Visa for Sri Lanka:
Visa is required to visit Sri Lanka you can apply for an electronic visa or eVisa online, recommend you apply at least a week in advance. Its an easy process go to www.eta.gov.lk (http://www.eta.gov.lk/), click “apply”, fill out the form and pay a fee. The permit for entering the country will be sent to your email within 24 hours. Technically, you can still get visa on arrival. There’s a window at the airport where you can fill out the form and pay a fee, but 1 you don’t want to waste time in line at the airport and 2 nowadays, they ask for visa confirmation at the port of embarkation and you won’t prove that it’s possible to get visa on arrival. The Tourist visa is valid for stay within 30 days. Passport must be valid for at least six months before you commence travel to Sri Lanka. Tourists should have a return ticket, sufficient foreign exchange (currency / traveller's cheques/credit card) for maintenance.
Connection & Wifi:
Get a local Dialog sim card. You can use data to call home via Skype or Watsup. Data is also very handy when you are traveling and need to use Google Maps or simply stay connected with the world. A thousand rupees is enough for a month in Sri Lanka. To get a sim card you’ll need a photo ID. It can be done right at the airport (there’s a Dialog stand there). Dialog has a tourist prepaid plan for approximately $9 you can get a sim card with 9 GB of data and Rs 350 worth of local calls from small shops by the road whenever you need a reload.
Wifi is available at many hotels, hostels, restaurants, and cafes across the country. It’s not always reliable and fast, but you’ll find it in most touristy areas.
Standard voltage in Sri Lanka is 230 V, standard frequency 50Hz. D, M, and G type of power sockets are used throughout the country (the plug either has three round pins or three rectangular blades).
Prepare to go slow:
The key to travelling is patience! Distances can sometimes be vast, roads are often congested and rustic and time is not necessarily of the essence. With many different options of travel, each will bring with it a different perspective of this fascinating country. To avoid any inconvenience, we recommend you carry a roll of toilet paper from your hotel before you start your sightseeing tour or train journey because some emergency stops, public toilets may not have sufficient toilet rolls.
Staying at Wildlife Resort:
Most eco, wildlife and jungle resort are eco-friendly to protect the local environment. All resorts provide hot/cold water; though in some resort you may have to leave the hot water tap on for some time before you shower with hot water. Also, note when staying in an eco-friendly hotels or resorts, a TV may not be provided in the room as they offer plenty of options for daily activities such as cooking demonstrations, nature walks, cultural shows, yoga class to name a few. It is advisable to check with the hotel for any extra activities they offer at the time of check-in.
Understand the Culture:
When visiting temples, churches, mosques or any other religious sites in Sri Lanka, there are certain dress codes and behaviour, which is acceptable and expected. Most holy places, regardless of faith, will ask visitors to take off their shoes before entering. It is inappropriate and disrespectful to visit any place of worship wearing tank-tops, shorts or short skirts. The basic rule is to cover your shoulders (easily done with a scarf or a shawl) and your knees. It is also recommended to avoid anything see-through, too tight or too short.
Go north to get away from the crowds:
Formerly off- limits, the country’s Northern Province is prime territory for those who want to roam off the beaten Path. Once a Tamil Tiger Stronghold, it was one of the last areas on the island to reopen to tourists and has yet to succumb to the same wave of hotels, resorts and other developments or to receive the same flurry of foreign visitors.
With jazz clubs, rooftop bars, boutique stores and internationally acclaimed restaurants, Colombo can no longer be considered a mere gateway city. There are a number of sights to see, the capital is also a great place to simply settle in and get a sense of what local life is like. Watch families fly kites on Galle Face Green at sunset. Then cheer for the national cricket team at the R Premadasa Stadium, or observe grandmothers swathed in vivid saris bargain with stallholders at Pettah Market. Get around in Tuk tuks, walk through markets and grab some delicious street food on the way will not only allow you to discover the capital, but also introduce you to the Sri Lankan way of living.
Sri Lanka might be known for its stupas, beaches and tea plantations, but it’s also crammed with adrenaline-packed activities. Why not try surfing in Arugam Bay, hiking the Knuckles Mountain Range or white-water rafting in Kelaniya Ganga, Kitulgala. Cycling holidays are also becoming increasingly popular. Why not mix it all and create your own adventure tour in Sri Lanka?
Make the most of your money:
By western standards, Sri Lanka is still a cheap destination, but prices are rising. For everyday items such as tea and toothpaste, head to the supermarkets in big cities where you can rest assured that you’re not paying over the odds. In the corner shops of smaller cities simply check the packaging, which has the price printed next to the letters "Rs." (meaning rupees).
Focus on Food:
Sri Lankan Food is delicious, so make the most of it while you’re there. However, knowing where and when to find the good stuff may prove a harder task than you anticipated. Bowl-shaped hoppers (savoury rice flour crêpes) are a highlight, though they are typically only served first thing in the morning or late afternoon. Rice and curry is a lunchtime affair, while kottu roti (chopped flatbread stir-fried with eggs and vegetables) is only available in the evening.
Sale and consumption of Alcohol:
It is important to note that on all Full Moon night (known as Poya days) no liquor is served. Full Moon days are of religious significance to Buddhists and devoted to prayer and meditation and keeping with this abstinence is practised. Places selling liquor (including hotel bars) and meat shops are closed. Places of entertainment such as cinemas, discos and casinos are closed as well. Smoking and consuming liquor in public areas is banned in Sri Lanka.
Clothing & Footwear:
Cotton clothing is ideal as Sri Lanka is a tropical island. However light woollen clothing is suitable in the hilly regions. Sunscreen, sun hat and sunglasses may also help you escape the heat during the day time. A good thing to keep in mind is that despite the tropical weather some hotels have a ‘no shorts’ policy at dinner time so it is advisable to bring a comfortable alternative. All our tours involve some walking, climbing etc while visiting monuments etc so it is important to bring footwear that is suitable and comfortable.
We do not patronise any shopping malls or emporiums. However, there may be instances when the tour guide may take you shopping on request, we strongly suggest you bargain and use your own discretion while purchasing as we will not be held responsible for any grievances regarding the same.
Currency Exchange, Credit Card and ATM:
Sri Lankan currency is Rupee (LKR). Notes are printed in the denominations of 2000, 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. We suggest that you keep small denominations notes for small payments like tips, meals and travel. Hotels and other tourist establishments will quote you a price which is either US dollar or Euro and collect the equivalent in Sri Lankan rupees at the prevailing exchange rate. Money can be exchanged at hotels, banks or authorised money changers. It is illegal to exchange money with unauthorised money changers. Major credit cards are accepted in ATM’s in most places which are easily accessible.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours. This must critically cover medical expenses in case of an emergency. Note that travel insurance automatically provided with credit cards generally does not provide adequate cover.
Responsible tourism is about making travel better (both for the guest and host):
Promoting responsible tourism has always been a priority for Total Holiday Options Lanka. It is our commitment which is supported by the travellers who choose to travel with us. We believe that without involving locals and respecting their culture and customs it is almost impossible to have a memorable holiday. Travel is all about experiencing another culture, cuisine, customs and sights. To support the local community some of our initiatives are organising cooking class at home or with farmers, dining with locals, prefer local hotel chains to support employment and encourage various leisure or adventure activities with authentic ground operators.