Sri Lanka is a country located in Asia with name that begins with letter S. Due to its scenic beauty, Sri Lanka is a popular travel destination. Geographically, the Sri Lanka can be divided into three landscape areas:
- The central high plateau, which rises up to 2,500 m in the south of the island and is home to world-famous tea-growing areas.
- Tropical plains in which a rich flora and fauna thrives.
- A coastal belt consisting mostly of sandy beaches that surrounds the island.
Austrian, German and Swiss citizens need an ETA visa (ETA = Electronic Travel Authorization System) to enter Sri Lanka, which can be applied for online.
There are no seasons on the tropical island, only an alternation of rainy and dry seasons, which is determined by the monsoon. In the east the rainy season lasts from November to February, in the south from May to September and in the central mountains from July to November. The temperatures are very warm, in Colombo it is between 26 and 28 °C all year round.
Food and drink
Sri Lanka is known for its spicy cuisine – chili is one of the main ingredients, followed by rice and curry mixed in with chicken or fish. The Roty dough dish and String Hoppers dough noodles are also popular. There are also a number of exotic fruits that grow on the island. The preferred drink besides water – which should never be drunk from a tap – is of course tea. By the way: if you eat with your hands, always use your right hand – the left is considered unclean! And for invitations, you should only put as much on your plate as you can eat: leaving leftovers is considered impolite.
The people of Sri Lanka are friendly and peaceful. When visiting temples, however, one should pay attention to appropriate clothing and respectful behavior. Shoulders and knees should be covered. It is absolutely frowned upon to be photographed with your back to a Buddha statue. And when it comes to tattoos with Buddhist motifs, the Sri Lankan authorities are not joking: such motifs on the skin are best covered.
Medical care in the larger cities and tourist resorts is satisfactory. In addition to the public base and district hospitals, there are also large private hospitals there. In rural areas, medical care does not meet European standards.
No vaccinations are required when entering Sri Lanka. Which vaccinations are recommended depends on the current risk of infection on site, the type and duration of the planned trip, the state of health, and any vaccination protection the traveler may still have. Since the most diverse aspects have to be taken into account in individual cases, it is always advisable to seek personal travel health advice from a doctor or pharmacist with experience in travel medicine in good time (around 8 weeks) before the trip.
- There is a death penalty for smuggling or possession of drugs.
- There are sometimes dangerous ocean currents on the coasts of Sri Lanka. Bathing bans should be obeyed.
All about money
Currency exchange and means of payment
The import of the local currency is allowed up to an amount of 1,000 LKR, the transport of foreign currency is allowed without limit, but from the equivalent of 10,000 USD a declaration is required. Euros and US dollars can be exchanged for local currency at the airport, in banks and hotels.
Money can be withdrawn using EC or credit cards at the numerous ATMs. Credit card payments are widespread. Visa, Mastercard and American Express are accepted.
Tipping is always welcome in Sri Lanka and is common. In restaurants and bars, around 10% of the invoice amount is expected. Porters in hotels and airports should also receive a small tip.
It is common, but not mandatory, to tip the guide and driver at the end of a tour for good service. Appropriate payment for our local guides and partner agencies is part of our sustainability guidelines. So please be aware that tips do not replace wages.
Other essential information
Sri Lanka Rupee (LKR)
time difference to CET + 4.5 hours, time difference to CET + 3.5 hours
The voltage in Sri Lanka is 230-240 volts / 50 Hertz. Different sockets are used, so it is advisable to take a travel plug set with you.