Srilanka Travel Tips

10 Travel Tips for first time visitors to Srilanka.


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.

Srilanka Travel Tips
Pic Credit – Pixabay

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.

Srilanka Travel Tips
Pic Credit – Flickr

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.

Srilanka train ride
Pic Credit – Pixabay

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!!!

Srilanka travel tips
Pic Credit – Pixabay

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:

It is always beneficial to the get the local sim card. When we travelled to Srilanka, we bought a Dialog prepaid sim card with some GB data free to access Google maps or Whatsapp. It will also be helpful to stay connected with the social media world while you explore this beautiful country.

Srilanka sim card
Pic Credit – Pixabay

The Sim card will cost you $10 or so. You can make a choice of data plans you want to buy with the sim card based on your need.

Transport in Srilanka:

The best way to explore Srilanka is absolutely by a local transportation. You can hire Tuk tuk’s to explore the places within the city. Srilanka is well connected by train from one station to another and do not forget to do a famous train journey from Kandy to Ella , probably the most scenic train journey.

Srilanka travel tips
Pic Credit – Pixabay

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).

Srilanka Travel tips
Pic Credit – Pixabay

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.

Srilanka travel tips
Pic Credit – Flickr

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.

Srilanka travel tips
Pic Credit – Pixabay

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. 

Temple of tooth
Pic credit – Pixabay

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.

srilanka travel tips
Pic credit – Pixabay

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.

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14 comments on “10 Travel Tips for first time visitors to Srilanka.”

  1. These are great travel tips for first time visitors to Sri Lanka! Your 10 tips were similar to the ones we followed on our first trip to India too. Love that you recommend the train! Darcee loves trains! I love that you recommend Uber too. Uber can be such a benefit in countries like Sri Lanka where you have no idea where you are going and how much it costs because they map it out and set the price ahead of time…so no feelings of getting hustled!

  2. Srilanka hasn’t exactly been on my radar to visit but after this post I definitely want to go! The train seems like an amazing experience and there’s so much beautiful scenery. Thanks for the tip on spices…I’ve learned that my spice tolerance isn’t as good as I thought it was.

  3. Great Tips!!! We got ripped off by a Tuk Tuk in Vietnam, so I especially like this one about ensuring a meter is provided. I also love the tip on the food and asking for no spice. I like a bit of spice in my food but you cant go overboard with it. Sounds like if I was to visit SriLanka I should ask for no spice! Happy Travels 🙂

  4. I find these tips highly useful as I have not been to Sri Lanka yet. Particularly the metered tuk tuk tips to get out if the guy says it’s broken. I wouldn’t have even known to get a metered one if I hadn’t read this. In other countries, taxis and tuk tuks are often negotiated if there aren’t meters so this is nice to know. I also love knowing Uber is present since I love to use it!

  5. This is such a helpful guide to Sri Lanka. I almost visited Sri Lanka last year but had to cancel but hopefully can make it in 2019!

  6. I love these tips! Very useful read for anyone planing to go to Sri Lanka! I love your highlight of the train through the towns. What a wonderful way to get some beautiful views.

  7. We visited Sri Lanka in 2018 and absolutely loved it. We loved the diversity of the place, those beaches, the tea plantations, mountains, temples. So incredible! We got around on public transport and found it really easy. We’re planning on returning in a couple of years.

  8. These pictures are STUNNING! Every picture I see of train rides through Sri Lanka is so striking, it seems like your really can´t take a bad picture there. I always love a good tuk tuk ride, but I didn´t know ride sharing apps were so prominent. Thanks for the tips, definitely hope I make it there within the next year!

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