Finally after 8 days of Sri Lankan magic, we were off to Colombo airport via the scenic southern highway and after a 3 hour drive we were at the airport. After shopping for souvenirs at the airport shops we were set for our flight. We were happy tourists with lot of memories and a changed attitude towards SL to take along and to cherish for the rest of our lives.
Key Points to note:
**SL has a lot of places to explore, please do not try to cover everything if you have limited time. One of the famous cities is Nuwara eliya, and the very talked about train ride. There are few national parks that one can visit but remember if you have paucity of time plan your holiday according to what you enjoy and not just for the sake of visiting more places.
**Cheapest way to travel between cities is trains, but it is not a very developed network and you need to take the tickets from the station, no online booking. Tuk tuk is the way to travel in the city, but remember to haggle.
**Visa/ ETA Tourists coming to Sri Lanka need to get an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) or VISA which is valid for a period of 30 days unless you are a national of Singapore, Maldives, or Seychelles. It is a very simple process which can be done online on their official website. You can either apply as an individual or as a group. The visa process is as fast it gets, you receive the ETA on the email within minutes.
All SAARC member countries (India is a SAARC nation) need to pay US$20 and all other countries need to pay US$35 as ETA fees. Please note children under 12 years of age are exempt from the ETA fees. ( https://eta.gov.lk/etaslvisa/etaNavServ)
**Currency: Important for SL The more you read on the web, the more you realize that SL is more of a cash based economy, so less use of cards. Our personal experience was mixed. All the famous restaurants accepted cards but you never know which one doesn't. We booked our stay online and beforehand and for one of them we had to pay in cash directly to the hotelier.
So, short point, carry some cash from your home country (either SL rupee or US$) and if you get SL rupee try and spend all of it there as very few agents are willing to buy back or give you a very bad exchange rate.
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