Sri Lanka Travel Guide

It’s great that you’ve settled on Sri Lanka as your next holiday destination. The tiny island nation is packed full of unique sights and experiences — and just a few hours away! But first, you must ensure all the pre-travel arrangements and necessities are in place so that you can have a smooth journey to the beautiful beaches, nature and culture that lie in store. 

This guide gives you step by step advice on how to do just that. With our immense travel expertise, we’ve simplified the entire process right from weeks before your trip until it’s time for take-off. That way, there’s no need for any nervousness, just the excitement of looking forward to the time of your life. Read on and you’ll be all set to go. 


Two Weeks Prior

Have a look at some of the more frequently asked questions before making the trip to Sri Lanka. 


What are the important documents required to travel abroad?


1. VISA: Your visa is the most important travel document needed to make this journey, second only to your passport. While Sri Lanka offers Indian citizens visa on arrival, you need to submit an online application form and get it approved. 

For the visa, you’ll need: 

  • Complete and submit the application form online
  • Pay the visa fee
  • Retain the approved e-visa form on mail and print
  • Compile all your paperwork

For a hassle-free experience, you can also apply for Sri Lanka visa online with SOTC.


2. PASSPORT: Ensure that your passport is valid till at least 6 months after the end date of your journey.


What should you pack?

  • Reading material for the trip 
  • Warm weather clothes 
  • Hiking shoes and sandals
  • Sunglasses, bathing suits
  • Sunscreen, bug repellent, hand sanitiser
  • Power banks
  • Deodorant 
  • Umbrella or rain gear 

What is the Maximum Luggage Allowed by Airlines?

Your luggage should not weigh more than:

  • 7 kgs for hand luggage 
  • 23 kgs for check-in bags 

However, each airline carrier has their own rules with regard to luggage limits and it’s best you check with them to be sure. 


Two To Three Days Before The Trip

Foreign Currency 

SOTC provides you with currency notes as well as Forex Cards that can be used for ATM withdrawals and electronic transactions at merchant outlets. The currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR), with 1 INR = 2.51 LKR. 


Power Banks & Adapters

Most Indian plug types should work in Sri Lankan sockets, but it is always advisable to carry a universal adapter just in case. Also ensure that you have a power bank with you that’s fully charged before your flight, so that you can stay connected and keep your phone powered on at all times. It can be a handy device when exploring the island for long hours. 



  • Toothbrush & toothpaste, preferably your own for hygiene purposes
  • Sunscreen & moisturiser for skin protection from the coastal sun
  • Shampoo & conditioner that suit your hair type
  • Your personal hair comb or brush 
  • Face and body wash that suit your skin
  • Hand sanitiser to stay protected from any germs you may be exposed to


  • Light, breezy summer clothes and resort wear 
  • Swimsuits, sarongs and shorts for the beach or poolside
  • Comfy hiking shoes as well as sandals or flip flops
  • A hat or cap for daytime use
  • Rain-proof jacket 


Make a compact travel first-aid kit to carry in case of emergencies.

  • Pain killers
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Safety pins
  • Crepe bandage
  • Skin cream
  • Cough & cold medicines
  • Allergy medication 


The Day Of Travel


If you wish to carry some light snacks or ready-to-eat stuff for the flight, you may do so. Not everyone has the appetite for airline food, so homemade is always a healthier and safer option. 

Important Documents

  • Valid photo ID proof such as your passport, which is needed to enter the airport, board the flight and even access certain places in Sri Lanka
  • A copy of your visa
  • A printed copy of your tickets
  • Photocopies of all important documents including travel, sightseeing arrangements, bookings etc. 
  • Scanned soft-copies of all the above documents that are always accessible 


Travel insurance is key when it comes to staying protected in the case of unwanted circumstances interrupting or cutting short your trip, once the bookings have been made. It allows you to recover some of your money as well as provides medical assistance and cover during the journey. Choose any of the top travel insurance companies or ask SOTC for assistance. 

Important Numbers

Always keep handy the telephone numbers for the local Consulate, police and other emergency services as well as travel agents you have consulted. 

Hotel Bookings

Confirm your hotel bookings and insist on a receipt before you leave for your destination. Check if your hotel provides pick-up and drop-off services or ask SOTC to organise it as part of your Sri Lanka tour package

Cash / Card 

Credit and debit cards are widely accepted all across Sri Lanka, even in smaller towns. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted, however it is still advisable to carry some cash at all times. 


During The Trip

When travelling across Sri Lanka, it might be handy to know some basic local phrases in Sinhalese to help you get around. 

  • Hello / Good Day — Ayubowan
  • Thank you very much — Bohoma Istuti
  • I don’t understand — Mata Terinneh Neh
  • How much is it? — Meeka Kiyadha
  • Do you speak English? — Ingirisi dannevada?


Tips For Travelling In Sri Lanka

Getting Around: Despite Sri Lanka’s moderate size, getting around the island can be time consuming given the narrow roads, volume of people, vehicles and such. Local buses are the standard transport but you can travel by rail, car, rickshaw, private buses and more. 


Food Culture:

Sri Lankan food culture is rich, with influences coming in from India and Europe and creating a unique local flavour. Staple food is rice, curries, hoppers, seafood, vegetarian dishes. Visit independent restaurants around Colombo, while most hotels have really great restaurants in-house. Beachside shacks are found across the island as well as cheap street food. Tipping is customary. The average meal cost for two is between 1000-3000 Sri Lankan Rupees. 


Lodging Options:

There are excellent lodging options across the island, from seaside resorts to jungle stays, boutique hotels, guesthouses, villas and hostels. 

If you are looking for a budget hotel, rates will be between    2000-3500 Sri Lankan Rupees. 

Double room in a midrange will be about 6000-20,000 Sri Lankan Rupees. 


Social Etiquette:

Sri Lankan people are friendly and welcoming to tourists from around the world. It is always advisable to respect local culture when visiting a country. While beach wear is allowed, you must cover up when visiting any places of worship. 


When to visit:

Sri Lanka is blessed with gorgeous tropical climate all year round, marked by two monsoons. The best time to visit the West, South Coast and hills is December to March. While April to September is great on the East Coast. 


Unmissable experiences:

There’s a wide range of activities in Sri Lanka that go from adventure to relaxation, beach thrills to wildlife spotting. Even a few days on the island are enough to sample a host of different experiences. Some of the top ones you could seek out are — climbing to the top of the rock fortress Sigiriya, going surfing in Hikkaduwa and Arugam Bay, visit a tea plantation, get rejuvenated at an Ayurvedic wellness centre, see animals in the wild at Yala National Park, visit the elephant orphanage. 


Get active:

To best enjoy the wonderful destination of Sri Lanka, be prepared to be on your feet and don’t miss any opportunity to go exploring. 


Sri Lanka in the arts:

Many Bollywood movies have been filmed in Sri Lanka, including Ready with Salman Khan and Bombay Velvet with Ranbir Kapoor. 

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