Sri Lanka, formerly called “Ceylon”, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, southeast of the Indian subcontinent, in a strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes. The nation has a total area of 65,610 km², with 64,740 km² of land and 870 km² of water. Sri Lanka’s climate includes tropical monsoons: the northeast monsoon (December to March), and the southwest monsoon (June to October)
The official Sri Lankan currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). It is difficult to obtain Rupees outside of Sri Lanka as it is not deemed a major currency. US dollars, Singapore dollars and Euro are easily exchanged into local currency around the country, including on arrival at the airport – and those counters usually offer the best exchange rate.We recommend preparing sufficient cash in Sri Lankan currency, as most small establishments in small cities or the rural countryside do not accept foreign credit cards.
Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), colloquially known as Katunayake Airport and Colombo International Airport, (IATA: CMB, ICAO: VCBI) is the main international airport serving Sri Lanka. It is named after former Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike and is located in a suburb of Negombo, 20 miles (32.5 km) north of the commercial capital Colombo. It serves as the hub of Sri Lankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, and domestic carrier Cinnamon Air.
Sri Lanka is well served by major Asian carriers, including budget favourite Air Asia, and finding direct or connecting flights (transiting through Asia, Middle East or India) should be relatively easy.
For our Singapore visitors, there are direct flights to Colombo operated by Singapore Airlines and connect flights operated by Air Asia. This should take approximately 4 hours.
Update: Sri Lanka will give offer one-month visas to citizens from nearly 50 countries in an effort to boost tourism.
Visitors to Sri Lanka visiting for tourism purposes must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), unless they are exempt, prior to arrival or on arrival to Sri Lanka or they must obtain a visa in advance. All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months.
On the basis of reciprocity, citizens of the following three countries are exempt from the requirement to obtain a visa for Sri Lanka: Maldives, Seychelles, Singapore.
Citizens of the following countries will not require a visa for Sri Lanka for stays up to six-months from 1 May 2019 (for a trial period of six months): All European Union citizens, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, United States.
The following needs to be declared according to the Sri Lanka Customs Luggage Declaration Form when entering and exiting Sri Lanka:
- 1.5 liters of spirits and 2 bottles of wine;
- Souvenirs not intended for commercial use, up to the value of USD 250.
- Local currency (Sri Lanka Rupee-LKR) up to LKR 20,000.-.
- Gold, silver and other valuable items
- Goods under FRIC or CARNET
- Gems should be declared
Sri Lanka is a year-round holiday destination, although December to mid-April is considered to be the peak season. Temperatures are fairly constant year round, with coastal regions enjoying average temperatures of 25-30°C and the highlands 15-18°C on average. If you’re travelling during the summer months (May to September) you’ll want to head towards the east coast and northern regions for dry, sunny weather, as the west and south-west coasts experience rain at this time. On the flip side, the west and south west enjoy favourable weather conditions during the winter months (October to February) when the monsoon season hits the east and north.