Sri Lanka Rupee (LKR; symbol Rp) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of Rp2,000, 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of Rp10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. There are also large numbers of commemorative coins in circulation.
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs
MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. American Express is also often accepted. Major cities have ATMs, although not all will accept international cards.The tourist board urges caution when paying by credit card due to the potential for fraud.
The rate of exchange for traveller's cheques can be better than the rate of exchange for cash. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.
Shaking hands is the normal form of greeting. It is customary to be offered tea when visiting and it is considered impolite to refuse. Punctuality is appreciated. A small token of appreciation, such as a souvenir from home or company, is always welcomed. Informal, Western dress is suitable, except when visiting Buddhist temples, where modest clothing should be worn (eg no bare legs and upper arms). Visitors should be decently clothed when visiting any place of worship, and shoes and hats must be removed. Jackets and ties are not required by men in the evenings except for formal functions when lightweight suits should be worn.
Sri Lanka has a number of modern shopping malls, and some 5-star hotels in Colombo also have shopping arcades. Special purchases include handicrafts and curios of silver, brass, bone, ceramics, wood and terracotta. Also cane baskets, straw hats, reed and coir mats, spices and the island’s excellent tea. Batik fabric, lace and lacquerware are also popular. Masks used in dance-dramas, processions and festivals can also be bought: they can depict kings, queens, demonic birds and snake spirits amongst other things.
Treatment is free at government hospitals and dispensaries; 24-hour treatment is available at Colombo National Hospital. Some hotels also have doctors.
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
Festivals in Srilanka are perpetual source of fun and frolic not only to the residents of Sri Lanka but also to the foreigners visiting this beautiful island country. Most of the festivals in Sri Lanka are religion base and are marked by vivid traditional rituals, ceremonies and splendid professions.
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.
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.
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 : 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 : 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’
Kolakenda : 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.
Thosai : 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 : 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.
Vadai : 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
Location : South Asia.
Area : 65,525 sq km (25,299 sq miles).
Capital : Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (official), Colombo (commercial)
Government : Democratic Socialist Republic since 1978. Gained independence from the UK in 1948.
Language : Sinhala, Tamil and English.
Religion : Buddhist majority (70%), with Hindu, Christian and Muslim minorities.
Time : GMT + 5.5
Electricity : 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are usual, with bayonet lamp fittings.
Telephone : Country code: 94. Phone cards are available at post offices and shops.
Mobile Telephone : 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.
Internet : There are Internet cafes in main towns and resorts.
Post : Overseas mail usually takes 10 to 14 days.
Post office hours : Mon-fri, 0830-1700, and Sat, 0830-1300.
Contact Information Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau 80, Galle Road, Colombo 03 Tel: +94 112426900, 2437055/59/60 Website: www.srilankatourism.org