Located 6° above the equator, Sri Lanka enjoys a warm, tropical climate year-round. The finest weather in southwest Sri Lanka coincides with the calmest oceans off the coast, and runs from November through April. During this time days are warm with temperatures rising to a daily maximum of 30°C. The rainy season is traditionally from May to July, though the sun is rarely out of sight for long. August and September are drier months, with rainshowers returning in October and November. In December the cooler, drier winds also herald the start of the winter season’s calm seas and turquoise waters. The year round average temperature is 27°C.
Sri Lanka has two national languages: Sinhala and Tamil, although English is widely spoken.
The national currency is the rupee. It is divided into 100 cents. Traveller’s cheques are easy to cash and some banks in larger towns have ATMs.
All visitors (except those from Singapore or the Maldives) will require a visa for entry into Sri Lanka. Visas can be obtained online at www.eta.gov.lk or from the Sri Lanka Overseas missions or a preferred agent or operator. Visitors can also apply for a visa on arrival at the airport. Guests from non SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries will be charged $20 prior to arrival and $25 on arrival. The charge is $10 prior to arrival for guests from SAARC countries and $15 on arrival. There is no charge for children under the age of 12. Enquiries should be directed to the nearest Sri Lankan embassy or consulate prior to travel.
The closest medical facility is in nearby Galle, while more extensive medical facilities are available in Colombo, a three-hour drive. Reasonable precautions should be taken against hepatitis A, malaria, cholera and typhoid. Drinking bottled water is often an adequate precaution against water-borne illnesses. Using an effective mosquito repellent is advised to minimise the risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases. Guests should consult their doctor and arrange travel insurance prior to departure.
Electricity is 230-240 volts/ 50 cycles. Sri Lanka is five and a half hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). During the winter months of December and January a light pullover might be required in the hills, particularly in the mornings and evenings. During the hot summer months when the mercury can approach 35°C it is recommended that guests wear light, yet conservative attire. Guests should at all times travel with comfortable walking shoes and a wide-brimmed hat and drink plenty of bottled water during the hotter times of the day.