Climatically speaking, the driest (and best) seasons in Sri Lanka are from November to March for the west coast, the south coast and the Hill Country, and from April to September for the Cultural Triangle region (ancient Kingdoms & Heritage sites) and the east coast.
The peak tourism season of the island is mid-December to mid-March when most of European tourist visit, the majority of them escaping the European winter. There is a mini peak season again in July and August when festivals (pageants) mainly in Kandy & in Kataragama are held.
During the Christmas to New Year holiday season and Festival season in July /August in particular accommodation anywhere on the island can be tight due to the huge influx of foreign visitors and hotel rates usually double or treble up. So travelers are advised to book their accommodation in advance prior to the arrival during those periods.
Communication is rarely a problem in Sri Lanka as English is widely spoken in most parts of the country including in hotels, restaurants and even by private transport providers. Signboards of locations are generally available displayed in English, Sinhala & Tamil.
Foreign exchange and traveler’s cheques may be changed at any hotel, although commercial banks offer better rates. Concerting Sri Lankan Rupees back to a selected foreign denomination could be done at the banks at the Airport which is open 24 hours.
Hotels and popular shops and restaurants accept most international credit cards. ATM’s are available in Colombo and other major cities where cash advances could be obtained using your credit card. However, it is advisable to inquire if your card is acceptable by the establishments prior to usage of any services.
Banks are open from 0900 hrs to 1300 hrs from Monday to Friday except on Bank, Mercantile and Public Holidays.
Usually, most shops open by 0830 hrs and generally close at 1700 or 1800 hrs. However, most shops are closed on Sundays and on Public Holidays. Insist on obtaining a receipt especially at gem shops.
This is solely at your discretion and is subjective, however it is customary top tip drivers, hotel and restaurant staff if you are satisfied with the service. The average tip is Rs. 100 for housekeeping and up to 10% of your meal bill for restaurant staff.
It is important that gents wear trousers to cover their knees or a “sarong” with a shirt or T-shirt. Ladies should wear decent attire such as a trouser or a skirt to cover the knees and a blouse or t-shirt. It may not be advisable for ladies to wear deep necked or a sleeveless top.
It is always advisable to purchase bottled water from retail shops. Avoid drinking water from the tap.
Most hotels provide a safety locker free of charge. We recommend that you use this service to place your valuables. Do not keep any valuables in your hotel room.
It is recommended that you do not leave any valuables in your vehicle even when leaving the vehicle briefly
Most hotels will have a premise doctor or available nearby on “on call basis”. Please contact the hotel reception for assistance. Pharmacies can easily be found in commercial center of most towns.