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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Sri Lanka

When to go

Sri Lanka's most popular resorts are located on the southwest coast of the island. The best time to visit these areas is from December to March, which avoids the monsoon season, mainly affecting the southwest from May to June.

If you don't mind the chance of rain you might like to pick cheap Sri Lanka holidays in the quieter shoulder season of July to November. As Sri Lanka is located close to the equator, temperatures remain fairly constant year round with daytime averages of 26 to 30°C, although they can get higher in the peak of the day.

Sri Lankans celebrate their new year in mid-April so visit then to join in with celebrations, but be aware this is a very busy time to try and get around the island. Duruthu full moon is celebrated with a colourful procession and four day pageant, which is a sight to behold. The day is chosen using astrology and as such changes slightly every year but it's usually around sometime in January.

Health and safety

It's advisable to have the following standard vaccinations when travelling to Sri Lanka – diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis A and polio. Its best to consult your doctor well in advance to find out what they recommend.

Although Sri Lanka's tap water is chlorinated and safe to drink, the unfamiliar micro-organisms it contains compared with what you're used to at home may cause a stomach upset. Therefore, it's recommended to drink bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.

As with any holiday, you should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself and family on your trip.

If you're visiting Sri Lanka specifically to take part in sports or watersports, including hiking, you should make sure your insurance covers this. See our holiday extras page for more information and for the latest health and safety information visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/health.

Passports and visas

You'll require a visa to enter Sri Lanka, which is usually issued for a maximum period of 30 days. It's recommended to get one before you travel to avoid delays once you arrive. You must also have a passport valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry to Sri Lanka.

By law, you must carry your passport with you and may need to show it when paying by credit card. For the most up-to-date passport and visa info, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/entry-requirements.

Getting around

Flights land at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo and transfers to the popular south-western resorts of Bentota, Ahungalla and Hikkaduwa take between two and three hours.

Most tour operators include transfers as part of a holiday package so getting to your resort is easy. If you prefer to arrange your own travel, there are several airport taxi desks located in the arrivals hall where you can book a taxi.

Roads can be hectic in Sri Lanka and, while public transport takes the hassle out of driving, it's not always any quicker. Hiring a car and driver can be a cost-effective and stress-free way of getting around, otherwise ensure you factor in plenty of time to get from A to B.

Advice for travellers with children

You'll find that Sri Lankan people love children, and families are welcomed in hotels and restaurants. The most child-friendly area of Sri Lanka is its west coast, where the best beaches are situated and resorts have ample amenities. There are also turtle hatcheries along this coast, where kids can learn about turtle conservation and see them hatch from the sand.

To take some of the stress out of travel, pick one of our All Inclusive holidays to Sri Lanka, which offer fantastic places to eat and drink along with your accommodation.

Electricity

Connector type: Three pin plug type D, M or G (G is a UK plug)

Voltage Info: 230V, 50Hz

Emergency information

Police Emergency: 118 / 119

Ambulance, Fire & rescue: 110

Tourist Police: 011 242 1052

British Consulate

If you're a victim of crime or affected by a crisis overseas, or if something happens to a relative or partner contact the British High Commission in Colombo.

Address: 389, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Email: colombo.general@fco.gov.uk

Consular enquiries email: consular.enquiriescolombo@fco.gov.uk

Phone (from within Sri Lanka): +94 11 539 0639 Phone (from the UK): 020 7008 1500

Hospitals

The country's main government hospital is located in the capital, Colombo. There is also a regional hospital located in Kalutara, which is close to the popular south-western resorts.

National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo

Address: E W Perera Mawatha, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka Phone: +94 11 2 691111

Kalutara District General Hospital, Kalutara

Address: B304, Kalutara, Sri Lanka Phone: +94 34 2 222261