When’s the best time to go?
Sri Lanka is located close to the equator, so temperatures are pretty consistent from January to December. The coastline regularly enjoys average daily highs in the thirties and sometimes beyond. During summer, monsoon season arrives on this side of the country. But the winter is dry.
Heading inland? The altitude is higher here, so the climate is slightly cooler. It’s best to pack a jumper if you’re planning on visiting Kandy or tea plantations away from the coast.
What should I pack?
It’s okay to wear shorts and t-shirts in most places in Sri Lanka. However, beyond the tourist beaches and the hotel swimming pool, you shouldn’t wear bathing suits and bikinis. Be sure to pack a cover-up to hide your shoulders and arms when necessary.
You’ll need to cover up when visiting temples; light trousers, sarongs or long skirts are good options. It’s sensible to wear sandals if you’re planning a visit, as you can slip them off and on quickly as you may have to take your shoes off when entering certain temples and religious sites.
It’s well worth packing a lightweight waterproof jacket (or even a poncho) to protect you from sudden downpours, especially if you’re heading to Sri Lanka during monsoon season. If you’re planning on heading up high into the mountains, bring a warm layer along with you; the mornings and evenings can be very crisp.
Bring mosquito repellent
Mosquitos are pretty common in Sri Lanka, so it’s wise to take some effective mosquito repellent along with you. It’s surprisingly hard to find when you get there, although it is available in some pharmacies.
Pack your sun cream
The sunshine is strong in Sri Lanka, yet sun cream is another hard-to-find item here. That’s why it’s best to get some before you leave, and make sure you pack the strong stuff (Factor 30 upwards) just in case. Hats and light shawls can also provide valuable protection you from the sun, especially when you’re on the beach or out on safari.
Passports and Visas
What about my passport?
You’ll need a current passport to travel to Sri Lanka from the UK. Your passport must be valid for at least six months, starting from your date of entry to Sri Lanka.
For all the latest Sri Lanka passport information, head to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/entry-requirements.
Do I need a visa?
Yes, you need a visa in order to enter Sri Lanka. This is in addition to your passport. Before you go, you can apply for your short stay tourist visa online at Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). This type of visa is usually issued for stays of up to 30 days and you must not overstay your visa.
It’s possible to get a Sri Lanka visa when you arrive, but it’s always best to apply before you go away, otherwise you risk facing delays at the airport (and they can be lengthy, too).
For all the latest Sri Lanka visa information, head to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/entry-requirements.
Health and safety
Do I need any vaccinations?
Go and see your doctor at least four to six weeks before travelling to Sri Lanka. They can check whether you need any vaccinations and offer advice. For the latest health and safety information, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/health.
Should I get travel health insurance?
It’s always wise to take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you go away. Treatment in private hospitals can be very expensive in Sri Lanka.
Any other tips?
The pace of life is slow and laid-back in Sri Lanka. Locals are used to welcoming visitors from all over the world and, while covering up is appreciated, you can still wear vests and shorts. However, you’ll need to cover up in places of worship or you won’t be allowed to enter.
Always take care of yourself and your personal belongs and be aware of pick-pockets. Try to avoid carrying all your important documents (for example, your passport), money and valuables in the same bag.
For more information and Sri Lanka travel advice, head to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/safety-and-security.