Srilanka, Home to alluring tea plantations, Rolling mountains, World class surfing, Creamy sandy beaches and Blue trains and Rich wild life. This small island country is on radar of almost all tourists. Sri Lanka, has been a dream destination of us for many years and we visited this stunning country 2 years back.
With more visitors heading to Sri Lanka every year, now is the perfect time to visit. Here are our ten tips and tricks to help first-time visitors to Srilanka.
Visa for Sri Lanka:
Many countries now offer visa on arrival for Indian passport holders. Srilanka offers ETA for Indians to travel to Srilanka. ETA stands for "e-travel authorization" which serves Srilanka visa for Indian passport holders and it's the simplest process to do as soon as you decide your plan to go to Srilanka.
As an Indian passport holder, you only need to apply for an online visa. Sri Lanka will issue travelers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) that allows you to enter the country for 30 days. Visa fee is approx.$30 per person and is simple process.
Do a Train ride in Srilanka:
The best way to travel within Srilanka is by Train. Train ride in Sri Lanka's hill country is perhaps the most beautiful train journey in the world! It's cheap and reliable. Riding through the most bewitching of landscapes - tea estates, forests, waterfalls, hills, bridges - is something you'll cherish for the rest of your lives.
It may not be the fastest way, but it is the most beautiful way to travel internally. Alternatively, you can travel by buses too, but buses can be overcrowded and uncomfortable.
There's an extensive range of experiences, from the ocean to the mountains:
Sri Lanka has every single type of traveler covered. Maybe it be a tea county or wildlife & national parks, gushing waterfalls or stunning beaches, hiking mountain ranges or visiting temples and so on...you get the gist!!!
Don't be surprised if you don't cover a lot of ground - 2-3 weeks is not nearly enough time to experience all what Sri Lanka must offer! So, plan your trip based on your preferences where you want to go and what you want to do.
Get Local sim card:
Get a local Dialog prepaid sim card. You can use data to call home via Skype or Whats App. Data is also very handy when you are traveling and need to use Google Maps or simply stay connected with the world.
You can buy the Sim card at the airport it self which will approximately cost you $10 or so. You can choose the prepaid plans for sim as per your convenience.
Transport in Srilanka:
One of the most important travel tips for those who are traveling to Sri Lanka for the first time: always (!) get a meter tuk tuk. It will save you money and keep your vacation stress-free.
If a tuk tuk doesn't have a meter, wait for the next one. If there's a meter, but the driver says it's broken, get out and get another one. Going without a meter in most cases means you will pay two, three, or five times more.
Uber and Pick Me App:
In big cities like Colombo and Kandy it is easier and more comfortable to use ride sharing apps like Pick Me and Uber (Pick Me is a local app).
Order beforehand, it might take 10-15 minutes for the car to arrive, but ultimately, it's more convenient since you don't have to bargain and deal with change. Plus, the price per ride is usually almost equal to that in a tuk tuk.
Be Prepared for the monsoon anytime:
The weather in Sri Lanka is not defined by seasons, but by monsoons instead. The southwest of Sri Lanka is hit by monsoon from April to September, while the northeast - from November to March.
This means that any time of the year there are areas in the country where it's not raining and you can enjoy your vacation. You just need to plan your itinerary accordingly.
Eat Local Food:
In Sri Lanka eat Sri Lankan food. If you come to Sri Lanka and order a salad at a small roadside cafe, it's kinda your own fault. Unless you are in a good restaurant located in a fancy hotel (Colombo and Galle are exceptions from this rule), do not order Western dishes like burgers, salads, and soups. They will be terrible and expensive.
Sri Lankans eat rice and curry by hand, you should try it too. If you don't tolerate spices, ask for no spices when ordering food. Believe me, Sri Lankan "no spices" will be spicy enough for you. Saying "a little spicy" or "less spicy" won't work.
Choose to Dress up as per the attractions:
In touristy towns by the beach, in the southwest of the island, you can wear pretty much whatever you like. There are way too many tourists so short skirts and shorts are fine.
To enter temples, your shoulders and knees should be covered. You'll also have to remove your shoes before entering any temple, so think in advance and wear something like sandals, that are easy to slip off and on.
Tons of Instagram worthy spots:
The beautiful landscapes of Sri Lanka are capturing many traveler's attention and you'll find plenty of incredible photography spots.
Whether it's epic palm tree rope swings, amazing train journeys, beautiful tea plantations or that coconut tree patch, you are going to be spoilt for choice. Dalawella Beach, Galle, Nuwara Eliya, Little Adam's peak are name to few of stunning instagrammable spots in Srilanka.
Sri Lanka may look small on the map, but it packs in a lot of great things to do. This post is for you to prep up before visiting to this amazing country.
Do you have tried tips to visit to Srilanka? Share with us in comments.
We are Vic and Krupa, Indian travel bloggers from Mumbai, HR by profession with an insatiable case of wanderlust. We've spent the past few years crossing the globe with a map in one hand and a camera in the other. This is where we share our travel tales with the hopes of inspiring you to travel.