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Sri Lanka Travel Tips  
Photo Permits & Entrance Charges

Sri Lanka is a photographer’s delight. However, permits are required before you can take photos at certain sites. Entrance tickets to individual sites are available only from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. These tickets cover charges for photography, recording and parking.Rates are quoted in US Dollars and rupee parities are subject to fluctuation.

Custom Imports

You are allowed to bring into the country duty free 1.5 litres of spirits, two bottles of wine, a quarter-litre of toilet water, and a small quantity of perfume and souvenirs with a value not exceeding US $250. The import of personal equipment such as cameras and laptop computers is allowed but must be declared on arrival. However, personal equipment must be taken out of the country upon the visitor.s departure. The import of non-prescription drugs and pornography of any form is an offence.

Sri Lanka Customs : www.customs.gov.lk

Custom Exports

On leaving the country you are allowed to export up to 10kg of tea duty free.

No antiques antique. defined as anything more than 50-years-old - rare books, palm-leaf manuscripts and anthropological material can be exported without permission from the 
Director,
National Archives,
7 Reid Avenue, 
Colombo -07. 
Tel: +94-11 2694523/ 2696917 
www.archives.gov.lk 

And the 

Director General, 
Department of Archaeology, 
Sir Marcus Fernando Mw, 
Colombo 
Tel : +94 11 2692840/1 
Tel. +94-11-2694727, +94-11-2667155 ,
www.archaeology.gov.lk. 

Purchase and export without licence of any wild animal, bird or reptile, dead or alive . also the export of parts of animals, birds or reptiles, such as skins, horns, scales and feathers is prohibited. Occasional exports are, however, permitted exclusively for bona fide scientific purposes. It is prohibited to export of 450 plant species without special permits. The export of coral, shells or other protected marine products is also strictly prohibited.

Applications for special permission to export fauna should be made to the 

Director, 
Department of Wildlife Conservation, 
382 , New Kandy Road, 
Malabe 
Tel: +9411 25060380 
 

And flora should be made to the 

Director,
Forest Department,
82, Rajamalwatta Road,
Battaramulla, 
Tel : + 94 11 28666 16/ 2866632
www.environmentlanka.com

Foreign Currency Regulations

Visitors to Sri Lanka bringing in more than US$10,000 should declare the amount to the Customs on arrival. All unspent rupees converted from foreign currencies can be re-converted to the original currency on departure as long as encashment receipts can be produced.

Travellers With Special Needs

Travellers with special needs, especially if they visit Sri Lanka without a companion, should note that the country has relatively few facilities for disabled people, although greater awareness and improvements are evolving. There.s no need to worry at Colombo's Airport as wheelchairs and assistance in boarding and disembarking are available. Buildings, offices, and banks are becoming better-equipped with wheelchair ramps and suchlike. If you arent travelling with a companion, you'll find that Sri Lankans will be only too eager to assist. 

Sri Lanka's Currency

The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee, divided into 100 cents (you rarely come across scents today). Currency notes are Rs.5,000,  Rs2,000, Rs1,000, Rs500, Rs100, Rs50, Rs20 and Rs10. Beware of mistaking the Rs500 note for the somewhat similar Rs100 one. To check whether notes are genuine when not given at a bank, look for a lion watermark. Coins, should you have receive them, will be in denominations up to Rs10.

Make sure you have plenty of lower denomination notes (Rs50, Rs100, Rs500), especially when travelling and you need to buy small items, fruit, and eat cheap meals, because change is often hard to come by apart from at hotels and big shops. 



Images from Central Bank of Sri Lanka

Banks

Banks are open from 0900 hrs to 1300 hours Monday to Friday. Some city banks close at 1500 hrs, while some are open on Saturday mornings. It.s easy to withdraw money across the island at ATMs using international credit cards or debit cards.

Credit Cards

Most hotels, restaurants and shopping centres accept credit cards. Some establishments may try to add a surcharge, which is illegal.

Time Difference

Sri Lanka Standard Time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT. (Allowance should be made for summer-time changes in Europe.)

Electricity

230 . 240 volts, 50 cycles AC. If you travel with a laptop computer bring a stabilizer.

Language

Sri Lanka has two official languages . Sinhala and Tamil - with English as a link language. Most people have some knowledge of English, and signboards are often in English.

Photography, Restrictions & Permits

Sri Lanka is a tremendously photogenic island, so it.s hardly surprising that most tourists bring a camera of some kind when they visit the country. The stunning landscapes, the captivating fauna and lush flora, and the stupendous archaeological remains provide great opportunities: a bonus is that Sri Lankans love to be captured on film. So it.s easy to capture the traditional rural lifestyle. You.ll find villagers, farmers, fishermen and tea pluckers will readily stand in front of your viewfinder. Your subjects will often ask to have a copy of picture sent to them. This may be laborious, but it is a reasonable courtesy as many may never have seen a picture of themselves. It is also understandable that many will also expect a token recompense for allowing themselves to be photographed.

Restrictions 

There are some important restrictions that apply to photography regarding Buddhist imagery. When you visit a temple or other religious site, remember that photography should not be carried out in a manner causing disrespect. For instance, it is strictly forbidden to be photographed in front of or beside any statues and murals. Note that flash photography can damage old murals. 

Permits 

Tourists who wish to visit and or photograph the principal ancient monuments in Sri Lanka are required to purchase a ticket from the 
Central Cultural Fund,
212/1, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, 
Colombo-07 
Tel: +94-11 2587912 /2500733 /2581944 
gen_ccf@sri.lanka.net 

Central Cultural Fund offices at Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Kandy. 

A single round ticket for two months validity costs US$50 and will entitle you to visit and photograph historic monuments such as Anuradhapura,PolonnaruwaSigiriyaNalandaRitigala, Medirigiriya. There are separate charges at each site for those who do not obtain round tickets: Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya US$25, Nalanda US$5, Ritigala US$8, Medirigiriya US$5.

When To Visit

Sri Lanka is a round-the-year destination for the visitors who seek for sun and sea the best time to visit the island is from November to April. The Southwestern coastal area, where the most of the beach resorts are located.Kalpitiya, located in the western ( North Western)coast has been declared a new tourist attraction. Many development projects have also been planned such as hotels and other infrastructure to make the East a new tourist destination in Sri Lanka.

The central highlands are pleasantly cool and relatively dry from January to April. The peak season is mid December to mid January and March-April during Easter with a mini peak season in July and August when festivals and pageants are held through the country.

What To Wear

Cotton clothes are useful at any time of the year but you will need light woollens for the hills and waterproof clothing or an umbrella.Modest dress for women is advisable especially off the beach and when visiting religious sites. Don't forget comfortable shoes, sandals or trainers and cotton socks. If you are planning to trek and climb go prepared with suitable gear. Water sports enthusiasts would do well to take their snorkels and diving equipment along.

Getting There

Usually all visitors to Sri Lanka travel by air; flights arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport, 35 km north of Colombo, and 6 km of Negombo. A number of tour operators from UK and some West European cities offer good value package holydays throughout the year

Public Places

You may sometimes be overwhelmed by crowds of people in public places (railway stations, markets, bus stands, temples or simply busy streets). "Touts" and hawkers may jostle and push and clamour to show you a hotel and sell you things. Taxis and three - wheelers are often there when you do not need them.

Safety

In general the threats to personal security for travellers in Sri Lanka are remarkably small. It is more pleasant to travel with a companion as it is advised not to travel alone especially after dark. The island including the North and East is safe to visit. If you have anything stolen, report it to the tourist Police, ( a special tourist police set up to look after the needs of the tourists. Contact tel Number + 94 11 2382209

Where To Stay

Sri Lank Offers visitors an excellent range of accommodation facilities to suit all budgets from luxury hotels to low budget accommodations. In the peak season (mid-January and during Easter) bookings can be heavy so it is best to reserve accommodation well in advance through Tour operators/ travel agents, booking online and through our travel planner.

2 Star116 3 Star88 4 Star50 5 Star47
Ayurveda7 Beach Hotels69 Beach Resorts25 Boutique BB Inns26
Boutique Hotels10 Boutique Villas16 Bungalows20 Camping6
Eco Hideaways5 Guest Houses196 Home Stay Properties3 Lodge9
Luxury Hotels104 Other Hotels229 Resorts and Spa49 Rest Houses22
Restaurant37 Small Hotels44 Small Luxury Hotels2 Spa and Wellness2
Tea Bungalows1 Villas and Bungalows61

Drink

Sri Lankan ‘Ceylon’ tea is prepared as in the West and coffee too. There are a huge variety of bottled soft drinks, including well-known international brands. Thambili ( king coconut water )is a safe and refreshing option. Local beer and spirits are widely available. Bottled mineral water is available in 5 star hotels. Please note: Alcohol is not sold on Poya (full-moon day of the month) days.

 
ColomboKandyAnuradhapuraPolonnaruwaGalleDambullaN' EliyaHikkaduwaSigiriyaYala

National Zoological Garden

Puppet Art Museum

Colombo National Museum

Independence Memorial Museum

National Museum of Natural History

NELUM POKUNA Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre

The Bandaranaike Museum

Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall ( BMICH )

Attidiya Bird Sanctuary - Bird Watchig

Royal Colombo Golf Club

Dutch Museum

National Railway Museum

National Postal Museum

Ballys Colombo

Kama Colombo Night Club

Liberty Plaza

Majestic City

Kelani Raja Maha Vihara

Waters Edge Golf Club

Vihara Maha Devi Park

Diyatha Uyana

Water World Kelaniya

Colombo City Tour