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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Travel Guide

Quick Facts

💰Currency Sri Lankan Rupee (Rs)
🔄Exchange Rate US$1 = Rs305.31
💬Languages Sinhala, Tamil
🗣️English Fluency Moderate
🏙️Capital Colombo
👥Population 21.8 million
🚘Driving Side left
🔌Plugs D, G, M
🕑Time India Standard Time (UTC+05:30)
🍽️Must-Try Rice and Curry, Hoppers, Kottu Roti, String Hoppers, Lamprais

Backpacker Budget: US$24 (Rs 7,327)

Hostel Dorm US$8 (Rs 2,442)
Takeaway Meal US$3 (Rs 916)
Public transport US$1 (Rs 305)
Long-distance bus US$4 (Rs 1,221)
Entrance Fee US$15 (Rs 4,580)
Beer US$2 (Rs 611)

When to go?

September - April High season
May - August Low season

What's unique?

Welcome to Sri Lanka, a tropical paradise that offers a perfect blend of pristine beaches, lush green landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. Known as the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean,' this enchanting island nation is teeming with wonders waiting to be explored.

One of Sri Lanka's greatest attractions is its stunning coastline. With miles of golden sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters, it's no wonder that the country is renowned for its beautiful beaches. Whether you're looking for a relaxing sunbathing spot or seeking thrilling water sports adventures, Sri Lanka has something for everyone.

But Sri Lanka isn't just about beaches; it is also home to incredible wildlife and breathtaking natural beauty. The island boasts an impressive array of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries where you can witness elephants roaming freely, leopards stealthily prowling in the wilderness, and colorful birds soaring overhead.

The cultural heritage of Sri Lanka is equally captivating. Ancient cities like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa showcase the remnants of grand kingdoms from bygone eras. The iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress stands as a testament to ancient engineering marvels.

Sri Lanka truly captivates visitors with its warm hospitality, delicious cuisine infused with aromatic spices, vibrant festivals celebrating diverse traditions, and spiritual retreats at serene Buddhist temples scattered throughout the island.

Sunrise at Ella Rock
Sunrise at Ella Rock

Sri Lanka Loop
(2 weeks)

  1. 1
    Negombo

    A beach town with colonial-era buildings and a lively fish market. The proximity to the airport makes this a great first stop. Don't miss Angurukaramulla Temple!

  2. 2
    Anuradhapura

    An ancient city with historic ruins and temples. Don't miss exploring Mihintale.

  3. 3
    Sigiriya

    A UNESCO World Heritage site with a massive rock fortress and ancient palace ruins. Don't miss Pidurangula.

  4. 4
    Dambulla

    Home to the famous Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  5. 5
    Kandy

    Lively city known for the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and the annual Esala Perahera festival.

  6. 6
    Haputale

    Take the famous local train from Kandy. A charming hill town with tea estates and scenic views. Visit Lipton's Seat from here.

  7. 7
    Ella

    Certainly very touristy, but worth visiting to hike up Ella Rock for sunrise.

  8. 8
    Udawalawe National Park

    Home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, crocodiles, and birds, this is a good place to do a safari if you have little time and a low budget.

  9. 9
    Dickwella

    A popular beach destination famous for whale watching.

  10. 10
    Galle

    A historic fortified city with Dutch colonial buildings.

  11. 11
    Colombo

    Huge, busy city with a bustling market and colonial architecture. If you find it too busy here, head back to Negombo before flying out.

Train from Kandy to Ella
Train from Kandy to Ella

Fun Fact

Sri Lanka is known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean and is home to the oldest living tree in the world, the Sri Maha Bodhiya.

FAQ

Is Sri Lanka safe for tourists?

Yes, Sri Lanka is generally safe for tourists. However, it is always advisable to take normal precautions and stay aware of your surroundings.

What are some popular tourist destinations in Sri Lanka?

Some popular tourist destinations in Sri Lanka include Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Sigiriya, and Ella.

What are some essential phrases in Sinhala?

Some essential phrases in Sinhala are: - Hello: Ayubowan - Thank you: Bohoma istuti - Goodbye: Suba aluth avuruddak wewa

What's the best way to get around in Sri Lanka?

The best way to get around in Sri Lanka is by utilizing the extensive train network or hiring a private car or driver.

Travel Tips

  • Money Card payment is often possible, but not always
  • ATM Fees Most ATMs charge no fees
  • Free ATMs HNB, Union Bank
  • Do greet people with a smile and a nod of the head, especially when meeting someone for the first time.
  • Do remove your shoes when entering someone's home or a place of worship.
  • Do dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
  • Do try to learn a few basic phrases in Sinhala or Tamil to communicate with locals.
  • Do respect the local customs and traditions.
  • Don't wear revealing or skimpy clothing, especially in conservative areas.
  • Don't show public displays of affection, as it is considered inappropriate.
Disclosure: This travel guide may contain affiliate links
Cover: View from Pidurangala

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