The palms clasped together and a gently bow of the head accompanies the ‘’ Ayubowan “,Sri Lanka’s gentle gesture of welcome and respect. It is the age-old greeting of our people and the chances are you will be greeted this way, wherever you happen to travel throughout the island. With this very greeting we welcome you to a land like no other, the land of serendipity.
Our aim is to make your visit a pleasant and memorable tour. With this in mind, we are available 24 hours a day whenever you require any assistance or wish to make amendments to your schedule.
Please go through the following tips. These may be helpful to you while you are in Sri Lanka.
SRI Lanka standard time is 05.30 hours of Greenwich Time
Business hours are 08H30 to 16H30.Certain businesses are open on Saturday till 13H00.
In addition to Saturday, the full moon day (Poya day) of each month is a holiday in Sri Lanka. On Poya Days and on some public holidays all places of entertainment are closed and no liquor is sold. Please check with the Hotel for special arrangements.
Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages. English is also widely spoken and most hotels will have someone who can speak another language.
One Sri Lanka rupee is made up of 100 cents. Currency notes are in the denominations of Rs: 10,20,50,100,500,1000,2000 and 5000. The coins are in the following denominations. 1 cents, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, one rupee, two rupee, five rupee an ten rupee.
Reputed credit cards are widely accepted in Sri Lanka. In some cases, the shops may try to add a surcharge to the price of the merchandise purchased. This is not an acceptable practice and in such cases the card company should be contacted so that corrective action can be taken.
The voltage in Sri Lanka is 220,240 volts, 50 cycle’s alternating current
Telephone calls can be made from your hotel at any time.post office, agency post offices, communication centers and phone booths also provide local and IDD call facilities. The cellular phones are widely used in Sri Lanka.
Most hotels sell stamps and post card. They will also post your mail if you request them to do so.
The Sri Lanka broadcasting Corporation operates radio transmission in English, Sinhala and Tamil. There are many other private radio transmission also available to Listeners Island wide in all three languages. Please check the daily news papers for program schedule.
There are many channels in operation in English, Sinhala and Tamil. A wide variety of programs covering various subjects are telecasted on these channels which includes News brief from BBC, CNN and Sky News. Satellite and cable TV connection are available in many hotels. Please check the daily news papers for the program schedule.
National daily newspapers are published in English, Sinhala and Tamil languages and magazine type editions are available during the weekends. The selection of international publications, newspapers, journals and magazines are available at the news agents, bookstalls.
Beggars & unauthorized guides
Please do not encourage beggars by giving money to them. If you are willing to contribute to the poor, please donate to appropriate charities. Ask your driver/ guide for details. For your own safety we recommend that you do not entertain strangers. If you are visiting Sri Lanka for a beach holiday, please talk to your chauffeur guide should you wish to go on an excursion, boat ride etc.. DO NOT use the services offered by various unauthorized guides.
Dress Code: What to Wear
Light cotton dresses and light weight suits with a wide-brimmed beach hat and sunglasses, comfortable shoes/ sandals are recommended. In the hill country pullovers will be necessary. The visitors should be decently clad when visiting any place of worship. The beach wear is not suitable for temples and shrines. All visitors to Buddhist and Hindu temples are expected to be unshod and have their heads uncovered. Some hotels require that you wear long pants and shirt in the public areas/ restaurants in the evenings. The cloths are cheap and freely available through out the island.
**Law in Sri Lanka prohibits topless or nudity in public**
It is an offence to photograph air ports and military sites. Some sites of archaeological and historical interest require a permit for photography. It is always courteous to obtain permission from the relevant authorities, if you wish to photograph these sites. Film is widely available but we recommend that you make your purchases from one of the major city centers or your hotel.
Prostitution and sexual exploitation of children are penal offenses in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka, particularly Colombo, has a wide range of shopping centers that sell international brands. The local handicrafts are available freely throughout the island. Each region of the island has its own “specialty” handicrafts. Ask your chauffeur guide to show you the specialty of the area you are in and recommend a shop to you. We advise you to avoid touts and roadside venders as we cannot Guarantee the quality of their products.
Please check before purchasing certain plants animals and wood products since that export of some items are prohibited.
Food & Beverages
Sri Lanka hosts a wide variety of food and beverages both local and international. While the traditional Sri Lankan cuisine is not to be missed, be advised that it is often hot and spicy. You could request the local cuisine to be prepared mild should you wish to taste it. Not all restaurants maintain strict standards of hygiene. It is best that you seek the advice of your chauffeur guide if you wish to try one of the many restaurants located outside your hotel.
Smoking tobacco in public places is prohibited.
The tap water is not potable. The drinking water is provided separately in your hotel room. The bottled water can be purchased freely. Please ensure that the safety seal intact before purchasing.
It is advisable that you use the safety lockers (in your room or at the Front Office) provided by the hotel to store your valuables.
Most hotels offer laundry service. Please check with the reception of the hotel.
At the hotel when you have consumed any extra service other than your entitlement the hotel will issue bill. Please make sure that you do not sing the bills if you wish to pay and settle the bills immediately. If you sing the bill do not settle it immediately as it will be transferred to the front Office for settlement before your departure from the hotel.
Please ensure that you settle all bills carrying your signature for extra services the night before your departure date from that the hotel. This will facilitate your checkout and avoid any unnecessary delays.
Wake up calls/ Baggage
Please contact hotel reception to arrange your wake up call. They will also send you a porter should you require your luggage to be brought down from your room. Please ensure that all your baggage loaded on to the vehicle you are traveling in particularly if you are a part of a large group.
Most hotels include a service charge in their bills. When Service Charge is included there is no necessity to leave a tip. Nevertheless a small tip of approximately Rs100.00. has become an accepted practice in Sri Lanka when you pay the bills. The porters are tipped approximately Rs 100.00. please ask your chauffeur guide for advice if you are not sure.