Get ready for your Indian Ocean adventure with Travelmood’s tips for travelling to Sri Lanka
Hundreds of palm-fringed beaches, a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage sites, rich colonial history, mouth-watering cuisine and year-round warm temperatures make Sri Lanka the hottest destination in the Indian Ocean for 2016. Holiday-makers from across the globe are catching on to this island paradise and booking getaways for the New Year. We’ve already harped on about how magical Sri Lankan holidays are in previous blog posts – here, we gave our Travelmood expert Denise full rein to share her top tips for travelling to Sri Lanka.
Vary your itinerary
First off, don’t be tricked into thinking Sri Lanka is like any of the other tropical destinations in the Indian Ocean – it’s not! Located just off the southern coast of India, this breath-taking country boasts a wonderful blend of bright lights, historical sights and culinary delights. Beach bums will have plenty to keep them occupied but this exciting destination is really about much, much more than just the golden sands – think colonial architecture, tantalising curries, vibrant tea plantations, thrilling water sports and friendly faces everywhere you go. I’d recommend mixing your itinerary up to include both relaxing coastal towns and cultural hotspots like Kandy and Colombo.
Get your visa sorted
Most people leave organising their visa until they arrive in Colombo airport which inevitably results in long queues in arrivals. It’s quick and easy to sort out your visa online beforehand – definitely the advisable option! Head to www.eta.gov.lk and whizz through the crowds when you touch down. Believe me, after a 13 hour flight the last thing you want to do is queue for a few hours.
Think about the season
While Sri Lanka is a fantastic destination all year round, you need to take into account what season it will be when you travel. This affects more than just the weather – you might not be able spot certain wildlife like birds, whales and dolphins or the waves may be too strong at your resort for water sports and swimming. From May until October, it’s best to hit up the resorts on the east coast of the island, whereas the west coast trumps the rest of the year.
It’s well worth booking tours of the sacred cities, majestic palaces and colonial strongholds you want to see. With hefty entrance fees to pay, going it alone will end up costing you nearly as much and be much more tiring. It’s easy to find fantastic tour companies with expert guides and reasonable prices (including these fees). This saves you lots of time and energy too as you don’t have the troublesome task of sussing out where you’re going and organising transport.
Wear appropriate clothing
You might be used to the laid-back culture of Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam but it’s important to dress to impress in Sri Lanka. This doesn’t mean donning your fashionable finest – your clothing should merely be respectful of local culture and customs at all times. Sri Lankan people are extremely religious and will be visibly upset by scantily clad tourists. Take off your shoes when entering temples and cover your legs and shoulders using a light sarong.
Just three degrees north of the Equator, Sri Lanka is a sun-soaked destination that promises visitors a whirlwind getaway. Take heed of Denise’s top tips for travelling to Sri Lanka and be blown away by the spell-binding scenery, intoxicating culture and amazing food on your holiday.