What’s the best time to travel to Sri Lanka? And answers to other common questions

What is the best time to travel to Sri Lanka and when is monsoon season in Sri Lanka?

What currencies are accepted in Sri Lanka and should I carry rupees or dollars?

What are the best things to do in Sri Lanka, what are the best attractions and what are the best beaches in Sri Lanka?

These are some of the top questions travellers hoping to visit Sri Lanka for the first time have, and we answer these and other questions below.

What’s the best time to travel to Sri Lanka?

Monsoon season in Sri Lanka impacts different regions of this large island at different times of year. When one part of the island is baking in sunshine for weeks, another area could be drenched in rain for days.

Short showers are common in the tropics, especially in higher altitudes, but monsoon season could be days of non-stop rain.

Tip: Sri Lanka can be visited year-round, with the exception of October and November (due to island-wide monsoonal rains), so start your holiday planning by picking cities in Sri Lanka you hope to stay at, making sure to choose provinces that are not impacted by monsoon rains during the time of year you hope to visit, instead of planning your vacation based on hotels you like or picking things to do in Sri Lanka first.

[ Also read: 17 beautiful places to visit in Sri Lanka ]

According to information from Sri Lanka’s Department of Meteorology, there are four monsoon seasons in a year, however, only two bring rain fall to most of the island.

The Department of Meteorology says October and November are months “the whole country experiences strong winds with wide spread rain, sometimes leading to floods and landslides.”

While January is the only month not impacted by monsoon season, December through February is the most-recommended time to visit the western and southern provinces, where many beautiful beaches in Kalpitiya, Negombo, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, Galle, Mirissa and Tangalle await you.

[ Recommended: The best beach hotels in Sri Lanka ]

From May through to September, the south-western coast of the island experiences monsoon season, making the western, north-western, central and north-eastern regions of the island more attractive to tourists.

What is the best currency to take to Sri Lanka?

The Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) is the most-recommended currency to have whilst in Sri Lanka. However, the rupee is a closed currency, which means you need to purchase rupees after your arrival in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike International Airport has currency conversion services offered by all of the island’s major banks. It is recommended that travellers bring US dollars or British pounds to convert to rupees at the airport.

All major credit cards are accepted at hotels and at restaurants frequented by tourists.

How much money can you fly to Sri Lanka with?

Travellers can carry with them an unlimited amount of funds in foreign currency but must declare amounts above $15,000.

Do I need a visa to Sri Lanka and how much does it cost?

Travellers from a handful of countries are permitted to visit without a visa, while tourists from many nations can apply for a visa on arrival. Read the following article for more information: How to apply for a Sri Lanka visa online

What are the best things to do in Sri Lanka?

From the best safari experience outside of Africa to whale watching—a Sri Lankan holiday is packed with excitement and endless adventures. Go to Sri Lanka for exceptional resorts and hotels located on tranquil beaches, surfing and scuba lessons, fresh seafood, amazing landscapes that make great photographs, fantastic wildlife and a cultural bonanza. There is much to do in Sri Lanka, so make sure to check out this list: Best things to do in Sri Lanka.

What kind of food should I expect to find in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lankan food largely consists of spicy curries and sambols consumed with rice, roti, hoppers, string hoppers, dosa, noodles and breads. Many hotels and resorts however cater to every palate, with extensive buffets that offer many tasty treats for those who do not like spicy cuisine. From fresh sushi and sashimi prepared from the day’s catch to burgers and popular Italian dishes (pasta and pizza), Sri Lankan hotels and resorts will have something for everyone. Popular fast food franchises (KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, etc.) can be found across the western province.

Sri Lanka is a vegan food lover’s paradise too, read about it here: 15 vegan dishes tourists visiting Sri Lanka should try.

Is Sri Lanka a suitable travel destination for families and children?

Sri Lanka has something on offer for everyone, which is what has made Sri Lanka today one of the world’s best travel destinations. Sri Lankan hotels and resorts rated 4-star and above are ideal for families travelling with kids, and there are many family-friendly Sri Lankan attractions and activities. Hotels situated near idyllic beach coves, with shallow and calm waters, provide an opportunity for young kids to enjoy a swim in the sea with their parents. Beautiful swimming pools too can be found at many of the island’s hotels and resorts. In Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa, wild turtles will even approach swimmers in shallower waters close to the beach, which is an encounter every child and parent must attempt to experience, while whale-watching tours and safaris, where you will see elephants, leopards, bears, peacock and other amazing species, will leave your family with memories to cherish.

How do I get around in Sri Lanka and should I rent a car or bike?

Many travellers use the island’s inexpensive public transportation (trains and buses), however, we do not advise this option, as tuk-tuks, taxis and chauffeur-driven, air-conditioned vans and car rentals are affordable and far more efficient, which will save you time spent on the road and also provide privacy and comfort. Driving in Sri Lanka can be a harrowing experience or a very pleasant one, depending on where in the island you attempt to drive, which makes renting a car or motor-bike to drive yourselves around inadvisable to recommend. Always haggle with taxis though and ask a few locals for advise on what price to pay, in the event you’re unsure.

What should I pack for my Sri Lanka vacation?

Sri Lanka’s climate is hot and humid, but the island’s mountainous interior will see temperatures drop close to 0 °C (32 °F) overnight and hover close to 15 °C (59 °F) during the day, so pack a sweater if you intend on heading to Kandy or Nuwera Eliya, or to any city up in the mountains.

What is the electricity voltage in Sri Lanka and do I need power plug adaptor?

Sri Lanka’s power voltage is 230 Volts. Travellers will likely require a power adaptor for Sri Lankan electrical sockets (this travel power adapter on Amazon works in over 150 countries).

© Island Life