Elephants bathing in the water on Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Travel Guide – Everything You Need to Know

This post was last updated on February 20th, 2020 at 09:24 am


It is almost unbelievable that you can see so much in such a small country. Yet you really can; from 2000 year old temples to tropical beaches. The friendly smiling locals, herds of wild elephants, the delicious food and the world’s best surfing spots make Sri Lanka a HOT place to be nowadays! Sri Lanka has long been skipped by the international travel world, traveling to other countries in Asia. Fortunately, that time is over!

 

Important Travel Information

Sri Lanka freely translated means “beautiful island” and that is not one word too much. It is a country that is growing fast with tourism increasing every year. That’s because you can gain dozens of experiences in one day thanks to the short distances!

 

Meditate in ancient temples, spot elephants in the wild, surf the coast, visit a traditional village, sleep on the beach or try one of the great dishes somewhere. You can read all necessary Sri Lanka travel information below!

 

Backpacking in Sri Lanka

A nice way to explore a country is by backpacking. It is not for everyone, but it does offer you a lot of freedom. This way you are not tied to a travel schedule and you can go wherever you want.

 

Sri Lanka is a great country for backpacking. It is not that big so you can see a lot of the country in a short time. During a backpacking trip through Sri Lanka you will meet a lot of people, not only tourists but also locals.

 

Woman backpacking in Sri Lanka

 

TIP – You can find more information about this on our backpacking in Sri Lanka page.

 

If you go backpacking through Sri Lanka you will see a lot. The country has a beautiful nature but perhaps even more beautiful culture. The centuries-old temples and buildings from the time of the Dutch are worth a visit.

 

Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka

The weather in Sri Lanka is excellent throughout the year with an average temperature of 27°C (about 81°F). The best time to visit Sri Lanka is from December to April. In these months the temperature is pleasant and there is a bit less rainfall, especially on the west coast and the mountainous center. You can expect the most rain in the months of May to August. The weather in these months is slightly better in the east and north.

 

Average temperature and rainfall on Sri Lanka
Average Weather by Month in Sri Lanka

 

TIP – You can find more information about the weather on our page: best time to visit Sri Lanka.

 

Sri Lanka Budget

Because Sri Lanka has become increasingly popular among travelers in recent years, it is no longer as cheap as it used to be. Compared to Western prices, it is still not expensive here and it is also still cheaper than other countries in Southeast Asia. What you spend per day depends on your own wishes and needs.

 

You can spend the night in low-budget accommodations and only eat street food or you can sleep in luxury resorts with all conveniences. If you will sleep in private rooms in normal hostels, eat in restaurants, use good transport and visit some highlights you have to count on around US$35-40 a day.

 

Different amounts of Sri Lanka Rupees

 

Cash

We always recommend taking some cash with you. American Dollars are easily available at airports and you can pay with them in Sri-Lanka.

 

TIP – You can find information on our Sri Lanka budget page.

 

Sri Lanka Visa

Travelers from most countries need to get a visa to enter Sri Lanka. For this you need a valid passport that must be valid for another 6 months after returning to your home country. You can arrange a visa for Sri Lanka in the following ways:

 

  • Apply for ETA
  • Visa on Arrival
  • Apply online

 

TIP – More information can be found on our Sri Lanka visa page.

 

Vaccinations

Getting sick during your trip through Sri Lanka is no fun (actually it’s never fun!). Unfortunately, we speak from experience. People often cut back on vaccinations, but we always advise against this.

 

It is an investment but one that is definitely worth it. If you are traveling to Sri Lanka, there are no compulsory vaccinations, but there are a few that are recommended such as DTP, Hepatitis A + B, Rabies and MMR.

 

Food and Drinks

The food in Sri Lanka is just like the country itself; amazing! Rice and fish is what they eat here the most. This is not that strange since it is an island that is full of rice fields. The food in Sri Lanka is spicier than in many other Asian countries. Peppers are used here in many dishes. You cannot drink tap water here; you will have to buy bottled water.

 

Chef preparing a curry dish
A chef in Sri Lanka preparing a curry dish, looks great!

 

TIP – Read more about the food and drinks in Sri Lanka.

 

Transportation in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is not that big. An advantage of this is that you can easily travel through the country in a relatively short time. The best way to get from A to B is by public transport. Many locals also use the public transport, so you get to know a lot of local people. And the distances aren’t that far either, so the journey never lasts long.

 

Green trees and bushes with a train
Beautiful nature between Kandy and Ella can be seen from the train

 

TIP – Read more about transport in Sri Lanka.

 

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