Sri Lanka Escorted Tours
Language: Sinhala/Tamil Language
Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee
Time Zone: IST/GMT+5
Tipping: In restaurants, if a service charge has not be included, it is customary to leave a 10% tip however, as with the majority of places, tipping is down to personal discretion.
Sri Lanka - an introduction
Many people would consider Sri Lanka holidays to be one of those luxury things you do at least once in your lifetime and tend to combine it with The Maldives. But did you know that life out here is rather cheap? Meaning you won't be spending much when you reach this exotic holiday destination, but it may still require a little saving up before you book this trip of a lifetime!
The beautiful island of Sri Lanka, located north of the Indian Ocean, has been for many years one of those countries that travellers have chosen to miss from their itineraries. The main reason for this is the island has been troubled by war as well as damage caused by recent tsunamis. The war is in the past, for now, but unfortunately, us humans have very little control over Mother Nature so it is wise to note that on occasions, tsunamis may happen. However, none of this should put you off from taking Sri Lanka tours to this little piece of ocean paradise.
Aside from this, Sri Lanka is most definitely back on the tourist map with eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit and over 2000 years of culture to be absorbed during your holiday here. Visit mysterious ancient sites containing monasteries and temples all with a fascinating past to uncover. Enjoy the wonderful tropical climate as you take to safari in Yala National Park and explore the island's wild side. Keep that camera or pair of binoculars close by as you never know when you may spot leopards, water buffalo, elephants and a plethora of birds taking to the skies as monkeys swing from the trees.
Escape the tropical heat of the jungle and coastlines by trekking into the mountains where you'll come across fabulous tea plantations and beautiful rainforests waiting to be explored as the cooler temperatures become a welcome relief. If you want to do nothing more than relax on the beach, you'll find plenty of them in Sri Lanka with dazzling white sand and crystal blue waters to wash those troubles away. For the best surfing opportunities, visit Arugam Bay. Take a step back in time to the mysterious cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya providing classic examples of Sri Lanka's golden age. Awake early in the morning for a pilgrimage up Adam's sacred Peak where you can watch the sunrise. Complete your stay in Sri Lanka by visiting the capital, Colombo, the biggest city on the island and brimming full of street markets, gardens and colonial buildings to keep you busy for a day or two.
Sri Lanka holidays typically include; return flights, transportation whilst in the resort, accommodation in good standard hotels, meals and a variety of included or optional excursions so you can explore this tiny piece of paradise!
Things to do
To really experience the very best of what Sri Lanka has to offer, hopefully these places to visit will help:
If you like your watersports, then a visit to Arugam Bay is for you as the resort offers the best surfing opportunities. In addition to surfing, the area is a great location for snorkelling and the Basses Reef is one of the must-see dive sites in Sri Lanka. Fabulous flora and fauna can be found in the Kumana National Park from mangroves to the sight of pelicans and herons. Visit Lahugala at either sunset or sunrise and you may be one of the lucky few to spot elephants roaming freely through the elephant corridor.
Yala National Park
Possibly one of the essential features of any visit to Sri Lanka, a safari through this National Park is a must especially if you would like to try and spot the elusive leopard! Apparently the western side of the park is where leopards tend to roam but do note that as there are only 35 in the entire park, it may not be guaranteed that you'll see them up close. The landscape here is truly stunning which should make up for possibly not spotting the leopards!
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and generally recognised as Sri Lanka's cultural capital. Visit one of the most holy shrines in Sri Lanka, the Temple of the Tooth, which houses a tooth relic of the Lord Buddha. Take a trip to the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage that are particularly popular places at feeding and bathing times. You can learn about Sri Lankan spices with a visit to the New Ranweli Spice Garden and explore the Tea Museum.
The imagination of the locals means that a variety of legends exist here on Adam's Peak. Some believe it is where Adam first set foot upon Earth whereas others believe that the sacred footprint belongs to Buddha. The area has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries where pilgrims as well as tourists climb the countless steps all the way to the top of the Peak. Fantastic views are the reward when you make it to the top, particularly if you are there during sunrise.
Tips & Advice
The beauty of travelling in an escorted tour is that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in foreign lands. To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Sri Lanka, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Before travelling to Sri Lanka it is wise to check with your GP to see if you need any vaccinations or preventative medical measures whilst away.
Emergency treatment is not always available outside of the larger cities, you could be taken to Colombo for treatment. Medical facilities may not be quite the standard that is expected in the UK. The cost of being repatriated to the UK for medical treatment can be expensive. Before you leave the UK, you should check that you have suitable travel insurance and also access to additional funds. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
Should you need an ambulance whilst in Sri Lanka, please dial 011 2691111. Also, contact your travel insurance company if you are sent to a medical facility for treatment.
Credit card fraud is common in Sri Lanka, pay with cash wherever possible. It is wise to inform your bank before you travel to Sri Lanka to warn them that you may use your card whilst out there as it has been known for banks to put a block on transactions.
Wherever you travel to for a holiday, it is best to safeguard your valuables where possible. Always keep money, passports, important travel documents and other valuables in a safe place, perhaps lock these away in the hotel or leave items such as jewellery at home before you travel to Sri Lanka.
Local Laws and Customs
Drug offences are punishable in Sri Lanka, and in some cases, you could be held indefinitely without being charged.
When in Sri Lanka, you should carry a form of photographic ID with you at all times.
Women should dress modestly, especially if visiting temples, cover legs and shoulders where possible.
When taking photographs, do not stop to pose in front of a Buddha Statue. This can be known as mistreatment and is a serious offence which tourists have been previously convicted for.
Always follow instructions when smoking or drinking in certain areas. Alcohol will not be available on religious holidays, nor will meat.
You will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka and you can apply for this online via the ETA website. You will not be able to apply for this on arrival in Sri Lanka. Some tour operators offer this service but may charge an administration fee. If unsure, check on booking.
Passports should be valid for at least 6 months from the date you enter Sri Lanka.
Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) will be accepted for entry and exit from Sri Lanka in addition to airside transit.
Any other nationality looking to visit Sri Lanka must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
Lots of other useful information can be found on the official tourist website for Sri Lanka at srilanka.travel