A small island south of India, Sri Lanka is an exotic destination loved by those who want to explore old ruins, enjoy warm weather and step into the wild jungle for some adventure. Being able to afford a ticket is just a first step. You also need to know how to plan your trip to ensure that you make the most of the country once you get there.
Visit the official site of the Sri Lanka Tourism board for information on everything from main cities to visit to where to stay, when to go, local weather and dangers and precautions. Sri Lanka is a relatively closed country, so the more you know in advance about your destination, the easier it will be to move around and find exactly what you’re looking for.
Explore the main heritage sites of Sri Lanka, including The Sacred City of Anuradhapura, The Cave Temples of Dambulla and the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. All three sites are within easy access of major cities and are worth a day of exploring. Sigiriya also features a magnificent ecosystem (the forest itself is a protected space), which allows for wildlife watching and photography.
Find out the legal requirements to visit. If you are from the US, Canada or most of mainland Europe, you won’t need a visa for visits of up to 30 days. At departure, you will need to reconvert all local currency (you won’t be allowed to take it with you), surrender any illegal items bought within the country (this includes tea in excess of three kilos, products made with animal parts and coconuts).
Consider staying at a guest house or holiday home rather than renting a hotel room. This will expose you more directly to the customs and practicalities of everyday life in Sri Lanka and will allow you a glimpse into how the locals live, all without sacrificing comfort and beauty.
Don’t forget to enjoy the sun. Most people travel to Sri Lanka for its historical heritage and forget to make time to relax on the beach. The reality is that Sri Lanka has some of the most impressive white beaches in Asia, equally beautiful to those in Thailand and Vietnam.