Weather & climate
Sri Lanka has a tropical climate that is effected by two separate monsoons. The southwest (“Yala”) monsoon occurs in the west and southwest from April to September, during which time the east and northeast is sunny and lovely. The northeast (“Maha”), which is less severe, occurs from November to March, during which the west and southwest are dry and sunny.
Sri Lanka is close to the Equator and enjoys consistent warm temperatures, averaging 26-30° Celsius on the coast and in lowland areas, with slightly cooler temperatures in higher altitude regions. Humidity is generally high across the country.
Passports & visas
Australian and New Zealand passport holders require a visa which is available on arrival for USD40 per person, or prior to arrival at http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/. You will also need a current passport with 6 months validity from the date you return home and two blank pages, and a return air ticket.
Consult your GP or a travel doctor at least six weeks before you travel. You may be required or recommended to get vaccinations for yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A & B, among others. A certificate of vaccination for yellow fever is required for anyone entering Sri Lanka, so please carry your certificate with you and present to immigration. Malaria is not an issue in Sri Lanka, however Dengue fever may be present, and mosquito nets and insect repellent should be used.
The main international airport for Sri Lanka is Colombo International Airport, also known as Bandaranaike International Airport and locally as Katunayake Airport.
There are also domestic airports and airfields that connect major towns and regions. Depending on your arrival time, you may need to spend a night in Colombo or the closest beach town of Negombo.
Most of our itineraries involve private road transfers with a guide and vehicle, which allows you to explore at your own pace. Keep in mind road conditions can slow you down. A scenic train ride is also highly recommended, as is a great way to take in Sri Lanka’s stunning landscapes and scenery.
Currency & language
The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee (Rs), which is made up on 100 cents. Banks and ATMs are available throughout Sri Lanka, and currency exchange services are available in the airport, Colombo, and major tourist centres. Credit cards are accepted at most hotels and larger restaurants. Cash is best for most smaller restaurants, shops, markets etc.
Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages in Sri Lanka, and English is widely spoken in tourism. There are also a number of indigenous languages spoken, including Portuguese Creole.