Sri Lanka - Travel Information
Sri Lanka Visa
Passport should have one blank page and be valid for at least two months from date of departure required by all nationals.
All nationals will be issued with landing endorsements free of charge valid for a period of 30 days on arrival at port of entry (for tourist visits only), providing tourist holds a return or onward ticket or sufficient funds for air ticket and sufficient funds equivalent to minimum US$30 per day for board and lodging for the duration of stay, except nationals of Malta who require a visa in advance.
Types of Visa and Cost
Tourist and Business: single-entry, up to three months; multiple-entry, up to three months; multiple-entry, up to 12 months. Prices vary according to nationality - check with nearest consulate
Visitors can request to extend their stay by applying to the Department of Immigration & Emigration, Third Floor, 41 Ananda Rajakaruna Mw. Colombo 10, Sri Lanka (tel: (11) 532 9300; www.immigration.gov.lk). This is issued at the discretion of the authorities who must be satisfied that the applicant has at least US$30 per day for the stay and holds an onward or return ticket for travel.
Festivals Of Sri Lanka
Kandy Esala Perahera one of the most colorful festivals in Sri Lanka. The venue of this Buddhist festival is the Kandy city. This popular festival is held in July/August each year, in honor of the sacred tooth Relic.
Duruthu Perahera is a popular festival celebrating Buddha's first visit to Sri Lanka more than 2,500 years ago. This festival is organized every year in January, at the sacred Kelaniya Temple, located very close to Colombo.
Kataragama is a holy shrine and a popular pilgrim center for Buddhists and Hindus. Kataragama is famous for fire walking rituals and the annual perahera (procession) in July/August.
Tamil Thai Pongal Day is celebrated during the auspicious month of Thai, starting on January 14 or 15. Tamil month of 'Thai' begin with the Pongal Day. Thai Pongal, one of the most popular festivals of Sri Lanka, is a harvest festival.
Sri Lankan Cuisines
Food in Sri Lanka is unique like its culture. Most of the Sri Lankans eat vegetables. The specialty in Sri Lankan food is that same food is differently made in different Regions. With a large community of farmers the Rice and curry is the main food in Sri Lanka.
Rice & Curry
Rice & Curry is the main food of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans enjoy some of the spiciest foods in the world. Meat fish and vegetables are prepared as curries, sliced onions, green chilies, black pepper, cinnamon, cardomons, cloves, nutmeg and saffron are used to add flavours. Today rice and curry has shifted from being the popular breakfast to the essential lunch.A basic rice and curry requires one fish (or beef or chicken) curry, two different vegetables, one portion of fried crispy stuff like ‘Pappdam’, a ‘mallun’ of chopped leaves and coconut and a gravy or ‘hodda’ of spiced and cooked with coconut milk.
Hoppers are much like sour-dough pancakes or muffins. The The Batteris terminated in the traditional way with a little palm toddy which acts as the ‘rising agent’, it also gives the hoppers a delicious liquor tang. The batter is left to rise overnight, then thinned with coconut cream and baked in a round cast-iron pan. The hopper has a soft, fluffy, well-risen centre, a golden brown crisp border and is lightly flavoured with a hint of palm toddy and sesame oil with which the pan is greased. An egg is sometimes baked into the centre, sunny-side up. Hoppers are equally good with hot sambals a hot sharp ‘relish’ of ground chilies, grated coconut’s shallots and cured fish or curries or with jam. The cardinal rule is to eat them hot and crispy.
Pittu probably came to Sri Lanka with the Malay regiments of the European colonial period. It is however completely naturalized now and is a staple diet of Sri Lankan cuisine. Pittu is a mixture of fresh rice meal, very lightly roasted and mixed with fresh grated coconut then steamed in a bamboo or aluminum mould. It has a soft crumbly texture and is eaten with fresh coconut ‘milk’ and a hot chili relish or curry.
Kiribath (milk rice)
Kiribath, one of the very popular food in Sri Lanka and is a ceremonial specific and included in all special occasion menus Kiribath is translated in to ‘milk rice’ . The rice is cooked in thick coconut cream for this un sweetened rice-pudding which is accompanied by a sharp chilli relish called ‘Lunumiris’ or with a pre cooked mixture of coconut and reacle confectionary called ‘Panipol’
It’s a modern nutritionist’s dream of a perfectly balanced meal and a porridge of brown rice and coconut cream flavoured with the juice of green herbs such as polpala (Averva Lanata) Hatha wariya (Asparagus falcatus), Gotukola (Hydrocotyle asiatica) or Elabatu (Solanum xanthocarpum) Kolakanda is served steaming hot with a piece of juggery.
The Tamils of Sri Lanka who manly live in the northern and eastern parts of the island have preserved some of their own distinctive ethnic breakfast. Thosai is a great favourite, delicious and nutritionally perfect. The base for this lentil pancake is oorid, (Mungoradiatys), a back-skinned pulse of delicate flavor is soaked and ground to a smooth batter. The batter is then allowed to rise, flavored with fried shallots, curry leaves, fenugreek and cumin seeds and cooked on a hot griddle greased with sesame oil. Thosai which resembles a tortilla is eaten with finely ground coconut and chilly sambal and is a delicious and satisfying meal.
Uppuma is another favorite meal among the tamils. This is a savory porridge made of semolina and flavored with fried onion, chilly mustard and curry leaves.
The classic partner for thosai is vadai-a triumph of Tamil cuisine. These are small savory rissoles of ground oorid of dhal – a fine red lentil. The lentil paste is mixed with minced shallot, green chilies, curry leaves and a dash of cumin seeds and red chili power, fashioned into flat cakes and deep friked in coconut oil. Oorid or Ulundu vadai are always made with a hole in the centre-rather like small doughnuts.
Tourist Info - Sri Lanka
65,525 sq km (25,299 sq miles).
Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (official),
Democratic Socialist Republic since 1978. Gained independence from the UK in 1948.
Sinhala, Tamil and English.
Buddhist majority (70%), with Hindu, Christian and Muslim minorities.
GMT + 5.5
230 volts AC, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are usual, with bayonet lamp fittings.
Country code: 94. Phone cards are available at post offices and shops.
Roaming agreements exist with some international mobile phone companies. Coverage in the south and west is good; in the north and east it is average.
There are Internet cafes in main towns and resorts.
Overseas mail usually takes 10 to 14 days.
Post office hours
Mon-fri, 0830-1700, and Sat, 0830-1300
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau
80, Galle Road,
Telephone : +94 112426900, 2437055/59/60
World Heritage Sites - Sri Lanka
Sacred City of Anuradhapura
This sacred city was established around a cutting from the 'tree of enlightenment', the Buddha's fig tree, brought there in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after an invasion in 993. Hidden away in dense jungle for many years, the splendid site, with its palaces, monasteries and monuments, is now accessible once again.
Golden Temple of Dambulla
A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, with its five sanctuaries, is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings (covering an area of 2,100 m2) are of particular importance, as are the 157 statues.
Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications
Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British. It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions.
Sacred City of Kandy
This sacred Buddhist site, popularly known as the city of Senkadagalapura, was the last capital of the Sinhala kings whose patronage enabled the Dinahala culture to flourish for more than 2,500 years until the occupation of Sri Lanka by the British in 1815. It is also the site of the Temple of the Tooth Relic (the sacred tooth of the Buddha), which is a famous pilgrimage site.
Ancient City of Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. It comprises, besides the Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas, the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve (south-west Sri Lanka – 1988)
Located in south-west Sri Lanka, Sinharaja is the country's last viable area of primary tropical rainforest. More than 60% of the trees are endemic and many of them are considered rare. There is much endemic wildlife, especially birds, but the reserve is also home to over 50% of Sri Lanka's endemic species of mammals and butterflies, as well as many kinds of insects, reptiles and rare amphibians.
Notified a national heritage wilderness area on 21 October1988 (Gazette No. 528/14). Most of the area was originally declared a forest reserve on 3 May 1875 under the Waste Lands Ordinance and notified in the Ceylon Government Gazette No. 4046, dated 8 May 1875, while the rest was notified a proposed forest reserve in the early 20th century. Sinharaja Forest Reserve, comprising the existing and proposed forest reserves, was declared a biosphere reserve in April 1978, and inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1988
Ancient City of Sigiriya
The ruins of the capital built by the parricidal King Kassapa I (477–95) lie on the steep slopes and at the summit of a granite peak standing some 180m high (the 'Lion's Rock', which dominates the jungle from all sides). A series of galleries and staircases emerging from the mouth of a gigantic lion constructed of bricks and plaster provide access to the site.
Central Highlands of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's highlands are situated in the south-central part of the island. The property comprises the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest. These montane forests, where the land rises to 2,500 metres above sea-level, are home to an extraordinary range of flora and fauna, including several endangered species such as the western-purple-faced langur, the Horton Plains slender loris and the Sri Lankan leopard. The region is considered a super biodiversity hotspot.