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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 Things you should know before travelling to Sri Lanka – Island holidays
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Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Things you should know before travelling to Sri Lanka – Island holidays

Packed with natural beauty, cultural attractions and blessed with a stunning coastline, Sri Lanka is a treasure trove for travellers. Here is a list of things you should know before travelling to this island nation.

1

Getting around can be time-consuming

The country is compact but getting around takes a while. It can take hours to get from one place to the other. For example, if you've booked a Kalutara resort and wish to travel from Colombo to your resort, expect to spend about one hour and 45 minutes on the road. Most local drivers opt for the offensive mode and hence road accidents are frequent occurrences and traffic congestions are part and parcel of everyday travels. You should be mindful of this fact when you plan your itinerary. Always factor in travel time when you plan your activities in Sri Lanka. Incidentally, Kalutara is a good place to wind down your holiday rather than start it. This coastal town is home to a number of resorts such as the AVANI Kalutara Resort well suited to wrap up a holiday in a leisurely fashion.

2

You will need a special driver's license to drive in Sri Lanka

If you plan to drive yourself in Sri Lanka, you will need an International Driving License preferably with an endorsement from the Automobile Association of Ceylon (AA). If you plan on getting an endorsement from the AA, make sure you avoid making your visit on a national holiday. If you are serious about driving around by yourself, remember to get comprehensive insurance and be wary of bus drivers. Don't forget to get GPS with Sri Lankan maps. But you may need to stop and ask for directions once in a while.

3

Carry cash around

You can only get Sri Lankan rupees within the country. Even though you can use your credit or debit card at most hotels, supermarkets it is advised that you carry Sri Lankan currency as small grocery stores, guest houses and few businesses only deal in cash. Most cities will have ATM machines but it is definitely more convenient to exchange currency at the airport and have enough Sri Lankan rupees ready before you start your holiday.

4

Dress appropriately when you visit temples

With the exception of Nallur Temple in Jaffna where men are required to take off their shirt before entering, most temples, especially Buddhist ones expect visitors to dress in a conservative manner. You should always cover your upper arms and knees when you visit a temple and remember to take off your shoes at the entrance. Usually, on full moon days known as 'Poya days' locals dress mainly in white to Buddhist temples.

5

Bring sunscreen and tampons

High-quality sunscreen is hard to find in Sri Lanka. Some shops stock high-quality sunscreens but these charge exuberant prices. If you are going to be spending a lot of time at the beach, take plenty of sunscreen from home. It can be hard to find tampons in Sri Lanka. You should definitely take some with you or you could use this opportunity to become more environmentally friendly and invest in menstrual cups.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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