Lanka's south. It's famous for its coral reef and palm-lined beaches, such as Unawatuna Beach. The Japanese Peace Pagoda, nestled in adjacent bush, offers a stupa with ocean views. South of town, the Sea Turtle Farm and Hatchery preserves endangered species. North across the bay is the fortified ancient town of Galle, which was constructed by the Portuguese and enlarged by the Dutch in the 17th century.
Mirissa is a tiny town on Sri Lanka's south coast, in the Matara District of the Southern Province. It is located roughly 150 kilometers south of Colombo at an elevation of 4 meters above sea level. Mirissa is a renowned tourist destination due to its beach and nightlife.
Yala National Park, which borders the Indian Ocean, is the most visited and second biggest national park in Sri Lanka. The park is made up of five blocks, two of which are currently available to the public, as well as adjacent parks. It is located in the country's southeast area, bordering Southern Province and Uva Province. The park is approximately 300 kilometers (190 miles) from Colombo and comprises 979 square kilometers (378 square miles). Yala was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and it was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, along with Wilpattu, in 1938. The park is most recognized for its diverse collection of exotic animals.
Negombo is a city on Sri Lanka's west coast, north of the capital, Colombo. The remnants of the 17th-century Dutch Fort on the waterfront today house a jail. Negombo Lagoon feeds into the Dutch-era Hamilton Canal, which is studded with fishermen's houses. The canal connects Colombo to the south. The ceiling of the Neoclassical St. Mary's Church, erected in the 1920s, is covered with vibrant religious paintings.
Records dating back to prehistoric times show that the peninsula has been involved with marine trade and smuggling activities. The Portuguese were the first to colonize it in the early 17th century. The entrance of the Dutch finally led to the expulsion of the Portuguese from this and other parts of the island.
Kalpitiya is a beach town in Puttalam District's western section. The Kalpitiya peninsula is made up of fourteen islands. It is growing in popularity as a tourist attraction.
Arugam Bay is a historic hamlet of the old Batticaloa Territory in the Indian Ocean's dry zone of Sri Lanka's southeast coast. The bay lies 117 kilometers (73 miles) south of Batticaloa, 320 kilometers (200 miles) east of Colombo, and 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) south of the market town of Pottuvil. While fishing has historically dominated the local economy, Arugam Bay tourism is dominated by surf tourism, due to numerous great breaks in the vicinity, but tourists are also drawn to the local beaches, lagoons, old temples, and the surrounding Kumana National Park.
Trincomalee is a port city on Sri Lanka's northeast coast. Fort Frederick was erected by the Portuguese in the 17th century on a peninsula. The majestic Koneswaram Temple rests on Swami Rock rock inside its grounds, a renowned vantage point for blue-whale gazing. The religious compound includes beautiful shrines and a large Shiva statue. Gokanna Temple, located nearby, offers panoramic views of the city and the ocean.
There are many other beautiful and interesting sites to visit in Sri Lanka, and we will be updating the most popular destinations, which you may read from time to time to help you plan your next vacation to Sri Lanka.
Finally, some ttips/hacks for first-time visitors to Sri Lanka.
- Dress appropriately: in larger cities and temples, cover your shoulders and thighs.
- Sri Lanka is still in the process of evolving. Be prepared for a chilly shower or a monkey clawing at your window. It's all part of the adventure.
- If you are traveling in a party of two or more, you can hire a driver to transport you between locations. It's reasonably priced (about $200 per person for two weeks). It's more convenient because you avoid taking public transportation and don't have to worry about hauling luggage around. It is also considerably faster than taking public transportation, allowing you to spend more time at each site.
- Be mindful of the street food you consume in specific areas. Look for places with lengthier lines of locals, since they are most likely to be legitimate.