Practical information about Sri Lanka

Practical information about Sri Lanka
  1. The climate of Sri Lanka

According to Bridgat, Sri Lanka has a tropical climate. The year is divided into two seasons, namely the dry season and the rainy season, which coincide at different times across the island. Temperatures are consistently high throughout the year, but in the highlands you may need a warm sweater or jacket to cool off in the evening and sometimes during the day.

The rainy season brings with it two monsoons, Maha and Yala, the first blowing from the northeast and the second from the southwest. Monsoon means a seasonal wind that can bring with it even heavy rains across the country.

As one of 25 independent countries starting with S listed on Countryaah, Sri Lanka is an incredibly green and lush country precisely because of the monsoon rains, and even between the monsoons rains can occur all year round. However, the heaviest rains typically occur during the rainy season. Below you can read more about Sri Lankan weather in different seasons and times of monsoons, rainy seasons and dry seasons across Sri Lanka.

In the dry season, rainfall is very low, the sun shines from clear skies and temperatures are relatively high.

During the rainy season, rains are heavy and frequent, but they usually do not last a day. Rainfall is typically short, deafening, and heavy, and the weather usually clears up fairly soon after the rain. Temperatures are high even during the rainy season, but the wind makes the air feel cooler than during the dry season.

Southern Sri Lanka (Hikkaduwa – Galle – Mirissa – Yala): The cities of Hikkaduwa, Gall and Mirissa are located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The Great Yala National Park is some distance to the west. Hikkaduwa and Mirissa are perfect destinations for a relaxing beach holiday.

The dry season lasts roughly from December to April. During the dry season, the south coast beach resorts are at their best.

The rainy season lasts roughly from May to August, when the Yala monsoon blows rain from the sea to the coast.

Hikkaduwa Weather Statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 30 30 31 31 30 30 29 29 29 29 30 30
Average. lowest temperature 22 22 23 24 25 25 24 24 24 23 23 22
Precipitation e.g. 89 101 134 251 349 236 209 181 270 363 305 181
Average seawater temperature 28 28 29 30 29 28 27 27 27 28 28 28
Gallen weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 29 30 31 31 30 29 29 29 29 29 29 29
Average. lowest temperature 22 22 23 24 25 24 24 24 24 23 22 22
Precipitation e.g. 102 86 117 241 297 206 165 155 213 340 302 178
Average seawater temperature 28 28 29 30 29 28 28 28 28 28 29 28
Mirissa weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 30 30 31 31 30 30 30 29 29 29 30 29
Average. lowest temperature 22 23 24 24 25 25 24 24 24 24 23 23
Precipitation e.g. 89 91 109 207 258 173 173 149 215 305 276 171
Average seawater temperature 28 28 29 30 29 28 28 28 28 28 29 28
Yala weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 29 30 32 32 33 32 32 32 32 31 30 29
Average. lowest temperature 20 20 20 22 23 24 24 24 24 23 23 21
Precipitation e.g. 16 16 35 35 25 22 40 35 40 72 81 40

West Coast of Sri Lanka (Negombo – Colombo): On
the west coast of Sri Lanka are the capital Colombo and Negombo, which grew from a small fishing village to a beach resort. In both cities, the dry season and the rainy season coincide with the same months as in southern Sri Lanka.

The dry season lasts roughly from December to April.

The rainy season comes with the Yala monsoon and lasts roughly from May to August.

Negombo weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 30 31 31 31 31 29 29 29 29 29 29 29
Average. lowest temperature 22 22 23 24 26 25 25 25 25 24 23 22
Precipitation e.g. 89 69 147 231 371 224 135 109 160 348 315 147
Average seawater temperature 27 28 29 30 29 28 27 27 27 28 28 28
Colombo weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 31 31 32 32 31 30 30 30 30 30 30 30
Average. lowest temperature 22 23 24 25 26 26 25 25 25 24 23 23
Precipitation e.g. 58 73 128 246 392 185 122 120 245 365 414 175
Average seawater temperature 28 28 29 30 29 28 27 27 27 28 28 28

Northeast Sri Lanka (Trincomalee): The
beach resort of Trincomalee is located on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka. The northeast coast is a relatively dry region, with annual rainfall of only about 1,000 mm.

The dry season lasts roughly from March to August. In other words, European holiday months are the best time to travel to beach resorts on the northeast coast.

The rainy season lasts roughly from September to February, when the Maha monsoon blowing from the northeast brings rain when it comes.

Trincomale weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 28 29 31 33 35 35 34 34 34 32 29 28
Average. lowest temperature 24 25 25 26 26 26 26 26 25 25 24 24
Precipitation e.g. 132 100 54 50 52 26 70 89 104 217 334 341
Average seawater temperature 27 28 29 30 30 29 29 29 29 29 29 28

North of Central Sri Lanka (Sigiriya – Anuradhapura):
The popular destinations of North Sri Lanka are Sigiriya and Anuradhapura, as well as the slightly smaller Dambulla, Matale and Polonnaruwa. The beginning of the year from the beginning of January to the end of March is the best travel time in this area.

The dry season lasts from May to the end of September.

The rainy season lasts from October to early May, with most rainfall occurring in mid-November.

Sigiriya weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 28 30 32 32 32 31 31 31 31 30 29 28
Average. lowest temperature 21 21 22 23 24 24 23 23 23 22 22 21
Precipitation e.g. 109 87 84 169 97 55 70 71 99 267 298 258
Anuradhapura weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 29 31 32 33 33 32 32 32 32 31 30 29
Average. lowest temperature 22 22 23 24 25 25 25 25 24 24 23 22
Precipitation e.g. 89 55 75 167 92 18 38 41 72 259 260 224

Central Highlands and Mountains of Sri Lanka (Kandy – Ella – Haputale – Nuwara Eliya):
Kandy, Ella, Haputale and Nuwara Eliya are located in the highlands and mountains of central Sri Lanka. Here the weather is a little cooler than on the coast, and rain is also more common.

The dry season lasts roughly from January to April, when average daytime temperatures are at their highest.

The rainy season lasts roughly from late April to January, and the wettest month is October.

Kandy weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 27 28 30 30 29 28 27 28 28 28 27 27
Average. lowest temperature 18 18 18 20 20 20 20 19 19 19 19 18
Precipitation e.g. 79 74 71 188 144 132 128 113 155 264 296 196
Ella weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 23 24 26 26 26 25 25 25 25 24 23 23
Average. lowest temperature 16 16 17 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 17
Precipitation e.g. 90 68 75 208 160 108 195 207 293 447 439 199
Nuwara Eliya Weather Statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 20 21 23 23 21 19 19 19 19 20 20 19
Average. lowest temperature 9 9 10 11 13 13 13 13 12 12 12 11
Precipitation e.g. 101 78 72 158 176 172 165 161 179 227 228 196
  1. When should you travel to Sri Lanka?

You can travel to Sri Lanka all year round. The time between April and September is best suited for a beach holiday in Passikudah on the east coast. The time between December and March is best suited for a beach holiday on the southwest coast of Hikkaduwa.

  1. Languages

The official languages ​​of Sri Lanka are Sinhala, or Sinhala and Tamil. The third official language is English, which connects speakers of the other two languages. As a tourist, you do well in English, which many speak fluently.

  1. Passport and visa

Passport and visa

Passport:

As a Finnish citizen, you must have a valid Finnish passport. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after arrival.

Visa:

Finnish citizens need a visa to Sri Lanka.

Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, you will be issued with a 30-day tourist visa if the following conditions are met:

  • You have applied for an EEA (Electronic Travel Authorization) prior to your journey and your application has been accepted
  • Your passport is valid for 6 months from the date of entry
  • You have a valid return ticket

The EEA application is completed on the official website: Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authorization System .

We recommend that you carefully read the terms and conditions of your travel authorization here . After reading the terms, select “I agree” to automatically go to the next page. On this page, select “Apply for an individual tourist ETA” to open the EEA application page.

Please complete the following before starting the EEA application process:

  • Passport
  • Credit card (Mastercard, Visa or American Express)

In the EEA application, you must provide some personal information as well as your address in Sri Lanka. As an address, you can enter the address of the first hotel in your itinerary. The name of the hotel can be found on your travel confirmation.

Once you have completed your application, you will proceed to pay for your travel authorization. The permit can be paid with the credit cards mentioned above. ETA costs USD 35 per adult. Permission is free for children under 12 years of age. Once your payment has been approved, you will receive a confirmation email.

EEA applications are processed within 24 hours.

The EEA authorization is valid for 3 months from the date of issue. Print your EEA travel authorization and take it with you on the trip. Upon arrival in Sri Lanka, you must present both your passport and your travel authorization.

You can read the frequently asked questions and answers about the EEA travel authorization here .

If you have any questions, you can contact the Sri Lankan entry authorities by calling +94 71 9967888 or emailing [email protected] .

You can also read more about Sri Lanka’s visa rules on the Foreign Ministry website .

  1. Currency

According to Countryaah, the currency of Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). We recommend that you bring some Euros or US Dollars in cash, which you can exchange at the official exchange point upon arrival in the country. Ordinary credit cards like Visa and Mastercard are quite common, and there are ATMs in the cities. Credit cards can be used in hotels, restaurants and shops, but not in small local markets.

  1. Drink money

Beverage money is both expected and generally given. In general, tips are given according to the quality of the service. Below are the indicative amounts:

  • Driver / guide – US $ 20 per person / family
  • Carrier – US $ 1 / suitcase
  • Hotel cleaner – US $ 2 per person / family

In our gratuity guidelines, amounts are given in U.S. dollars, however, on-site gratuities are paid in local currency.

  1. Time difference

Sri Lanka is 3.5 hours ahead of Finnish time in winter and 2.5 hours ahead of Finnish time in summer.

  1. Electricity

The voltage in Sri Lanka is 230 V. The plugs have three pins, one of which is thicker than the other two. Asiatours recommends that you pack an adapter with you. It is a good idea to have an adapter that fits a rounded three-prong plug (a grounded computer plug) if you need to charge a laptop, for example.

  1. Telephone and internet

According to AllCityCodes, the international dialing code for Sri Lanka is +94. In Sri Lanka, making and receiving a call can be expensive. Check your mobile phone coverage and prices with your mobile operator. Larger cities have internet cafes, and most hotels have WiFi.

  1. Security

Sri Lanka is generally a safe country for tourists with the exception of some areas in the north where travel is not recommended. Asian tours do not visit such areas. Since the civil war that ended in 2009, much has been invested in security. Crime against tourists is usually limited to pickpocketing and scams asking for money for non-existent charitable projects. However, these can be avoided by following general caution and using common sense. NEVER give money to beggars. When you always follow the safety instructions in this guide, you don’t have to worry unnecessarily.

  1. Meals and beverages

Sri Lankan cuisine is varied, rich and delicious. Spice production plays an important role, which is also reflected in the country’s food culture. The “tourist belly” usually doesn’t get bothered in Sri Lanka. As a rule of thumb, however, it can be said that eating salad and other fresh produce should be avoided. The old scout rule is a good guideline: “cook, fry, or forget!” Another absolute rule is: Use only bottled water as drinking water. Bottled water is cheap and is available everywhere. Never drink tap water.

Classic Sri Lankan dishes include:

  • Kottu aka Koththu Roti consists of bread, vegetables, egg and spices. Occasionally meat is also included.
  • Hoppers or appam is a rice flour pancake that is typically served with lunu miris sauce
  • Lunu miris sauce contains chili, spices and salt
  • Lamprais is rice cooked in broth, curry sauce and meatballs, i.e. small meatballs that are mixed, wrapped in banana leaves and baked in the oven.
  • Kiribath is a cake made from thick rice porridge for which rice is boiled in coconut milk.
  1. Your luggage

We use many different airlines on our trips to Sri Lanka, so the amount of baggage allowed can vary for both checked-in luggage and hand luggage.  You can also contact us if you have any questions about our luggage.

Make sure you have all the essentials in your hand luggage. Essential goods include passports, airline tickets, insurance documents, credit cards, money, prescriptions and vital medicines. In addition, you should pack a camera, binoculars, computer and tablet, as well as chargers and adapters in your hand luggage.
Due to the air conditioning, it can get cold on the plane, so pack a warm sweater or windbreaker in your hand luggage.

Due to the air conditioning, it can get cold on the plane, so bring a windbreaker and a safari hat with you in your hand luggage.

  1. Etiquette and cultural differences

Experiencing cultural and etiquette differences is one of the pleasures of traveling, and it is important to respect these differences. The saying goes “country by country” and that is why we have put together here advice and tips to help you get the most out of your trip to Sri Lanka.

  • Eating with your fingers is common in Sri Lanka.
  • Always take your shoes off when you step into a private home, mosque, or temple.
  • Avoid wearing shorts, short bottoms, and sleeveless shirts in temples and churches.
  • Always use either hand or just the right hand when handing something to the other or when you are being handed something. Never use only the left hand.
  • Touching a child’s head is believed to bring bad luck.
  • Avoid public displays of affection, such as hugging or kissing, as it is considered offensive
  • Never go swimming naked or sunbathe without a swimsuit, as it is considered completely inappropriate – even on beaches and hotels.

Practical information about Sri Lanka