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Important Information for Travellers

Image by Günther Simmermacher from Pixabay

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.

What are The Types of Sri Lankan Visas?

​Visit Visa
Tourist Visit Visa
Business Visit Visa

For more information visit www.immigration.gov.lk

Photo Permits & Entrance Charges – Please not some sites require special photo permits before you can take any photos.

Useful Websites for more details

www.customs.gov.lk

www.archives.gov.lk

www.archaeology.gov.lk

www.environmentlanka.com

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.

Foreign Currency Regulations
Visitors to Sri Lanka bringing in more than US$10,000 should declare the amount to the Customs on arrival.

Health Precautions
The health risks in Sri Lanka are different to those encountered in Europe and North America. Sri Lanka’s physicians, though, many of whom have trained in the West, are particularly experienced in dealing with locally occurring diseases. We recommend that you contact NHS and your GP for more details well before your travel date.

When you are there…..

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.

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. We recommend that you contact NHS and your GP.

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.

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. 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 cents today). Currency notes are Rs.5000, Rs.2000, Rs1000, Rs500, Rs100, Rs50, Rs20 and Rs10.

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. Most hotels, restaurants and shopping centres accept credit cards.

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.)

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. You will also find there are tourist board guides who speak all the world main languages fluently at important sites.

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. 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 the Central 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.

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.

Safety :
In general the threats to personal security for travelers 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.