Sri Lanka has two wet monsoon seasons; briefly between May and July in the south-west region and between December and January in the north-east. Average temperature is around 27°C – 30°C in most parts of Island. Some parts of the highland as low as below 10°C. However, Sri Lanka has no off season per se as clear blue skied bright sunny days are the general rule even during the wet season.
Sri Lanka is 5 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Median Time), 2½ hours behind Singapore
What to pack?
Sri Lanka has a tropical country and cotton and silk clothes are the most ideal to wear and of course your bathing suits are a must if you are visiting the beaches. If you are visiting the cultural and religious sites, it is a must that you wear appropriate clothing. Gents are required to wear trousers to cover their knees or a “sarong” with a shirt or T-shirt. Ladies should ideally wear decent attire such as a trouser or a skirt to cover the knees and a blouse or T-shirt. If you can wear the white color dreses its might better for religious places.
Currency/ Money Exchange
Commercial banks and HSBCoffer better rates. Converting Sri Lankan rupees back to a selected foreign denomination could be done at the airport bank which is open 24 hours of the day. Foreign currency and Traveler’s Cheques may be changed at any hotel. Currency notes are in 10s, 20s, 50s, 100s, 200s, 500s, 1000s,2000s ,5000s.
Hotels and shops accept most international credit cards. No surcharge is required for their use. Cash advances may be acquired against credit cards at certain bank ATMs. Most widely accepted cards are Visa and MasterCard.
Banks are generally open from 9.00am to 3.00pm from Monday to Friday. while others offer night banking facilities. Banks are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, all public holidays and special bank holidays on June 30th and December 31st. ATMs are most found adjoining bank branches island-wide.
Most shops open at 9.00am and close at 7.00pm. Shops are usually closed on Sundays and Full moon (Poya) days. The full moon poya day has religious significance for Buddhists and alcohol is not served in hotels, bars and public recreational areas on this day.
Filtered, mineral and bottled drinking water is available at most retail shops. Avoid drinking water from the tap.
220 Volts/50 Hz Ac. Two and three pin plugs are used mostly.
If you need a doctor, please contact the hotel reception or your tour guide. The hotel will have a doctor within the hotel premises or nearby. Pharmacies can generally be found at towns.
International Direct Dialling (IDD) facilities are available at all city hotels, resorts, post offices and telecommunication centers. And Dialog or Mobitel Mobile networks also providing the better services.
It is customary to tip drivers, guides and hotel housekeeping/restaurant staff if the service is satisfactory. This is solely at your discretion. The average tip is 100/200 rupees for Housekeeping and 10% of your meal bill for restaurant staff.
On leaving the country you are allowed to export up to 10kg of tea duty free.
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. All unspent rupees converted from foreign currencies can be re-converted to the original currency on departure as long as encashment receipts can be produced.
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.
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. For instance, it is strictly forbidden to be photographed in front of or beside any statues and murals. Note that flash photography can damage old murals.