5 Things You Should Know Before You Travel to Sri Lanka

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5 Things You Should Know Before You Travel to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a fantastic country, and perfect for a long haul holiday of a lifetime. As with any destination you decide to visit however, it is important you know a few things before you travel just to make sure you have all the information needed to turn a good holiday into a great one! 
 
 
 

Before you Travel

  • Always check the travel advice on the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office website for the latest updates as travel advice can and does change continuously.
  • You need a full 10-year passport with at least 6 months validity remaining from the date of your return. 
  • You will also need to apply on-line for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to enter Sri Lanka. For more information on eligibility, check the Department of Immigration and Emigration website here
  • You can apply for your ETA your on http://www.eta.gov.lk
  • An online pre-travel health registration form needs to be completed by all UK travellers. Details can be found on the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority website. 
  • It is mandatory for all visitors to Sri Lanka to have COVID-19 travel insurance.
  • Entry requirements are different depending on whether you are vaccinated against COVID-19 or not. Please visit https://www.srilanka.travel/helloagain/ for details. 
Please note the above information applies to holders of a full ten year British Citizen passport. If you have any other passport, please check your details directly with the Sri Lanka High Commission.

Best Time to Visit

 
Apart from the tropical paradise palm fringed beaches, Sri Lanka is full of vegetation, jungles, rivers, waterfalls, and never ending lush green farms and fields. This is thanks to having not one, but two monsoon seasons a year which fall on different parts of the island so, depending on where you go, it is best to visit outside of the monsoon season in that area.
 
The main monsoon season (Yala) is from April through to August and this brings heavy rain to the west and southwest coastlines and the hill country. The second monsoon season (Maha) is from October through to February and this brings heavy rain to the north of the island and the east coast. If you plan to visit just one part of the island, then its best to avoid the monsoon that affect that area. If you plan to travel to all areas of the islands, then the best time to travel is from December through to March. That way you will avoid both monsoons and still enjoy the warm tropical heat and sunshine without getting wet. 

The Cultural Triangle

 
If you’re planning a Sri Lanka Holiday, then you should seriously consider including Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle in your itinerary. Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle is located inland, in the centre of the country and it is so called because of the triangle shape formed between the three main ancient and key historical cities that cover this area: Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. The majority of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage attractions are located within the triangle and the area is home to the most important collection of Buddhist sites. It is filled with historical gems and ancient ruins including the cave temples at Dambulla and the iconic Sigiriya Rock as well as two national parks for spotting wildlife.

Safari Holidays

 
 
Stunning tropical beaches probably spring to mind when thinking about a holiday to Sri Lanka but did you ever think that you can also enjoy a safari here? With over 120 species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds Sri Lanka is a real nature lover’s paradise. Not only this, by with two national parks within the cultural triangle you could combine your visit with some wildlife spotting. Yala National Park has a high population of leopards and Minneriya National Park with its population of elephants can both accommodate safari holidays. And you’ll be able to see other animals like sloth bears, deer, buffalo, monkeys, crocodiles and so much more. This is definitely worth thinking about before you finalise your plans for your Sri Lanka Holiday.

Religion and Dress Codes

 
The main religion in Sri Lanka is Buddhism with over 70% of the population in Sri Lanka being Buddhist. 12.6% of the population is Hindu, 9.7% is Muslim and 7.4% is Christian. Buddha is a highly revered religious figure. The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is a serious offence and you can be convicted for this.  Visitors have been refused entry into the country or faced deportation in the past for having visible tattoos of Buddha and others have been detained for wearing t-shirts depicting Buddha. Don’t stand with your back to Buddha and don’t take photographs with your back to Buddha. If you wish to take photographs with Buddha, make sure you and everyone in the photographs you are taking is facing Buddha. Don’t kiss, touch or interact with depictions of Buddha either. 
 
Although attitudes to informal dress styles are relaxed, the culture is still very conservative and you are still expected to dress modestly. Shoulders should be covered and legs up to the knees should also stay covered. Hats and shoes should be removed if entering Buddhist temples. Bikinis swimsuits and shorts can be worn on the beach in the touristy coastal areas but you need to cover up when you move away from the beach. No topless or nude sunbathing is allowed anywhere on the island. 
Have you ever been on a Sri Lanka holiday? Let us know your hints and tips by leaving us a comment below if you have! 
 
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We want all our customers to stay safe when abroad. For the latest travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office click here. Further advice can be found on the Travel Aware page here. Please note the advice can change so check regularly for updates and before you travel.

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