Amago Tours | Travel Guide Sri Lanka

Travel Guide Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Travel Guide

Visiting Paradise Island of the Indian Ocean

Sri Lanka is the mango-shaped island in the Indian Ocean, just beneath India and is about 645km (400 mi) north of the Equator. Fully separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, it offers a different travel experience compared with India and other sub-continent countries. Being an island, most travel destinations are closer to the beach. Sri Lanka is considered a year-round island (Though we do not recommend the monsoon season as sometimes the rain can persist for a good couple of days straight) and comes with a wide diversity of tourist attractions, which means something for everyone

If you ask somebody who has travelled to Sri Lanka, beaches will most probably be at the top of their list. The Southern coast is the most popular and well-known, while beaches like Arugam Bay, Pasikudah and Trincomalee are coming up in popularity, mainly due to the recent development of better transport options to that part of the country.

Originally from Sri Lanka and as someone who has travelled to many parts of the world, I thought it would be useful to share what I know about this amazing place for potential travellers with the view of what they could have face/expect during their time in Sri Lanka.

#VISA- Entry Clearence

Sri Lanka has implemented online ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) system recently. Most of the travellers from countries around the work can apply through this system. Tourist visa will initially be granted for 30 days and while you are in the country you can get the visa extended further through the department of immigration and emigration. However, for your visa you need to visit a different website It is always recommended to get your online visa before you traveling to Sri Lanka.

Note: Maldives, Seychelles, Singapore citizens can apply on arrival visa.

#Arrival – Airport

Arrival and the border control are relatively straight forward. If you are holding any foreign passport, you will be required to fill an embarkation card on your arrival. The Sri Lankan government has recently introduced an online embarkation form which can be completed three days prior to your arrival. This service is totally free and save you the time at the counter manually filling up the form. The link to the online form can be fund below.'#/home-page

Once you are through the border control and collect your luggage (if you have any) you can go out straight through the green channel. (of course, in case you have nothing to declare). This is where it is getting interested. First thing you will see is the money changing counters of the local banks. If you need some local currency, you can buy it here. Rates will be very much the same in every bank.

once you pass the bank counters you will come into the lobby where you can find counters of local taxi companies and mobile service providers. If you are not planning to use roaming on your phone you can buy a local sim card there. They might ask you for your passport number as it is a required regulation in Sri Lanka.

If you are planning to hire a taxi from the airport, there are some taxi company counters are available on the arrival lobby. Ride share companies like Uber. Pickme (Local) is available when you are at the airport. However, I don’t recommend getting into un-licenced taxies as they might ask you an unreasonable amount as the fair. Will try to cover transport in the next section by details.


If you are planning to travel around the country transport is something you need to plan carefully. Even though the public transport connects most of key tourist destinations it is often time consuming and congested. Specially if it happened to be a Friday with a long weekend there will be a quite a rush to grab a place in local buses or trains and could be bit hectic with all the luggage and the travel gear. However, if you are happy to take up the challenge the public transport is an extremely cheap in Sri Lanka.

The easiest option (not the cheapest) is to book a private vehicle with a driver. Not expensive as it sounds elsewhere but gives you the opportunity to enjoy the country moving place to place with one less trouble to worry about. The driver can act as a guide too and help you to discover the places you might not be able to cover with the public transport.

Uber is available in Sri Lanka but not widely cover the entire country. You should be ok to use Uber in the main cities like Colombo and Kandy. Pickme is yet another local ride sharing company and more widely used in Sri Lanka. Even Tuk-Tuks (3 Wheelers) are available with both Uber and Pickme and is a great transport medium when you need to cover a short distance with a quick hop in and out. You can stop those Tuk-Tuks without booking apps and just mention the driver where you want to go. But make sure the fare meter is installed in the Tuk-Tuk before you are getting in.

#What to eat

Well Sri Lanka is a great place to eat unless you are expecting western dishes. For some reason mastering western dishes (Except star class hotels and restaurants) not been a thing for Sri Lankan chefs. Nothing to worry though as there are plenty of other options available in wherever you go. Sri Lankan food are generally spicy and could be over the limits for you. You can always ask them to prepare them to a level you can tolerate or even opted for not so spicy options.

Sri Lankan rice and curry are a great alternative and can comes with different varieties. Kottu is sort of a popular street food starting to make a name even internationally. It is made with sliced roti with mix of vegetables and option of meat. Hoppers is another food getting popular and you can find many other curries and flavours to go with these main meals. Seafood is something you can really enjoy while in Sri Lanka and is available in great varieties as it could expected in an Island surrounded by the sea.

Vegetarians always could find something to eat or choose from what available. But the vegans may need to specially order their food. Please feel free to talk to the restaurant staff on your circumstances and Sri Lankans are generally a very friendly bunch and the restaurant staff will do whatever possible to get you what you want.

It may be not safe to drink tap water in Sri Lanka as you may find some bacteria totally alien to your system and ruin your entire holiday. It is always safer to stick into bottled water or boiled water whenever possible. Bottled water is Sri Lanka is highly regulated by the government and carry government approved seal.

#What to do

Apart from visiting tourist sites, safaris, dip into the sea and other activities night life is virtually none exists in Sri Lanka. Colombo may have some options but when it goes to outstations it is not something widely available. On popular beach resorts like Mirissa, Hikkaduwa, Unwatuna and Hiriketiya you may find some organized beach parties where you can drink and enjoy music till late.

Alcohol is available freely in Sri Lanka and are not restrict on usage except on public places. There are some good local types of beer and larger available along with most of popular international brands. You need to be over 18 years to purchase alcohol as any other country in the world.

Useful Links

Sri Lanka Visa - Electronic Trvel Authorization System

Department of Immigration and Emigration

Online Embarcation Form

SriLankan Airlines

Colombo Airport