This an impressed experience in Sri Lanka. They offered me a good service for picking me up at the airport, supply some necessary PPE for my safety and excellent hotel with delicious food
Mr. Chen Chaoqiang CHINA
Excellent stay. Will like to be here with my family & friends. Neat & clean beach and beautiful scenic beauty. Staff is polite, respectable & helpful. God bless them!
Helanka, a well-managed and organized establishment. With good wishes
Mrs. Jaishree Singh Tomar INDIA
Information provided, follow up, transport and guide was excellent, Thank you
Mr. Fei Han China
It was a wonderful experience, great place, nice weather, good hotels. A trip very well organized with the van driver adding warmth to our vacation.
Mr. Rakesh Kumar, INDIA
Thanks very much for all the help on this trip. We had a great time. Thanks again.
Mr. & Mrs. Abhijeet Naik, INDIA
The hassle-free arrangement allowed my husband & I to enjoy a leisurely and private holiday in Sri Lanka. Our driver was punctual, polite and drives well. He is also knowledgeable of the places. We were pleasantly surprised by the packed lunch that was arranged for our train ride to Nuwara Eliya. Thank you!
Mrs. Pamela Chay, SINGAPORE
Our Chauffeur Guide was excellent and very knowledgeable to guide us through this beautiful country. I will definitely recommend Helanka Vacations to family and friends.
Mr. Romano Roshan, INDIA
We loved traveling around Sri Lanka with an excellent driver/ guide.
Mr. Ranjan & Hazel De Silva
Every day was fantastic. Excellent driver + guide.
Thank you for all the follow ups also during the trip.
Ms. Aideen Mccarthy
Prasanna was a brilliant guide and was so thoughtful.
He made our trip very special and one we will never forget.
Ms. Jessica Fursden
We had an excellent trip. Our holiday was fantastic. Sri Lanka is a great country. Our driver was so friendly. He looks very good too us.
Mr. Peter Stulz
Very well organized. Our team guide prasanna was very helpful and informative. We had a very good time!
Mr. Narendra Kumar Thusu, INDIA
Best Price & Most Professional and prompt responses on email.
Mr. Tammy Moult, SOUTH AFRICA
Mr.Prasanna our guide was very good, informative and helpful.
Mr. Sanjay Rodrigues & Family, INDIA
Very safe and professional driving. Always on time and helpful.
Thank you Niranjan! Very comfortable and professional.
Greate communication and informative
Ms.Megann Tubb and Jasmin Rattary, AUSTRAILIA
Very good experince. We were very well looked after.
Ms. Amitha Behal, INDIA
Best Price & Most Professional and prompt responses on email.
Mr. Tammy Moult, SOUTH AFRICA
I recently finished a 15-day trip that was initially self-designed, but then was tweaked following consultation with Lehan and the team at Helanka. Driver Niranjan who was booked for me was excellent. Would recommend these guys again
Mr. Parras Majithia, ENGLAND.
Travel TipsTravel Tips
In the heat of the low country regions, cottons and light natural fabrics such as linen are ideal. Please remember that in a conservative culture like SL, skimpy skirts and brief shorts are not the norm or considered respectable. For women, loose cotton skirts or trousers and tops, and a long dress or skirt. For men cotton trousers or shorts and a T-shirt, or even the traditional sarong. Some warm clothes are recommended if you are heading for the hilly regions, where the evenings tend to get chilly.
Evening wear – advisable to bring one set, as Star class hotels insist on ‘long attire’ for men during dinner (no shorts and no sandals). Ladies could come in dresses, skirts or long shorts, but not in any beach/swimwear.
Dress modestly at religious sites. Women should wear long skirts, dresses or loose trousers and modest blouses. Men should wear long trousers. Ancient temples are considered sacred, and should be treated as such. You should remove your shoes when entering a Buddhist or Hindu temple and hats at all religious places, if carrying an umbrella unfurl it. Your legs & shoulders should be covered; never enter a temple or any religious place in beach wear (i.e. shorts or singlet).
Nudity is absolutely not allowed anywhere. This includes at the beach. Topless sunbathing is prohibited too.
Greeting religious priests
If you encounter a Buddhist monk or a Hindu swami and would like to greet him in the traditional way, hold your hands together as if in prayer and raise them to your forehead. Do not shake hands. If you wish to offer a gift to a monk, do so with both hands to show that it is given freely. (Gifts of money should be placed directly in the temple box.). When sitting with a Buddhist monk, try and sit at a lower level to him and avoid pointing your toes towards him, as this is seen as a lack of respect.
The SL head shake
As in many parts of the world, shaking the head from side to side indicates a negative, while a nod indicates a positive response. However, the “shake”, a cross between a nod and a shake with the chin pointed outwards indicates a simple “yes” or “okay”.
Hotel and restaurant bills include a 10% service charge as well as a 12.5% government tax (GST). Tipping is a customary way of showing your appreciation for services rendered. A rule of thumb is to tip 10% of the total amount due. Housekeeping staff, doorman, bellboy all expect a little tip. The guide and/or driver on tour will expect something, depending on your level of satisfaction with his service.
People with DisabilitiesPeople with Disabilities
Sri Lanka is not very well equipped as yet for those with physical disabilities. Only a few of the five-star hotels have access and facilities for people in wheelchairs – public transport has none, therefore a car and driver is essential. Inform / consult your travel agent for more information
Thanks for all the arrangements it was fantastic stay, all the places planned where beautiful and pleasant.
Have a nice year ahead and be in touch .
Ranjana Namboodiri, INDIA.
Immigration / VisaImmigration / Visa
Check under ‘Useful Links’ Dept. of Immigration
Customs restrictions on arrivalCustoms restrictions on arrival
Official Customs form has to be filled in. You may bring into the country 2 liters spirits, 2 bottles of wine, small quantities of perfume, still/ video camera, films for personal use. Make sure that you declare all valuables, gems and jewellery on arrival. You are not allowed to bring goods in commercial quantities.
Nothing to declare – You may choose the ‘Green Channel’ for clearance.
Professional photography or filming equipment must be declared, and subject to clearance on providing a valid carnet, bank guarantee or refundable deposit of the duty payable. Please visit Sri Lanka customs for information.
Note: Please note that with effect from April 2006, there is no longer a duty-free allowance for tobacco products. Any passenger arriving into Colombo and clearing customs having any cigarettes in their possession, will be charged for on per carton basis. (A few packets for personal use only maybe allowed.)
- Only two members of the same family traveling together are entitled to free import allowances
- Valuable personal effects (including jewelry), must be declared on arrival in Sri Lanka
- There is no gift allowance
- Unused Sri Lankan currency should be reconverted to foreign currency upon departure. You are not permitted to leave Sri Lanka with currency in excess of LKR.250.00
Prohibited ImportsProhibited Imports
Firearms, explosives and dangerous weapons; antiques; animals, birds, reptiles (dead or alive) and parts; tea; rubber; coconut plants; dangerous drugs; pornographic materials.
Customs regulations at departureCustoms regulations at departure
Anything you declare upon entering can be taken out. You can also take back valuable items such as gems and jewellery purchased in Sri Lanka (please keep receipts) from the funds brought in to the country.
Up to 3 Kg of tea may be exported duty free.
Please reconvert your unused Sri Lanka currency to foreign currency at departure.
Please ensure that you take back with you any/all cameras, photographic equipment, transistor radios, recorders, sound equipment declared on arrival.
You are not permitted to take any currency in excess of which you declared on arrival; gems, jewellery or valuable equipment not declared on arrival or not purchased in Sri Lanka, including gold (crude, bullion or coins). Also prohibited are export of firearms, explosives and dangerous weapons, antiques, statues, treasures, old books, etc., (antiques are items over 50 years old); animals birds or reptiles (dead or alive) and their parts, tea, rubber, coconut plants and dangerous drugs.
Sri Lanka’s country code is 94, (E.g. If you need to call a number in Colombo, dial +94 11 2XXXXXX). If you are calling a mobile number, you dial the number after the country code (E.g. dialling a Dialog number, dial +94 77X XXXXXX).
If you need to take an overseas call, you’ll have to dial ‘00’. You do not have to dial the area code if you are within the area. However, the area code must be dialled if you want to take an outstation call (e.g. calling within Colombo, dial 2XXXXXX, Calling Kandy from Colombo, dial 081 22XXXXX).
Telephone facilities are available extensively throughout the country. There are many telephone booths which accept coins. Telephone bureaus are quite common with most offering IDD and internet facilities.
Mobiles / technology supportMobiles / technology support
All mobile operators support the GSM technology on GSM 900/ 1800 bands. WAP & GPRS is widely supported. 3G and wireless broadband is available in Colombo. Wi-Fi zones are available in selected spots in major towns.
It’s a good option to purchase a local SIM card and top up cards while you are on holiday. The mobile call rates are relatively cheap for both local and IDD calls. There are many mobile operators in the country (E.g. Dialog, Mobitel, Etisalat, Hutch, Airtel etc.). Dialog has a counter at the Colombo Airport and you can obtain a connection on arrival. A Dialog connection will cost about LKR 1500.00. Top up cards are freely available island-wide, denominations of LKR 100, 400 & 1000. Please be sure that your phone is `dual band’ and unlocked.
Most hotels provide internet facilities and internet cafes available in most towns. Many large 5 star and some boutique hotels provide Wi-Fi facilities. Dialog also provides WiMAX Broadband wireless connections.
Mosquitoes and other pestsMosquitoes and other pests
Most hotels will provide you with a plug-in mosquito repellent which will usually be switched on during turn down. You can buy the mats (small repellent tablet inserted to the plug-in unit), from most local supermarkets. Mosquito nets in hotels are a rarity. You can also buy the burning coils or citronella candles from supermarket. It would be advisable to apply some repellent lotion if you plan to have dinner in an outdoor/ alfresco setting.
Leeches – A good remedy is to apply soap and left to dry or apply lime to exposed areas. You can wear leech socks, which are pulled over the trousers to prevent leeches reaching the exposed skin of the legs. If you find a leech sucking on your leg, do not pull it off, but wait for it to fall off after feeding. You can apply some salt; this will make the leech release its hold and fall off.
Liquor sales on Full Moon daysLiquor sales on Full Moon days
Full Moon days (known as Poya days), are of religious significance to Buddhists and places selling liquor (including hotel bars) and meat shops are closed. Places of entertainment such as cinemas, discos and casinos are closed as well.
Smoking and consuming liquor in public areas is banned in Sri Lanka. The smoking ban includes enclosed public places such as restaurants and social clubs.
Credit CardsCredit Cards
Credit Cards are widely used and accepted by local establishments (even in small towns). The most widely used card types are Visa and MasterCard, with Amex to a lesser extent.
Very Good Organising. Excellent. Nice history, tasty fruits and food. Local Arrack is very nice
Classic Golf Group, Czech Republic
Religious PlacesReligious Places
There are temples, churches, kovils, mosques at all major towns, and throughout the country. Prayer, mass times etc can be inquired from each relevant place.
Best time to travel to SLBest time to travel to SL
Sri Lanka is a year around destination, and there is always the ‘right’ season somewhere in the island. Weather wise, the best & driest seasons are from December to March on the West & South Coasts and in the hill country, and from May to September in the East Coast.
On the coast the average temperature is about 27°C. The temperature rapidly falls with altitude. At Kandy (altitude 450m) the average temperature is 20° C and at Nuwara Eliya (altitude 1890m) it’s down to around 16°C.