An umbrella is useful every day in Colombo... it canprotect you from the rain, it can protect you from the sun... and especially it can ürotect you from people's eyes. This is what I liked best in town - the sweetest sight of all... dozen and dozen of young couples at Galle Green, chilling our and kissing, hidden behind that useful umbrella.
There are few holidays considered very important to locals. You have to avoid using local transport traveling looking for an accommodation. If have any pre booked transport means and accommodation there is nothing to worry. There are two main holidays considered very important here and I have given description on other holidays too.
Shinhala & Tamil new Year Holiday –April – (2 days)
Vesak Poya Holiday – May – (2 days)
The full nation is on the move. Follow the above rules I motioned here.
Depawali & Thai Pongal or Hindu Holidays!
The above conditions will mostly effect when going to Up Country. The other places are rather ok when comparing with the Up Country.
Ramzan & Hadji Festival or Muslim Holidays!
The above conditions will mostly effect when going to East. Traveling towards down South won’t be mostly effected in case of accommodation if you don’t have nay pre bookings. But a friend told me that some times there will be crowded buses as there are some Muslim dense areas in down South. The other parts are ok when comparing with the East and some parts of down South.
Christmas & New Year (Jan 1)
The New year is half working day here and Christmas is not celebrated much as the Christian population is only 2%. These two holidays are rather some thing similar to Poya holiday!
Its also have to be treated similar to Poya holiday. But some parts of the Colombo city will be closed due to various reasons. I do agree that most of the visitors go away from Colombo to places like down South on these days. Be little cautioned about your transport on this day.
The great thing about Sri Lanka is it has the highest no public holidays in the world. I am correct it have to be 27 days I think. It is mixture both religious and other public holidays.
Now when it comes to holiday Poya Day will definitely effect your holiday or rather travel plans. But there are few things you have to be more careful on as traveler or as a stranger to the country.
What to avoid
Only on the holidays the working communities mostly go home to see their loved ones. So avoid using the public transport like buses and trains. If you have a pre booked seat in bus and in the trains of the Tourist Coach Compartment won’t be a big issue.
Holidays falling near weekend
If a public holiday falls on Fri/(Thu) or Mon/(Tue) you have to very careful in using the public transports. Because you won’t be able to use them without advance booking and also it’s really hard to allocate seats.
When come to situations like theses the Sri Lankan people also do travel mostly to the up country and other parts of Sri Lanka. So make sure you pre booked accommodation and other facilities.
The Poya day or the Full Moon day of the month is a National holiday in Sri Lanka. There are plenty of things you should be cautioned about when it comes to Poya Day.
All the Liquor Shops or Wine Stores will be closed on this day. Make sure if you need any stock them at least one day before the Poya Holiday.
Some hotels are well stocked and only provide alcohols only to foreigners like you of course they have special permission. If you are staying in small good decent hotels and if you’re a guest there is no problem obtaining it. But they will sell it illegally to you and sometime ask you more than the original rice. Why should you go to stuff like these..??
Meat and Fish
The meat and fish are also banned on Poya days to be sold or bought. But if you go to a
restaurant or hotel for meals you can have them there is no problem. The tinned fish & meat and pre-packed meat or fish could be bought any where.
Greet the local people by putting both of your palm and bow while you say 'Isthudi' or 'Ayubowan' I hope the meaning below is right.
'Isthudi' = Thank you
'Ayubowan' = Good day or Welcome
There is one interesting about the people in colombo city. Despite of the hassle and hettic roads in the city, irritated by screaming and shouting humans voice and honning sound from their private vehicle, and they drove mad like hell, no matter how dangerous they drive but they are able to avoid massive accident eventhough i could really imgaine that the drivers could bang each other. These Colombonians should be in Formula 1 race.
It was hot and humid while I was there so I wore short pants a lot. If you visit some of the temples and holy places you will need to take off your shoes before entering and you should probably wear long pants also. At one temple (in Kandy not Colombo) I had to rent a Sarong to cover my legs before I went inside. This picture is of a smiling fisherman in a sarong.
Bring your own toilet paper as the local people believes that water cleans best. (It's true and every Muslim will vouch for it). The trouble is you don't find soap around especially in rural areas. They solve the problem by eating with the right hand and wiping their bottoms with the other. Even left handers do that.
Have plenty of small change ready. Virtually all tourist and historical sights have reasonably good guides and the going rate is about US$1 or more per person.
Do not take photos with your back facing the Buddha statue. It is considered extremely rude.
in sri lanka you can find all religions, all temples.
never turn your back towards buddha and never ever (if you take - e.g. in a shop - a buddha-statue in your hand) turn it upside down!!!