So you’re thinking of heading to Sri Lanka, or perhaps you’ve already bought your plane ticket (congrats!) and now you’re doing your research…smart.
A new country can be quite daunting, and it takes a lot out of you trying to navigate your way around, so I’ve put together this handy little cheat sheet of hints & tips for travelling Sri Lanka, to help you along your way.
Get your Visa online
…And do this before you leave your home country through the official website. It’s costs $30 (price right as of April 2015)
Ask a local
…There isn’t a lot of information on the internet at the moment on Sri Lanka, so trying to look up how to get from one place to another can be a bit pointless. If you can’t find something, or you are unsure just ask a local. They are so helpful and really go out of their way to help you out, without asking for anything in return (usually!).
Get a SIM card at the airport
…Technically as a foreign passport holder you are not allowed to buy a local Sri Lankan SIM card (although some places will sell to you), but they give them out at the airport so pick up one on your way through.
ATMs don’t charge
…yey!!! bonus! So in Thailand you get charged 180 Baht (roughly £3.60) to take out cash but in Sri Lanka they are nicer 😉
The Sri Lankan ‘head bobble’ means ok
…Don’t get confused here. Sri Lankan’s (& Indians) bobble their heads side to side when they silently want to say ok to each other. It looks like a ‘no’ to us westerners so don’t get confused.
Eat with your right hand
…So you’ll will more than likely use cutlery…BUT if you want to do as the locals do, then you might want to try eating your Rice & Curry with your hands. If you do, always use your right hand. Sri Lankans save the left hand for ‘other’ things, so if you start using your left hand you might get some funny looks 😉
Plug sockets are either English or universal
…this is a weird one but I didn’t have to use my adapter once! Most places took English plugs (I guess a hangover of our time there), and a lot had universal adapters already in place. I’d take an adapter though just in case…you’ll need the 2 prong rounded one.
Don’t buy food & drink from the beach vendors
…A fairly obvious one but worth putting it down here. They are MUCH more expensive!
Carry a sarong or something to cover up with for the temples
…I actually fell fowl of this and had to buy a sarong for when I was in Kandy visiting the Sacred Tooth. Make sure you have something with you to cover both your shoulder and your legs.
When travelling by public transport cover your legs
…I’m going to do a whole other post of travelling in Sri Lanka as a woman, but for now as a quick tip try not to travel around wearing just shorts & a small top. The local men are very leery and will often enjoy rubbing up against your legs if you are sitting next to them on a cramped bus.
Buddha does not like selfies!
…You are not allowed to put your back to Buddha statues, so selfies are out of the question.
Sunset is at 18:30
…Some of the best sunsets in Asia!
Tuk Tuks won’t usually accept higher than 1000 Rupee note
…So get change or you’ll be paying extra whilst they drive you to an ATM!
Always haggle with those Tuk Tuk drivers
…Start with asking the price of the full journey, then offer half of whatever they say, and then haggle from there.
There are turtles in Hikkaduwa
…They come up to the beach every evening around 6 so you can feed & swim with them.
There is a secret beach in Mirissa
…Drop me a message and I’ll send you over the directions of how to get there!
And there you have it, a few travel tips to make your time in Sri Lanka a bit cheaper and easier.
Do you know any other travel hacks that I may have missed? Let me know below and I’ll add them in