Foreign Government Travel Warnings
We constantly monitor the advice posted by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At present there are no warnings against travel to the areas of Sri Lanka that we visit. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns or would like to know in detail what measures are being taken to ensure visits remain trouble free and without incident. Please make yourself fully aware of the advice from the FCO here - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka
It should be noted that this information applies to British citizens. Other nationals are asked to check the current position of their respective government.
Hotel Check-in Times
As a general rule most hotels will allow guests to check-in from 2pm. Please note that the price of your tour does not include guaranteed early check-in. Therefore please advise us if you would like to ensure that your room is available for an earlier arrival. This is particularly relevant on the first day of the tour and for early morning arrivals. One option is to pre-book and pay for an extra night at the beginning of your tour which will guarantee your accommodation is available irrespective of what time you arrive. Please contact us for information and costs.
It should also be noted that on many of our tours we have set-aside Day 1 of the itinerary as an ‘arrival day’. If you are arriving early or before the start date of the tour and would like to organise some extra arrangements on a private basis please contact us.
Food & Drink
The daily meal basis is shown in the tour itinerary; breakfast (B), lunch (L) and dinner (D). Please note that lunch may be a picnic. Drinks are not included and will be payable locally in cash.
If you have any special dietary requirements you must notify us at the time of booking. While we will make every effort to cater for you, we cannot guarantee that this will be possible.
Budgeting for your Tour
You will need some extra money to cover meals and drinks not included in the tour price, any optional sightseeing, souvenirs and items of a personal nature such as laundry.
The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.
The prices for drinks can vary greatly depending upon location and the prices detailed below are an average guide. In general you would expect that drinks purchased in a supermarket or local bar to be less expensive, whilst drinks in an upmarket bar or restaurant may be more expensive.
Bottle of local beer £1- £2
Bottle of water £0.50
Tipping – Guide and Drivers
Tipping is common practice in Sri Lanka. If your local guide has been helpful then you could think about tipping. This amount can obviously be left to you. When tipping a driver, a guide or hotel staff a few dollars will always be gratefully received.
ATM Availability: Sri Lanka is well equipped with ATMs, although less so in smaller towns than in larger cities
Credit and Debit Card Acceptance: Cards are generally only accepted in the more expensive shops and restaurants especially in the lesser visited north of the country
Local Currency: Rupee
Recommended Currency for Exchange: Pound Sterling or US Dollars
Where to Exchange: Your guide will advise you
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
Joining Tour Abroad
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive an airport transfer, both on arrival and departure include in the tour price. In order that the transfer can be arranged please ensure that you advise us of your flight information once available. Please advise the date, time and flight number for your arrival/departure. If we have not been advised of this information at least 2 weeks before travel, then you will be required to make your own way to the hotel on Day 1 of your tour.
It is a condition of booking that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday.
Most nationals including UK, EU and US visitors require a visa for entry to Sri Lanka. For most nationalities this is done online as an electronic visa. We recommend that you check with your nearest embassy for the most up to date details. For more details on the e-visa please visit http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, valid for at least six months after the date of return to the UK.
We strongly advise that your passport contains a minimum of two blank pages, as this may be a requirement of the local immigration authorities. In addition certain countries will stipulate that the two blank pages are opposite each other. If you are unable to meet these requirements you may be refused boarding by your airline or denied entry by the immigration authorities.
For specific information about the requirements for your destination please check with the country’s embassy or consulate. Alternatively UK citizens can visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Vaccinations & Protection
As with travel to most parts of Asia, we strongly recommend that you contact your doctor’s surgery or a specialist travel clinic for up-to-date information, advice and the necessary vaccinations. For a visit of less than one month, almost certainly you will be advised to have immunisations against the following: Diphtheria and Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Meningitis. The use of a DEET-containing insect repellent is highly recommended. Malaria is not known as high risk in Sri Lanka but again speak to your doctor or travel clinic for up to date advice.
Travelling in Sri Lanka
Due to ongoing rapid upgrades/developments of roadways and highways in Sri Lanka the times mentioned for transfers may take longer than estimated. While driving overland, a short stop every 2 ½ hours is required by law in order that the driver can get a short break.
We strongly advise to leave valuable items (money, passport, credit cards, jewelry, sensitive documents, laptop computer, etc.) in the hotel safe. During excursions and roundtrips, personal belongings, especially money and valuables should NEVER be left on vehicles, even during short breaks, and carried around at all times.
Poya holidays are observed on the day of each full moon. In general, Hindu and Buddhist festivals are declared according to local astronomical observations and it is often only possible to forecast the approximate time of their occurrence at short notice. On such days of religious reverence selling alcohol in public is illegal. However, at certain hotels the room bars remain accessible. A number of smaller hotels or restaurants do not have liquor licenses. In most cases you are allowed to bring your own.
Most Museums are closed on Sundays, Mondays and public holidays. Colombo National Museum is open all 7days a week except on public holidays.
Sinhala phrases that you may want to try out;
• “How are you?” - ko∙ho∙mȧ∙dhȧ? Literally, “how?” It’s an informal way of greeting someone
• “My name is [Dilshan]” - ma∙gé na∙mȧ Dilshan ma∙gé = “my”; na∙mȧ = “name”
• “What is your name?” - o∙yaa∙gé na∙mȧ mo∙kak∙dhȧ? o∙yaa∙gé = “your”; na∙mȧ = “name”; mo∙kak∙dhȧ? = “what?”
• “Where are you from?”- o∙yaa ko∙hén∙dhȧ? o∙yaa = “you”; ko∙hén∙dhȧ? = “from where?”
• “I want to go here” - ma∙tȧ mé∙hé∙tȧ yan∙nȧ ō∙né (ma∙tȧ ō∙né = “I want”; mé∙hé∙tȧ = “to here / to this place”; yan∙nȧ = “to go”)
• “Thank you (very much)” - bo∙hō∙mȧ sthoo∙thi
• “No, thank you (very much)” - é∙paa, bo∙hō∙mȧ sthoo∙thi
• “Help me!” - ma∙tȧ u∙dhauw kȧ∙ran∙nȧ! [ma∙tȧ = “to me”; u∙dhauw kȧ∙ran∙nȧ! = “do help!” or “help!” (imperative)]
• “I don’t feel well” - ma∙tȧ sa∙nee∙pȧ nǣ (ma∙tȧ nǣ = “I don’t have”; sa∙nee∙pȧ = “wellness”)
• “I’m hungry” - ma∙tȧ ba∙dȧ gi∙niyi (ma∙tȧ = “for me”; ba∙dȧ gi∙niyi = “(am/are/is) hungry”)
• “How much? - kee∙yȧ∙dhȧ?
• “Sorry / Excuse me” - sa∙maa vén∙nȧ
• “Where is the toilet?” - væ∙si∙ki∙li∙yȧ thi∙yén∙né ko∙hé∙dhȧ? (væ∙si∙ki∙li∙yȧ = “toilet”; thi∙yén∙né ko∙hé∙dhȧ = “where is it?”)
When it comes to clothing it is usually recommended that lighter clothes are worn through the day, and warmer ones at night although in Sri Lanka unless you are in the hill country temperatures never dip too low. A hat is also advised to be worn through the day to protect from the sun, along with at least one piece of waterproof clothing for any days where rain showers may be present.
You should bear in mind that Sri Lanka tends to have a conservative attitude towards dress. Women, and also to a certain extent men, will find that the way they dress will often determine the degree of respect they receive from both men and women.
The first thing on your list should be a first aid kit. Whilst there is no undue cause for alarm, travellers are best advised to travel well-prepared: adequately immunized, with sufficient supplies of prescription drugs, along with a medical kit. Suncream/sunblock is a must. Insect repellent, including a bite spray will also be useful to have. It is also recommended to take a torch/head torch in case of any electricity outages at night.
Footwear is always a priority consideration on tour and we recommend comfortable walking shoes when sightseeing. Lighter shoes or sandals are suitable when travelling and when at the beach.
Luggage on tour
Your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). One large suitcase/rucksack, and one small hand luggage rucksack is acceptable.
Electric Supply & Plugs
230-240volts. Plugs are usually of the European three round pin variety.