Read our answers to popular Sri Lanka Travel FAQs that may crop up before, during and after your Sri Lanka Tour.
Yes, you will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. In addition, if you intend visiting Sri Lanka on a short visit,you will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) prior to arrival.
The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is an official authorization for a Short Visit to Sri Lanka and is issued through an on-line system. You need to obtain an ETA if you intend visiting Sri Lanka as a Tourist, on Business or on Transit. No passport copies, documents or photographs are required to obtain the ETA. ETA holders will be issued a 30 day Short Visit visa at the port of entry in Sri Lanka.
Nationals of all countries with the exception of citizens of countries mentioned below are required to obtain an ETA to visit Sri Lanka.
Nationals of following countries who visit Sri Lanka for a Short visit up to 30 days are exempt from obtaining an ETA;
The Republic of Singapore
The Republic of Maldives
The Republic of Seychelles
The non-refundable ETA processing fee for a Tourist visa with Double Entry for 30 days for citizens of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries will cost US$ 15, all other countries will cost US$ 30. Children below 12 years of age are exempt from the ETA fee. A complete list of ETA processing fees could be obtained from the ETA website.
You can either apply and obtain an extended visa from a Sri Lankan Embassy/ Consulate from your country of residence prior to arrival in Sri Lanka or get an extension from the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo 10. This procedure will take about 2-3 hours, and you will have to give a bona fide reason for staying over 30 days. If you are staying in a resort for a long period, the staff will be able to help you with the application.
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, (E.g. If you need to call a number in Colombo, dial ++94 11 2XXXXXX). If you are calling a mobile number, you dial the number after the country code (E.g. dialling a Dialog number, dial ++94 77X XXXXXX). Dialling 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 (e.g. calling within Colombo, dial 2XXXXXX, Calling Kandy from Colombo, dial 081 22XXXXX).
It’s a good option to purchase a local SIM card and top up cards while you are on holiday. The mobile call rates are relatively cheap for both local and IDD calls. There are many mobile operators in the country (E.g. Dialog, Mobitel, Etisalat, Hutch etc.,). Dialog has a counter at the Colombo Airport and you can obtain a connection on arrival. A Dialog connection will cost about Rupees 1500. Top up cards are freely available island-wide. You can buy top-up cards for denominations of Rupees 100, 400 & 1000. Be sure that your phone is `dual band’ and unlocked.
Sri Lanka has an effective health care system which is considered a model for most developing countries across the world. However, emergency medical facilities may not be found outside main cities. You may have to be brought to Colombo for treatment. We recommend you use the private sector hospitals, which are likely to offer better care. It is mandatory for those travelling to Sri Lanka from Africa or Latin America to have a valid certificate of vaccination for Yellow fever and Meningitis prior to arrival in Sri Lanka. You need up-to-date Hepatitis A, Polio and Tetanus shots. Mosquito borne diseases like dengue, chckengunya and malaria are common. It’s advised you take adequate protection against mosquitos. Take some Imodium tablets (just in case you get an upset stomach). Almost every town has a pharmacy selling common medicines. However, we advise you to carry any special medication as the availability of medical supplies may vary. You are strongly advised you take an adequate health insurance cover when travelling to Sri Lanka
True. Liquor is not served on Full Moon Days. Full Moon days (known as Poya days), are of religious significance to Buddhists and devoted to prayer and meditation. In keeping with its significance as a religious day abstinence is practiced. As such places selling liquor (including hotel bars) and Meat shops closed. Places of entertainment such as cinemas, discos and casinos are closed as well.
No. Smoking and consuming liquor in public areas is banned in Sri Lanka. The smoking ban includes enclosed public places such as restaurants and social clubs. Smoking is not allowed inside Dream Vacations vehicles while on tour; however, regular comfort stops will be provided.
The Sri Lankan currency is the Rupee (Rs), divided in to 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 & 2000. Breakdown larger notes when you change money – it can sometimes be a problem to breakdown a larger note (500, 1000 or 2000). Hotels and other tourist establishments will quote you the price in US$ or Euro and collect in Rupees at the prevailing exchange rate.
The International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is a bank account number structured according to the ECBS (European Committee for Banking Standards) standards. The IBAN was originally developed to facilitate payments within the European Union. Apart from most European countries, IBAN has now been adopted by a few other Middle Eastern countries as well. You can download the latest update of countries supporting IBAN from the SWIFT website. Sri Lanka like most other Asian countries, USA and Australia use the current Bank Identifier Code system (BIC or SWIFT code) in conjunction with the BBAN (Basic Bank Account Number).
‘Halal’ food is quite scarce in major hotels. The Galadari and Holiday Inn in Colombo serve halal food, as well a couple of hotels on the west coast. There are quite a few restaurants in Colombo and Kandy, but not much else. The best bet is to order seafood instead of meat to be on the safe side.
Comfortable - 90%
Security - 95%
24/7 Support - 80%
Value for money - 100%