Time zone: GMT + 5.30
Telephone services: Country Code: 94 Outgoing Code: 00
Emergency telephone numbers: All services – 1 691095 / 699935
Tourist information: Sri Lanka Tourist Board, 22 Regent Street, London SW1Y 4QD Tel: (0171) 930 2627 . Fax: (0171) 930 9070.
Passport information: Passport valid for 3 months required by all. Return Ticket required. Requirements may be subject to short-term change. Contact the relevant authority before departure
Visa information: For tourist visits, nationals of the following countries will be issued a visa free of charge on arrival at Colombo airport: nationals of EU countries for a maximum stay of 30 days (nationals of Finland and Sweden may stay up to 90 days) nationals of Australia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines and the USA for a maximum stay of 90 days. nationals of Albania, Bahrain, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, CIS, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Norway, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yugoslavia, (Serbia and Montenegro) for a maximum stay of 30 days
Health information: Polio, Typhoid: Vaccination recommended
Malaria: May be present
Yellow Fever: A vaccination certificate is required from travellers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas
Other Health Risks: Cholera, Rabies
Food & drink: Water is untreated and not safe to drink. Avoid dairy products as they are not pasteurised. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled before consumption
Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (SL Re, Rs (plural) = 100 cents Exchange: An exchange form is issued on arrival, which must be stamped for all exchange transactions. Banks, hotels exchange currency. All major credit cards are widely accepted. Travellers cheques are accepted, for a better exchange rate offered than cash. US dollars are the preferred cheque currency
ATM availability: Over 12 locations
Cost of living: Suitable for all travellers and budgets
Languages: Sinahala, Tamil and English
Weather: Tropical climate. The coastal areas are cooled by the sea winds. The Monsoons are May – July and Dec – Jan
Electricity: 230/240 volts AC, 50 Hz. Round 3 pin plugs are usual
Post: Airmail to western Europe takes up to 1 week
Transport: RAIL: Connects Colombo with all tourist towns. New fast service operates on the principal routes. Rail services to the Northern area have been greatly reduced because of the violent disruptions. ROAD: Most roads are tarred. BUS, An extensive network of services of reasonable qualities provided. CAR HIRE: Available from several international agencies. DOCUMENTATION: An IDP should be obtained before departure to avoid lengthy red tape in Sri Lanka
Special information: EXTREME RISK in North and East. Please check before travelling – fighting between the security forces and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) continues particularly in the North and East of the country. Do not visit these areas. There have been terrorist attacks resulting in fatalities in Colombo.
It is considered impolite to refuse the offer of tea.
Punctuality is considered important.
Arms and legs should be covered when visiting religious sites and shoes and hats must be removed. Sea bathing is dangerous as there are strong riptides and undercurrents. There are severe penalties for drug offences. PHOTOGRAPHY of military installations or government buildings is prohibited.