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The most important information when travelling in Sri Lanka

So that you can prepare your journey well and make life as easy as possible when you get there, this article will give you information you need for your trip to Sri Lanka. A practical summary to look at before you go.

When to go

The best season for travelling to Sri Lanka is between January and February, or the summer if you are going to the east or the north.

Entry requirements

Before your trip to Sri Lanka, it is recommended that you fill in an Electronic Travel Authorization (E.T.A.) which is available on line. In conjunction with your passport it acts as a 30 day visa when you arrive.

Health advise

There are no obligatory vaccinations for a trip to Sri Lanka. You should take out medical insurance so you don't have to incur costs while there. If you are staying in a rural area for a long time anti-malaria treatments are offered free at Colombo airport, but there is very little risk.

Airline tickets

The average price is less than £700. Prices can vary between £250 and £1,500 depending on the airline and period you choose.

Time difference

There is a 5 and a half hour time difference with the UK in winter and 4 and a half hours in summer.


Sinhala, one of the two official languages, is spoken by three quarters of the population. It has its own alphabet and belongs to the Indo-European family of languages.

Tamil, which is spoken by 20% of the population, is the second official language. It's mostly used in the north and east of the country. It's also spoken in southern India.

English is a relic of colonialisation and is still used by 10% of the population. But it is understood by most Sri Lankans who live in towns or on the coast.

Relevant contacts

The British High Commission in Sri Lanka

389 Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo
Tel: +94 11 5 390639

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

13 Hyde Park Gardens,
London W2 2LU
Tel: 020 7262 1841

Phone and internet connection

International telephone code: +94

There is internet available in most cafes, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses, except in really remote areas.


220-240V - There are two plug types used in Sri Lanka, some are like UK plugs but others are like continental European plugs. You should take an adapter in case.

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