Related Sri Lanka Favorites Tips

  • Temple near Aluthgama, Bentota
    Temple near Aluthgama, Bentota
    by WStat
  • Sri Lankan Rupee banknotes (Rs.1,000 & Rs.500)
    Sri Lankan Rupee banknotes (Rs.1,000 &...
    by SWFC_Fan
  • 5,000 Sri Lankan Rupee bank note
    5,000 Sri Lankan Rupee bank note
    by SWFC_Fan

Most Viewed Favorites in Sri Lanka

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    Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee

    by SWFC_Fan Written Apr 9, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The official currency of Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee (Rs.) which is split into 100 cents.

    The most commonly found denominations are as follows:

    Banknotes: Rs. 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000.

    Coins: Rs. 1, 2, 5 and 10.

    In practice, we found that we mainly used banknotes during our stay and only occasionally got low value coins in our change.

    As the Sri Lankan Rupee is a closed currency, we were unable to obtain any in the UK prior to our visit to the country in March 2014. This meant that we had to obtain some on arrival. I used one of the several ATMs in the arrivals hall at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport and had no problems at all with my UK-issued VISA Debit card.

    Emma changed Sterling cash at one of the exchange desks in the arrivals hall. They were all offering the same exchange rate as far as we could see (having walked around them all looking for the best rate). On the day that we arrived in Sri Lanka, the interbank exchange rate was 217.327 Rs to the Pound. All of the desks at the airport were offering 209.33 Rs to the Pound. A couple of days later, in an exchange office in the town of Hikkaduwa, with the interbank rate fairly stable, we were given a better rate of 214 Rs to the Pound. As is often the case, it seems that the exchange rate at the airport is slightly unfavourable.

    By the end of our stay, the interbank rate had fallen slightly to 215.31 Rs to the Pound. In an exchange office in Colombo we got a rate of 212.5 Rs to the Pound (still better than the airport rate, despite the movement in the interbank rate).

    On a few occasions, most notably by tuk tuk drivers in Colombo, we were offered the chance to pay in GBP or USD – albeit at a very unfavourable exchange rate (for example, we were offered the chance to pay £3 for a 260 Rs (£1.30) tuk tuk fare) – needless to say, we declined!

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    Beaches on the West coast.

    by Madasabull Updated Dec 2, 2013

    Favorite thing: Miles of beautiful sandy beaches for miles in both directions from The Hotel Club Dolphin, but!

    The sand is so strange, it's not easy to walk on without something on your feet, as it is so sharp and the grains are so large. And as you walk along, you come up to little coves or rocky outcrops from the beach, and to our horror, these areas where collection points for plastic bottles, flip flops, and all kinds of waste that has washed in from the sea or blown out from the land, or just dropped without a second thought.

    How sad to see such lovely looking beaches, destroyed by waste and neglect. Still, the pictures turned out OK, we just couldnt spend time on the beach as we had hoped for, and instead, lay on the grass or sun loungers in the hotel, which were plentiful.

    And trust me, dont even think about swimming in the sea at this part, it is far too dangerous. You could easily be dragged under or swept out to sea and drown. I know what I am talking about as I was once a member of the Royal Surf Lifesaving Association of Australia :(

    But now, this is what we have seen along the coast nearer the Club Hotel Dolphin, but further down towards Galle, and the beaches are different again, with some beautiful reefs and shallower safer water to swim in. So if snorkeling and swimming in the sea is your thing, then head further South, you'll love it, and there is much more to do down the South too around the hotels.

    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Singles

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    Lion beer is the main beer brand.

    by cachaseiro Written Dec 13, 2012

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Lion beer is what you are most likely to see if you go for a drink in Sri Lanka and prefer beer.
    It comes in a lager version which is by far the most popular, but they also have a strong version aswell as a stout.
    The brewery is very old and founded way back in 1881 and is today partly owned by Carlsberg which they also market in Sri Lanka.
    The quality of the beer is pretty good and i am quite happy drinking it.
    No beer revolution for sure, but pretty decent stuff and preferable to Carlsberg in my opinion.
    Sri Lanka has very high taxes on beers and therefor most locals prefer to drink strong spirits when they go out at night, but i am a beer man and i go for a Lion when i am in Sri Lanka.

    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting

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    Sri Lanka is tea country.

    by cachaseiro Written Dec 5, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Sri Lanka is the 4th largest producer of tea in the world and it accounts for 12% of the GDP and creates an income of 700 million dollars a year to the nation so this is really somethings that matters here.
    The tea is grown up in the highlands in the center of the country where the conditions are good for such production and if you head for the hills in Sri Lanka then you will see tea field after tea field where the tea is still being harvested by hand by both men and women.

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    Hotel are not always hotels in Sri Lanka.

    by cachaseiro Written Nov 24, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: In Sri Lanka you will often see a hotel sign outside a small house serving food.
    They have a tradition of calling small restaurants for hotels in Sri Lanka and that can sometimes be a little confusing if you are looking for a place to stay for the night.
    In general you should look for a "guest house" sign if you need some budget accomodation in Sri Lanka while the big 4-5 star hotels are called hotels like in the rest of the world.

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    Get some local insect repellant.

    by cachaseiro Written Nov 24, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Sri Lanka is quite bug ridden and you will find that evenings can often turn in to a lot of scratching unless you have some good mosquito repellant.
    the good news is that they make a really effective one on the island and it's much cheaper than the one from the international farmaceutical companies.
    It has a smell of lemon and smells less toxic than most other brands.
    Only begative thing i can think of with it, is that it's quite sticky, but so are most brands anyway.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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  • Superb!!

    by nishir Written Jan 30, 2012

    Favorite thing: Thank you everyone.. we had a really amazing time in Sri Lanka...

    As this is a Tip too I will like to add that we went in January 2012 for 6 nights 7 days. We were 2 adults with 1 infant (23 months).

    We did a car right from the airport for 7 days.

    From there we went on to Yala Lake View (in Tissa - 45 min from Yala National Park) stayed for one night..

    After an Amazing Safari, proceeded to Ella..

    Ella is lazy, laid back & a PERFECT PLACE to rejuvenate...

    2 days at Sun Top Inn in Ella & we went to Kandy... A highly commercialised town Kandy is nice in its own way..

    2 nights at Casamera Hotel in Kandy, we left for a night in Colombo at Grand Oriental Hotel...

    All in all this trip was amazing, Sri Lanka is superb & its people are more than amazing.. very hospitable & more than willing to help...

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Safari
    • Trains

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  • Travel in Sri Lanka

    by dieters7 Written Oct 25, 2010

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: If you can make it a 5 night stay, I would also suggest going to Kandy and doing day trips from there. Although the beaches in the south around Hikkaduwa and further are wonderful, to be honest, you can see wonderful beaches all throughout south-east asia.

    I would not stay in CMB. Depending on how much luxury and pampering you need will also determine what you see and how you get there. There is a train trip from Fort Station to Kandy. On the Inter City Express (not really an express!), there is a "1st Class" observation car. Now, it's certainly not the cleanest "1st class " you're gonna get, but the trip itself is absolutely amazing. You will see parts of the countryside you wont see from a car. Photo opportunities abound!

    From Kandy, you can get your hotel to arrange a driver to take you to places like Sigiriya, Pinnawala, tea plantations. In Kandy itself, you can hire a tuktuk and ask the driver to take you to all the good spots such as Temple of the Sacred Tooth, the botanical gardens (biggest tree (area it covers) I ever saw! Also, try get to Trinity College. Incredible church on the school grounds.

    All in all, dont expect spotless streets and cleanliness. Because of the humidity, there is a lot of mould on the buildings giving the impression that they're dirty. Some are, some aren't. BUT, if you can put all this aside, the place is cheap, all in all the people are very friendly and it is cheap.

    Mail me if you have any other questions...

    :-)

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    Roadside restaurants

    by tim07 Updated Jul 4, 2010

    Favorite thing: Travelling by road between places, especially in the Hill Country, can be long and tiring. Thankfully there are plenty of restaurants along main roads where you can stop for a rest or a meal.

    I stopped at a roadside restaurant at Kitugala as I travelled from Nuwara Eliya to Bentota. The restaurant was in a lovely location next to a river and served good food.

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    Shopping close to Wattala

    by shawnbrito Written Mar 9, 2010

    Favorite thing: Pegasus Reef is just 3km away from my home (Its my home town).. You have picked a very good Hotel to spend your holidays as they have refurbished the hotel and its in topping condition.. I used to stroll down the beach at night and dip in the shallow end of the peer (just 300m from Pegasus)

    Many of the large shopping centers your looking for are in the heart of Colombo (10km away) and the prices are reasonable.. (But not as cheap as in India)
    If your traveling by Taxi, ask the driver to take the strait road through Mattakuliya (Its closer to Colombo).

    ODEL (which is @ Union Place) is a good option
    House of Fashion (Located in Bambalapitiya)
    Majestic City (Bambalapitiya)
    Liberty Plaza (Kolpity ->2km from Bambalapitiya)

    You can also check the many shopping complexes in the Wattala Town itself (just 2km from Pegasus)

    NEVER USE ANY alternative currencies apart for "Sri Lankan" Rupees!!
    Some Hotels accept US$ but its usually a rip off as they convert it at 90% or less than the forex conversion rate..

    If your visiting Kandy, remember to check out the New Shopping center which was opened recently (right opposite the lake)..

    If you like to explore the wilderness: check the "Udawatta Kale" in Kandy (A paved Forest patch in Kandy)

    Hope all goes well with you...

    Fondest memory: Being a natural part of it.. Its a place I call home...

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip

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  • Cell Phone charges for Tourists to SL

    by sahanj Written Mar 7, 2010

    Favorite thing: a sim card in SL capital colombo is around 1-3 dollars and can be recharged very easily. SL has very good coverage in cell phones and most tourist should consider taking one and smsing their loved ones when they are here as well as for their added safety. The rates for SMS abroad to any country is only around US cents 5 per sms. call rates per US, UK and developed countries are around 5-10 US cents per min also. Main telecom players in the market are Dialog, Mobitel, Etisalat and Huch.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Business Travel
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    High Days and Holidays

    by Maxus Updated Jan 10, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Sri Lanka has lots of bank holidays, around 25 (comparped to 9 in the UK) the principle Christian and Muslim Holidays are honoured, there’s Sinhala & Tamil New Year and Buddhists celebrate each full moon with something called Poya Day. Shops, banks and offices close so towns can appear quiet while hotels and beaches get busy as richer Sri Lankans leave the city for some beachside R&R.

    You can get details of public holidays in 2010 here: http://documents.gov.lk/Calendar/Calendar2010/English.pdf

    On Poya Day some locals don white clothes and head for temples often miles away from where they live. Roads and trains get busy and public transport generally can be unpredictable so Poya Day might not be the best time to travel. You will have a problem buying alcohol on Poya Day, but it can be done - your hotel, guest house or a friendly three-wheeler driver will probably find you a drink.

    Related to:
    • Trains
    • Road Trip

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    When monkeys attack

    by supune Updated Jul 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: When you go to Dambula, a Buddist Temple that was carved out of rock (supposedly by one man), there's lots of monkeys around. The monkeys occassionly come out and snatch stuff from people.

    Fondest memory: There was a little 2 or 3 year old boy in our group. He could barely talk. His mom had given him a pouch of roasted cashews, and he was happily eating away until a monkey came and stole his pouch.

    The kid cried and cried until his mom bought him a new pouch. Back to happily eating. Then, another monkey came and snatched the cashews again. This time the monkey didn't run off; he just started teasingly eating the cashews in front of the kid.

    The kid got mad and slapped the monkey! While the monkey was dumb-struck, the kid grabbed the cashews back and went back to happily eating the nuts.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

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  • Wonderful People ! Come and Visit Today !

    by stanfordpeter76 Written May 25, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Hi !
    Am already here, got here as soon as I heard the war was over. Staying for 6 weeks. Safer than most countries now. This is my 6th trip, and it is wonderful!
    The whole nation was celebrating the victory ! Already traveled to Kandy, Trincomalee, and the Tea Gardens in the Mountains these past few days.
    Come and enjoy !
    Well the nicest place in Sri Lanka is Kandy, the old world charm of the Kandyan Kingdom is still to be found here. Of course you need to have a good knowledgeable person to show you around. I mean , that if you have a good driver/guide, then you can really see Kandy and the rest of Sri Lanka as well. Kandy is good to see the traditional dances, handicraft making, shopping (gems too), visiting some of the most beautiful places I have been to, not forgetting the famous Ceylon Tea ! I have been lucky to find a good driver/guide who is very nice and really knowledgeable too.
    Send a message if you want details about him.

    Fondest memory: What I most miss when I am away from Sri Lanka, are the genuine smiles of the people. They are so nice and friendly. I also miss the nature that is around you, the village scenery, the beautiful sunsets, the fabulous beaches, the cascading waterfalls, the beat of their drums.
    Anyone is welcome to contact me for travel details in Sri Lanka.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Safari
    • Family Travel

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    Buffalo Curd: First Aid for a Dodgy Stomach

    by Maxus Updated Dec 10, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: By the roadside and in village shops everywhere you will find people selling buffalo curd or Mee Kiri in Sinhala (Mee = Buffalo and Kiri = Milk).

    Mee Kiri is my secret weapon against stomach trouble while in Sri Lanka, all that healthy live bacteria can wipe out unpleasant things going on in your tum, hardly my favourite thing about Sri Lanka but it works. If your stomach has been damaged by antibiotics (and even c diff) this really is amazing.

    For more advice on stomach problems see the delhi belly tip in the warnings and dangers section.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Road Trip

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