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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
Headline for Sri Lanka Travel Guide for first-time Visitors - Prepare yourself before you Step Foot in Sri Lanka
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Sri Lanka Travel Guide for first-time Visitors - Prepare yourself before you Step Foot in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, the tiny island nation can be overwhelming for a first time visitor. By educating yourself on the know-how, you can make the experience much more seamless.

1

How to get there

The country has one major airport in the form of the Bandaranaike International Airport that services major flights from all important airports on a daily basis. Although an hour's drive from the capital, most hotels such as Colombo Court Hotel & Spa should be able to arrange a pick up from the hotel. Sri Lanka does have a few other airports but they all facilitate domestic flights. A visa can be obtained on arrival or one can even get an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) via the internet.

2

What to wear

Sri Lanka has a warm and sunny climate that is only interrupted by the monsoon rains that hit the country twice a year. If you are visiting during the sunny period, you can opt for thin and comfortable clothing that can help you withstand the blistering heat. Ladies can go with options like maxi dresses and skirts while guys can wear shorts paired with t-shirts. Flip flops are a perfectly viable option. However, if you plan on visiting religious institutions like one of the many historical temples, it is best that you wear trousers and cover yourself appropriately as a form of respect to the temple. There is also the fact that certain restaurants might not allow you in with flip flops so its best you pack in a pair of shoes too.

3

Currency

Sri Lanka has its own currency known as the Sri Lankan Rupee. Provided you have foreign currency, it is not a difficult task to exchange it as any bank along the road could do it. If you pay through your credit card on a regular basis, you can do the same in Sri Lanka too as the majority of shops and stores – in cities - accept payments through cards. If you want to withdraw cash, there are plenty of ATMs scattered throughout Kandy and most cities. However, ATMs are rarer when you leave outside the cities so its something to keep in mind. Some of the best hotels in Sri Lanka might be able to help with currency exchange.

4

What to bring

Sunscreen is a definite must to tag along with you as the sun can be really strong during the afternoon. If you plan on engaging in water excursions, it is best that you bring your equipment with you too. While it is true that you can rent or buy diving, snorkelling or surfing equipment, they can sometimes be costly. If you have one at home, just tag it along with you to save up costs.

5

How to get around

In Colombo, the main ways to get around are by bus or tuks. Ride-sharing apps like Uber work in the country and it might be a more familiar mode of transport for most tourists. Make sure to always get into a metered tuk to avoid getting ripped off.