ri Lanka ist ein wunderschönes Land – die Perle im Indischen Ozean, wie es so schön heißt. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country - the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, as it is called. The richness of Sri Lanka is a fulminating mix of ancient cultural treasures, an incredibly beautiful nature with varied landscapes and a fascinating wildlife and beautiful palm beaches. In this article you will learn all Sri Lanka travel tips and everything you need to know for planning your trip to Sri Lanka.

The following information can be found in this article

Reasons why you should travel to Sri Lanka now:

  • ancient culture: Buddhism and Hinduism, temples and many UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • take the train through the tea plantations in the central highlands
  • discover the unique wildlife during a safari in the national parks (eg Udawale, Yala)
  • relax on the beautiful sandy beaches with coconut palms on the southwest coast
  • Experience a Hindu temple ceremony and deer on the beach in Trincomalee
  • get in touch with the friendly and authentic people of Sri Lanka
  • let yourself be enchanted by colorful saris on the bustling streets of Sri Lanka
  • enjoy the brilliant spicy food of Sri Lanka
  • The Lonely Planet recommends Sri Lanka as the top destination for 2019 in the best of travels! (Advantage: you now have the chance to experience Sri Lanka as an authentic travel destination with friendly people, the disadvantage, the emerging tourism is destroying that)

Sri Lanka Travel Tips - Hike through villages near Habarana

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: Flights to Sri Lanka

The international airport in Colombo (Bandaranaike International Airport) is served daily. The cheapest way to stop over on the Saudi Arabian Peninsula with one of the local airlines from Oman, Qatar or Dubai. I flew from Frankfurt via Dubai with Emirates to Colombo. The pure flight time is about 10 hours, with a stop about 13 hours.

The time difference from Germany to Sri Lanka is:

+4: 30 hours (in our winter time)

Sri Lanka travel tips for travel planning

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: Entry

German citizens need a passport and a visa to enter Sri Lanka:

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months upon arrival
  • visa
  • Tourist card (handed out on the plane)

Depending on the amount of traffic, the queue at the airport in Colombo can be a bit long.

How do I apply for a Sri Lanka visa?

In this article I will show you step by step how to apply for a visa for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: When is the best time to go to Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is only a small island, but depending on the region varies the best travel time - this is mainly influenced by the two monsoons. In the north and east the best travel time for Sri Lanka is determined by the northeast monsoon, in the south and west by the southwest monsoon. The monsoons run in the opposite direction, when it is beautiful in the southwest, the northeast is less suitable for travel and vice versa. Generally, Sri Lanka is a tropical island , with temperatures around 30 degrees and very high humidity . That beats us Europeans, especially during physical activities, for example, when you have to climb the stairs to the Lion Rock Sigirya or when hiking. Therefore, I always recommend to wear cotton clothes, it dries quickly and does not stink as much as sweat like synthetic fibers (more about that in my packing list for Sri Lanka).

In the Central Highlands , on the other hand, it can be very cool and the climate is much more pleasant for us Europeans. The average temperatures are around 20 degrees . Here you should definitely have warmer things, because especially at night it is sensitive cold (I did not believe it, but I actually needed a heater in the room). In addition, it can always rain here, so it is advisable to pack a rain jacket.

Best Travel Time Sri Lanka for Colombo, West Coast, South Southwest

Most tourists are attracted to this region on the southwest coast. Here are also the beautiful beaches and beach resorts.

  • officially, the period from November to March is the best time to travel
  • from April it gets unbearably hot (it is already very hot in January, February)
  • From May to September the southwest monsoon prevails here, then it can often rain and storm and flooding and landslides can occur

Best time to visit Sri Lanka for the north east coast of

The north of Sri Lanka is even less accessible to tourists than the south. On the east coast, however, also lure beautiful beaches and snorkeling paradise for a beach holiday.

  • officially from March to November is the best travel time in the northeast (just when the season is over in the southwest)
  • December to March here is the Northeast monsoon, swimming in the sea is then often associated with dangerous underwater currents that are life-threatening

Best time to travel Sri Lanka for round trips

Who like me on a tour of the whole island is on the way it has a little heavier. I was in Sri Lanka in January and did not have a rainy day. In the highlands it can rain more often and get cold. Even on the east coast at Trincomalee I was lucky with the weather, even if Baden was not possible because of the life-threatening currents, but the sun was shining and it was hot. Therefore, I would say:

  • best travel time for tours in Sri Lanka: January / February

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: Breathtaking scenery on a hike through the Knuckles Range in the highlands

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: Health Vaccinations

Sri Lanka Travel Tips - The typical Sri Lanka Hutaffen guard Polonnaruwa

No vaccinations are required to enter Sri Lanka unless you have been in a yellow fever country for up to nine days prior to your Sri Lanka journey. Only in this case would you have to prove a yellow fever vaccine. The Federal Foreign Office advises the following standard vaccinations, I recommend in uncertainties with a tropical medicine doctor or the family doctor to clarify what is necessary and what is not. These vaccinations are recommended by the Foreign Office:

  • Tetanus,
  • Diphtheria,
  • Pertussis (whooping cough),
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
  • Hepatitis A + B (travel vaccinations, vaccine twinrix for both together, may be reimbursed by the health insurance)
  • rabies
  • Japanese encephalitis

I traveled without a rabies vaccine and I do not have a Japanese Encephalitis vaccine. For this I still have a TBE vaccination against ticks.

Japanese encephalitis

is transmitted by nocturnal mosquitoes (especially around swine and waterfowl and during rainy seasons). For most tourists, this vaccination is not necessary because it is rarely transmitted to humans anyway.

rabies

is widespread in India, Thailand and also Sri Lanka. Rabies always ends fatally when bitten by a rabid animal (mainly stray dogs, monkeys) and not immediately vaccinated. If you do not have a vaccine, you will need a rabies vaccination within 12 hours. Anyone who has been vaccinated against rabies will still need a booster vaccine on site, but will have 72 hours to do so. It saves in the case of a bite so only time.

My experience: There are many street dogs everywhere in Sri Lanka and also around stray monkeys you can not get around as a tourist. A rabies vaccination must therefore be weighed up. I did not have rabies vaccine. The dogs and monkeys seemed to me rather peaceful.

leech

During hikes in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, for example in the Knuckles Ranges, leeches can be more pronounced, especially after rainfall. The best way to protect yourself with long trekking pants and hiking boots, in which you put in the pants. Did not help much with me, had 2 leeches that have eaten through the pants and socks. Leeches are harmless, they suckle full and then fall off. They do not transmit diseases.

intestinal infections

Intestinal infections can easily occur in Sri Lanka. The stomach must first get used to the (spicy) food. In any case always pay attention to a good hygiene, ie often washing hands, especially before eating, in addition I recommend Sagrotan hand disinfection *, which you can use without water. Caution is especially with raw or not well cooked and uncooked food such as salad, (half-cooked) seafood, unpeeled fruits and vegetables. On ice cubes I renounce in such countries also basically and to brush my teeth I use drinking water from closed water bottles and no tap water. You should not overdo it and try the delicious food in any case.

Are there malaria in Sri Lanka?

No, since September 2016, Sri Lanka is officially malaria free. You also do not need stand-by prophylaxis.

Are there dengue in Sri Lanka?

Yes. Dengue fever is common in Sri Lanka. There have been particularly many cases of dengue in 2017, but since then the disease has been on the decline, caution is still required, even in the tourist centers, especially in the highlands around Kandy and in the coastal regions around Colombo, Gampha and Kalutara. There is no vaccine or medication for dengue. It is transmitted by daytime mosquitoes. Dengue fever is similar to flu with symptoms of headache and body aches. It is best to protect yourself with good mosquito-repellent clothing in bright colors (because that does not attract the mosquitoes like dark colors) and a very good mosquito spray.

Are there any natural protection against dangerous mosquitoes?

In Africa, I have learned that the locals protect themselves against mosquitoes with citronella. Also effective are lavender (they do not like mosquitoes) and garlic.

My experience: I had nowhere caught a mosquito bite, except on the last two days, just in my beach hotel in Bentota, where I had the air conditioning on all night - but I've been bitten here anyway. The second night I sprayed my blanket with nobite - no more stitches.

Do not forget to book travel health insurance!

A travel health insurance is recommended for every trip abroad, even if it is only for Austria. A colleague ordered the helicopter for her daughter's skiing holiday and had to pay 5,000 euros for it. If you need to see a doctor abroad, you always have to pay in cash. This can be very expensive very quickly and can always happen something. It is not hoped, but there are now also cheap travel health insurance. You lock it once and it is valid all year round, costs for one year already from 10 Euro. Fortunately, I've never needed mine for mine. Here you can finish eg one:

  • Travel medical insurance: foreign health insurance *


Sri Lanka Travel Tips: What's in the First Aid Kit for Sri Lanka?

I have used my standard travel pharmacy to Sri Lanka. A useful packing list for the Reiseapothke to Sri Lanka can be found here (I used the same for this trip):

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: Money Currency in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: Working on the rice field - typical source of income in Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Rupee is the official currency. Unfortunately, the currency has experienced massive inflation over the past year. The prices have increased everywhere.

100 Rupee = 0.53 Euro (as that always changes, use the currency converter of Finanzen100 as an app)

Sri Lanka is not necessarily a cheap travel destination compared to other Asian countries like Thailand or Indonesia. The most expensive are probably the hotels and tourist resorts (tips to plan). Nevertheless, one can still travel quite cheaply in the country. ATMs are available in almost every city. At the airport in Colombo, there are also exchange offices, which offer the daily updated course. I recommend the following credit card, which allows you to withdraw cash and pay for free anywhere in the world for free:

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: It costs Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka travel tips - on a wholesale market

On average I have incl. Flight, hotel, driver with guide, all activities tip and food about 187,50 Euro per day paid. For 2 weeks Sri Lanka with all the bells and whistles you should expect between 2,300 and 3,000 euros , depending on how your travel style is, in which accommodation you sleep and what you want to experience everything. Here is a little guide:

  • a beer 350 -650 rupees
  • a lunch 500 to 750 rupees
  • Kandy Dance Event 1000 Rupee
  • Admission Sigirya Löwenfelsen

Tips in Sri Lanka

First of all: Plan an extra budget for tips! It annoys me, if everyone expects me to tip, in our culture, we are just not used to pay for everything tip. But no matter if massage, waiter, porter, driver, guide, maid - they all hold their hands. Wages are also so low that most people have to live from tipping. In many restaurants, a service fee of at least 10% is added. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to give the waiter a small tip, as of the 10% does not arrive at the waiter. (I keep wondering, then, and what about the cook, the cleaner, the one who buys the ingredients on the market and drags them into the restaurant?)

Maid: 100 rupees per day

the guy who assigns you a couch in the hotel: 100 rupees per day

your waiter at the table: 100 rupees per day

Porter: 100 rupees per day (wear yourself, unacceptable)

Masseur: 10%

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: You should definitely pay attention in Sri Lanka

no posing with Buddha

Sri Lanka is a very religious and partly conservative country in which four religions live together peacefully (Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam). You should definitely show respect when visiting temples and Buddha figures. It may also be very good that you are referred to the specific behaviors of folders determined. Violations are really not welcomed, are considered insulting and may even result in fines or imprisonment and / or seizure of the camera. So you should avoid the following things:

  • no posing in front of Buddha figures, no selfies (no matter if you turn your back on Buddha or not, in Polonnaruwa and Dambulla it is forbidden to pose in front of Buddha statues)
  • no images of Buddha (no tattoos or on clothes etc.) - this can go to jail time and withdrawal of the entry permit.)
  • It is forbidden to photograph the cloud girl frescos in Sigiriya
  • it is forbidden to photograph military installations
  • the practice of homosexuality is punishable

Sri Lanka dress codes in religious sites

When entering temples you should always:

  • Take off shoes,
  • wear knee-covered and shoulder-clad clothing
    (I recommend women always a long skirt or long dress and T-shirt - in Sri Lanka are also transparent cloths around the shoulders or legs sometimes a problem, for example, in the Temple of Tooth in Kandy would have probably not gone)
  • see my packing list Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: As a single woman in Sri Lanka

Although I was traveling in a group, but I had never felt in Sri Lanka, the feeling of men to be staring and even when I was traveling alone, I had not a minute a strange feeling that I am staring as a woman and Believe me, I have seen many other countries as negative examples. On the contrary, the population has always been very friendly towards me, always with a smile on their faces and everyone likes to be photographed. A peasant woman even came over a field and gave me a flower. Therefore, I would say that one can travel as a woman by Sri Lanka alone, if one adheres to the above rules of conduct and rules (I usually had T-shirts on and long pants or long dresses).

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: What sights should you have seen in Sri Lanka in any case?

Sri Lanka is only as big as Bavaria, but the island is so diverse that there is so much to see. In about 2 to 3 weeks you have explored the main attractions of the island.

Cultural triangle

The Cultural Triangle includes the ancient imperial cities Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. In this corner are also the Lion Rocks of Sigiriya and the Cave Temple of Dambulla, which are among the main attractions of Sri Lanka. All of these sights are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The east coast

The east coast with the city of Trincomalee are absolutely underrated and touristy not so much developed. The reason lies in the civil war. The east coast was the territory of the Tamillas and the cities and villages were abandoned, some even overgrown by jungle until the war in 2009 finally came to an end. In addition, the 2004 tsunami raged here. Nevertheless, the coast here is beautiful and suitable for snorkeling, Trincomalee is also a worth seeing city and much more original than the cities in the south.

The central highlands

The most beautiful landscapes of Sri Lanka can be found in the Central Highlands. Here one of the most beautiful train routes through Sri Lanka: From Kandy to Ella by train through tea plantations in the high mountains. The Horton Plains National Park beckons with great hikes such as World`s End or on the Adams Peak, the mountain range around Knuckles Range is unique and diverse and shows a very different landscape. Both national parks are also UNESCO World Heritage.

The south coast

Most touristically opened is the south coast. Here are the most holiday resorts such as Bentota or the beautiful beaches at Mirissa. Worth seeing is the city of Galle with its Portuguese fort, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To the south are also the beautiful Yala and Udawale National Parks, which are suitable for wildlife safaris.

Note on security in Sri Lanka

At Easter 2019 there were terror attacks in Sri Lanka. These also targeted tourists and occurred in a luxury hotel in Colombo and in Christian churches. There were numerous deaths. Then the crisis emergency was proclaimed.

Read my complete Sri Lanka travelogues or itinerary here:

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: Sri Lanka Packing List Clothes

Sri Lanka Packing list First aid kit cosmetics

Sri Lanka packing list

Sri Lanka packing list: Camera

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: The Best Travel Guide for Sri Lanka

The best travel guide for individual travel in Asia:
Stefan Loose travel guide Sri Lanka: with travel atlas *

very good travel guide for individual travel:

Travel Know-How Travel Guide Sri Lanka *

This geo special issue makes you want to Sri Lanka, with great pictures, facts about country people and background reports:

GEO Special / GEO Special 01/2018 - Sri Lanka *

Sri Lanka Travel Tips: Literature from and about Sri Lanka

If you are in the mood for spicy curries from Sri Lanka, the cook of Martin Suter should read - that's where the water comes in handy: The cook *

Young Anil investigates war crimes in Sri Lanka on behalf of the Geneva Human Rights Commemoration. A dangerous assignment that leads the young woman back to her beautiful home.  

Anil's mind *

Further literature tips for travelers to Asia in the Literary Journey Asia

I hope this article with the Sri Lanka travel tips helped you to plan your trip to Sri Lanka. If you want more helpful tips, subscribe to the free newsletter and follow me on facebook , instagram and pinterest !

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