A jewel in the Indian Ocean just south of India, Sri Lanka is a country offering up a vast array of unforgettable experiences sure to please even the fussiest traveller. Whether you prefer to explore the big city in the capital Colombo, head to idyllic beaches of Marissa, explore the cultural wonders in ancient kingdoms like Sigiriya or Kandy, or hike sacred mountains such as Adam’s Peak, there is an experience suited to every type of traveller – oh, and incredibly budget-friendly as well!
Know before you go
Location: South East Asia, south-east of India
Capital City: Colombo
Language: Sinhala, Tamil, and English
Get Here: Fly the national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines, to Colombo International Airport. You can find cheap flights to Sri Lanka from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Delhi, and Bangkok.
Currency: Sri Lanka Rupee (LKR) – check the latest exchange rate here
When To Visit: You can travel to Sri Lanka at any time of year and warm temperatures are enjoyed throughout the year. The dry season runs from April to October with mild temperatures and little rain, and Monsoon season is November to March where slightly higher temperatures and humidity prevail. If travelling to the Hill Country, expect significantly cooler climates.
Visa Requirements: Sri Lanka has just announced that they are offering travellers free 30-day visas from select countries. This includes those holding passports from Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada, the UK, many European countries and more. (Accurate as of August ’19)
Travel Within Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka has a train network which connects travellers to major cities such as Colombo, Galle, Ella and Kandy. Make sure to book your tickets in advance because popular routes, like Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, sell out! I booked my tickets using 12go.
For other tourist sites, there are public buses or the option to book private drivers for fairly reasonable prices (I used and recommend Jetwing Drive.) Driving does take a significantly longer time due to the traffic and often poor condition of roads.
For short trips around town, the humble tuk-tuk is a great option – just remember to negotiate your price before you get in!
Travel Vaccinations: As always, check your own government recommendations prior to travelling, however, you should generally ensure your basic immunisations (such as Tetanus and Diphtheria) are up to date and discuss with your travel doctor Hep A and Typhoid Inoculations alongside anything else they recommend at the consultation. I also recommend travelling with a stock of tablets such as Imodium in case you are susceptible to an upset stomach when eating new foods/cuisines.
What to do in Sri Lanka
Download my Sri Lanka packing list!
Sri Lanka may look small on a map but the weather is complex. This makes packing extremely difficult, trust!
I’ve put together this FREE packing list for Sri Lanka that will take you from the capital of Sri Lanka to the cool climates of Nuwara Eliya, and even the beaches of classy Galle or relaxed Marissa. There are even a few tips for those who plan on completing some of Sri Lanka’s incredible hikes.
This Sri Lankan packing list is best for those travelling to the country for a week or more but is easy to adapt for longer or shorter journeys. Best of all, you can download a colour or printer-friendly version to take with you on your trip.