Sri Lanka’s coastline is lined with superb beaches, and fantastic resort experiences. The south coast from Colombo to Tangalle has some of the best swimming beaches and the widest choice of accommodations. Further east, Arugam Bay is a surfers’ mecca, and Passikudah offers endless ocean beaches with just a handful of hotels. Bentota is a good choice for restaurant and shopping options with the beach experience.

Wildlife Experiences

A safari in one of the island’s national parks offers the chance to see some of Sri Lanka’s amazing wildlife - sloth bear, sambhar and chital deer, civet cat, loris, and monkeys such as the purple-faced leaf monkey and grey langur. Yala National Park offers some of the best chances of Leopard sightings in the world, while Uda Walawe and Minneriya are particularly good for Asian Elephant.

Galle Fort

Superbly located on the Arabian Sea, and lovingly preserved with its historic architecture, cobbled lanes and imposing ramparts, Galle’s fort is a fantastic place to explore by foot. Shop for local crafts and antiquities, stop for a coffee or cool drink, take in sunset from the fort walls, and stay in one of the fort’s atmospheric and intimate heritage hotels.

Ancient Cities

Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya, in the island’s Cultural Triangle, their once glorious townships, palaces, temples, monasteries, hospitals and theatres intricately carved and modelled out of stone lay abandoned and forgotten with time amidst the soaring jungles. A climb up Sigirya Rock is a signature Sri Lanka experience.

Tea Country

Sri Lanka’s highlands are famous for their tea. Add a stay in Kandy, Nuwara Eliya or Hatton to visit historic tea factories, see the rolling green tea estates and their beautiful landscapes, or even stay on an active estate at the Tea Factory or the luxurious Tea Trails.

Local People

The people of Sri Lanka possess a warm and friendly nature. Their smiling faces and eagerness to help will surely be one of the highlights of your journey. Don't be surprised if your driver or guide invites you for dinner!

Useful information

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Getting Around

Given Sri Lanka’s fairly modest size, getting around can be a frustratingly time-consuming process. The island’s narrow roads are congested with pedestrians, cyclists and tuk tuks, while in many cases travel by rail is even slower. Even in your own private vehicle you shouldn’t expect to make rapid progress. Getting from Colombo to Kandy, for instance (a distance of not much over 100km), takes around three hours by bus or train, while the bus trip across the island from Colombo to Arugam Bay takes at least ten hours by public transport for a distance of 320km. Buses are the standard means of transport. Services reach even the remotest corners of the island, though they’re generally an uncomfortable way of travelling. Trains offer a more colourful, if generally slower, means of getting about, and will get you to many parts of the country – eventually. If you don’t want to put up with the vagaries of public transport, hiring a car and driver can prove a reasonably affordable and extremely convenient way of seeing the island in relative comfort. If you’re really in a rush, consider Sri Lankan Airlines’ network of “air taxis”, which offer speedy (although pricey) connections between Colombo and other parts of the island.


Sinhala, Tamil. English is widely spoken.


The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor.

Vaccination against Hepatitis A is recommended for travellers to Sri Lanka. Vaccination against Hepatitis B, Rabies (particularly if working with animals) Typhoid (particularly when travelling to areas with poor sanitation and hygiene) and Japanese Encephalitis may be considered depending on itinerary. Care with food and beverage selection is recommended. There is a medium risk of Malaria in Sri Lanka and Dengue Fever also occurs, as such insect avoidance measures and anti malarial medication may be necessary depending on itinerary. 

The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. Australians travelling to Sri Lanka should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. For further information please visit www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Sri_Lanka


Electrical Plug type: European
Tip: The Indian/old British socket may also be found in some areas, usually at a lower voltage. 
Voltage: 220-240 volts (same as Australia).
Modem Plug: UK and USA. 


Country Code for Sri Lanka: +94
Visa Global Assistance: 1 303 967 1090
Emergency Services: Ambulance / Fire - 110 Police - 118/119 Tourist Police - (011) 242 1052. These numbers are gradually being phased in throughout Sri Lanka and may not cover all areas. The Emergency Services may not have English speaking staff. 


Sri Lanka is excellent for gemstones especially sapphires, moon-stones and cats-eye; however you should only buy if you have a good knowledge of the product. Other items to look out for include spices, wood carvings and other handicrafts, batik and hand-woven textiles, brassware, handmade lace from Galle and of course tea. Tea varies in quality, so if you’re buying in bulk, ask for a tasting! Refrain from buying souvenirs made of coral (this contributes greatly to the destruction of Sri Lanka’s reefs), ivory or the hides of endangered animals. Shopping hours are generally 9.30am to 1pm and 2pm – 7pm or later. Shops are closed on Sundays. In tourist areas, shops are open from 10am – 10pm, including Sunday. Markets are open 8am – 6.30pm Monday – Saturday (limited sections on Sun). Banks are open 8.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 5pm Monday – Friday.  Note: Hours may change during Ramadan.


Tipping is generally expected in Sri Lanka. In temples, you should leave money in donation boxes, particularly if you have been taken on a tour by a resident monk. While tipping of guides and drivers is not mandatory, it is an important source of income.  The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline LKR 300  per person, per half day (more for a full day) can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of the service quality and the length of your trip. Porters may be given around LKR 150.
Restaurants: We suggest adding LKR 100-200 to your bill, depending on service.


The Travel Corporation has partnered with the company Sherpa to provide travellers with the latest government and health restrictions. Simply enter the country you want to travel to for information on safety regulations, border closures, quarantine requirements, your travel visa and more using the Sherpa travel tool.


Official travel advice is available by visiting the SmartTraveller Website


Sri Lanka’s genuine hospitality to tourists is renowned and the British are as popular as at any time since the country won independence in 1948. Take care to avoid religious offence, however. In particular, respect the Buddhist faith: do not touch a holy man, do not pose for photographs on religious statues and remove shoes and socks when entering temples. We recommend that you are informed as possible about the island before you arrive and try to learn some local language, read about the religion and culture and learn about local rules and values. Be sensitive to cultural difference. Note that patience, friendliness and courtesy are highly valued virtues that will win you the respect and confidence of many people.

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