Consider buying a Sri Lankan SIM card for your mobile phone – Sri Lankan mobile phone call rates are relatively cheap, both for local and international calls.


Most hotels offer free internet access, as do some cafes, particularly in areas such as Galle Fort.

Customs and Cultural Difference

Sri Lanka’s genuine hospitality to tourists is renowned. Take care to avoid religious offence, however. In particular, respect the Buddhist faith: do not touch a monk, do not pose for photographs on religious statues and remove shoes and socks when entering temples. We   recommend that you are as informed as possible about the island before you arrive: read about the religion and culture and learn about local rules and values. Be sensitive to cultural difference. Patience, friendliness and courtesy are highly valued virtues that will win you the respect of many


Before you go, email yourself a copy of all the important information – airline numbers, phone numbers and passport and driving licence numbers. If your documents and/or wallet is lost or stolen, you can still access all your details.

Dry Days

Sri Lanka celebrates several religious holidays each year, including a Poya (full moon day) each month which is categorised as a Public, Bank and Mercantile Holiday. These holidays are referred to as ‘dry days’, as the sale of alcoholic beverages at shops, hotels and restaurants is prohibited. Wine stores, taverns and bars are also closed on these days. Your travel consultant will be able to advise if your holiday dates include a dry day, and your chauffeur-guide can assist you with purchasing alcohol in advance if you wish to consume alcohol on a dry day.


Entertainment is predominantly, but not exclusively, based around the top hotels, which offer: a range of restaurants and bars; sports facilities, from swimming pools to floodlit tennis courts; health facilities and spas; nightclubs, and traditional Sri Lankan entertainment. However, do not automatically limit yourself to the hotel – in Colombo especially, and in other major tourist areas,

there are smaller, independent alternatives. Casinos are sanctioned for tourists. The beaches are some of the finest in the world, but before you swim consider dangerous currents and cleanliness. Sri Lanka

also offers: game parks; activity holidays; bird-watching sanctuaries; hill-walking and outstanding historical and religious sites.

There is a wide range of shopping options in the country, including gems, spices, linen and batiks, art galleries and hand-made Carvings.

Ethnic Conflict

Sri Lanka’s terrorist conflict ended in 2009 after a 20-year guerrilla war by the Tamil Tigers was defeated by government forces. Even at the height of the conflict, the vast majority of the island was violence-free. There has been no renewal of terrorism since the end of the war and Sri Lanka has experienced a large rise in tourist numbers. The conflict touched many lives with sadness and should not be regarded as a topic for casual conversation.

Excess Baggage

Beware of breaking baggage limits; your flight tickets should clearly state the maximum baggage weight. Additional charges may be levied, or equipment left behind. Requests for a higher limit can be made on your behalf, but success is not guaranteed. You can ship excess baggage to your final destination through the excess baggage counter, which offers better rates than similar airline-run services. This counter is located prior to the check in desks at the farewell area. Expect any unaccompanied excess baggage to reach your final destination 3-5 days after the day of departure.

Police: 011 2433333

Fire: 011 2422222

Hospital: 011 2691111

Colombo Tourist Information: 011 2252411

Kandy Tourist Information: 081 2222661

Department of Motor Traffic: 011 2694331

Automobile Association: 011 2421528-9

Department of Immigration: 011 2503629

Food and Drink

Rice and curry is the Sri Lankan staple, but a wide range of international dishes are available throughout the island. Bear in mind that purchasing local food and drink supports the locals rather than promoting costly imports. When eating, consider the old advice: ‘boil it, bake it, peel it or ignore it’. Be particularly wary of salads and unpeeled fruit and ensure your meat is thoroughly cooked.

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