Everything to know before visiting Sri Lanka

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Sri Lanka is one of my favourite countries I've visited and I would love to go back and explore more of the many hikes, its nature scene and the beaches. It's a country with the kindest culture, interesting food scene and best experiences I've had. 

If you're new to Sri Lanka and need some advice, here is everything to know before visiting Sri Lanka.

Everything to know before visiting Sri Lanka

Plan your trip around the weather

Like any tropical destination, the weather may be hot all year round, but Sri Lanka has monsoon seasons, which you should look to avoid when planning your trip. Between May and September, the west and south coast experience a southwest monsoon, with lots of rain. Whilst in November and March, both north and East experience showers.

Ask your doctor about vaccines beforehand

Before you travel to Sri Lanka, speak to your doctor about the recommended vaccines. Generally, they'll say you'll need Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio. Depending on your doctors, you may get these vaccines free or you may have to pay for them.

Currency is hard to come by outside of Sri Lanka

One thing I found particularly difficult before heading to Sri Lanka was sourcing the currency. No provider such as the Post Office or Tesco Money had it in stock as I learnt you can't often gain access to it outside the country. Because of this, we decided to take out all the money when we landed at Colombo airport and put it in a secure pouch.

Decide a price of a tuk-tuk before getting in

Tuk-tuks are the main mode of transport for being taxied around in Sri Lanka, alongside motorbikes and cars. Before you get into a tuk-tuk, ensure to bargain a price with the driver to avoid them overcharging you for the ride. You can usually negotiate a price to what the driver originally gives you.

Always bargain for prices and avoid being conned

This leads me to this, aside from bargaining for tuk-tuks, you want to do the same for anything else you buy at markets. As tourists, the locals may try to charge a lot more than needed for a piece of clothing for example. But simply, offer them a different price and if they say no, walk away. Don't let them try to persuade you if you're not confident in spending that amount of money.

Set a strategic plan over your time period

Sri Lanka is a large country and features key destinations from north to south. Due to this, you need to think strategically about where you'd like to visit on your trip, whether you're there for a week or a month. Each amount of time varies the amount of places you'd like to see. Also, you need to consider that transportation isn't accurate and this can delay moving from one location to the other.

Pack accordingly for attractions

Sri Lanka is packed with the most beautiful countryside and opportunities to hike and be in the midst of wildlife. If you're planning to head out on a long hike or explore the various terrains in Sri Lanka, ensure you pack useful clothing and accessories. For example, sturdy shoes, raincoats for when you go higher in the mountains and portable chargers.

Book any popular attractions, tours and transport in advance

When I visited Sri Lanka, I didn't see many tourists in the first half of my trip, it was only when I visited Ella and Unawatuna, the flock of visitors were high. Due to this, if there are any top tourist spots you'd like to visit or if you want to ride the iconic Kandy to Ella train journey, book in advance. 

Always ask locals for recommendations

The locals in Sri Lanka are the kindest and loveliest people I've ever met, always interested in speaking to us and helping us. I found speaking with the locals, they were incredibly helpful with suggestions on what to see and do, and places to eat. As well as recommending the best routes to take and how to get to different locations.

Eat all the Kottu

Kottu had to be my favourite dish in Sri Lanka and it's safe to say my partner and I consumed a lot during our two weeks there. We didn't realise Kottu was roti (a thin flat bread) stir-fried with lots of vegetables and it's insanely delicious. I miss it!

Show respect for Sri Lankan traditions

Sri Lanka is predominantly a Buddhist country and because of that, be aware of their customs, traditions and cultural etiquette. For example, when visiting a temple, cover yourself up and be considerate when taking photos. 

Beware of scams

Like all tourist destinations or locations on the backpacker trail, beware of any type of scam. This could be locals trying to sell you something such as gems. Or adding a new destination on your tuk-tuk route without asking you, increasing the price.

Be considerate of wildlife

Wild animals roam freely throughout Sri Lanka such as monkeys and elephants, especially in the more rural areas. When you see any wild animals, be wary and careful around them, taking relevant precautions. 

The Kandy to Ella train ride is 8 hours

The iconic Kandy to Ella train ride I wanted to do for years and when I got to Sri Lanka, I realised it was 8 hours long! Due to this, I followed the local's advice and got a car ride to Nuwara Eliya to see the wonderful tea plantations and then got the train to Ella from there. Many locals will tell you the most scenic part of the ride is between Nuwara Eliya and Ella.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What other tips do you have?

Thank you for reading <3

1 comment

  1. Thanks for sharing, these are great tips to know before travelling to Sri Lanka, I did the same with negotiate the prices when in Cambodia :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures


Thank you for reading my blog! I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful in anyway. I'd love to hear any feedback you may have.