Sri Lanka or officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is an island state washed by the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. The island is situated in South Asia to the east of Hindustan and separated from it by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The official capital is the city of Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte but de facto the capital is Colombo.
The climate on the island is monsoon tropical. The yearly average temperature is +27°C. The water temperature on the Sri Lanka coast reaches the same temperature. The tourists can come to the island anytime because even in the wet season, there are many sunny days.
The official languages of the Republic are Tamil and Singhalese however, English is also officially used and spoken. The people on the island are the followers of Buddhism and Hinduism.
On Sri Lanka, there is everything and anything to have a good holiday. The travelers will be amazed by the beach resorts in Bentota, Hikkaduwa and Arugam Bay. For a good fishing and underwater hunting head right to Negombo and Mirasse. Trincomalee and Unawatuna are good places for diving and snorkeling.
If you like noisy city entertainments, you will want to stay in Colombo and Hikkaduwa. If you prefer a country rest, visit the city of Nuwara Eliya, the Yala National Park and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.
One will find monuments of ancient civilizations in Sigiriya where in the 5th century a magnificent Kassiap King Fortress was built.
The only disadvantage of travel to Sri Lanka for EU and CIS citizens is a long flight.
Flight is the most convenient way to get to the island but the tourists will have to make, at least, one stop. We recommend choosing the flight with a stop in Male, Doha or Dubai.
There are no other ways to get to Sri Lanka. A ferry route between the island and the continent is only going to be restored.
The tourists from EU and CIS countries must obtain a visa to get to Sri Lanka.
The travelers can take advantage of the service Electronic Travel Authorization and apply for a visa remotely. The documents are quickly processed, within 1-2 working days.
The visa is valid for 30 days but if you want to stay on the island for a longer time, you will have to apply for a visa in the Embassy.
If you take more than 10.000 US dollars, you must declare the money as well as expensive jewelry and other valuable goods.
It is prohibited to import the currency of India and Pakistan.
There are certain restrictions concerning the import of alcohol and perfume. The import of tobacco in Sri Lanka is possible only after paying customs duties. One can bring in medications provided that there is a doctor’s prescription. It is not allowed to bring in poultry.
To export souvenirs from the island the tourists must have a bill of sale. Otherwise, Customs officers can suspect the export of items with cultural, historical or natural value.
The tourist can export only 2 kg of tea per person.
The locals prefer grains, vegetables and seafood. The chefs frequently use fish and coconut (flesh and coconut water). Many dishes are prepared with hot spices and herbs. Being in Sri Lanka, you will discover new and unusual combinations which will burst with amazing flavors. Any dish on Sri Lanka is served with a sauce. The sauces are made from fruits, coconut water and ginger with different spices.
The travelers should try Sri Lankan Dhal Curry (hot curry from red lentils and coconut water), Beetroot Curry (fragrant curry from beetroot with coconut flesh) and Kottu pomu. Curry from green Thai eggplant Ela Batu will make your mouth water.
Seafood holds a special place in the diet of the locals. In restaurants order Squid Curry (chopped squid roasted with red onion, pepper, tomatoes and spices), tuna fillet with coconut water, smoked lobsters.
Sri Lankan salads Mallum are very refreshing on a hot day. The ingredients are cabbage, red onion and coconut flesh dressed with lime juice. The salad Gotokula Sambol is made from the leaves of gotu cola, shredded coconut, red onion and spices.
On Sri Lanka, you will be offered juices and fresh exotic fruits such as pineapple, lychee, passionfruit, grapes and starfruit.
The most popular drink on the island is tea. The locals brew it with fruits and herbs and they prefer drinking light herbal infusions.
In Sri Lanka, anyone has a chance to try local beer Lion and vodka Arrack. Be careful with drinking local whiskey or gin.
The official currency in the Republic is Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). In circulation are the bank notes from 10 to 1.000 rupees and coins from 1 cent to 5 rupees.
US dollars and Euros are willingly accepted on the markets, in souvenir shops and small stores.
We recommend exchanging currency only in official exchange offices at banks, airports or in large hotels. Any official exchange office gives a bill which allows the tourists perform a reverse conversion.
One can pay with a credit card in large hotels and malls. In large cities, there are many ATMs.
The tourists can cash traveler’s checks almost at any bank.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, there are eight UNESCO sites.
- The Golden Temple of Dambulla is a must-see on Sri Lanka. This temple was carved in the hill. There, the tourists will see a statue of Buddha. This is the largest cave temple complex in South Asia.
- In the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the travelers can take an interesting excursion to the temple Gal Vihara and Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum.
- A trip to the sacred city of Anuradhapura will give you a chance to see one of the sacred objects for all the Buddhists in the world and this is the Buddha’s fig tree. In the downtown, the travelers can take a picture of one of the seven Stupas, Mahatupa or the Great Stupa which was erected in the 2nd century B.C. on the gold gravel foundation.
- In a unique sacred city of Kandy, the tourists can enjoy the artificial Kandy lake which was created following the order of king Kandy. There is also the Royal Summer Palace and the Temple of the Sacred Zubba Buddha.
- The old town of Galle and its fortifications or Senkadagalapura was the last capital of the Singhalese Royal dynasty.
- The Ancient City of Sigiriya or a Lion Mountain is a castle built by the parricidal King Kassapa I.
- Your holiday on Sri Lanka will not be complete without visiting the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. This is the rain forest to the north-east from the town of Galle. The forest is the habitat for the macaques, giant squirrels, purple-faced leaf monkeys, armadillos and various species of exotic birds.
- The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka includes the Horton Plains National Park, Wilderness Peak and Knuckles Conservation Forest.
- 12 km away from Kandy, in Peradeniya, there is a marvelous Royal Botanical Garden, the best botanical garden in Asia.
Sri Lankan Souvenirs
The tourists will want to bring souvenirs from this fantastic tropical island. Cotton clothes of a good quality are especially popular. T-shirts, trousers and dresses are as light as air and they protect the skin from the sun.
Women can buy unusual jewelry. A great variety of jewelry is in Colombo.
On the open-air markets and in souvenir shops in Nuwara Eliya the tourists can buy handmade crafts such as wooden tableware, ivory crafts and elephant figurines.