Sri Lanka lies in the tropics in the coastal region, so temperatures are relatively high throughout the entire year. The temperature difference between day and night is hardly noticeable, however the mountain regions can get very cold. In the lowlands temperatures swing between 24 and 32 degrees Celsius in the shade. Due to the monsoon season we recommend travelling to South and West of Sri Lanka between November and April, although there are often beautiful days and many hours of sun from May until October. The water temperature is a pleasant 25-27 degrees Celsius.
Food and Drink
Traditional Sri Lankan cuisine has been influenced by a diverse range of dishes, however the main local dish is curry. Sri Lankan curry has nothing to do with spice mixes as we know them. Curry in Sri Lanka is a highly individual mix of different spices e.g. coriander, chilli, mustard, curcuma, pepper, cinnamon and garlic. Each curry takes its name from its respective main ingredient e.g. vegetable curry, chicken curry or white curry (based on coconut milk).
Hollow, hemispherical pancakes made from rice flour, coconut milk and coconut flakes called "hoppers" are often eaten for breakfast. Moreover, the country also has a wide variety of tropical fruit on offer, such as mangoes, passion fruit, papayas and many types of bananas.
Delicious local drinks include coconut milk sipped directly from a freshly opened coconut and tea (mostly served with milk). Alcohol can be purchased in licensed shops which are named Arrak, after a type of drink typical to Sri Lanka which is made from ingredients derived from Kittul palm trees, coconut and Palmya trees. During festival days and the monthly Poya (full moon) periods, no alcohol is sold and it can only be consumed in private places such as your hotel room.
In Sri Lanka the AC voltage is 230-240 volts. The usual outlets are three terminal sockets with contacts arranged in triangle.You can usually purchase adapters for three terminal socketsfrom the hotel reception. Be careful with sensitive devices - the voltage on the island varies! Power outages are not rare.
Many phone shops and internet cafes offer international phone calls for just a few cents. Using mobiles and iPhones is usually problem free, however there are many dead spots in the mountains where you will not be able to get signal. You will have to pay for any incoming calls to your mobile phone. Data roaming costs can be extremely high. Frequent telephone users can buy a local SIM card for little money at the airport or a phone shop.
Language and Communication
The official nation languages are Singhalese and Tamil. Around 74% of the population of Sri Lanka speak Singhalese, 25% speak Tamil and less than 1% are English native speakers. Nonetheless, English is very widespread. Place names and signs are written in both English and Singhalese, or Englishand Tamil, and sometimes even in all three languages.
Whether you‘re looking for handmade crafts, tie-dye fabrics,tea, jewellery, colourful printed fabrics, herbal remediesor wooden elephants, the Sri Lankan markets offer a wide variety of beautiful souvenirs for remembering your holiday inSri Lanka.
The state owned department stores and self-service shopshave fixed prices and opening times. However, most smaller shops stay open until late in the evening and are also open on Sundays. You can bargain at these stores and with dealers onthe streets, but not over staples, such as rice or bread.
Please note that exporting antiques, tortoiseshell and ivoryis forbidden. Travellers returning to the EU over the age of 18may bring (amongst other things) up to 1.5 litres of alcohol and 0.25l of perfume. Check Sri Lankan customs laws before bringing back any goods.