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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for Essential Travel Tips for First-Time Visitors to Sri Lanka - What Every First Timer Should Know Before Holidaying in Sri
Joanna James Joanna James
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Essential Travel Tips for First-Time Visitors to Sri Lanka - What Every First Timer Should Know Before Holidaying in Sri

As one of South Asia's most dynamic tourist hubs, Sri Lanka is a vibrant vacation hotspot for the masses. Whether one is visiting the paradise isle on holiday or stopping by for a short business trip, here are some facts that every first-time visitor should know about the country.


Switching to Island Time

One of the biggest adjustments that tourists will have to make upon landing in Sri Lanka is adapting to the island's relaxed attitude towards time. In other words, prepare to go slow, expect delays and don't expect efficiency outside of the capital, Colombo, especially where public transport and travel schedules are concerned. Despite the southern expressway and the great overhaul that local transport networks have undergone in recent years, getting around Sri Lanka is still a time-consuming affair while punctuality is also not a virtue among locals who prefer to take their own time. Blame it on the humidity or local culture but be ready to go with the flow.


Taking Advantage of Affordable Luxury

Sri Lanka is one of the most affordable holiday hotspots in Asia and that means even high-end and luxury hotels on the island are accessible to visitors from around the world. Whether it's Saman Villas or any other similar rest on the southern shoreline, those who hail from the West and are earning in dollars and Euros will find the cost of boutique hotels and exclusive accommodation providers in Sri Lanka highly affordable. So don't opt for a three-star hotel or a guest house when you can comfortably afford a stay in one of the country's top resorts.


Sign Up for Activities

Due to its geographical size and scale, Sri Lanka is also the perfect location to sign up for exciting activities and excursions. Some of the top things to do in Bentota, for example, include water sports such as scuba diving and snorkelling while Arugam Bay is perfect for wave riders. White water rafting is a Kitulgala speciality while biking and hiking enthusiasts will find the pastoral settings of Kandy and Nuwara Eliya perfect for their pastime. Whale watching and dolphin safaris are available in Mirissa and Trincomalee. Don't forget to sign up for a wildlife tour or safari in one of Sri Lanka's nine national parks including the leopard haven Yala National Park.


Don't Skip Colombo

As the first point of contact that visitors have with Sri Lanka, the bustling capital of the island also deserves a day or two on your travel itinerary. Although most tourists touchdown in Colombo city and swiftly depart for the hills or the coast, there's plenty to enjoy and experience in the largest metropolis in the island nation. Home to some of the biggest and most luxurious shopping malls and department stores in the country, Colombo is a shopaholic's dream. The street food scene is also hard to beat while landmarks such as the National Museum, Independence Square and the Galle Face Green make it ideal for a city escape.


Timing Matters

It is crucial to avoid the monsoon rains when travelling to Sri Lanka so tourist must time their visit between December and March when the weather is ideal.