Sri Lanka Travel Tips
Sri Lanka is a brilliant mix of epic adventure, organised chaos and warm locals. Like a slightlier less crazy version of India and Bangladesh, but every bit as beautiful. That being said, if you’re not an experienced adventurer, it can still come across pretty hectic. It’s not Thailand, let’s just say that! So make sure you’re up to date with all the Sri Lanka Travel Tips to help you make the most of your time travelling in Sri Lanka. And if you’re already there, or you’re flying into Colombo, check out my blog on 14 things to do in Colombo to help with your planning there too.
Is Sri Lanka Safe?
Not only is Sri Lanka SUPER safe to travel, it’s also one of the friendliest countries in the world (and I should know, I’ve been to all 197 countries!), it’s right up there in terms of friendliness with Oman, Algeria, and Yemen. Because of the apparent cultural similarities with it’s big brother, India, it gets tarred with the same brush, unfairly so. While I wouldn’t be keen for my partner, my sister, or my future daughter, to travel solo in India, I’d be fine with it in Sri Lanka. So yes, it’s safe.
Is Sri Lanka Expensive to Travel? How Much Should I budget to travel in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is a great budget travel destination. In fact, it’s even better than that. If you want to scrimp and save, you could ‘survive’ traveling on local transport, and street food, for about $25 per day (yup, really!), but even better than that is the potential options for affordable luxury. 5* hotels for $100. Massages, villas, infinity pools. Sri Lanka has the best of both worlds, and it’s affordable across the board.
What about Solo Travel in Sri Lanka?
I’ve been to Sri Lanka twice. Once I took my mum there, and then again, I raced a tuk-tuk around half the island (amazing experience by the way!), so I’ve never backpacked, or traveled, solo in Sri Lanka personally. That being said, it would be a perfect destination to travel solo. There are thousands of solo travelers in the country. Get yourself into a hostel or hotel in Colombo, and then head down to Mirissa in the south and you can’t fail to meet other travels. Or, stay solo and embrace the warmth of the locals. Both is a win-win.
How to Travel Around Sri Lanka?
It comes down to the level of budget and comfort you want. You can hire private drivers to cover half the country with you on demand for not much more than $100 a day. Equally, you can ride the super-fun trains for peanuts (less than $10 to cover half the country). I’d recommend the latter, much more of an adventure. You also don’t need to pre-book much of your travel, you can sort it out on the ground and book your next step a couple of days in advance.
What’s the Best Sri Lanka Itinerary?
I’d give myself AT LEAST 1 week in Sri Lanka to cover the big ticket items, 2 weeks would be better to be hoenst. That way you could see all the major attractions, but still have time to chill, soak up the vibes, party, hit the beach, relax etc. The South is more popular with tourists, so if you have limited time, check this schedule:
2 weeks: South Sri Lanka: Colombo – Hikkaduwa – Galle – Mirissa – Tangalle – Tissa – Ella – Nuwara Eliya – Kandy – Colombo
When’s the Best Time to Travel Sri Lanka?
Peak season is October through to April
They have 2 monsoon seasons, so plan in advance. The main southwest monsoon, ‘Yala’, brings heavy wind and intense rains to the west (Colombo, Negombo, Kalpitiya), hill country (Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Haputale, Adam’s Peak) , and southwest coastlines (Galle, Mirissa, Unawatuna, Tangalle, Yala National Park) from April/May through to August.
The second monsoon, ‘Maha’, hits the east coast and northern regions (Trincomalee, Arugam Bay, Nilaveli, Jaffna) between October and February.
Vaccinations for Sri Lanka Travel?
Yes, some vaccines are recommended or required for Sri Lanka. The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Sri Lanka: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.
Do You Need a Visa to Travel to Sri Lanka?
Generally yes, but you can do it online. Do it a week before yo ucome trip, it takes up to 2 days for approval.
If you’re disorganised, (like me) you can also get your Sri Lankan visa on arrival at the airport for US$40 in cash. There may be queues, so better to do it in advance.
Sri Lanka Factfile:
Size: 25,330 square miles
Population: 21.7 million
Languages: Sinhala, Tamil, English
Capital city: Colombo
Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) (1USD: 183 rupees – August 2020*)
Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!
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