Sri Lanka Information

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon)

1. At a Glance

Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature's beauty remains abundant and unspoiled.

Few places in the world can offer the traveler such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location. Within a mere area of 65,610 kilometers lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometers of coastline - much of it pristine beach - 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, to a culture that extends back to over 2,500 years.

This is an island of magical proportions, once known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon. Discover refreshingly Sri Lanka!

Official Name : Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Government Type : Republic
Location : Latitude 5º 55. To 9º 50. North, Longitude 79º 42. to 81º 52., 650km north of the equator
Dimensions : 430km North to South, 225km East to West
Coastline : 1,340km
Area : 65,525km
Currency (code) : Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
Independence : 4 February 1948
Administrative Capital : Sri Jayewardenepura
Commercial Capital : Colombo
Administrative Divisions : Central Province, Eastern Province, North Central Province, Northern Province, North Western Province, Sabaragamuwa Province, Southern Province, Uva Province, Western Province
Terrain : Mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior
Highest Mountain : Pidurutalagala, 2,524m
Highest Waterfall : Bambarakanda, 263m
National Flower : The Blue Water Lily (Nymphaea stellata)
National Parks and Nature Reserves Area : 8,000sq.km
Population : 21,128,773
Population Growth Rate : 1.3%
Population Density : 309 people per sq. km
Life Expectancy at Birth : 74 female, 64 male
Literacy Rate : Female 87.9 Male 92.5
Ethnic Groups : Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001 census)
Languages : Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%
Note: English (a link language commonly) is used in government and spoken competently by about 10% of the population
Religion : Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10% (2001 census)
Time Zone : Sri Lanka Standard Time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT. (Allowance should be made for summer-time changes in Europe.)
International Dialing : +94
Electricity : 230. 240 volts, 50 cycles AC. If you travel with a laptop computer bring a stabilizer
Economy : Sri Lanka's most dynamic sectors are food processing, textiles and apparel, food and beverages, port construction, telecommunications, insurance and banking. In 2006, plantation crops made up only 15% of exports (90% in 1970), while textiles and garments accounted for more than 60%. About 800,000 Sri Lankans work abroad, 90% of them in the Middle East. They send home more than US$1 billion a year.
Labour Force : 34.3% of the labour population is employed in agriculture, 25.3% in industry and 40.4% in services: 40.4% (30 June 2006 est.) The unemployment rate is 5.7% (2007 est.)
Agriculture & Products : Rice, Sugarcane, Grains, Pulses, Oilseed, Spices, Tea, Rubber, Coconuts, milk, Eggs, Hides, Beef, Fish
Industries : Processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, tobacco and other agricultural commodities, telecommunications, insurance, banking; clothing, textiles, cement, petroleum refining.
Exports : Textiles and apparel; tea and spices; diamonds, emeralds, rubies; coconut products, rubber manufactures, fish
Imports : Main import commodities are textile fabrics, mineral products, petroleum, foodstuffs, and machinery and transportation equipment: $10.61 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.). Percentage of main commodities from main import partners: India 19.6%, China 10.5%, Singapore 8.8%, Iran 5.7%, Malaysia 5.1%, Hong Kong 4.2%, Japan 4.1% (2006)
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) : Purchasing power parity: $81.29 billion (2007 est.). Official exchange rate: $30.01 billion (2007 est.) Real growth rate: 6.3% (2007 est.) Per capita: $4,100 (2007 est.) composition by sector: Agriculture: 16.5% Industry: 26.9%
Gross National Product (GNP) : Sri Lanka is placed in 76th place in GNP figures of the world's nations with $22.8 billion (2005)
Flag Description : Yellow with two panels; the smaller hoist-side panel has two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and orange; the other panel is a large dark red rectangle with a yellow lion holding a sword, and there is a yellow bo leaf in each corner; the yellow field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends between the two panels

Sri Lanka Rising

With the end of the three decade long war Sri Lanka is seeing a sudden burst in infrastructure development and a of a new Sri Lanka rising.

Today post-war Sri Lanka is seeing a rapid and wide spread infrastructure development within rural and urban areas as never seen in the country before.

The island-wide road development program is at the center of this effort.

The improved connectivity enabled by road development, particularly rural roads, generates significant economic and social returns. It is having a transformative impact on the lives of people around the country. The completion of the highway network (commencing with the Southern Highway, Katunayake Expressway and Colombo Ring Road) will bring about significant cost-savings that will boost the competitiveness of the economy.

The rural electrification program has now extended power to 91% of the country's households. It is bringing considerable benefits, particularly to poor and vulnerable households (not least through the improved environment for children's studies). The completion of the much delayed Norochcholai coal power station has helped to avoid power cuts or recourse to hiring exceedingly expensive barges for thermal generation.

The rehabilitation of the railway network and rolling stock, combined with the road development, will increase mobility and help to contain transport costs which are an important determinant of an economy's competitiveness.

Port and airport development is also creating the potential for Sri Lanka to become a key transport and tourist/transit hub for Asia. The completion of the Hambantota Port and the Colombo Southport Expansion will increase the capacity to take advantage of the country's strategic location on the major international shipping lanes.

The growth of Indian trade and China's appetite for natural resources from the Middle East and Africa creates the conditions for rapid expansion of activity in this sector. The second international airport at Mattala increases the potential for handling increased tourist arrivals and positioning Sri Lanka as a transit hub.

Today Sri Lanka's Bandaranaike International Airport (is the busiest airport in the country with more than 6 million passengers per year, Hambantota International airport in Mattala was declared opened in March, 2013 when Sri Lanka is celebrating a century in aviation. The domestic airports are scattered around the country in Ampara, Anuradhapura, Batticaloa, Ratmalana, Jaffna, Trincomalee and Wirawila creating an extensive network of domestic air travelling.

Commercial ports of Sri Lanka include Colombo, Hambanthota, Galle, Trincomalee, Kankesanturai and Point Pedro. Although the port of Colombo is the premier port in the country the present government policy for the development of regional ports in the country is seeing rapid development of Point Pedro, Kankesanturai, Trincomalee,Galle and Hambanthota ports.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka is fast gaining popularity in the MICE tourism industry, with 11% of the total visitors coming into the country representing the segment, while the industry anticipates the arrival of 240,000 MICE tourists by 2016, which is nearly 10% of the 2.5 million tourist target. With more than one million tourist arrivals in 2012 the Sri Lankan tourism service providers has set a target of 22,500 rooms in the next five years when tourist arrivals are expected to reach 2.5 million.

Some of the major hotel development projects currently underway in Sri Lanka include Shangri-La Colombo and Hambanthota, Sheraton Hotels and Resorts Colombo, MÖvenpick Hotels & Resorts Colombo and Soneva Ahungalla among others, which are planning to open for business between years 2013-2015

With Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, herds of elephants, killer surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea, flavorful food, newly gained peace and improved infrastructure Sri Lanka had been repeatedly named the next tourist destination worth all the investments.

Fueled by piles and piles of compliments as the best tourist destination in the world and with years of war behind it for good, Sri Lanka is rising and its time you dropped in.


2. Visa Requirements and Immigration

Amazing Sri Lanka undertakes visa processing. Do contact us if you require this service.

IMPORTANT NOTICE : With effect from 1st January 2012, all Holiday or Business travelers to Sri Lanka must have Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for entering in to Sri Lanka. Please visit http://www.eta.gov.lk for more information. The facility for applying Business Purpose Visa is at present available only at the Head Office of the Department of Immigration & Emigration and the Sri Lankan Overseas Missi

When applying ETA by third parties payments are to be made through the arrangement made in our website www.eta.gov.lk and obtain acknowledgement of ETA application. Any payments made to other websites or agencies are not valid to process a valid ETA. Therefore, always ensure that the payments made by accessing to Sri Lanka ETA website and avoid making repayment at the port of entry to Sri Lanka.

What is a Sri Lankan Visa?

A Sri Lankan visa is an endorsement on a passport or a similar document to facilitate the legal entry of non Sri Lankans into the country and to regulate the period of their stay and the conditions governing such stay.

What are the Types of Sri Lankan Visas?

There are four kinds of visas which permit a person to enter and/or stay in Sri Lanka.

Visit Visa

A Visit Visa is an entry permit signifying the consent of the Sri Lankan Government for the admission of a foreign national to the country. The Visa contains details of the period of time and the condition/s of the stay.

There are two sub-categories which come under visit visas

  1. Tourist Visit Visa
    • A Tourist Visa is issued to bona-fide tourists who want to enter Sri Lanka for sightseeing, excursions, relaxation, visit relatives or yoga training for a short period of time.
  2. Business Purpose Visa
    • A Business Purpose Visa is issued to foreign nationals who visit Sri Lanka for business purposes for short period of time. This visa may be issued for single or double journeys.
Recidence Visa

A residence visa is a permit for a non-Sri Lankan to obtain residence facilities for special purposes. There are eight sub-categories which come under residence visas.

What Eligibility category do I belong?

1. Employment Category

  • Project Professional personnel whose services are required for projects approved by the state and expatriate personnel employed in projects under Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka and their dependants
  • Personnel employed at banks and their dependants
  • Volunteers
  • Personnel attached to Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Personnel employed in a project, institution or organization under diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka
  • Personnel employed in a private company and their dependants

2. Investor Category

  • Who desire to invest monetary capital in Sri Lanka
  • Who engage in business activities in Sri Lanka

3. Religious Category

  • Members of the Clergy

4. Student Category

  • University Students
  • Students in Educational Institutions approved by the State
  • Other Institutions

5. Registered Indians covered by the 1954 Indo-Lanka Agreement

6. Ex- Sri Lankans and their dependants

7. Family Members of a Sri Lankan

  • Spouses
  • Children holding foreign nationality

8. Diplomatic and Official visa

9. My Dream Home Visa Programme

10. Resident Guest Visa Programme

Transit Visa

A Transit Visa is an entry permit granted to a foreign national for admission into Sri Lanka for a brief period which is incidental and in the course of his journey to another destination.

Gratis Visa

The holder of a Diplomatic or Official Passport or a passport with a valid Diplomatic or Official endorsement will not be required to pay any fees for the visa.

  • Sri Lankan dual citizens
  • Children whose birth has been registered under section 5(2) of Citizenship Act - 1948 up to 21 years of age
  • Children born in Sri Lanka for Sri Lankan parents under 21 years of age.
  • The following nationals & categories are exempt from ETA
    • Nationals
    • Nationals of the following countries who visit Sri Lanka for a Short Visit up to 30 days are exempt from ETA,
      • The Republic of Singapore.
      • The Republic of Maldives.
      • The Republic of Seychelles
    • Category
      • Crew members of flight / ship
What are the general eligibility requirements for Sri Lankan Visas?

Sri Lanka Immigration and Emigration may grant or issue a visa to you if

  1. Sri Lanka Immigration & Emigration is satisfied that you are suitable to enter Sri Lanka.
  2. Sri Lanka Immigration & Emigration approves the purpose for which you are entering Sri Lanka.
  3. You hold a passport valid for a minimum period of six months from the date you arrive in Sri Lanka
  4. Sri Lanka Immigration & Emigration is satisfied that you have adequate funds for your maintenance whilst in Sri Lanka and for the payment of your return passage to the country which issued your passport.
  5. You are in possession of a written assurance (ticket) to return to the country of domicile or a visa to the next country of destination if you are a visit visa holder.
What are the general conditions of a Visit Visa?
  • You should not engage in any form of employment, paid or unpaid, or in any trade or business other than that specified in the visa during the period of your stay in Sri Lanka.
  • Your visa must be utilized before the date of expiry noted on the visa.
  • Validity of your visa is subject to entry into Sri Lanka during the indicated entry period.
  • Applications for the extension of all visas should be made to the Department of Immigration and Emigration.
Amazing Sri Lanka regrets any inconvenience that you may find.

3. Travel Tips

With effect from 1st January 2012, all Holiday or Business travelers to Sri Lanka must have Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for entering in to Sri Lanka. Please visit www.eta.gov.lk for more information. When applying ETA by third parties payments are to be made through the arrangement made in our website www.eta.gov.lk and obtain acknowledgement of ETA application. Any payments made to other websites or agencies are not valid to process a valid ETA. Therefore, always ensure that the payments made by accessing to Sri Lanka ETA website and avoid making repayment at the port of entry to Sri Lanka.

What is a Sri Lankan Visa?

A Sri Lankan visa is an endorsement on a passport or a similar document to facilitate the legal entry of non Sri Lankans into the country and to regulate the period of their stay and the conditions governing such stay.

What are The Types of Sri Lankan Visas?

There are four kinds of visas which permit a person to enter and/or stay in Sri Lanka.

Visit Visa

A Visit Visa is an entry permit signifying the consent of the Sri Lankan Government for the admission of a foreign national to the country. The Visa contains details of the period of time and the condition/s of the stay. There are two sub-categories which come under visit visas - Tourist Visit Visa

A Tourist Visa is issued to bona-fide tourists who want to enter Sri Lanka for sightseeing, excursions, relaxation, visit relatives or yoga training for a short period of time.

Business Visit Visa

A Business Visa is issued to foreign nationals who visit Sri Lanka for business purposes for short periods of time. This visa may be issued for single, double or multiple journeys.

Department of Immigration and Emigration

Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha,
Maradana,
Colombo 10.
Tel: +94-11-5329000 / +94-11-5329316/20/21/25
www.immigration.gov.lk

Photo Permits & Entrance Charges

Sri Lanka is a photographer's delight. However, permits are required before you can take photos at certain sites. Entrance tickets to individual sites are available only from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. These tickets cover charges for photography, recording and parking. Rates are quoted in US Dollars and rupee parities are subject to fluctuation.

Custom Imports

You are allowed to bring into the country duty free 1.5 liters of spirits, two bottles of wine, a quarter-liter of toilet water, and a small quantity of perfume and souvenirs with a value not exceeding US $250. The import of personal equipment such as cameras and laptop computers is allowed but must be declared on arrival. However, personal equipment must be taken out of the country upon the visitor's departure. The import of non-prescription drugs and pornography of any form is an offence.

Sri Lanka Customs: www.customs.gov.lk

Custom Exports

On leaving the country you are allowed to export up to 10kg of tea duty free.

No antiques antique. Defined as anything more than 50-years-old - rare books, palm-leaf manuscripts and anthropological material can be exported without permission from the

Director,
National Archives,
7 Reid Avenue,
Colombo -07.
Tel: +94-11 2694523/ 2696917
www.archives.gov.lk

And the

Director General,
Department of Archaeology,
Sir Marcus Fernando Mw,
Colombo
Tel : +94 11 2692840/1
Tel. +94-11-2694727, +94-11-2667155,
www.archaeology.gov.lk.

Purchase and export without license of any wild animal, bird or reptile, dead or alive. Also the export of parts of animals, birds or reptiles, such as skins, horns, scales and feathers is prohibited. Occasional exports are, however, permitted exclusively for bona fide scientific purposes. It is prohibited to export of 450 plant species without special permits. The export of coral, shells or other protected marine products is also strictly prohibited.

Applications for special permission to export fauna should be made to the

Director,
Department of Wildlife Conservation,
382 , New Kandy Road,
Malabe
Tel: +9411 25060380

And flora should be made to the

Director,
Forest Department,
82, Rajamalwatta Road,
Battaramulla,
Tel : + 94 11 28666 16/ 2866632
www.environmentlanka.com

Foreign Currency Regulations

Visitors to Sri Lanka bringing in more than US$10,000 should declare the amount to the Customs on arrival. All unspent rupees converted from foreign currencies can be re-converted to the original currency on departure as long as encashment receipts can be produced.

Health Precautions

The health risks in Sri Lanka are different to those encountered in Europe and North America. Watch out for bowel diseases such as diarrhea and amoebic dysentery, vector borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, and a variety of fungal infections. Sri Lanka's physicians, though, many of whom have trained in the West, are particularly experienced in dealing with locally occurring diseases.

Before You Go

No inoculations are compulsory unless you are coming from a yellow fever or cholera area. (Cholera is very occasionally reported in Sri Lanka, so is not considered a serious risk.) However, the following vaccinations are recommended, particularly if you plan a long trip or intend visiting remote areas:

  • Typhoid (monovalent), Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies
  • Children should, in addition, be protected against:
  • diphtheria, whooping cough, mumps, measles, rubella

Remember to plan well ahead with vaccinations. Allow up to six weeks to receive the full course, for some vaccinations require more than one dose, and some should not be given together.

The risk of malaria exists throughout the whole country apart from the districts of Colombo, Kalutara and Nuwara Eliya. Medication has to start one week prior to travel, continue during the trip, and finish four weeks after your return. Once again, planning is essential, as well as care to ensure the course is followed.


When You are There.....

Upset Stomach

As most stomach upsets are due to the unsanitary preparation of food, it is useful to know what to watch out for. Under-cooked fish (especially shellfish) and meat (especially pork and mince) can be hazardous. Salads can be risky unless purified water has been used to wash the various vegetables. Fruit that has already been peeled should be avoided. Be careful of ice cream, in particular the varieties sold by street vendors and served at cheap restaurants. Sometimes there are power outages Sri Lanka, especially away from urban centres, so it pays to be suspicious of all refrigerated foods if you know there has been a recent outage in your area.

Water

Tap water is not safe to drink, and boiling and filtering is sometimes done too hastily in some hotels and restaurants, so the best solution is to drink bottled water. There are now many brands available, mostly using spring water from the highlands of the island. Make sure that the bottle carries an SLS certification and that the seal is broken only in your presence. Beware of ice unless you are satisfied it has not been made from tap water, and remember the tap water you may be tempted to use to rinse out your mouth after brushing your teeth is unsafe. Keep a bottle of water in your bathroom for this purpose.

Sunburn

When you flop onto the beach or poolside lounger for a spot of sunbathing, always remember to apply a sunscreen product with a sun protection factor of at least 15. Remember you are just 600km from the equator. Even with sunscreen, your sunbathing should be limited in time. If you don't apply sunscreen you are liable to become so sunburnt that it will be painful to move, your skin will peel, you will have to start afresh to get that tan, and most importantly you put yourself at risk of serious dermatological disease.

Heatstroke

Sometimes those who have spent too long in the sun suffer what is termed heatstroke, the most common form being caused by dehydration. This condition can occur if the body's heat-regulating mechanism becomes weakened and the body temperature rises to unsafe levels. The symptoms are a high temperature - yet a lack of sweat - a flushed skin, severe headache, and impaired coordination. In addition, the sufferer may become confused. If you think someone has heatstroke, take that person out of the sun, cover their body with a wet sheet or towel, and seek medical advice. To avoid heatstroke, take plenty of bottled water to the beach, or buy a Thambili (king coconut) from an itinerant seller.

Prickly Heat

Prickly heat rash occurs when your sweat glands become clogged after being out in the heat for too long or from excessive perspiration. The rash appears as small red bumps or blisters on elbow creases, groin, upper chest or neck. To treat it, take a cold shower, clean the rash with mild soap, dry yourself, apply hydrocortisone cream, and if possible, a product that contains salicylic acid. Repeat every three hours.

Local Health Care

Minor health problems can always be treated by doctors with practices in the resorts and elsewhere in the country. If you have a more serious problem, Colombo now boasts a selection of modern, well-equipped private hospitals offering the latest in conventional medical and surgical therapies. A growing number of foreigners are taking advantage of affordable, high quality private healthcare in Sri Lanka, and combining it with the chance to take a holiday. Though the medical tourism industry in Sri Lanka is still in its early days, a number of private hospitals in Colombo are geared to provide advanced surgery and other treatment to international clients.

Travelers With Special Needs

Travelers with special needs, especially if they visit Sri Lanka without a companion, should note that the country has relatively few facilities for disabled people, although greater awareness and improvements are evolving. There's no need to worry at Colombo's Airport as wheelchairs and assistance in boarding and disembarking are available. Buildings, offices, and banks are becoming better-equipped with wheelchair ramps and suchlike. If you aren't travelling with a companion, you'll find that Sri Lankans will be only too eager to assist.

Sri Lanka's Currency

The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee, divided into 100 cents (you rarely come across scents today). Currency notes are Rs.5, 000, Rs2,000, Rs1,000, Rs500, Rs100, Rs50, Rs20 and Rs10. Beware of mistaking the Rs500 note for the somewhat similar Rs100 one. To check whether notes are genuine when not given at a bank, look for a lion watermark. Coins, should you have receive them, will be in denominations up to Rs10.

Make sure you have plenty of lower denomination notes (Rs50, Rs100, Rs500), especially when travelling and you need to buy small items, fruit, and eat cheap meals, because change is often hard to come by apart from at hotels and big shops.

Banks

Banks are open from 0900 hrs. to 1300 hours Monday to Friday. Some city banks close at 1500 hrs. While some are open on Saturday mornings. It's easy to withdraw money across the island at ATMs using international credit cards or debit cards.

Credit Cards

Most hotels, restaurants and shopping centres accept credit cards. Some establishments may try to add a surcharge, which is illegal.

Time Difference

Sri Lanka Standard Time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT. (Allowance should be made for summer-time changes in Europe.)

Electricity

230. 240 volts, 50 cycles AC. If you travel with a laptop computer bring a stabilizer.

Language

Sri Lanka has two official languages. Sinhala and Tamil - with English as a link language. Most people have some knowledge of English, and signboards are often in English.

Photography, Restrictions & Permits

Sri Lanka is a tremendously photogenic island, so it's hardly surprising that most tourists bring a camera of some kind when they visit the country. The stunning landscapes, the captivating fauna and lush flora, and the stupendous archaeological remains provide great opportunities: a bonus is that Sri Lankans love to be captured on film. So it's easy to capture the traditional rural lifestyle. You'll find villagers, farmers, fishermen and tea pluckers will readily stand in front of your viewfinder. Your subjects will often ask to have a copy of picture sent to them. This may be laborious, but it is a reasonable courtesy as many may never have seen a picture of themselves. It is also understandable that many will also expect a token recompense for allowing themselves to be photographed.

Restrictions

There are some important restrictions that apply to photography regarding Buddhist imagery. When you visit a temple or other religious site, remember that photography should not be carried out in a manner causing disrespect. For instance, it is strictly forbidden to be photographed in front of or beside any statues and murals. Note that flash photography can damage old murals.

Permits

Tourists who wish to visit and or photograph the principal ancient monuments in Sri Lanka are required to purchase a ticket from theCentral Cultural Fund,

212/1, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo-07
Tel: +94-11 2587912 /2500733 /2581944
gen_ccf@sri.lanka.net

Central Cultural Fund offices at Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Kandy.

A single round ticket for two months validity costs US$50 and will entitle you to visit and photograph historic monuments such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Nalanda, Ritigala, Medirigiriya. There are separate charges at each site for those who do not obtain round tickets: Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya US$25, Nalanda US$5, Ritigala US$8, Medirigiriya US$5.

When To Visit

Sri Lanka is a round-the-year destination for the visitors who seek for sun and sea the best time to visit the island is from November to April. The Southwestern coastal area, where the most of the beach resorts are located.Kalpitiya, located in the western (North Western) coast has been declared a new tourist attraction. Many development projects have also been planned such as hotels and other infrastructure to make the East a new tourist destination in Sri Lanka.

The central highlands are pleasantly cool and relatively dry from January to April. The peak season is mid-December to mid-January and March-April during Easter with a mini peak season in July and August when festivals and pageants are held through the country.

What To Wear

Cotton clothes are useful at any time of the year but you will need light woolens for the hills and waterproof clothing or an umbrella. Modest dress for women is advisable especially off the beach and when visiting religious sites. Don't forget comfortable shoes, sandals or trainers and cotton socks. If you are planning to trek and climb go prepared with suitable gear. Water sports enthusiasts would do well to take their snorkels and diving equipment along.

Getting There

usually all visitors to Sri Lanka travel by air; flights arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport, 35 km north of Colombo, and 6 km of Negombo. A number of tour operators from UK and some West European cities offer good value package holydays throughout the year.

Public Places

You may sometimes be overwhelmed by crowds of people in public places (railway stations, markets, bus stands, temples or simply busy streets). "Touts" and hawkers may jostle and push and clamour to show you a hotel and sell you things. Taxis and three - wheelers are often there when you do not need them.

Safety

In general the threats to personal security for travellers in Sri Lanka are remarkably small. It is more pleasant to travel with a companion as it is advised not to travel alone especially after dark. The island including the North and East is safe to visit. If you have anything stolen, report it to the tourist Police, (a special tourist police set up to look after the needs of the tourists. Contact tel Number + 94 11 2382209

Where To Stay

Sri Lank Offers visitors an excellent range of accommodation facilities to suit all budgets from luxury hotels to low budget accommodations. In the peak season (mid-January and during Easter) bookings can be heavy so it is best to reserve accommodation well in advance through Tour operators/ travel agents, booking online and through our travel planner.

Drink

Sri Lankan Ceylon' tea is prepared as in the West and coffee too. There are a huge variety of bottled soft drinks, including well-known international brands. Thambili (king coconut water) is a safe and refreshing option. Local beer and spirits are widely available. Bottled mineral water is available in 5 star hotels. Please note: Alcohol is not sold on Poya (full-moon day of the month) days.


4. Sri Lanka Tourist Map


5. Foreign Embassies

U.S. Embassy in Colombo
210 Galle Road, Colombo 03
Phone: 94(11)249-8500
Australian Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka


Australian High Commission, Sri Lanka
No. 21 Gregory's Rd
Colombo 7
Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: +94-11- 246 3200 (General Enquiries)
Fax: +94-11- 268 6453 (Administration)
Web Site: http://www.srilanka.embassy.gov.au/
Email: austcom@sltnet.lk
Office Hours: The High Commission is open between 08:30 and 04:30 on all week-days except on public holidays.


Austrian Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Consulate of Austria in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Consulate of Austria
No.424, Carmart building
P.O.B. 903, Union Place
Colombo 02, Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: (+9411) 2691613
Consulate General (+9411)2696311, (+9411)5400500
Consul's Direct (+9411) 2693
Fax: Consulate Direct (+9411) 5344576
General (+9411
Email: austriacon@sltnet.lk,general_austria@sltnet.lk
Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9.30 am to 1.00 pm.


Belgian Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Honorary Consulate of Belgium in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Police Park Terrace, 3/1
Colombo 05 -
Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: + (94) (11) 250.43.51
Fax: + (94) (11) 250.43.52
Email: consul.belgium@unilink.lk


Bhutanese Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Honorary Consul of Bhutan in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Level 06, Hemas House
No 75, Braybrooke Place
Colombo-02, Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: 0094 11 2313131
Fax: 0094 23 00003
Email: bhutan.consul@hemas.com,abbas@hemas.com


Brazilian Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of Brazil in Sri Lanka
MORVEN HOUSE NR. 16
QUEENS ROAD, COLOMBO 3 SRI LANKA
City: Colombo


Canadian Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
High Commission of Canada in Colombo, Sri Lanka
6 Gregory's Road, Cinnamon Garden
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 07
City: Colombo
Phone: 94 (11) 532-6232 or 522-6232
Fax: 94 (11) 532-6299 or 522-6299
Web Site: http://www.srilanka.gc.ca
Email: clmbo-cs@international.gc.ca


Chinese Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka
381-A Bauddhaloka
Mawatha
Colombo 07, Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: 0094-11-2688610
Fax: 0094-11-2693799
Web Site: http://lk.china-embassy.org/eng/
Email: chinaemb_lk@mfa.gov.cn


Cuban Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Cuban Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
15/9 Maitland Crescent
Colombo 07, Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: (94-11) 2677170
Fax: (94-11) 2669380
Email: consulcuba@sltnet.lk,cubaembalk@sltnet.lk,embacuba@sltnet.lk
Office Hours: Office Hours: Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00 Consular Office Hours: Monday to Friday 09:00 to 12:00


Cypriot Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Cyprus in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Ceylinco Seylan Towers, 16th Floor
90, Galle Road
Colombo 03, Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: (009411) 2456650, 2456675, 2456651, 2580252 (Res.)
Fax: (009411) 2452655, 2580252 (Res. Fax)
Email: sicille@lanka.ccom.lk, sicille@ceygroup.ccom.lk
Office Hours: 09:00 - 15:00 (Flexible)


Czech Consulate in Colombo 03, Sri Lanka
Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Delmon Holdings Building
Level 02, No. 15, Mile Post Avenue
Colombo 03, Sri Lanka
City: Colombo 03
Phone: 009411/5555218
009411/2375922
Fax: 009411/2375852
Email: czech2006@sltnet.lk
Office Hours: Monday - Thursday: 10.00 - 16.30


Danish Consulate in Colombo 1, Sri Lanka
Royal Danish Consulate General in Sri Lanka
Unit #5-3C, East Tower
World Trade Center
Echelon Square
City: Colombo 01
Phone: +94 (75) 556 699
Fax: +94 (75) 554 545
Email: kdconsul@sltnet.lk


Finnish Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Honorary Consulate General of Finland in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Honorary Consulate General of Finland
23-25 Rheinland Place 3
City: Colombo
Phone: +94-11-4727222
Fax: + 94-11-2576755 / 2575485
Email: ashroffo@brandix.com


French Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of France in Colombo, Sri Lanka
89 Rosmead place - Colombo 7
City: Colombo
Phone: [94] (11) 263 94 00
Fax: [94] (11) 263 94 02/ 263 94 01 (section consulaire
Web Site: http://www.colombo.diplo.de/
Email: ambfrclb@sltnet.lk


German Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
No. 40, Alfred House Avenue
Colombo-03
Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: 94 1 580431
Fax: 94 1 580440
Web Site: http://www.colombo.diplo.de/
Email: germaemb@sltnet.lk
Office Hours: 9.00-12.00 Monday- Friday


Greek Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Honorary Consulate General of Greece in Colombo
Meewella Building 4th Floor, 329 Galle Road, Colombo 04, Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: (009411) 2556701
Fax: (009411) 2585995
Email: ajit@keells.com


Greenlandic Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Royal Danish Consulate General in Sri Lanka
Unit #5-3C, East Tower
World Trade Center
Echelon Square
Colombo 01
City: Colombo
Phone: +94 (75) 556 699
Fax: +94 (75) 554 545
Email: kdconsul@sltnet.lk


Indian Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
High Commission of India in Colombo, Sri Lanka
36-38, Galle Road
PO Box No. 8823
City: Colombo
Phone: 00-94-1-2327587, 2421605
Fax: 00-94-1-2445403
Web Site: http://www.hcicolombo.org/
Email: cons.colombo@mea.gov.in, info.colombo@mea.gov.in, hoc.colombo@mea.gov.in, com.colombo@mea.gov.in


Indian Consulate in Kandy, Sri Lanka
High Commission of India in Kandy, Sri Lanka
No. 31, Rajapihilla Mawatha
PO Box 47
City: Kandy
Phone: 00-94-8-234545, 224563
Email: ahciknd@telenett.net


Indonesian Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of Indonesia in Colombo, Sri Lanka
400/50 Sarana Road
Off Bauddhaloka Mawatha
Colombo 07, Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: (94-11) 267 43 37
Fax: (94-11) 267 86 68
Email: indocola@sri.lanka.net


Irish Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Honorary Consul of Ireland in Sri Lanka
35 Edward Lane
City: Colombo 03
Phone: 0094 11 2587 895
Fax: 0094 11 4517 589

Italian Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of Italy in Sri Lanka
55, Jawatta Road
Colombo 5 - 00500
Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: 941 588 388
Fax: 941 588 622
Web Site: http://www.italy-vfs.com/
Email: itemgen@slt.lk
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 08.30 - 12.30

Japanese Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of Japan in Colombo, Sri Lanka
No. 20 Gregory's Road, Colombo 7
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
(P.O. Box 822 Colombo)
City: Colombo
Phone: +94-11-2693831
Fax: +94-11-2698629
Web Site: http://www.lk.emb-japan.go.jp/
Email: cultujpn@sltnet.lk
Office Hours: Working Hours: 8:30-17:00 Weekly Holidays: Saturday/Sunday

Kuwaiti Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of Russia in Colombo, Sri Lanka
14 Jawatta Road
Colombo 05
Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: (+94-11) 2597957, 2582428, 2597958
Fax: (+94-11) 2597954
Email: kuemcolombo@eureka.lk

Malaysian Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
High Commission of Malaysia, Colombo
No. 33, Bagatalle Road, Colombo 03,
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: 0094 112554681/2/3
Fax: 0094 112554684
Web Site: http://www.kln.gov.my/perwakilan/colombo
Email: malcolmbo@eureka.lk,malhoc@eureka.lk,malcon@eureka.lk
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8.15 a.m - 4.15 p.m

Irish Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Honorary Consul of Ireland in Sri Lanka
35 Edward Lane
City: Colombo 03
Phone: 0094 11 2587 895
Fax: 0094 11 4517 589

Maltese Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Honorary Consulate of Malta in Colombo, Sri Lanka
c/o 2nd Floor, Lucky Plaza
No.70, St Anthony s Mawatha
Colombo 03
Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: 0094-11-2-575 511/ 2-574 817
Fax: 0094-11-2-577 385
Email: maltaconsul.colombo@gov.m

Irish Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Honorary Consul of Ireland in Sri Lanka
35 Edward Lane
City: Colombo 03
Phone: 0094 11 2587 895
Fax: 0094 11 4517 589

Myanmar Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of Myanmar in Colombo, Sri Lanka
No. 108 Barnes Place,
City: Colombo 07
Phone: (94) (1) 681197, 672197
Fax: (94) (1) 681196
Email: mecmb@itmin.com, mmembcmb@eureka.lk

Nepalese Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of Nepal in Colombo, Sri Lanka
153, Kynsey Road,
Colombo 08, Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: 0094-11-2689-656, 657
Fax: 0094-11-2689-655
Email: nepalembassy@eureka.lk

Dutch Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Royal Embassy of Netherlands in Colombo, Sri Lanka
25, Torrington Avenue
Colombo 07
Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: +94-(0)11-2596914
Fax: +94-(0)11-2502855
Web Site: http://srilanka.nlembassy.org/
Email: col@minbuza.nl
Office Hours: Visa Centre Openings Hours Monday to Thursday 8.30 - 15.00pm

Pakistani Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
211 De Saram Place
Colombo 10
Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: (+94-11) 2697939, 2696301/2
Fax: (+94-11) 2695780, 2685635
Email: pakhicom@sri.lanka.net, parepcolombo@sltnet.lk

Philippine Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Consulate General of Philippines in Colombo, Sri Lanka
41 Sir Ernest de Silva Mawatha
Flower Road
Colombo 07
Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: (+94) (1) 370710 or (+94) (1) 370711
Fax: (+94) (1) 522524
Email: philcons@slt.lk

Romanian Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of Romania in Colombo, Sri Lanka
14A Cambridge Terrace
Colombo 07
Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: (00) (94) (11) 2683421
Fax: (00) (94) (11) 2683422
Email: romania@sri.lanka.net

Russian Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of Russia in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of the Russian Federation
62 Sir Ernest de Silva Mawatha
Colombo 07, Sri-Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: +941 2574-959, 2573-555
Fax: +941 2574-959, 2573-555
Email: rusemb@itmin.net

Saudi Arabian Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Saudi Arabia Embassy, Sri Lanka
29 Horton Place, 120 Horton Place
PO Box 155
City: Colombo
Phone: +94-696726 / +94-694874/+94-691549/+94-697311
Fax: +94-338881
Email: saudiemb@sltnet.lk

Singaporean Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Consulate of Singapore in Sri Lanka
No. 13, Dickman's Lane
City: Colombo
Phone: +94-11-2550-800
Fax: +94-11-2582-850 / +94-11-2502-988
Email: chairman@ceylincoconsolidated.com

South African Consulate in Colombo, Sri Lanka
South African High Commission in Sri Lanka
Level 26, East Tower
World Trade Center
Echelon Square
Colombo 01
City: Colombo
Phone: + 94 11 5635 966; + 94 11 2351 529
Fax: +94 11 5505 899
Email: sahc_info@sltnet.lk, sahc_consular@sltnet.lk, sahc_finance@sltnet.lk

Swedish Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of Sweden, Colombo
49 Bullers Lane
Colombo 07
Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: +94 (11) 4795 400
Fax: +94 (11) 4795 450
Email: ambassaden.colombo@sida.se
Office Hours: Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 12 noon Visa (applications and processing): Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 12 noon

Thai Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Royal Thai Embassy, Sri Lanka
9th Floor, Green lanka Towers
46/46 Nawam Mawatha
Colombo 02
City: Colombo
Phone: (9411) 230-2500-3, 230-4514, 230-2482
Fax: (9411) 230-4511-2
Web Site: http://www.thaiembassy.org/colombo
Email: thaicmb@sltnet.lk
Office Hours: Working hours: Monday-Friday 8.30 hrs.-16.30 hrs.

Emirati Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy of United Arab Emirates in Sri Lanka
44 Ernest de Silva Mw.
City: Colombo
Phone: +94-1-565052 / +94-1-565053
Fax: +94-1-564104
Email: uaeemb@pan.lk

American Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
U.S. Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka
210, Galle Road
Colombo 03
Sri Lanka
City: Colombo
Phone: +94 (11) 244-9070
Fax: +94 (11) 242-1272
Web Site: http://colombo.usembassy.gov/
Email: TisseraV@state.gov
Office Hours: Monday through Thursday 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM Friday 8:00 AM - 12 PM



7. Annual Events in Sri Lanka

January

  • Duruthu Perahara ( Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya )
  • Thai Pongal Celebration
  • VIVAHA the Annual Wedding Exhibition at the BMICH
  • EDEX Educational Exhibition
  • Literary Festival at the Galle Fort

February

  • Independence Day
  • Hindu Maha Shivarathri
  • Nawam Perahara at Colombo
  • Architect Exhibition

March

  • Sri Lanka Trade Exhibition BMICH
  • School Cricket Match Season
  • Medicare Exhibition at BMICH

April

  • Sinhala & Hindu Festival
  • Consumer Fair at SLECC
  • Nuwara -Eliya Flower Festival
  • Asian Division 01 Rugby League

May

  • Vesak Festival
  • Surfing Season starts at Arugambay

June

  • Poson Festival at Mihinthale
  • Construction & Furniture Exhibition

July

  • Medin Maha Perahara
  • Hikka Beach Festival
  • Carlton Rugby 7s Tournament

August

  • Esala Perahara at Kandy
  • Gajaba Super Cross Motor Racing
  • The Colombo Music Festival
  • Madu Church Festival

September

  • International Book Fair
  • International Gem & Jewellery Exhibition

October

  • Diwali Festival
  • Ramadan Festival

November

  • Singer Lifestyle Household Items Exhibition
  • Whale Watching season starts in southern Seas

December

  • Adam's Peak Pilgrimage season starts
  • Colombo Night Race Motor Event
  • Christmas Season
  • Santastic Fair at SLECC

8. Emergency Services

Help is just a call away!

The visitors to the country as well as the locals can reach for help in case of a health emergency or in any danger though following numbers. The emergency access numbers could be contacted through all the telephone and mobile operations in the country while many mobile services offering emergency calls despite low signals and low credits. However most of the emergency services are restricted to town centres and suburbs while police stations and hospitals offer emergency care in rural areas.

Emergency Services Telephone Number
Police Emergency Hotline 118 / 119
Ambulance / Fire & rescue 110
Accident Service-General Hospital-Colombo 011-2691111
Tourist Police 011-2421052
Police Emergency 011-2433333
Government Information Center 1919
Report Crimes 011-2691500
Fire & Ambulance Service 011-2422222
Emergency Police Mobile Squad 011-5717171

Falck is the world's largest international ambulance provider treating over five million patients around the world every year and in Sri Lanka.

Call: 1990 for Emergency services in Colombo.