Frequently Asked Questions
What to wear
What should I pack to travel in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is a tropical island. Therefore, breathable cotton clothing would be ideal. White is considered a clean, pure colour especially when visiting religious sites. Ideally a pair of sturdy sneakers for treks would do whilst a pair of comfy flip flops would do for excursions and sandals would be perfect for the beach or for a casual walk.
Guidelines when visiting cultural or religious sites?
Appropriate & modest clothing is a must if you are visiting any cultural or religious locations. Gents are required to wear trousers to cover their knees or a 'sarong' with a shirt or T-shirt. Ladies should ideally wear decent attire such as knee-length trousers or a skirt and a blouse/ t-shirt. We advise to avoid wearing deep necked or sleeveless tops.
Temple’s such as the Sacred Temple of the Tooth and other religious sites around Sri Lanka do not permit entrance to those wearing a “Burqa” or any similar piece of clothing that covers your face.
How would I exchange US$ to the local currency?
The local currency is Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR). Exchanging currency should take place at valid currency exchange centers or banks which are available at the airport and most hotels. Currency rates are determined by the central bank of Sri Lanka.
Converting Sri Lankan rupees back to a selected foreign denomination could be done only at the airport bank which is open 24 hours a day. Please retain your money changing receipts.
Sri Lankan currency denominations are; 10,20,50,100,500,1000,2000,5000 notes.
How much money can I bring into Sri Lanka?
Any amount above $10,000 should be declared to the customs on arrival.
Forms of payment
Can I pay using my credit card anywhere?
Credit/Debit card payments are accepted at most leading stores. However, most road-side shops would not have credit card facilities available.
Religion and Culture
What religious observances would be new to me?
Full moon days are days of religious observance where the sale of alcohol and meat are prohibited. Places of entertainment such as Discos, Cinemas and Casinos are closed as well. However, alcohol would be served directly to a hotel room on request.
What is an easy mode of transport for short distances?
The Tuk Tuk (Trishaw) is a common method of transportation within the island. It is recommended to use a Tuk Tuk with a fare meter although there are many apps available such as 'Pickme' and 'Uber' on Android and Apple devices.
What transportation is available for the tour?
At Taya Finch we provide you with a wide selection of vehicles to choose from. However, as a standard practice an A/C hybrid car is provided for 02 people, while an A/C van is provided for a group of travelers of up to 7 people. Our transportation options range from Luxury high-end vehicles, SUV’s, Sea plane, Yacht, Train, Helicopter and Motorbikes which are available upon request.
Can my guide speak in English?
All the Chauffeur guides of Taya Finch are fluent in English, hand-picked as they're some of the most experienced guides within the industry with excellent driving skills and customer service.
What Languages are spoken in Sri Lanka?
The dominant language in Sri Lanka is Sinhalese. However, secondary languages such as Tamil and English are present within the country with informational signs being displayed in all 3 languages.
How could I purchase a SIM card and what packages are available?
We provide a complimentary SIM card on arrival including credit worth LKR 1000/- for your use throughout the tour. Any additional SIM cards could be requested from your Destination Specialist who will make appropriate arrangements. However, if you wish to purchase a SIM card separate to what's been provided, you may make a request to your chauffeur guide directly you or purchases could be made at the airport upon arrival.
Does the vehicle provided have enough space for all my camera equipment?
In the event that you may have additional space requirements you may make a request to your Destination Specialist who will make the appropriate changes prior to confirmation of your tour.
How are the road conditions to travel on?
Sri Lanka currently has only 2 operational highways. The Southern Highway which extends from Colombo to Matara, The Airport Highway which extends from Colombo to Negombo. Travel within the rest of Sri Lanka would be via standard roads where the average speed limit is between 40 –70Kmph.
Do I need visa to enter Sri Lanka?
Yes, you will need to apply for a visa to enter Sri Lanka. You may apply for your Visa on arrival or obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) prior to arrival. ETA applications would be the quickest form of application. However, the travel period is limited to 01 month.
Exceptions to the Visa requirement are applicable for Singaporean, Maldivian and Seychelles nationals.
Do I need vaccinations before I travel to Sri Lanka?
The Sri Lankan healthcare system is effective within developing countries across the world. However, updated emergency medical facilities might not be available outside the main cities of Sri Lanka. It is mandatory for those travelling from Africa or Latin America to have vaccinations for Yellow Fever and Meningitis prior to travelling and up-to-date Hepatitis A, Polio and tetanus shots.
What are common diseases in Sri Lanka?
Mosquito borne diseases like Dengue, Malaria and chickenguniya are common and it is adviseble to take adequate precautions against mosquitoes especially within rural and wildlife habitats. Every town has a local pharmacy selling common drugs over the counter. However, the availability of special prescription drugs are subject to availability.
What hospitals should I go to?
Every main town / city throughout the country would have a hospital or medical Clinique available. Government Hospitals would provide free medical service whilst charges are applicable for Private Hospitals.
Food and drinks
What is Sri Lanka food like?
Sri Lankan cuisines are mainly based on rice dishes with a variety of meats and vegetables, commonly of a spicy variant. However, due to colonial and trading influences there are Dutch, Arabic, British and Indian cuisines available throughout the country with most coastal towns being famous for seafood dishes.
Is Sri Lanka safe to travel in?
Sri Lanka is one of the most picturesque and beautiful travel destinations in the world with its reputation for un-touched locations, receiving a continuous growth of travelers to the island annually – The Island is safer for travelers with no cause for danger.
What safety precautions must I take when travelling?
According to accepted norms of travel you should deposit your valuables like money, passport, tickets, jewels etc. in the hotel safety 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. It is wise to keep an amount of money (about US$ 200) stashed away separately from your money-belt or pouch.
What should I not take out of the Country?
You are allowed to export up to a maximum of 10kg of tea out of the country.
Antiques (defined as objects over 50 years) rare books, palm-leaf manuscripts and anthropological material cannot be exported without permission from the Director of National Archives.
The purchase and export without license of any wild animal, bird or reptile, dead or alive, 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 of 450 plant species without special permits.
The export of coral, shells or other protected marine products are also strictly prohibited.
Applications for special permission to export fauna should be made to the Director, Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Nightlife in Sri Lanka?
Colombo, Negombo and Hikkaduwa are famous for its nightlife and you may come across some night clubs in Colombo than in other areas. Hikkaduwa is more oriented towards beach parties and Negombo being the perfect place for night life at pubs and restaurants.
Best time to visit Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is a year-round destination with monsoon seasons separately affecting different parts of the country. For those who seek the sun, the best time to visit to island is between November - April. The central highlands are relatively cool and dry from January to April. The peak season is from mid-December to mid-January, March – April and July – August.
Showers are expected during the South-West monsoon from May to October and the North-East monsoon from December to January.
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