As a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, Tourism Ceylon decided to provide support towards a cause that hits close to home; The age-old humans Vs elephants conflict.
Sacred but exploited, the Asian elephant has been worshipped for centuries and is still used today for ceremonial and religious purposes, one such noteworthy ritual being the Kandy Esala Perahera. A magnificent tusker is usually entrusted with the noble duty of carrying the sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha accompanied by a plethora of these mammals decorated for the occasion.
According to the WWF (?), in Africa and Asia, elephant habitat is being replaced by agriculture- both by small-scale farmers and international agribusiness such as palm oil. Battles over decreasing land have resulted in elephants being squeezed into smaller and smaller areas. Farmers plant crops that elephants like to eat and as a result, crops are frequently raided and destroyed.
While many people in the West regard elephants with affection and admiration, the animals often inspire fear and anger in those who share their land. Small farmers- often desperately poor and already economically and nutritionally vulnerable, forced by circumstances to encroach into elephant habitat, can lose their entire livelihood overnight from an elephant raid. A single elephant makes light work of a hectare of crops in a very short time.
People are also often injured and killed. Elephants are killed in retaliation. Over the last 100 years, Asian elephant populations have declined from 100,000 to between 35,000 and 50,000 as the problem persists in regions such as India and Indonesia additionally. Habitat loss and conflict with people in the face of rapidly growing human population are among the biggest threats to their continued survival.
About 20% of the world’s human population lives in or near the present range of the Asian elephant. Fierce competition for living space has resulted in human suffering, a dramatic loss of forest cover, and reduced Asian elephant numbers to between 25,600 and 32,750 in the wild.
The human population of Sri Lankan has increased by 150% during the last 6 decades (1950-2010) while wild elephant population has increased by 300% over the same period as a result of effective conservation measures. Repeated attempts over the years to keep these giants at bay such as the implementation of electric fences Sri Lanka’s principle solution have proved fruitless. These dangerous methods have also injured these mammals time and again. Other solutions including different types of bio-fencing have also proved the same. Due to high installation costs and inadequate service support from the authorities, these methods are not sustainable or reliable for protection.
You can help us to help save their futures; both elephants and humans alike. We strive towards building a better environment for children in these areas who are especially affected by fear and the brutality that exists. Your support will help us develop and implement alternate solutions such as an alarm system that will benefit both humans and elephants alike.
Research conducted by: Charles Santiapillai, S Wijeyamohan, Ganga Bandara, Rukmali Athurupana, Naveen Dissanayake, Bruce Read
The association between man and elephant in Sri Lanka is ancient. Elephants being the largest terrestrial herbivores require relatively large areas and diversity of environments to forage. With the increase in human population density and changes in the land-use patterns, elephant habitat is being continuously reduced. As a result, much of the present day elephant range extends into and overlaps with agricultural lands resulting in conflict with man.
An assessment of the conflict was carried out from January- March 2008 through the use of a questionnaire in 100 villages selected randomly from five provinces whose combined extent is 42,559 km2 which amounts roughly to 65% of the total land area of Sri Lanka. 65% of the respondents identified crop depredations with bull elephants, both young and old. At least 13 food items were identified by the villagers as preferred by wild elephants in agricultural areas. Crop damage to paddy accounted for 69% of complaints. At the same time, most of the farmers identified citrus trees as the mostly likely crop to be avoided by elephants.
Failure to recognize the significance of the human-elephant conflict can result in a negative attitude to elephants and apathy or indifference to conservation initiatives. Although it is unlikely that the human-elephant conflict can be eliminated altogether, every effort must be taken to reduce it to tolerable levels. Tourism Ceylon hopes to alleviate the issues caused by these unfortunate events through implementing it as our CSR project that you can be a part of.
Gaps in knowledge do exist according to Oswin Perera, and require studies to document the quantitative effects of HEC (Human-Elephant Conflict) and to determine the most appropriate combination of methods that can mitigate HEC under the specific conditions of each location. As discussed by Hoare (1999) and Barnes (2008), future studies should use standardized designs and data collection protocols, as well as modern information systems to report, record, manage and respond to incidents of elephant damage. Studies are also needed on new pharmacological methods such as immuno-contraception to reversibly inhibit female and male fertility, and to control musth and aggression in problem bulls. These will have important applications in the future as adjuncts to the array of methods that are currently in use such as
- Physical barriers (to keep elephants within PAs or prevent their entry to villages)
- Vigilance methods (to alert farmers to approaching elephants and increase the chance of driving them away)
- Deterrent methods (to impede or discourage the passage of elephants in to fields and villages)
- Culling (killing or lethal control, culturally unacceptable in most Asian countries)
- Compensation schemes
- Land-use planning
- Repulsion methods (to drive away elephants that enter fields or villages)
- Elephant drives (to drive herds or individual problem animals to PAs or other forest habitats that will hopefully become their new home range)
- Capture, followed by translocation or taming
You can help combat the issue by donating an amount of your choice towards this cause. All funds will be allocated towards conducting further research, visiting the afflicted areas and analyzing the situation to improve current preventative methods and develop new ones that will be beneficial to both sides. Let us save the elephants, save the people, and save their futures.
E-mail Address: email@example.com
Phone: Tel : +94 114 322 595
Fax : +94 112 825 884
Yes, you will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. In addition, if you intend visiting Sri Lanka on a short visit,you will need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) prior to arrival.
The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is an official authorization for a Short Visit to Sri Lanka and is issued through an on-line system. You need to obtain an ETA if you intend visiting Sri Lanka as a Tourist, on Business or on Transit. No passport copies, documents or photographs are required to obtain the ETA. ETA holders will be issued a 30 day Short Visit visa at the port of entry in Sri Lanka.
Nationals of all countries with the exception of citizens of The Republic of Singapore and The Republic of Maldives are required to obtain an ETA to visit Sri Lanka.
The non-refundable ETA processing fee for a Tourist visa with Double Entry for 30 days for citizens of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries will cost US$ 15, all other countries will cost US$ 30. Children below 12 years of age are exempt from the ETA fee. A complete list of ETA processing fees could be obtained from the ETA website.
You can submit the ETA application online through the ETA website. Select the language, click 'Apply' and follow the instructions.
Other options for you to apply are;
o By Third party
o By Registered agents
o At Sri Lanka Overseas Missions
o At the head office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DI&E), Colombo
o On arrival at the port of entry in Sri Lanka
Answers to FAQ's on the ETA can be found at the official website.
You can either apply and obtain an extended visa from a Sri Lankan Embassy/ Consulate from your country of residence prior to arrival in Sri Lanka or get an extension from the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Colombo 10. This procedure will take about 2-3 hours, and you will have to give a bona fide reason for staying over 30 days. If you are staying in a resort for a long period, the staff will be able to help you with the application. .
Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages in Sri Lanka. English is a 'link' language and generally understood by most people and is easy to get by. Off the beaten track knowledge of it thins. English is spoken at all hotels, major restaurants and shops. Dream Vacations provides guides in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese languages to foreign visitors requiring assistance. Road signs are written both in Sinhalese & English throughout the country, with few exceptions.
Telephone facilities are available extensively throughout the country. There are many telephone booths which accept coins, but the clarity and talk times may be short. Telephone bureaus are quite common with most offering IDD and internet facilities. Some offer the cheaper net-to-phone facilities, but quality is not always reliable. IDD facilities are available in most tourist hotels.
Dialling in - Sri Lanka's country code is 94, (E.g. If you need to call a number in Colombo, dial ++94 11 2XXXXXX). If you are calling a mobile number, you dial the number after the country code (E.g. dialling a Dialog number, dial ++94 77X XXXXXX).
Dialling within/ out - If you need to take an overseas call, you'll have to dial '00'. You do not have to dial the area code if you are within the area. However, the area code must be dialled if you want to take an outstation call (e.g. calling within Colombo, dial 2XXXXXX, Calling Kandy from Colombo, dial 081 22XXXXX).
All mobile operators support the GSM technology on GSM 900/ 1800 bands. WAP & GPRS is widely supported. 3G and wireless broadband is available in Colombo. Wifi zones are available in selected spots in major towns.
It's a good option to purchase a local SIM card and top up cards while you are on holiday. The mobile call rates are relatively cheap for both local and IDD calls. There are many mobile operators in the country (E.g. Dialog, Mobitel, Etisalat, Hutch etc.,). Dialog has a counter at the Colombo Airport and you can obtain a connection on arrival. A Dialog connection will cost about Rupees 1500. Top up cards are freely available island-wide. You can buy top-up cards for denominations of Rupees 100, 400 & 1000. Click here for currency converter Be sure that your phone is `dual band' and unlocked.
Most hotels provide internet facilities. There are internet cafes in most towns with ADSL connection. Connections in smaller towns will be slow. The average cost of surfing in a Cyber Café is about Euro .50 per hour. Many large 5 star and some boutique hotels provide Wifi facilities. Dialog also provides WiMAX Broadband wireless connections.
Sri Lanka is quite a safe destination to travel and one of the most picturesque countries on earth. The country is at peace and we are experiencing record a record number of visitors; as Sri Lanka is considered one of the few 'un-spoilt' destinations in Asia . Our tours are conducted in areas which are considered safe for tourists to visit. Many of our clients have become friends and cannot wait to return to their 'second home', feeling safe and secure in our care. Please visit our homepage for latest updates.
According to accepted norms of travel you should deposit your valuables like money, passport, tickets, jewels etc in the hotel safe deposit locker. In accordance with international custom the Hotels in Sri Lanka are not responsible for objects lost in the room. You should also not leave your valuables unattended on the beach, the balconies or terraces.
Never leave your money or passport in your backpack or suitcase. Always keep a record of your Travellers Cheque numbers separately from the Travellers Cheques. It is wise to keep an amount of money (about US$ 200) stashed away separately from your money-belt or pouch.
Sri Lanka has an effective health care system which is considered a model for most developing countries across the world. However, emergency medical facilities may not be found outside main cities. You may have to be brought to Colombo for treatment. We recommend you use the private sector hospitals, which are likely to offer better care.
It is mandatory for those travelling to Sri Lanka from Africa or Latin America to have a valid certificate of vaccination for Yellow fever and Meningitis prior to arrival in Sri Lanka. You need up-to-date Hepatitis A, Polio and Tetanus shots.
Mosquito borne diseases like dengue, chckengunya and malaria are common. It's advised you take adequate protection against mosquitos. Take some Imodium tablets (just in case you get an upset stomach).
Almost every town has a pharmacy selling common medicines. However, we advise you to carry any special medication as the availability of medical supplies may vary.
You are strongly advised you take an adequate health insurance cover when travelling to Sri Lanka.
Most hotels will provide you with a plug-in mosquito repellent which will usually be switched on during turn down. You can buy the mats (small repellent tablet inserted to the plug-in unit), from most local supermarkets. Mosquito nets in hotels are a rarity. You can also buy the burning coils or citronella candles from the supermarket. It would be advisable to apply some repellent lotion if you plan to have dinner in an outdoor/ alfresco setting. The locally available 'Siddhalepa balm' is quite effective to take the itch out of mosquito bites.
Leeches - A good remedy is to apply soap and left to dry or apply lime to exposed areas. You can wear leech socks. Which are pulled over the trousers to prevent leeches reaching the exposed skin of the legs. If you find a leech sucking on your leg, do not pull it off, but wait for it to fall off after feeding. Else you can apply some salt; this will make the leech release its hold and fall off.
Sri Lankan dishes are based on rice, with a large variety of vegetables, fish & fruits. The uniqueness of Sri Lankan food influenced by invaders and traders - Indians, Arabs, Malays, Moors, Portuguese, Dutch and English all whom have left a mark on the Sri Lankan diet, will surely make your trip a voyage of culinary discovery!
Sri Lankan food is good, perhaps a little too piquant for foreign palates, but worth trying. The Lankan food served in your hotel is toned down a little bit due to the sensitive stomach of most tourists, but nevertheless is delicious and you should try it.
International food of any kind is found in all major Sri Lankan Restaurants.
Most coastal towns have excellent seafood including prawns & delicious crab. Rates are quite inexpensive. Being a tropical country, Sri Lanka is blessed with a large variety of fruits. Some fruits like mangoes and Bananas (known an plantains here), come in over a dozen of sub varieties of shapes, sizes & tastes! Fruits such as Rambutan, Pineapple, Mangosteen, Papaya (Papaw), wood apple, melons, passion fruit, guavas, etc., are but a small sample of the amazing variety of fruits to be discovered and enjoyed.
Most large hotels and restaurants have a 'vegetarian section' in the menu. The smaller local 'rice and curry' restaurants may say the food is vegetarian but include a serving of fried fish or sprats (anchovies). The 'South Indian' vegetarian restaurants are 100% vegetarian.
'Halal' food is quite scarce in major hotels. The Galadari and Holiday Inn in Colombo serve halal food, as well as the Confifi group of hotels (Eden, Riverina & Club Palm Garden) in Beruwela. There are quite a few restaurants in Colombo and Kandy, but not much else. The best bet is to order seafood instead of meat to be on the safe side.
The food is exclusively based on Sri Lankan rice and curry menu. The curries are mostly Sri Lankan vegetables; Chicken and fish maybe included.
Sri Lanka is famous for it's tea, and pride ourselves in producing 'Ceylon Tea', the finest tea in the world. There is a local version of coffee, which is a bit strong. But Colombo is the only place that you could get a really good espresso. Highly recommended are the fresh fruit juices. Popular international soft drinks are available even in little village boutiques.
Sri Lanka has it's own variety of local beer. Sri Lanka also has two extremely popular local varieties of intoxicating beverage - Toddy and Arrack. Toddy is a natural drink, produced from one or other palm trees. Fermented and refined toddy becomes Arrack. Some varieties are real "rocket fuel"! Imported beer and foreign liquors cost almost the same as in most western countries. Thambili or King Coconut is a sweet, clean and cheap natural drink that you'll find by the wayside. It's extremely cooling and refreshing!
We advice not to drink tap water unless it is purified. Bottled water is recommended. Only use water from containers with serrated seal- not tops or corks. Most hotel rooms have boiled water in thermos flasks, which is safe to drink.
Full Moon days (known as Poya days), are of religious significance to Buddhists and devoted to prayer and meditation. In keeping with its significance as a religious day abstinence is practiced. As such places selling liquor (including hotel bars) and Meat shops closed. Places of entertainment such as cinemas, discos and casinos are closed as well.
This is a handy tool to check if a Poya Day falls during your holiday in Sri Lanka.
No. Smoking and consuming liquor in public areas is banned in Sri Lanka. The smoking ban includes enclosed public places such as restaurants and social clubs. Smoking is not allowed inside Dream Vacations vehicles while on tour; however, regular comfort stops will be provided.
Accommodation is usually in a shared twin-bed room with a supplementary charge for single occupancy. We offer a wide range of accommodation from private boutique hotels, villas, eco lodge and tents. Some of our nature & adventure trips include travelling to remote or undeveloped outstation destinations. Hotel accommodation of International tourist standards may not exist & facilities are rudimentary. Sleeping huts & tents are simple & often lack Western-style toilets or bathing facilities. In such places, tour participants will be provided with the best available facilities.
The package price may include meals as specified in each tour programme.
The Sri Lankan currency is the Rupee (Rs), divided in to 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 & 2000. Breakdown larger notes when you change money - it can sometimes be a problem to breakdown a larger note (500, 1000 or 2000).
Hotels and other tourist establishments will quote you the price in US$ or Euro and collect in Rupees at the prevailing exchange rate.
US$/ Euro etc., is accepted in most large hotels, and tourist establishments, but not in outlets catering to locals. Advice to bring in US$/ Euro and change as and when needed.
It depends on your primary account currency.
If your account is in Singapore Dollars, bring that (or you'll lose on converting to a third currency). You can change the currency to Rupees on arrival at the airport. However, if your currency is a non-freely convertible local currency (not freely traded in international foreign exchange markets) it's better to bring a freely convertible currency like the US$/ Euro. There are many currency exchange counters at the arrival lounge (after passing baggage clearance and customs).
Internationally accepted currencies and credit cards are easily accepted at most tourist establishments. Travelers cheques are also recommended. We recommend you change some of your money into local currency for tipping, shopping and other miscellaneous expenses.
The exchange of foreign currency is only permitted at banks, money changes and Hotels. You'll have no problem changing Travelers Cheques at any major bank. Thomas Cook and Visa are the most widely accepted. Banks charge a 0.5% handling fee and generally a commission, which varies from bank to bank. Change only that amount of money you require for spending.
There is no restriction in bringing money in foreign currencies into Sri Lanka. This sum could be in TCs, Bank drafts or currency notes. However, if the total exceeds US$ 15,000, that sum must be declared to the Sri Lanka Customs.
If you wish to take out from Sri Lanka a sum in excess of US$ 5000 in currency notes (out of the money brought in), you must declare the entirety of the sum brought in, even if it is less than US$ 15,000. The foreign currency amounts indicated in US$ may be in equivalent amounts in other convertible foreign currencies.
Please retain whatever receipts of exchange (including ATM receipts) for monies declared. This will be helpful when re-exchanging to foreign currency and taking your money back out of the country. The Re-Exchange (purchase of foreign currency) can only take place on your departure at the Bank counters at the airport. Do note that they will only accept bank receipts (not Money Changer receipts).
Credit Cards are widely used and accepted by local establishments (even in small towns). The most widely used card types are Visa and MasterCard, with Amex to a lesser extent. It would be a convenient option to use your Credit Card (valid for international use) whenever possible.
Due to currency regulations in Sri Lanka, credit card charges cannot be made in foreign currency Local tourist establishments (including Dream Vacations) will apply the daily exchange rate on the day of your payment and convert foreign exchange rate to Sri Lankan Rupees. Please use the exchange rate indicated in the currency converter only as a guideline as we will apply the prevailing bank exchange rate at time of transaction.
ATM's are available in most main cities. You can take cash against Visa / Mastercard in most ATM'S. However, as different banks accept different cards, we advice you ensure that your card is valid for use in Sri Lanka by contacting your bank. Watch out for the Maestro or Cirrus logo!
|Banks||09:00 - 15:00||Mon - Fri (some open Sat morning)||Sundays, Poya Days*|
|Government Offices||09:30 - 17:00||Mon - Fri (some open Sat morning)||Sundays, Poya Days|
|Shops||10:00 - 19:00||Mon - Fri (most open Sat morning)||(Some open Sun morning), Poya Days)|
|Post Offices||10:00 - 17:00||Mon - Fri (Sat morning)||Sundays, Poya Days|
The International Bank Account Number (IBAN) is a bank account number structured according to the ECBS (European Committee for Banking Standards) standards. The IBAN was originally developed to facilitate payments within the European Union. Apart from most European countries, IBAN has now been adopted by a few other countries outside Europe as well. Only Israel, Tunisia, Mauritius, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia provide IBAN format account identifiers outside Europe (as at Aug 2009). You can download the latest update of countries supporting IBAN from the SWIFT website.
Sri Lanka like most other Asian countries, USA and Australia use the current Bank Identifier Code system (BIC or SWIFT code) in conjunction with the BBAN (Basic Bank Account Number).
Lightweight, light coloured cotton clothes are best suited for the warm temperatures of a tropical country like Sri Lanka. Some warm clothes are recommended if you are heading for the hilly regions, where the evenings tend to get chilly.
o 2 pairs of cotton trousers
o pair of shorts (men only)
o 2 pairs long (ankle - length) cotton skirts (women)
o underwear & swimming gear
o few T-shirts or lightweight shirts
o sweater for cooler nights in the hills
o one pair of sneakers or shoes
o socks - useful for visiting temples, specially areas exposed to the sun
o sandals, slippers (flip flops, thongs) - handy to wear when showering
o set of 'dress-up' clothes
o sun hat or umbrella
Evening wear – advisable to bring one set, as larger hotels insist on 'long attire' for men during dinner (no shorts and no sandals). Ladies could come in dresses, skirts or long shorts, but not in any beach/ swimwear.
The Hill Club in Nuwara Eliya insists on 'formal attire' for dinner.
Dress modestly at religious sites. You should remove your shoes and hat when entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple, if carrying an umbrella unfurl it. Your legs & shoulders should be covered; never enter a temple in beach wear (i.e. shorts or singlet).
Nudity is absolutely not allowed anywhere. This includes at the beach. Even topless sunbathing is prohibited.
Last but not least, try getting a sarong. Very light, cool and Packs down to nothing; suits all purposes and occasions, including the temple etiquette.
universal packlist generator
Note* Enter Max Temp as 30°C & Min Temp as 10°C in the list generator
Climatically, the best & driest seasons are from December to March on the West & South Coasts and in the hill country, and from May to September in the East Coast. Sri Lanka is subject to two monsoons, the rainy season in the East coast is the dry season in the south west coast & vise versa. This means Sri Lanka is a year around destination, and there is always a 'right' season somewhere in the island. Out of season travel has it's advantages, not only do the crowds go away, but many airfares & accommodation prices too go down, with many special offers thrown in. On the coast the average temperature is about 27° C. The temperature rapidly falls with altitude. At Kandy (altitude 450m) the average temperature is 20° C and at Nuwara Eliya (altitude 1890m) it's down to around 16°C.
We do not conduct tours to the North and Eastern province at present.
Ask permission before taking photographs of people and respect their wishes if they refuse. Minority groups in particular are often unhappy to have their photo taken. Travellers should avoid paying for the right to take a photo as this has been found to encourage a begging mentality in the locals. If photos are taken please send back copies (through our tour leaders or direct to the village) so that the people receive copies. The locals gain a great buzz from seeing themselves in photos and it encourages a 'sharing' rather than 'taking' attitude towards photography. Our tour leaders will make every effort to distribute them the next time they are in the area.
While we welcome travellers to pack their video cameras, there are some places where we do not allow you to film. In small villages, at home-stays or trekking, we do not permit the use of videos as local people have requested this and we ask for courtesy and discretion with still cameras.
Ask permission before taking pictures either of people or inside temples or other sacred places. For example, it is forbidden to take photographs inside the cave temple complex of Dambulla. Never use flash on murals inside temples and other places; it can damage them. You are not allowed to use flash at the frescoes at Sigiriya, but where there is no ban, please behave responsibly. Never pose beside or in front of a Buddha statue (i.e. with your back to the statue). Such conduct is considered extremely disrespectful. Never take a photo of a monk without asking permission. Tourists are sometimes asked for money for taking photos. Always ask before you shoot whether payment is expected. Our accompanying representatives will be able to guide you on this.
Never take photos of dams, airports, roadblocks or anything to do with the military. Don't tote the camera around Colombo Fort.
There are many franchised photo shops such as Kodak & Fuji with advanced digital imaging services in major towns. Almost all types of digital data storage devices are accepted. It's always advisable to keep a backup of your pictures before handing over for processing.
It's always advisable to bring a USB cord (camera to PC) so you transfer the pictures to a PC. The internet cafés are ideal for this (you'll find them all around the country). Simply copy the pictures to the PC and then burn them into a CD. This is much cheaper than processing through a photography shop/ studio. It's best to make two copies of the CD. One you keep with you, the other send it home in the post. That way you can always keep your memory cards empty to capture more photos!
Digital camera accessories such as memory cards and batteries are available in Colombo, Kandy and a few major towns.
The voltage is Sri Lanka is 220/ 240 volts.
The voltage is Sri Lanka is 220/ 240 volts
|Plug type||Pins||Amps||Plug base compatibility|
|UK (Type G)||3 rectangular pins||13 Amps||Accepts Type C (by tricking Earth socket). Need an adapter to accept Type D|
|Euro plug (Type C)||2 round pins||5 Amps||Compatible with Type G and Type D (by tricking Earth socket).|
|India (Type D)||3 round pins*||5 Amps||Accepts Type C (by tricking Earth socket). Need an adapter to accept Type G|
*Do not confuse with the larger 15 Amp plug which is used for 'heavy duty' appliances like air-conditioners, and microwave ovens.
If you have a rectangular plug (UK – Type G) and the hotel base is round pin (India – Type D) or vice versa, just ask the reception to send you an adapter, which will solve the problem. Alternately, adapters are freely available in supermarkets/ hardware shops.
If you have a Euro plug (Type C), you can stick a pen into the Earth socket (either UK Type G or India Type D) to open the shutters and insert the plug; Do not forget to switch off the power before you do this!
The Type I plug (two slanted pins) used in countries such as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and parts of China is not compatible with Sri Lankan plug base and need an adapter. Its better you bring a 'Universal Adapter' if you have this type of plug, as it will be difficult to find adapters for Type I plugs in the local hardware shops.
A word of caution; do not insert a 110V – 120V appliance (E.g. hairdryer) into a Sri Lankan 240V plug base, you might find it catching fire in your hands!
Sri Lanka has a wide variety of very attractive handicrafts on sale. Sri Lankan masks are a very popular collector's item. Other recommendations are batiks, wood carvings, gemstones, semi- precious stones, lacquer-ware, hand made Silver- and Brass objects and don't forget the famous 'Ceylon Tea'. Please avoid ornaments made from tortoise shells & ivory. Never buy turtle shell, we even suggest you not to purchase any woodcarving made from ebony, in order to preserve this scarce hardwood.
Sri Lanka is a major garment manufacturer and exporter of all kinds of clothing. There is an excellent selection of children's and casual clothing for men & women, beach wear and even warm padded jackets at extremely attractive prices. Colombo is fast becoming an attraction for garment hunters.
The places with some active night life are Colombo, Negombo and Hikkaduwa.
Colombo has some decent pubs, night clubs, karaoke lounges and bars. There is a growing pub-culture among the young crowd in Colombo. Friday and Saturday nights are the days for all night partying. The casinos offer a good combination of live entertainment, food and games of chance.
Negombo and Hikkaduwa have some good beach restaurants and bars. Negombo doesn't have much of a party scene, but you will find regular beach parties in Hikkaduwa.
Tipping is accepted.
Although a 10% service charge is included in bills for food and accommodation, tipping is a customary way of showing your appreciation for services rendered. A rule of thumb is to tip 10% of the total amount due. Your housekeeping staff, doorman, bellboy all expect a little tip. A tip between 100 - 200 rupees for each service is considered sufficient. You guide or driver on tour will expect something between US$ 5 to 15 a day (depending on your level of satisfaction with his service).
A 1 US$ bill is roughly equal to Rs. 100, so giving this as a tip is also well received by the locals.
The Right Hand rule - Always give, receive and eat with your right hand. It is extremely bad mannered to use your left hand for eating.
Respect cultural differences - Things are done differently in Asia, and Sri Lanka is no exception. Please make sure in your dealings with local people you accept these differences and not try to change them for your own benefit or comfort. The traveler who wishes to have a happy and successful trip in Sri Lanka should keep as calm, cheerful and friendly as humanly possible. Patience and courtesy are virtues that open many doors. Demanding tourists do not get smiles, service or respect.
Environmental responsibility - Pollution and waste management is a huge problem throughout the world. Unfortunately in many parts of Asia, disposal systems are inadequate and recycling of plastics is limited. We suggest avoiding plastic packaging where possible and take along your own bag when shopping. Plastic bags will be offered for everything! Collect and dispose in the next town.
The law protects certain endangered species of flora & fauna. Export & in even possession of these species as well as of wild animals, birds, reptiles etc., is illegal. The production and sale of items made from wild animals and reptiles, e.g.: Leopard skins, crocodile skins, elephant tusks etc., is also illegal Never break coral, or brush against it. Coral is basically a colony of living organisms and damaging them, might kill them. If you go out in a Glass-bottom Boat, encourage the pilot to steer well clear from the coral itself. Boats scraping over the top of the reef are doing damage especially at Hikkaduwa. Never buy coral if it's offered for sale. Similarly don't buy sea shells or turtle shells (or eggs). All of Sri Lanka's five species of Turtle are endangered. If you happen to spot a turtle, when being take out on a boat, discourage the driver from circling it; this sort of harassment is very stressful to the turtle.