Sri Lanka’s tropical climate is divided into distinctly dry and wet seasons. The dry and therefore “high” season is from December to March, when temperatures are moderate (average temperature 27°C). The Yala monsoon which affects the southwest of the country brings the rainy season from May to August (often it just rains in the evenings). The temperature of the sea is also an average of 27°C. Check the weather here >>
Sri Lanka now has two international airports. The main one just outside Colombo, Bandaranaike International Airport, is well served with a host of airlines flying from Europe, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, including Sri Lankan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Gulf Air, Oman Air, Thai Airways, Kuwait Airlines, and Jet Airways.
Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport is in the south near Hambantota, and is served by Sri Lankan Airlines, FlyDubai, Minhin Lanka, and Air Arabia, but is not yet served by flights from the UK.
Sri Lankan Airlines fly direct from London Heathrow to Bandaranaike. You can book your flights online, and they offer a flight tracker as well as air taxi services from Colombo to Dickwella, Kandy, Koggala, Arugam Bay, and Jaffna. It’s advantageous to book both at the same time.
There are smaller airports for domestic flights.
Most of villas offer the facility of a transfer from the airport, and also car-and-driver hire by the day. We can also make arrangements for a car or people carrier and driver to collect you from the airport and be available throughout your stay. It is not advisable to hire a car.
You may enjoy taking the train for a day outing if you avoid the rush hour – see timetables. Buses are another option but these get very crowded. Tuk-tuks (autorickshaws operated by a moped) are available everywhere and cheaply for shorter journeys – best to use your bargaining skills and settle a rate before you get in, or make sure your tuk-tuk is equipped with a meter, and the meter is turned on at the start of your journey.
Hiring bikes is an enjoyable way to see the countryside but is not recommended in larger towns and main roads where traffic can be chaotic.
Sri Lanka is 5.5 hours ahead of the UK.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry to Sri Lanka.
A Visa is required and can be obtained online via www.eta.gov.lk. Show the reference number at the airport on arrival.
We recommend that you consult your GP about 8 weeks prior to travel to obtain advice on which vaccines are appropriate for you. Generally it will be recommended that you are vaccinated against hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, tetanus, and polio. It is useful to be up to date with MMR vaccinations as well. There is very little to no risk of malaria in Sri Lanka anymore, however protection against mosquitoes day and night is advised as Dengue fever is spread by mosquitoes. See NHS website >>
A 10% tip is standard practice and it is common practice to tip at temples.
There are monthly national holidays that correspond to the full moon (Poya). Esala Perahera is celebrated in late summer, and commemorates the arrival of Buddhism to Sri Lanka.
There are some rules of dining etiquette in Sri Lanka. Always wash your hands before you eat (for the sake of courtesy as well as hygiene) and always use your right hand to give and to receive. It's acceptable to use or to ask for cutlery, but if you're eating with your hand, always use your right hand. (It's acceptable to drink holding a glass in your left hand.) If you're invited home for a meal, remove your shoes before entering the house (although some people no longer follow this custom).
The Sri Lankan rupee (Rs) is not available outside the country. At the airport there are various 24-hour currency operators who exchange at the same rate. Currency can be changed on arrival and changed back in the same place at the airport on departure.
MasterCard and Visa are the most commonly accepted credit cards. Amex and Diners Club are also accepted.
It is highly recommended that travel insurance is taken out for all members of the party.