Before you go Sri Lanka

Before you go Sri Lanka

Good to know before you go Sri Lanka

The archaeology museum in Anuradhapura is closed

You have to buy a ticket for 3,500 rupee ($35) to visit 3 museums. The archaeology museum is supposed to be the biggest and the best but it is closed for renovations and is not opening again anytime soon. When we asked when it would reopen, they looked at us blankly and said “we don’t know when it will open again, a long time, maybe a year.” This means your 3,500 rupee ticket can only be used at the other smaller and less impressive museums. You can see plenty of great sites and ruins without going to the museums.

The people who don’t speak English are the nice ones, the people who speak English well are not

We decided those that could speak English well had discovered that this skill could be used to manipulate and scam tourists. This isn’t a rule of thumb but it’ll help in your choice of who to trust.

Bring toilet paper

If you’re not a fan of using a hose to clean your butt hole like the locals do, then you better have a stash of toilet paper handy at all your hostels, home-stays and hotels.

Prices have gone up

If the Lonely Planet said something was 350 rupee it was actually 500 rupee. The guidebook was very inaccurate when it came to displaying the price of things. If it said a home-stay would be 1000 rupee, it was at least 1500.

Buses are fast, dangerous and fun

On 5-hour bus trips the drivers are in a hurry. They scream down roads in the outback, overtaking 2-3 cars at a time with oncoming cars visible in the distance, in many cases oncoming traffic swerves onto the dirt in order to make way for the bus. It’s better to just enjoy the ride and not look out the front window at all the near death overtaking.

The first row of seats on public transport are reserved for the clergy

Avoid those awkward glares and sit at the back.

Don’t expect any hot water

Came as a shock to me, a cold shock every morning.

Wear white (or light coloured) clothes in holy sites

Don’t stress if you wore your best khaki pants into that remote temple, but if you know you’re heading to Anuradhapura or The Temple of the Sacred Tooth, pack a white shawl or wear a white shirt.

Cover your legs and shoulders

This mainly applies to female travellers. By all means wear singlets and shorts but don’t be surprised by the amount of attention you get when you show a bit of skin. The only time when this is actually a problem is when you’re entering holy sites like temples. This is where you HAVE to cover up.

Everything is negotiable

From stalls, markets and tuk tuk rides. Figure out your price with your driver before you get in the taxi, tuk tuk or bus.

The eastern beaches are deserted from November-April

At this time though the Southern beaches are packed. Then in reverse from May-October- eastern beaches packed, southern beaches empty. You get my drift.

Don’t buy cricket tickets in Galle

Save some money and sit on the Galle fort walls. It’s more enjoyable and you get to hang with the locals.

Forego the knife and fork and eat with your hands

If you dare. It’s pretty exciting eating like the locals. But remember eat with your right hand and drink with you left.

Tuk tuks struggle in the rain

And by struggle I mean break down for an hour on the side of the road while you wait for the driver to dry out his engine.


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Sri Lanka

Travel Info

    • Flight time 11 1/2 hours (Colombo)
    • Timezone GMT+5 1/2 hours
    • Recommended airlines SriLankan Airlines, Emirates, Etihad, Qatar & British Airways 
    • Best season Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, June & Dec 

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