Sri Lanka Travel Tips

Before you book your vacation in Sri Lanka, have a look at some important precautions and what to expect during the travel. Being aware of the specific and unique features of Sri Lankan culture, history and traditions will enhance your travel experience in every turn.


All Holiday or Business travelers to Sri Lanka must have Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for entering into Sri Lanka. Please visit for more information. When applying ETA by third parties, payments are to be made through the arrangement made on this website and obtain acknowledgment of the ETA application. Any payments made to other websites or agencies are not valid to process a valid ETA. Therefore, always ensure that the payments are made through the ETA website only when accessing to Sri Lanka.

Visit Visa

A Visit Visa is an entry permit signifying the consent of the Sri Lankan Government for the admission of a foreign national to the country. The Visa contains details of the period and the conditions of the stay. There are two sub-categories that come under visit visas.

Department of Immigration and Emigration
Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha,
Colombo 10.
Tel +94-11-5329000 +94-11-5329316202125

Tourist Visit Visa

A Tourist Visa is issued to tourists who want to enter Sri Lanka for sightseeing, excursions, relaxation, visit relatives, or yoga training for a short period.

Business Visit Visa

A Business Visa is issued to foreign nationals who visit Sri Lanka for business purposes for short periods. This visa may be issued for single, double, or multiple journeys.

Customs at Arrival What you can bring

You are allowed to bring into the country duty-free 1.5 liters of spirits, two bottles of wine, a quarter-liter of toilet water, and a small quantity of perfume and souvenirs with a value not exceeding US $250. The import of personal equipment such as cameras and laptop computers is allowed but must be declared on arrival. However, personal equipment must be taken out of the country upon the visitor’s departure. The import of non-prescription drugs and pornography of any form is a punishable offense.

What you can’t move away from Sri Lanka

On leaving the country you are allowed to export up to 10kg of tea duty-free. It is prohibited to export antiques (more than 50 years old), rare books, palm-leaf manuscripts, and anthropological material without permission from the Director, National Archives ( and the Director-General, Department of Archaeology (

Purchase and export without a license of any wild animal, bird or reptile, dead or alive, also the export of parts of animals, birds or reptiles, such as skins, horns, scales, and feathers is prohibited. Occasional exports are, however, permitted exclusively for bona fide scientific purposes. It is prohibited to export 450 plant species without special permits. The export of coral, shells, or other protected marine products is also strictly prohibited.

Foreign Currency

Visitors to Sri Lanka bringing in more than US$ 10,000 should declare the amount to the Customs on arrival. All unspent rupees converted from foreign currencies can be re-converted to the original currency on departure as long as encashment receipts can be produced.

Credit Cards

Most hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers accept credit cards. Some establishments may try to add a surcharge, which is illegal.


Banks are generally open from 09.00 am to 03.00 pm from Monday to Friday. While some banks are open on Saturday morning until 1200 pm. You can withdraw money across the island at ATMs using international credit cards are Visa, American Express, and Master cards. It is advisable to check if your card is accepted by an establishment before using any services.

Please note that most banks are closed on Sundays and all public holidays and special bank holidays. ATMs are found in banks island-wide.

Sri Lankan Currency

Sri Lankan Rupees and Currency notes are Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.100, Rs.500, Rs.1000, Rs.2000 and Rs.5000. To check whether notes are genuine when not given at a bank, look for a lion watermark.


Avoid drinking water from the tap. Filtered, mineral, and bottled drinking water are available at most retail shops and supermarkets.


230 – 240 volts 50 Hz AC. Two and three-pin round and square plugs are used. You might want to bring a stabilizer if you are bringing a laptop or iPad.

Time Difference

Sri Lanka Standard Time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT.


Sun will cause you big harm unless you do not use sun protection. Make sure to pack your bags with high sunscreen and remedies for irritable heat. Cover yourselves with caps, hats, and umbrellas when walking in sun-exposed areas. Keep your hydration up.

What to wear when visiting a Religious Site

In religious sites, it is expected for gents to wear trousers to cover their knees or a ‘sarong’ with a shirt or T-shirt. Ladies should wear decent attire such as a trouser or a skirt to cover the knees and a blouse or t-shirt. It may not be advisable for ladies to wear deep necked or a sleeveless top.

Medical Facility

Most hotels will have a premise doctor or be available nearby on an ‘on-call basis’. Please contact the hotel reception for assistance. Pharmacies can easily be found in the commercial center of most towns.


Generally, there is no personal security for tourists in Sri Lanka. The General advice is to travel with a companion, Tour guide-driver or as a group. Advised not to travel alone especially after dark. If any issues, you can inquiry to the Tourist Police. Contact through this Number + 94-11-2382209

Photography permission and Restriction

Please keep in mind that when you entering a temple or a religious site, the photography should not be carried out disrespectfully. It is strictly prohibited to capture the Buddhist images and statues posing in front of them or alongside them. You are firmly expected to capture them alone if you need a photograph. Taking selfies with Buddhist statues and images is considered disrespectful and note that flash photography would damage the old murals.