Resources - Travel Tips

Inbound Tourism - Tips for a non-Sri Lankan visitor

Immigration  | Visas


Time Zone
GMT + 5:30 year-round since 15 April 2006
Currency 1 Rupee (LKR) = 100 cents | Exchange Rate


About Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka offers beaches, ancient cities, historical colonial buildings, vast tea and rubber plantations, a historic hill country capital, World's End: a steep, seemingly endless, drop for the less faint of heart (just for the view!) and a Little England "Nuwara Eliya", all within 200km. There are three 18-hole golf courses. Jaffna and its surrounding beaches offer more attractions if you stretch your horizon to 320km from Colombo. It is rated as one of the most biodiverse islands on the planet, and boasts two game parks, many national parks and one natural rainforest.


Sri Lanka does not have serviced apartments which are of hotel quality, yet. One exception are the apartments at the Colombo Hilton Residence. There are backpacker and apartments to let for those on a budget, which can be rented by the week. In Colombo city, a minimum rate is applicable by law, for all star-rated hotels.


Check out our Restaurant Guide.


Since the end of the Separatist Terrorist problem on May 19, 2009, the country has enjoyed peace and an ever growing number of visitors. The checkpoints and security checkpoints near sensitive areas are now very few and far between.


The beaches on the under-developed East and South coasts are at least a match for the finest in the world. Water-sports, eco and adventure tourism are more common elsewhere. Arugam Bay has been rated as one of the finest surfing beaches in the world.


Number one for most tourists in terms of shopping, would be the clothes complexes that have promulgated throughout Colombo. House of Fashion, ODEL and Beverly Street continue to attract busloads of appreciative tourists, raking in the bargains. Local handicraft, commodity and curiosity shops such as Barefoot, Lakpahana, the Good Market and Paradise Road are recommended too. Check with your hotel concierge or host family for the best places and times to visit, and shop away.


Airport Transfers
From the airport, the best way to the centre of Colombo is by Official Airport Taxi, or other transport (e.g. Seat-in-Coach) arranged by your tour operator. If you really want to rough it out, there is the no. 187 to Colombo Fort Bus Station, with onward connections to most other places in Colombo. Any tour that you book offers airport transfers as well for a fee. The Airport Highway, with a 10 minute drive to the city centre, opened in mid-September 2013.


History and Culture
Sri Lanka has a documented history of over 2500 years. The ancient ruins of Panduwasnuwara (4th century BC) Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are stark contrasts to the more recent royal treasures of Dambulla and Kandy. There are Eight World Heritage Sites to choose from, including two Natural Heritage Sites, perhaps the most concentrated number of sites for its small area in Asia.


Colonial History
Sri Lanka was colonised in order, by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British. Here is the timeline. The cities are dotted with buildings from these eras, and the old Dutch Fort at Galle takes pride of place among these. The temperate climes of Nuwara Eliya, called "Little England" at 2187m above sea level, also features gardens, villas and Lake Gregory, which is reminiscent of the small lochs of Scotland. Tea Plantations which were owned by adventurous Scots are still to be seen.


Things to watch out for
Tourists are all deemed to be rich, and able to pay much more than the average Sri Lankan. Therefore, they are sometimes charged more for everything, including three-wheelers (tuks tuks) and entry to historical sites.  Get a little advice from your hotel reception or a trusted Sri Lankan friend. Travel Advisory


Colombo, though the commercial capital, is quite small. It been recently tastefully restored (2012-14) and is one of the cleanest and most organised cities in South Asia. It is considered less polluted when compared to other capitals in the Asian region, due to much lower levels of industrialisation.

More Links

Tourama (Pvt) Ltd
3/1, 304 Union Place,
Colombo 2, Sri Lanka.
Tel: (+94 11) 2326181