Sri Lanka Travel Guide

  • The beach
    The beach
    by shavy
  • Elephant taking their bath
    Elephant taking their bath
    by shavy
  • Tea Plantation
    Tea Plantation
    by shavy

Sri Lanka Highlights

  • Pro
    MarcusRR profile photo

    MarcusRR says…

     Views, food, beaches, value, friendly Budists, ruins 

  • Con
    anitpotter profile photo

    anitpotter says…

     temperature, humidity, power cuts, people are known to disappear usually politicains not tourists, corruption, buying water 

  • In a nutshell
    direct187 profile photo

    direct187 says…

     hot food loads of rain and nice people 

Sri Lanka Things to Do

  • An excellent place to change money.

    I had not changed any money in Sri Lanka but it was getting near time it happened. As I was walking back from the zoo (see separate tip and travelogues) I came upon this place and could not believe my luck. It was a Sunday afternoon at about three in the afternoon and I really didn't fancy my chances of finding a bank. I also don't like using my...

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  • You really should try this.

    In the first few days I was wandering around Colombo I saw a lot of posters bearing the tagline, "No EGB, no food" which is quite some claim. It was obvious from the graphics that the advertising was for some form of soft drink but what exactly was EGB? I had no idea but I certainly do now and I absolutely love it. EGB is an acronym for Elephant...

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  • elephants. must see

    when you get there arrange a trip to see the elephants and have a ride.The blood pumps round your body and your pulse will rush.To have such a wild and powerful animal walking along with you on his/her back(no seat). you can put your hand out straight and touch the power of the back and the shoulders.a must to do....

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  • City of Gems ( Ratnapura )

    no reason to stay there but if you're interested in Gems you can visit the museum.It can rain very hard !!! ( floods)there is a good resthouse where you can have lunch or diner !

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  • Lime Stone Caves of wawulpane

    on the way back ( between Udu walawa and Ratnapura) we went to see some caves recomended by the Hotel Centauria Inn.you will only like it if you don't mind getting dirty ( Bat sh*t , insects,...)nice experience !!tip : - put something on your head (plastic bag).- your shoes will get covered with ***.- only go if you are mobile ( jumping from one...

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  • Uda Walawa national Park

    Situated 170 km. South East of Colombo the Uda Walawe National Park is approximately 30,821 hectares in extent. This Park which lies within the Ratnapura and Monaragala Districts acts as the catchment to the Uda Walawe Reservoir and is located in the Dry Zone. This Park comprises grasslands and thorn scrubs and many valuable species of trees are...

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Sri Lanka Hotels

Sri Lanka Restaurants

  • Unusual exotic fruit 3

    This to me is a really unusual fruit with a deep purple outside appearance. The white fleshy part is what's eaten. To open it you twist or press it firmly and it breaks apart. It taste is both sweet and tart (sour) at the same time. It is said to have a cooling effect on the body.The fruit is low in calories, high in fibre and rich in vit C. This...

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  • Unusual exotic fruit 2

    In Sri Lanka they are red and hairy and grow in clusters. This exotic fruit is high in vit C, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron.Ripe rambutan scan be twisted and the fruit pops out. The fruit resembles a translucent egg and it has a hard seed in the middle. In my opinion the taste is not unlike lychee.Apparently it is better to purchase it...

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  • Unusual fruit

    Yuck the smell makes me sick but hey don't let that put you off. Apparently the smellier the better the taste it gives off strong sulphates. When my boyfriend eats this he has to be in a different room and brush the teeth really well afterwards.The fruit is green in appearance and I have been told it has a sweet custard like taste. It contains high...

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  • A typical snack

    These are sri lanka’s answer to pancakes made from a fermented batter of rice flour and coconut milk and a touch of palm toddy except these days you can buy the ready mix. Hoppers are crisp on the outside and soft and spongy on the inside. You can eat them savoury with an egg cracked in the middle and served with hot spicy chilli sambol or spread...

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  • Rice and Curry

    When ordering a rice and curry at a café (called hotels) you would usually expect to be served as a lunch packet which means it’s all on one plate. The plate is covered in lunch wrap and a mound of rice is placed in the middle with a selection around it. The other alternative is your rice and curry is self-service and this means it’s often enough...

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  • Typical Sri Lankan Breakfast

    What to expect on your plate I suppose depends on the area you are in so I want to give you an idea of the staples and then what could be served where in the country you are (but not exclusively)Dahl curry (lentils) (parippu) yummy sometimes a little oversalted can be spicy or mild Pol Sambal (coconut shavings, lime, chilli)Potato Curry (ala...

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Sri Lanka Transportation

  • Tour Guide

    When you don't have a great amount of time on your holiday to get around it is a good idea to employ a driver, someone who knows the roads and can help you design a memorable trip.My friend Dinu currently drives for a company but he is purchasing his own vehicle and will be able to offer his services freelance as well. I have been with him en-route...

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  • Best driver: Kalum Niriella

    We went to Sri Lanka for 10 days and we got Kalum's contact details from a Lonely Planet forum. From the begining, Kalum helped us giving us tips about hotels and itinerary and one of the best hotels we have been in Sri Lanka was recommended by him. Kalum is a good professional, very kind and with a very good knowledge about his country....

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  • Driver guide for Sri Lanka

    Still one of the best travel we've made! And we travel quite a lot.We were on Sri Lanka in 2010, by recommendation of our friends. We also took the same guide, Jagath Tours, and this proved to be the winning combination. That was a wonderful, carefree travel, full of cultural and natural wonders.It is so easy to recommend Jagath as the first and...

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Sri Lanka Shopping

  • by YannickPeeters Updated Mar 22, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Magestic city :
    cheap stuff but not a bad quality !
    very good for buying DVD's only 2.5 US $

    Colombo plaza:
    not expensive, not cheap but high quality !
    good for clothing,....

    house of fashion:
    famous for its clothes, very cheap and medium quality but some nice things

    odel:
    medium expensive but very nice

    gems are very famous in Sri lanka, make shure you buy it in the right store, they could switch it ito a fake stone in the end!!!

    never give your money to fast !!!! specially when it is crowdy, they could claim that you didn't pay yet, so give them the money until you have your goods and the bill !!!!
    they also like to give back to little or claim that you gave 500 rps instead of 1000 !! be carefull they know the tricks !!

    What to buy: DVD
    Gems
    Craftswork
    thee
    clothing
    many more

    What to pay: little money

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Sri Lanka Local Customs

  • Electrical sockets and plugs.

    I appreciate that this is not really to do with local culture but I could not decide where else to put it and I further appreciate that it is not the most interesting tip I will ever write but it may hopefully be of use.This tip deals with electrical sockets and plugs. So far, I have been in Sri Lanka and have seen three different types of sockets....

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  • A once a year opportunity.

    Like many countries in the world, Sri Lanka celebrates an Independence Day, also known as National Day, in this case on the 4th February annually. I was lucky enough to be in the country when it wass celebrated in 2014 and my hotelier friend told me I should go to the nearby cricket stadium as there was to be a celebration. I am always in favour of...

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  • Drink a king coconut everyday

    his coconut is yellow in appearance and known as Thambili in Sri Lanka let me tell you why it is considered a miracle or a living pharmacy. It completely rehydrated the body and purifies it in such a way people often refer to it as a natural saline.It is used in many Ayurvedic remedies from hair revitaliser to a cleanser. King Coconut contains...

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Sri Lanka Warnings and Dangers

  • Mosquito Bites

    Although there is a fair amount of emphasis about malaria being in the Northern parts I can't say I have come across a malaria area in Trincomalee. Howvever dengue fever is a real problem and that is rife in very urban areas like Colombo. Some areas have more mosquitos then others I have been given tips by other travels that a mix of garlic &...

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  • Condoms

    Ladies please do not fall for the moves of the Sri Lankan beach boy who appears to be madly in love with you he would have slept with another girl the week before. Unfortunately I speak from personal experience seeing this with my own eyes luckily I was no longer intimately involved with him but I must have counted 15 women in 2 months.Anyway...

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  • Sad but true.

    I should preface this tip by saying that I am in no way trying to denigrate the beautiful country of Sri Lanka nor it's most hospitable people. I have been here for just over three weeks at time of writing and have been treated with the greatest kindness and friendliness everywhere I have been. I most certainly do not want to deter anyone from...

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Sri Lanka Tourist Traps

  • by YannickPeeters Written Mar 22, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    never give your money to fast !!!! specially when it is crowdy, they could claim that you didn't pay yet, so give them the money until you have your goods and the bill !!!!

    they also like to give back to little or claim that you gave 500 rps instead of 1000 !! be carefull they know the tricks !!

    Unique Suggestions: just start making a scene !!

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Sri Lanka Off The Beaten Path

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    Colonial era postbox, Colombo, Sri Lanka. 2 more images

    by planxty Written Jan 24, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I suppose it is inevitable given the length of time that Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was then, was under the colonial rule of various European powers that there should be some reminders of that period left. One such is the humble postbox. People may (quite understandably) deem me mad or obsessional or whatever and I would find it difficult to argue the point but, bizarre as it sounds, I have already written a tip about a postbox in the UK which you can find here should you be in the slightest interested. I should tell you that I am not a postbox afficionado although I know of websites that deal solely with that subject. Rather, I find interest in the mundane and their significance in the place I am visiting. My late Mother used to tell a story about me as a small boy stopping to read a manhole cover and asking her who "Stanton and Staveley" were. I suppose this inquisitive nature has stayed with me ever since.

    I am constructing this tip in the "off the beaten path" section as, frankly, I cannot think where else to put it. The main image was taken on a very well-beaten path, namely the Galle Road in Bamalapitiya (Southern Colombo) and so well-beaten is it that you take your very life in your hands attempting to cross it, even on a pedestrian crossing.

    What initially drew my attention was the fact that there were two postboxes adjacent to each other. Were they both still functional? If the Sri Lankans wanted to dispel the legacy of colonialism, why did they not remove the obviously British red box when they erected their own green box? Why choose green, a notably Islamic colour in an area that is predominantly Buddhist instead of blue or yellow or whatever? I have no answers as I am busy with other things now but I am sure my nature will, at some point, drive me to a Google search of "postboxes Sri Lanka". This is just the way I am.

    OK, you have read this far, for which I thank you so let me give you a little postbox information. In one of those acts of synchronicity that have now ceased to amaze me as they used to, I was watching an English language documentary on TV in my hotel in Colombo called "How do they do that?" and one portion of the magazine show was devoted to the making of of postboxes in the UK which has been in the hands of a firm near Glasgow for a long time and there are even third generation foundrymen and painters employed there.

    The major thing to know about postboxes is that you can generally date them by the logo embossed on them. For example VR signifies the reign of Queen Victoria (Victoria Regina) and our current Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth the Second has EIIR (E2R) to show the box was erected in her reign. The box in the main picture, therefore, intrigued me a little.

    Firstly, it shows GR (George Rex) but we have had a lot of Kings George, admittedly not many of them associated with our colonial rule of Sri Lanka but it still struck me as strange. Secondly, surely even in the heights of colonial fervour, did we actually ship heavy iron postboxes from UK to our colonies. Apparently not. A close look at the bottom of the box reveals that it was founded in the "Government factory" in 1951, a mere two years before the late King died and our current Sovereign ascended the throne. I wonder what happened to the "Government factory". Does it still exist, does it manufacture postboxes or are they imported cheap from China?

    Obviously now, my interest having been piqued, I am going to be on a hunt for colonial era postboxes to see how many reigns I can find and can someone please explain to me how I can write a tip this long about something so prosaic? I think I need a curry, a beer and a lie down in that order but standby for more images and presumably a travelogue at some stage entitled "Colonial postboxes of Sri Lanka). Watch this space.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

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Sri Lanka Sports & Outdoors

  • jo104's Profile Photo
    taken in Jaffna 1 more image

    by jo104 Written Mar 4, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Sri Lanka are completely cricket mad in fact if you come from a cricketing country you almost instantly become best friends, for this reason I decided to purchase a cricket South Africa top rather then my preferred rugby.

    If a bar has a tv you can be sure that they are showing cricket. The normal tv channel has at least 3 different sports channels all showing you guessed CRICKET.

    I have recently been watching the Asia Cup 2014 and I have to say without a doubt it is the most exciting international I have watched in a very long time.

    Boys play cricket just about anywhere in Sri Lanka so while driving you may need to watch out for stray balls and youngsters using the road as their own personal pitch.

    There are 8 cricket grounds in Sri Lanka and 7 have been used for international matches. The 2011 cricket world cup was held here. The president has his own stadium named after him in his hometown Hambantota.

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Sri Lanka Favorites

  • Medicines

    In Sri Lanka it is easy to find a lot of medicines which would not normally be available to people living in Europe over the counter. Antibiotics usually are prescribed but I know from experience if you ask for them in a chemist they will usually hand it over if you say the name & you are normally prescribed them. A bit scary actually but they are...

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  • Cows they are everywhere

    Cows in Sri Lanka are everywhere and if you have not travelled to asia before this will probably be amusing for you it was for me when I first saw them on the road. Ok travelling on the road is one thing but sun bathing on the beach I mean come on! Cows are considered holy by the Tamil people and they seem to keep the as pets. One man brought his...

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  • Laundry

    If your guest house offers this service ask if its machine wash or hand wash. If its hand wash please don’t give your delicate items or jumpers which may be ruined by pounding on a stone. Remember to always give it to a person in charge not just the cleaner. If there are any items that could run you need to let the reception in charge know and...

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Comments (1)

  • Jun 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    There is so much to see in the North and East of Sri Lanka too, you know! If you make a trip to Kandy (centre, hill station) then a 3 hour downhill journey through Mahiyangana to Batticaloa in the East may be a good idea as an extension. From here you could travel North to Trincomalee. There are some great beaches in these two coastal cities. ( For tour operators, these two don't exist! ) If you are more adventurous, you may want to go to Jaffna in the North which was out of bounds for decades. The popular Casuarina beach is in Karainagar, Jaffna.

 
Explore Deeper into Sri Lanka
Diet drinks are hard to find
Local Customs
Fizzy drinks in sri lanka
Local Customs
'Phone matters.
Local Customs
Police for those danger times
Warnings and Dangers
Drinking Water
Favorites
WiFi
Favorites
Some useful phrases & Sinhala words
Local Customs
Eating at cafes (Hotels)
Local Customs
How do you like your tea
Local Customs
Eating with your hands
Local Customs
Beer matters.
Local Customs
Tour Guide & Tour Package Design
Transportation
Sri Lanla family round trip
Transportation
Trains
Transportation
Local sim card for mobile
Local Customs
Don't support illegal liquor trading
Warnings and Dangers
Tips
Local Customs
Celebrity-Style Seafood in Colombo
Restaurants
Travel with a guide
Transportation
Reasonable and very good transport company
Transportation
good curry
Restaurants
mix and match transport
Transportation
Roads
Local Customs
National Parks
Things to Do
Beautiful honeymoon beaches
Things to Do
donation to Dedunu
Favorites
Seaturtles in hikkaduwa
Things to Do
Wasuna National Park
Things to Do
The Botanical Gardens, Kandy
Things to Do
Don't miss Mirrisa (sp?)
Things to Do
Come to Kandy
Things to Do
See Sigiriya
Things to Do
Do Dambula
Things to Do
Map of Sri Lanka

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