The Best Time to Visit
It all depends on which parts of the country you want to visit. Different parts of the country are subject to varied weather patterns; hence, there will always be a part with good weather that you can enjoy. If you’re looking at the west coast, southern coast and hill country, the best time would be between December and March, whereas, the best time to visit the ancient central cities, north and east, would be between April and September.
Visas and Documentation
With effect from 1st January 2012, all Holiday or Business travellers to Sri Lanka must have Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for entering in to Sri Lanka. Please visit http://www.eta.gov.lk for more information.
The issuing authority of the ETA is the Department of Immigration & Emigration, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Persons intending to visit Sri Lanka can apply for ETA online or Ceylon Tours could apply for an ETA on your behalf.
A Visit Visa is an entry permit signifying the consent of the Sri Lankan Government for the admission of a foreign national to the country. The Visa contains details of the period of time and the condition/s of the stay.
There are two sub-categories which come under visit visas
1. Tourist Visit Visa
A Tourist Visa is issued to bona-fide tourists who want to enter Sri Lanka for sightseeing, excursions, relaxation, visit relatives or yoga training for a short period of time.
2. Business Visit Visa
A Business Visa is issued to foreign nationals who visit Sri Lanka for business purposes for short periods of time. This visa may be issued for single, double or multiple journeys.
A Transit Visa is an entry permit granted to a foreign national for admission into Sri Lanka for a brief period which is incidental and in the course of his journey to another destination.
The holder of a Diplomatic or Official Passport or a passport with a valid Diplomatic or Official endorsement will not be required to pay any fees for the visa.
What to Pack
The weather is usually mildly warm in most parts but can quickly get warmer and in the hill country get colder. Cotton and linen are the best option for clothes anywhere around. If you’re planning on visiting the hill country, pack more insulating clothing and raincoats. The tropical sun can be harsh at times so bring hats or caps and sunscreen. Disinfectants and insect repellents would be another essential to bring along if you’re planning to go out exploring a lot and try out local street cuisine.
The Bandaranaike International Airport will be your gateway to paradise. At the airport you will be able to purchase phone connections and exchange currencies.
While bikinis, swimsuits, shorts and trunks are good for walks along the coast, it is important to note that casual covering clothing must be worn when entering areas of religious significance or worship.
If you’ll be going about without the assistance of a tour guide, always be mindful of the 3-wheelers. The cheapest ways to travel in Sri Lanka are the buses and next, the 3-wheelers. Their prices are negotiable but they are very likely to rip you off. In Colombo and its suburbs, you get 3-wheelers that charge per kilometre travelled. But where this service is not available, always ask a local how much it will cost and then bargain till you reach or bring the price down close to that amount.<
To stay connected the best way, if you have a laptop, would be to visit the big coffee shops which offer free Wi-Fi or visit an internet café.
It is best to only carry only as much as you will need and leave the rest in the safe in your room or in the bank. ATMs are plentiful in most cities and towns, so unless you’re trekking in the Knuckles mountain range, you won’t have a problem withdrawing. Also try to keep your money in smaller denominations as some street vendors rather conveniently run out of change.
Who are eligible for Visa Exemptions?
Sri Lankan dual citizens.
• Children whose birth has been registered under section 5(2) of Citizenship Act - 1948 upto 21 years of age.
• Children born in Sri Lanka if they are under 18 years of age. (even when they hold foreign passports)
• On the basis of reciprocity, citizens of The Republic of Singapore and The Republic of Maldives are exempt from the requirement of obtaining ETA to visit Sri Lanka.
An ETA holder is entitled to enter Sri Lanka within three months from the date of issue of ETA.The ETA is initially limited up to 30 days from the date of arrival and it can be extended up to six months.
It is advisable to keep a copy of the ETA approval with you to be produced at the port of entry in Sri Lanka. All ETA holders should fulfill the following requirements at the port of entry.
• A passport valid for not less than 6 months from the date of arrival.
• A confirmed return ticket.
• Sufficient funds to meet the expenses during the stay.
For more information, visit http://www.immigration.gov.lk/