General Information

Time Zone

GMT Plus 5 ½ Hours

Customs Formalities

Green channel for Tourists and non residents Who have nothing to declare. Baggage should not contain Goods in commercial quantities and goods that are prohibited and restricted. You are permitted to take out what you have declared and brought into the country and whatever you have purchased locally such as gems, jewelry and Sri Lanka products using your Foreign Currency.

Climate

Climate is agreeable all year round with an average temperature Of 27 Celsius in Colombo and on the Coast. In the Hill Country Districts the temperature is about 10 to 15 Celsius Cooler.

Banks

Open from 9.00 hrs to 15.00 hrs and some banks branches are open till 17.00 hrs. Banks at Airport are open all days including holidays 24 hrs. Bank of Ceylon - Tourist Bank in York Street Colombo open From 09.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs all days of the week including holidays.

Communication Facilities

Internet, Email, Wi Fi, IDD and Fax facilities are available in Colombo and all provincial towns including all major Hotels.

Avoid Beggars

They have dwindled to a small number but can become a nuisance to you.

Dietary Requests

Special dietary requests can be made available by Hotels and Restaurants if sufficient notice is given. Atleast the day before.

Holidays

Saturdays and Sundays and every Full Moon Day (called Poya Day) is a Buddhist holiday in Sri Lanka. On Poya Days all Public places of entertainment are closed and selling of alcohol is prohibited. However, hotels make special arrangements for their in house guests.

Television

Many channels both local and international have programmes in English. Major City Hotels provide Night Club entertainment. There is lively theatre in Sri Lanka mainly in Sinhala language. There are also many translations and adaptations from Western plays.

Tourist Police

Please contact Police Head Quarters Tel: +94 11 24 33333 / 2421111 or the Sri Lanka Tourist Police at the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Tel: +94 11 24 37059 / 60

Bus

Good Network Island wide. Airport Colombo Express way.

Central Bus Stand
Tel: +94 11 23 20705, 2329604/5

Road Passenger Transport Authority
Tel: +94 11 24 21731

Health Regulations

A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever is Required from all visitors arriving from infected Countries only.

Embarkation Tax

No

Colombo Harbour

Seaport - Tel: +94 11 24 21201 to Ports Authority, Customs, Immigration, Port Security and Sri Lanka Navy.

Entry Regulations

Obtain on line 30 Day visit VISA www.eta.gov.lk. Extension of tourist VISAS is done at the Department of Immigration, 41 Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha, Borella Colombo 10. Tel:-+94 11 53 29000

Credit Cards

Most international Credit Cards are accepted in Merchandising establishments within and outside Colombo including all major hotels and restaurants.

Electricity

220 – 240V.

Tipping

Tipping is generally expected for many services. The standard practice is 5 to 10 % of the bill. However, most hotels and restaurants include a 10% service charge, making additional tipping optional at your sole discretion.

Laundries

Laundries are available almost everywhere and are very cheap and reliable. However Hotels have laundries that are much more expensive than the local Laundries.

Postal Service

The Postal Services are very good and reliable. For information contact :

General Post Office
Janadhipathy Mawatha
Colombo 01
Sri Lanka .

Tel: +94 11 23 28301
fax: +94 11 24 47766
EMS: +94 11 24 47844

Also reputed courier services are available such as DHL, TNT and ARAMEX.

Some Useful Words in Sinhala

Ayubowan Welcome Greeting (Wish you long life)
Isthuthi Thank you
Bohoma isthuthi Thank you very much
O-Ne Want
Aethi Enough
Ae-paa Don’t want
Oww Yes
Hondai Good
Narakai Bad
Enna Come
Yanna Go
Hitaganna Stand
Waadiwenna Sit
Kanna Eat
Bonna Drink
Salli Money
Keeyada How much
Ithuru Balance
Suba Udasanak Wewa Good Morning
Suba Sandyawak Wewa Good Evening
Suba Raathriyak Wewa Good Night

Porterage

Baggage Trolleys are available upon arrival at Colombo International Airport free of charge. If you require the services of a Porter, you may engage one and the present porterage is Rs:100/- per bag.

Flight Information

Tel: 0197335555 / 0197332677

Airport Facilities

Duty free shopping Centre, Souvernir Shops, Tourist Information Counter, Hotel Representatives, Car Rental Services, Bankers, Postal Service and Restaurant.

What To Wear

Wear light cotton clothes of the drip dry wash and wear variety and light weight suits. A wide brimmed beach hat and sunglasses are recommended. Slippers or sandals will be more comfortable than shoes. Medium weight slacks and pullovers will be necessary for the Hill Country in the Nuwara Eliya District where the temperature can go down to10 C. Be decently clad in public places and in places of worship . Avoid wearing Sun & Beach wear in religious places. Beach shorts bare shoulders and bare back will not be permitted. You need not be stiff and overdressed, just comfortably dressed and decently covered is sufficient.

Tourist Guides

Trained registered Guides carry identity cards issued by the Sri Lanka Tourism development Authority (SLTDA). They could be contacted through the Travel Information Centre. Tel: +94 11 24 37059/60 and the Guide Lecturers Association Tel: +94 11 26 81241 or +94 11 26 78174. The Guides speak languages such as English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Korean and Arabic.

Medical Facilities

State owned hospitals in all parts of the country provide free medical and surgical attention. The Principal hospital of the City of Colombo is the Government General Hospital, Regent Street, Colombo 08. Tel: +94 11 26 91111 (Ext 350), 2686143 Accident Service - Tel: +94 11 26 91111, Fire & Ambulance- Tel: +94 11 24 22222

Newspapers

Daily and Sunday local newspapers in English are available.

Radio

English service, commercial and national service, morning afternoon and evening transmissions, news in English at 06:45 hrs- 7:30 hrs – 13:15 hrs 18:15 hrs – 20:45 hrs.

Railway

Good network Island wide. Fort Railway Station Tel: +94 11 24 34215

Tourist Information

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority:
No: 80, Galle Road, Colombo 03.
Tel: +94 11 2437059 / 60

Information Centre - Open on weekdays from 8:30 hrs to 16:30 hrs and on Saturdays and Mercantile Holidays from 08:30 hrs - 13:30 hrs (Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays)

The Tourist Board also maintains an information centre at the Colombo International Airport. Tel: +94 11 22 52411 (Open 24 hours)

Airport

Colombo International, 34 KM from City Centre. Tel: +94 11 22 52861 (hunting) to All Airlines Customs, Immigration and Airport Security.

Accommodation

Ranges from Guest Houses, Rest Houses and one star to five star Hotels where executive floors and suites, Boutique Hotels and exclusive Bungalows and Home Stays are available.

Duty Free Shopping

Duty Free shops are situated at the International Airport and Serves tourists and business visitors selling a wide range of Electronics’ Liquor, Chocolates, Perfumes and many other luxury and consumer items except Cigarettes sold only on departures. Prices are competitive with any other comparable Duty Free Shops in the region.

Currency

100SL Cents is equal to one SLR. Currency notes are in denominations of Rs:10/-, Rs:20/-, Rs:50/-, Rs:100/-, Rs:500/-, Rs:1000/-, Rs:2000/- and Rs:5000/-. The denominations are marked clearly in figures on both sides of the notes and stated in English in addition to Sinhala and Tamil. Coins which are commonly in use are – 1 Rupee, 2 Rupee, 5 Rupee & 10/- Rupee. To have small change will be convenient. Not many coins but small currency notes of 10/20/50 and 100 will be helpful.

Beware of Touts

Avoid them. Do not accept their offer to give more for your currency.

Transportation

Radio controlled taxis and three wheelers (Tuk Tuk’s), inexpensive island-wide buses and mini buses, commuter trains, rent a car with or without driver, rent a bike and airport express vehicles. Also very good air conditioned vehicles are available with chauffeur guides.

Pharmacies

Pharmacies stock all brands of medicines prescribed by Doctors. There are also many private hospitals maintaining high standards at reasonable charges and most first class hotels have Doctor’s on call.

Photography

Permits are necessary only at some archeological sites and certain places of religious worship. Tourists who wish to visit and or photograph the principal ancient monuments are required to obtain a ticket from the Central Cultural Fund. Photography should not be done in a manner causing disrespect to shrines images and monuments. Posing in front of statues and paintings is strictly prohibited. Photography is tolerated by the general public and hostile reactions are not known or very rare. Most people smile when photographed.

Museums

Colombo National Museum
+94 11 26 94767 / 68

Dutch Period Museum
+94 11 24 48466

Kandy National Museum
+94 81 22 23867

Ratnapura National Museum
+94 45 22 22451

Dept of Archeology
+94 11 26 94727 / 28

Cultural Triangle Office
+94 11 25 87912