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Sri Lanka Travel Guide

There's something tantalising about Sri Lanka, whether it's from the unmistakable scent of spices in the air, the faint vestige of old-fashioned sophistication, or the pacifying sway of its green-carpeted land and beautiful beaches. The amalgamation of it all results in the chemic penning of irreducible experiences you wouldn't want to miss. This is Serendib, and it's where you're meant to be.

The Highlights

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    December to March

    While Sri Lanka’s position near the equator means the country boasts consistently warm temperatures year round, it does suffer two monsoon seasons each year. However, most of the country enjoys a dry season from December through March. An exploration of the western and southern coasts as well as the hill country is ideal. Festivals abound including Thai Pongal in January and Vesak Poya in March.

  2. Low Season

    May to September

    May through September may bring rain to the southwestern region, thanks to Southwest monsoon, but it is a great time to visit the northern and eastern regions whose turn it is to relish dry months. Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya should be on your itinerary. April—during which the Sinhala and Tamil New Year take place—and September are your best bets, if you’re planning on seeing the whole country.

Sri Lanka Tours

FAQs about Sri Lanka

  • Do you tip in Sri Lanka?

    In Sri Lanka, tipping is pretty much expected but at different levels. Generally, you add a 10% gratuity to your restaurant bill, leave your hotel housekeepers Rs. 100 a day, give your hired driver or tour guide ₨ 500-750 tip per day, and round-up your taxi and trishaw fares.
  • What is the internet access like?

    As with many Asian countries, Internet cafes are on hand all over the country for your WiFi needs. Most hotels and cafes, as well as many restaurants, also offer WiFi access.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    Tap water is NOT safe to drink in Sri Lanka. Maintain hydration, but only with bottled mineral water. It’s also best to avoid consuming drinks with ice in them.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    Absolutely! Most cities and even small towns in Sri Lanka accept Visa and MasterCard. Some establishments even accept American Express. Do make sure you’re not being charged a surcharge or in a foreign currency as these are illegal.
  • What are the public holidays?

    Among Sri Lanka’s most important holidays is Duruthu Poya on the first full moon of the year; Tamil Thai Pongal Day from January 14 through January 17; Independence Day on February 4; Sinhala and Tamil New Year's Eve in the second week of April; and Deepavali around late October or early November.
  • What are the toilets like?

    Toilets in Sri Lanka range from squat toilets to sit down ones, depending on the type of establishment. Mid-range and luxury accommodations, as well as restaurants and top attractions, favour the modern sit down toilets. Carry your own toilet paper.
  • Is Sri Lanka safe for solo travellers?

    As with many destinations, visitors must always use common sense and practice due caution and vigilance when travelling in Sri Lanka. However, it is generally safe and pretty amazing for solo travellers—men and women—to explore on their own. 

  • Is Sri Lanka safe for families?

    Sri Lanka is a very child-friendly country with locals making a special effort to entertain visiting children. Baby food and diapers are available in supermarkets though baby bottles may be harder to find.
A TRAVEL MAGAZINE BY TOURRADAR