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Sri lanka


Destination SRILANKA – Beaches and Buddha
Travel to Sri Lanka and make your dream holiday come true. Sri Lanka offers beautiful sultry beaches, bounteous hills and mountains, murmuring rivers, quiet lagoons and marshes, exciting wildlife, heritage sites, pilgrimage sites, mouth-watering cuisine and more to pamper tourists from all over the world. Following the teachings of Buddhism, people of Sri Lanka have a strong sense of belief that had flourished the kingdom of Anuradhapura with rich cultural immersion and civilization. Sri Lanka travel guide also takes you to many places associated with the Ramayana in Sri Lanka.
General Information – SRILANKA

Country Official Name: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.Former Name: Ceylon

Land area 65,525 sq km
Population Approximate 19 million
Capital Colombo
GMT GMT +6 hrs

Climate Sri Lanka can be visited any time in the year. However the best time to tour the island is November to April. Peak season is December to mid January. The festival of Easter falls between March and April and the island becomes very colourful.Required Clothing:Most of Sri Lanka has hot and humid climate. So light cotton clothes would be appropriate. However if you plan to go to the hills we would advise you to carry woollens as well as waterproof clothing. While visiting areas wear long sleeve shirts and trousers in evening. This would protect you against mosquitoes. When visiting religious sites be careful to dress modestly. Leave your footwear outside before entering. Sun hat and sunglasses On beaches too you should not behave indecently. Sri Lankans appreciate decent behaviour.

Airport All international flights in Sri Lanka arrive at the Bandaranayake International Airport, 35 km north of Colombo, and 6 km of Negombo.

Entry Requirements Tourist Visa rules & regulations for visiting Sri Lanka are simple. Tourists can visit the country with minimum formalities. Tourists residents of the countries listed in Schedule ‘A’ shall be granted landing visa for 30 days on entry in Sri Lanka. If one wants to extend the tourist visa, one can contact the Department of Immigration and Emigration.All the countries falling in the SAARC region are exempt from visa These countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.A foreign national who wishes to visit Sri Lanka, requires a return air ticket and sufficient funds for maintenance. Funds should not be less than US $30 per day. Funds can be in currency / travelers cheques / credit card.

Currency Currency of Sri Lanka is Sri Lankan Rupee. One Sri Lankan Rupee consists of 100 cents. Coins come in the denomination 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents and Rs. 1, 2, 5 and 10. The higher value denominations are found as notes, namely Rs.10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000.Travelers Cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged at various commercial banks and hotels. Banks charge a 0.5% handling fee and a commission, which varies from bank to bank, while encashing Travelers Cheques. The use and acceptance of credit cards is widespread. While visiting a remote area it is advisable to arrange for an alternative mode of payment apart from credit card.

Language Sinhalese and Tamil are two major languages of Sri Lanka. Sinhalese is widely used by the Sinhalese majority while Tamil is used by the Tamils.

Tipping Ten percent service charge is generally automatically added to the bill by hotels and restaurants, but since this goes to the establishment, you might add an extra ten percent tip to the bill for the person who serves you. A daily tip is also expected by chauffeurs and guides but there is no fixed amount here. Those showing you around sacred places such as temples will expect a small tip . One thing you should keep in mind is never to hand over money to monks, which is considered inappropriate. Place the money in the donation box found at most temple premises. Tipping for other services is not generally expected, unless someone has really gone out of his or her way to help you and you feel that a tip is the least you can do.
Opening Hours All government offices and most private sector organisations operate five days of the week, from Monday to Friday. The opening and closing hours differ, but are generally in the range of 8.30-9.30am to 4.30-5.30pm. Some private sector organisations work a half-day on Saturday. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 9.00-9.30am to 5.00-5.30pm; some branches of some banks may be open on Saturday too, if only till mid-afternoon. Major post offices are generally open from Monday to Saturday and for longer hours (typically around 7.00am-8.00pm). Almost all shops and banks close on public holidays. Most shops, especially in Colombo, are also closed on Sunday. Major supermarkets in the city, such as Keells and Cargills, have branches all over the country. They are kept open until about 8.00 pm or even later everyday. They close only on certain public holidays. In smaller towns, the shopping hours depend on the shopkeepers

Electricity The electric current in Sri Lanka is 230-240V, 50 cycles, alternating current. Since voltage tends to fluctuate quite often in Sri Lanka, it is safer to bring a stabiliser if you are going to be using sensitive electronic equipment. Two and three pin round plugs are used widely. However adapters are readily available at electrical stores. In case you lose your adapter or forget to bring it, you could even have a local electrician attach a new plug.

Photography Ask permission before taking photographs of people and respect their wishes if they refuse. Minority groups in particular are often unhappy to have their photo taken. Travellers should avoid paying for the right to take a photo as this has been found to encourage a begging mentality in the locals. If photos are taken please send back copies (through our tour leaders or direct to the village) so that the people receive copies. The locals gain a great buzz from seeing themselves in photos and it encourages a ‘sharing’ rather than ‘taking’ attitude towards photography.While we welcome travellers to pack their video cameras, there are some places where it is not allowed to film. In small villages, at home-stays or trekking, the use of videos is restricted as local people have requested this and we ask for courtesy and discretion with still cameras.Ask permission before taking pictures either of people or inside temples or other sacred places. For example, it is forbidden to take photographs inside the cave temple complex of Dambulla. Never use flash on murals inside temples and other places; it can damage them. You are not allowed to use flash at the frescoes at Sigiriya, but where there is no ban, please behave responsibly. Never pose beside or in front of a Buddha statue (i.e. with your back to the statue). Such conduct is considered extremely disrespectful. Never take a photo of a monk without asking permission. Tourists are sometimes asked for money for taking photos. Always ask before you shoot whether payment is expected.

Never take photos of dams, airports, roadblocks or anything to do with the military. Don’t tote the camera around Colombo Fort.

Communications: Telephone facilities are available extensively throughout the country. There are many telephone booths which accept coins, but the clarity and talk times may be short. Telephone bureaus are quite common with most offering IDD and internet facilities. Some offer the cheaper net-to-phone facilities, but quality is not always reliable. IDD facilities are available in most tourist hotels.Dialling in – Sri Lanka’s country code is 94,If you are calling a mobile number, you dial the number after the country codeDialling within/ out – If you need to take an overseas call, you’ll have to dial ‘00’. You do not have to dial the area code if you are within the area. However, the area code must be dialled if you want to take an outstation call

Health and Medical information Sri Lankan authorities require you to have yellow fever and cholera vaccination certificates only if you are coming from an infected area; other than these, there are no mandatory vaccinations. It is, however, advised that you get medical insurance, and take adequate precautions against malaria, dehydration and food poisoning, the most common health problems encountered by travellers in the tropics. More important, keep clean, be careful about the food you eat and the water you drink and drink enough liquid to keep from getting dehydrated. It is a good idea to carry along a compact first aid kit to handle minor ailments.

Customs: Arrival/Departure & Additional Information: On arrival you have to fill in the official entry form. You may bring into the country 1.5 litres spirits, 2 bottles of wine, small quantities of perfume, still/ video camera, films for personal use. Make sure that you declare all valuables, gems and jewellery on arrival. You are not allowed to bring good in commercial quantities. You may choose the ‘Green Channel’ for clearance, if you have nothing to declare.Professional photography or filming equipment must be declared, and subject to clearance on providing a valid carnet, bank guarantee or refundable deposit of the duty payableYou may take out of the country anything you declared upon entering. Can also take back valuable items such as gems and jewellery purchased in Sri Lanka (please keep receipts) from the funds brought in to the country.

Up to 3 Kg of tea may be exported duty free. Please reconvert your unused Sri Lanka currency to foreign currency at departure.

Do ensure that you take back with you cameras, photographic equipment, transistor radios, recorders and sound equipment declared on arrival.

Additional Information: i)The Right Hand rule – Always gives and receives and eats with your right hand. It is extremely bad mannered to use your left hand for eatingii) Respect cultural differences – Things are done differently in Asia, and Sri Lanka is no exception. This is why we love it! Please make sure in your dealings with local people you accept these differences and not try to change them for your own benefit or comfort. The traveller who wishes to have a happy and successful trip in Sri Lanka should keep as calm, cheerful and friendly as humanly possible. Patience and courtesy are virtues that open many doors. Demanding tourists do not get smiles, service or respect.
iii)Environmental responsibility – Pollution and waste management is a huge problem throughout the world. Unfortunately in many parts of Asia, disposal systems are inadequate and recycling of plastics is limited. We suggest avoiding plastic packaging where possible and take along your own bag when shopping. Plastic bags will be offered for everything! Collect and dispose in the next town

iv)The law protects certain endangered species of flora & fauna. Export & in even possession of these species as well as of wild animals, birds, reptiles etc., is illegal. The production and sale of items made from wild animals and reptiles, e.g.: Leopard skins, crocodile skins, elephant tusks etc., is also illegal

v)Never break coral, or brush against it. Coral is basically a colony of living organisms and damaging them, might kill them. If you go out in a Glass-bottom Boat, encourage the pilot to steer well clear from the coral itself. Boats scraping over the top of the reef are doing damage especially at Hikkaduwa. Never buy coral if it’s offered for sale. Similarly don’t buy sea shells or turtle shells (or eggs). All of Sri Lanka’s five species of Turtle are endangered. If you happen to spot a turtle, when being take out on a boat, discourage the driver from circling it; this sort of harassment is very stressful to the turtle

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