Sri Lanka


General information for the traveler new to Sri Lanka.


All visitors to Sri Lanka must possess a passport that is valid for at least 3 months beyond the length of their proposed stay. Certain nationalities are entitled to a free visa on arrival at Colombo airport, while other visa applications need to be made to a Sri Lankan Consulate or Embassy abroad – allow 4 days for processing. An extension of stay can be obtained while in the country and should be applied for at the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo.

The import and export of local currency is limited to Rs1000.

Visitors may take the following into Sri Lanka duty free:

  • Alcohol – 2 bottles of wine and 1.5litres of spirits
  • Tobacco – 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 340g of tobacco

Precious metals such as gold, platinum and silver must be declared on arrival.

Penalties for carrying or trafficking illegal drugs are extremely severe.


Sri Lankan time: GMT +6 hours


Sri Lankan Rupees (Rs) – Check current exchange rates.
100 cents = Rs1
Notes issued – Rs1,000, Rs500, Rs100, Rs50, Rs20, Rs10
Coins issued – Rs5, Rs2, Rs1, 50 cents, 25 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents, 2 cents, 1 cent


The official languages of Sri Lanka are Sinhala, Tamil and English.


A 10% charge is automatically added to bills in most top hotels and restaurants. There is no need to tip taxi drivers and if tipping hotel porters, they should receive around Rs10-20 per bag.

Banking Hours

Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 3.00 pm at national banks


The international dialing code for Sri Lanka is 94
When making international telephone calls from Sri Lanka, first dial 00 + country code + area code + telephone number


230-240 V, 50 cycles AC
Round 3-pin plugs are used in Sri Lanka.


Tap water is not considered safe for consumption and ice cubes should be avoided. Bottled water is widely available throughout the country.


Medical facilities are not always of a good standard and it is recommended that you take out adequate health insurance covering evacuation. Cholera and malaria are both considered serious risks and all necessary precautions should be taken. Consider inoculations against typhoid, polio, hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis and take advice regarding anti-malarials. It is always best to check the current situation and any vaccination requirements with a doctor when planning your trip.

International Airport

  • Colombo – Colombo Bandaranayake

International Airport Departure Tax

Rs 1,500

Domestic Airports

Air travel is limited in Sri Lanka and only a few airports offer flights:

  • Batticaloa
  • Colombo – Ratmalana
  • Gal Oya
  • Plali
  • Trincomalee

Domestic Airport Departure Tax


Etiquette/Dress Code

As with many Asian countries, modest dress is required; shoulders and legs should be covered when visiting temples or shrines. All visitors to temples should remove their shoes before entering and heads should be uncovered. Topless sunbathing is prohibited throughout Sri Lanka.

Diplomatic Missions

Many countries have diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka.