Updated guide on Sri Lanka latest travel restrictions

Welcome back to the tropical island that is basking under the sun as beautiful as ever! If you, our adventure-seekers are yearning to know about the latest Sri Lanka travel restrictions, worry not; as we are going to guide slowly you through all the hassle. By the end of this informative article, you will understand the latest updates about Sri Lanka travel restrictions like who can and cannot visit Sri Lanka, and requirements related to pre-boarding and upon arrival to Sri Lanka so that even amidst Sri Lana travel restrictions, you can spend your holiday with a peace of mind.

Who can visit Sri Lanka?

As per reports of Sri Lanka travel restrictions, your Sri Lanka holiday is still at your fingertips if you are not a traveler from Sri Lanka travel ban countries namely Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and all South American countries. 

That being said, we at Olanka Travels are happy to have claimed the Safe Travels Stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). We believe that the ideal Sri Lanka tour even with Sri Lanka travel restrictions is safe but never fails to offer an unparalleled experience! 

All that you are required to do before boarding

Visa process

Our adventurers must apply for a visa online through www.eta.gov.lk. Although there are certain Sri Lanka travel restrictions, if you are fully vaccinated, there will be less hassle. However, if you are not fully vaccinated, you still get to enjoy your holiday though mingled with Sri Lanka travel restrictions.

From 2022.01.01 onwards, all our travelers are required to individually fill the Online Health Declaration Form and upload all the relevant documents before boarding.

According to reports regarding Sri Lanka travel restrictions, all travelers except the fully vaccinated travelers should pay a mandatory local COVID-19 insurance of 12USD with one month cover of 50,000USD and pre-pay the mandatory PCR test (40USD per PCR test) either through visitsrilanka.gov.lk or SLTD. You will then receive a ‘Tourism Reference Number’ which you will include when applying for the visa. 

Now if you are fully vaccinated, as per Sri Lanka travel restrictions and regulations, you do not require to have local COVID-19 insurance or a PCR test. However, you are expected to ensure travel insurance that covers health and all other expenses related to COVID-19. If you are traveling with non-vaccinated children/ not-fully vaccinated children, you should make certain that the comprehensive travel insurance is sufficiently extended for them. 

Procedure for vaccinated and non-vaccinated travelers 

With quite a bit of Sri Lanka travel restrictions, you might wonder who is considered a fully vaccinated traveler. Well, travelers above 18 years of age who are vaccinated with the recommended doses of COVID-19 and have completed 14 days with a negative COVID-19 PCR report received within 72 hours of embarkation are considered fully vaccinated travelers. Sri Lanka travel restriction reports further declare children of 12 to 18 years will be considered fully vaccinated if they have at least a single dose of a vaccine approved from their country of origin within two weeks of departure.

Travel restrictions in Sri Lanka also include that travelers of 12 years and above should carry a negative COVID-19 test report (English) issued within 72 hours of embarkation. If during the last three months from departure, travelers were infected by COVID-19, they should provide a negative COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test report done within 48 hours prior to embarkation. 

Documents you should have at the airport

According to Sri Lanka travel restrictions and regulations, all travelers are expected to have their negative COVID-19 PCR report in English language, taken within 72 hours before embarkation. 

You should produce an original vaccination certificate. (If your original vaccinated certificate is not in English, make sure to produce a certified copy of the English translation.) 

Sri Lanka travel restrictions and regulations also declare that you should produce your completed health declaration form. (Applicable to all travelers including children.) 

Procedure upon arrival to Sri Lanka 

Vaccinated or not, there is no minimum number of days required to stay in Sri Lanka. Believe us, even with the circulating Sri Lanka travel restrictions, you would wish otherwise upon your arrival!

PCR process

According to the Sri Lanka travel restrictions and regulations, if you are fully vaccinated and excited to spend your Sri Lanka holiday immediately, worry not, because, you will not need to undergo PCR testing on arrival. 

If you are fully vaccinated but departed from abroad before completing 14 days after vaccination, you should undergo an on-arrival PCR test and quarantine at a Safe & Secure certified Level 1 hotel until the 14 days of the post-vaccination period is completed – typical Sri Lanka travel restrictions. But worry no more, quarantined or not, remember that you are in a tropical paradise. All vaccinated travelers can enjoy their Sri Lanka holiday to their heart’s content with a promising travel package even amidst Sri Lanka travel restrictions!

As on the reports of Sri Lanka travel restrictions, non-vaccinated children below 12 years of age are not required to face a PCR test upon arrival. However, non-vaccinated children from 12 to 18 years should undergo on-arrival PCR testing. 

Non-vaccinated travelers should undergo a PCR test on the first day of arrival to Sri Lanka and you should stay in a ‘Safe & Secure’ hotel for 14 days if you plan to stay in this beautiful island that long. Though you are subjected to a certain amount of Sri Lanka travel restrictions, if you get assistance from a certified travel agency to plan your stay, we are certain that you will have a wonderful vacation in this paradise island! 

Even with the Sri Lanka travel restrictions imposed, non-vaccinated travelers will have an authentic Sri Lankan holiday experience. We in Sri Lanka believe that being safe doesn’t have to be boring. You can enjoy your stay at as many Safe & Secure Level 1 hotels as you wish, and visit as many approved tourist sites within a bio bubble! Isn’t that an absolute treat? In Sri Lanka, it doesn’t matter whether there are Sri Lanka travel restrictions or not because we are known over the world for our unparalleled hospitality and wonderful travel destinations. Visit us; and as gratitude, we will take care of you while you fall in love with our little island. And at Olanka Travels, we can assure you one thing; your tropical travel dream can never be limited with Sri Lanka travel restrictions!

Sri Lanka updated travel restrictions in December 2021

Sri Lanka travel restriction is a must known topic for all the travellers out there who are planning to visit Sri Lanka. The beautiful island is open to the world again with strict covid-19 travel protocols to ensure the safety of the country and of the travellers. 

The country does not demand a minimum length of stay, so you are free to fit Sri Lanka into your travel plans easily. Sri Lanka has been able to acquire the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Safe Travels Stamp, which is given for countries with good Covid-19 safety protocols in place across the country, which gives travellers confidence to travel Sri Lanka without any hesitation.  

If you, too, have long waiting plans to visit Sri Lanka, here’s what you need to know and follow when travelling to Sri Lanka.

Who is a fully vaccinated traveller?

Before we dive into all the information on travel restrictions and covid-19 travel protocols in Sri Lanka, it’s important to clarify who is a fully vaccinated traveller to understand Sri Lanka covid-19 travel protocols that are applied to your category. 

Anyone who has received all the vaccine doses 14 days before the departure to Sri Lanka is considered a fully vaccinated traveller. However, for children between the age of 12-18, receiving one dose of the Pfizer vaccine 14 days prior to departure is enough to fall under the category of fully vaccinated. 

Updated travel restrictions in Sri Lanka.

Following are the updated Sri Lanka travel restrictions for travellers as of 26th November 2021.

The approval process to enter Sri Lanka.

Prior to boarding the flight, visa applications must be submitted online with the online health declaration form, which you can find here. The on-arrival visa is no longer available. Here, you will have to provide the following documents as well.

  • Vaccination record,
  • pre-departure covid-19 negative test report 
  • Data page of the passport etc.

During the visa application procedure, you will be required to pay for necessary PCR tests (40 USD for each PCR test) and insurance (12 USD) with a one-month cover of 50,000 USD. If you are not fully vaccinated, you must pre-book a Level 1 ‘Safe & Secure’ hotel for the first 14 days of your stay for quarantine purposes.

Documentation requirements: Vaccinated travellers.

You need to provide the original certification of vaccination as proof. If the document is not in English, a certified translated copy of the original document of the information that is not in English in the original document is needed. It should clearly mention the name of the vaccine and the date of vaccination. Electronic vaccination certificates can also be provided as verifiable evidence of vaccination.  

Pre-departure requirements

All travellers 2 years old and above should take a PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure as proof that you are covid-19 negative. The original report or certified translation of the document/test report (if the document is not in English) is required.

Any traveller with a history of Covid-19 infection within the past 3 months must submit a negative Covid 19 Rapid Antigen test report in English done within 48 hours before their departure.

Process upon arrival

Upon arrival, you will be required to complete a health declaration form which you can find on check-in counters and when onboarding the flight and hand it over to the health officer at the airport. A separate form must be filled for each adult and each child. Along with the form, proof of vaccination, a negative PCR test report done within 72 hours prior to departure (for fully vaccinated travellers) or a negative Rapid Antigen test report done within 48 hours (for non-vaccinated travellers) before the departure must be provided.

During your stay

Non-vaccinated travellers have to spend a 14 day quarantine period in a Level 1 ‘Safe & Secure’ hotel and obtain a “Discharge Document” prior to leaving quarantine before continuing with their travels. Others can stay in any hotel. Such hotels facilitate biosecure travel bubbles for travellers to ensure a secure stay with access to all the facilities. You can freely travel in Sri Lanka and visit approved cultural and heritage sites

  • Sinharaja Forest Reserve
  • Yala National Park
  • Udawalawe National Park Safari
  • Eth Athurusevana
  • Kaudulla national park
  • Wilpaththu national park
  • Mirissa whale watching
  • Pinnawala Open zoo
  • Pinnawala Elephant orphanage
  • Ridigama safari park
  • Sigiriya lion rock fortress
  • Anuradhapura
  • Polonnaruwa
  • Royal botanical garden in Peradeniya
  • Laksala- Kandy
  • Laksala Pinnawala
  • Temple of the Tooth in Kandy

Travel restricted / high-risk countries

Almost everyone is welcomed in Sri Lanka, regardless of which part of the world you are from. However, travellers from the following countries and travellers with a travel history to those countries are not eligible to enter Sri Lanka until further notice.

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Lesotho
  • Namibia
  • Eswatini (Swaziland)
  • Zimbabwe

Exit requirements

To board your flight out of Sri Lanka, you must provide documentation of a negative PCR test completed no more than 96 hours before the flight’s departure time.

Sri Lanka Country specific information  

Sri Lanka has 580k confirmed cases of Covid -19 (December 2021), including the B.1.1.7 variant. However, the authorities have been managing the situation very well, imposing necessary safety protocols and procedures for the locals and for foreigners entering the countries. This has enabled the country to release covid restrictions within the country, such as quarantine curfews and travel restrictions within the country, enabling locals to go back to their normal way of life. The country has been open for tourists since …

  • Covid-19 testing

PRC and Rapid antigen tests are available in Sri Lanka, which you can obtain from any private hospital. Results will be provided within 24 hours.

  • Covid-19 vaccination information.

63% of the country has been vaccinated with Oxford Astra-Zeneca, Covishied (Serum Institute of India), Sinopharm, Gamaleya (Sputnik V) or Pfizer. 

Sri Lanka is now safe to travel to. So why wait? Plan your Sri Lanka tour with Olanka travels and explore Sri Lanka safely.

8 Must-visit tourist attractions in Sri Lanka

Searching for insight on the best tourist attractions in Sri Lanka? It can be overwhelming to find the best travel destinations, although Sri Lanka is a small island.

Maybe you are looking for Sri Lankan attractions that appeal to your interests or are on the lookout for a comprehensive tour that encompasses the top tourist spots in the country. Either way, here are eight Tourist attractions in Sri Lanka that you need to know about before your next trip to Sri Lanka.


Popularly known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the Sigiriya rock is one of the major tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. The rock plateau stands at an elevation of 349m above sea level and dates back to the fifth century when it was used as a fortress by King Kashyapa I of Anuradhapura. Back then, it was a strategically located, unbreachable fortress. The King’s palace was situated at the top of the rock, whose ruins and frescoes remain up to date. Today, this tourist attraction in Sri Lanka is well known for its scintillating 360° views of the forests, natural pools, and gardens that surround it. Other scenic hiking destinations surrounding the Lion Rock include the Pidurangala Rock.

Kandy Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

The revered Buddhist relic – The sacred tooth of the Lord Buddha is stored securely under the golden roof of the iconic Kandy Temple, also known as the Sri Dalada Maligawa. Built in the 17th century by the Kandyan Kings, the royal palace is located at the heart of the Kandy town and is surrounded by the Kandy Lake. It is a must-visit tourist attraction in Sri Lanka that has captivated thousands of Buddhist pilgrims and cultural enthusiasts worldwide. Stop by Kandy for historic, religious, and tranquil getaways.

Galle Fort

The Galle Fort still exudes colonial vibes. The infrastructure of the Fort, surrounding hotels, boutiques, and restaurants resonate with the history of this port city. The Fort stands tall in the southwest bay of Galle, well-preserved, surviving the test of time and the disastrous Boxing Day Tsunami. Owing to its Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial architecture, it was declared a cultural heritage site by UNESCO. The once superior port of Sri Lanka is a mark of historic value and still attracts tourists with its old-world charm and romantic vibes.

Yala National Park 

Thanks to the numerous deer, buffaloes, elephants, wild pigs, and crocodiles roaming about, a safari in the Yala National Park comes close to a safari in Africa. This tourist attraction and wildlife conservation park is also home to the elusive Sri Lankan leopard. With over 215 species of birds that can be spotted within this precinct, it is an ideal location for birdwatching too. The dusty and bumpy roads snaking through the park lead to a deserted beach that is a sight to behold. ‘Leopard Nest,’ a luxury lodging company also offers luxury treehouse cabins, a one-of-a-kind glamping experience, and BBQ experiences in Yala.

The ancient city of Anuradhapura

Explore the ancient city in style with a cycling tour, on a helicopter or hot air balloon that sail from various urban cities of the island. The first capital of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura consists of numerous historic Buddhist places of worship including forest monasteries, stupas, dagabos, astounding statues, and temples. The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree is one of the oldest trees in the world that you can witness during your visit to Anuradhapura, along with other well-preserved historical monuments. Ruwanwelisaya, Jethawanaramaya, and Abhayagiriya are some of the spectacular stupas that can enrich your cultural experience during your Sri Lanka Holiday. This historic city is also home to the largest native wildlife conservation park (Wilpaththu), world-renowned for its wildlife population.


How about some tea plantation trekking and unlimited tea tasting, fresh from the source? If so, the tea estates of Nuwara-Eliya must make it to your Sri Lanka Trips . The year-round cold climate makes the town ideal for cozy, laidback holidays. The area is abundant in beautiful waterfalls, which include the Lovers Leap, Glenn Falls, Ramboda falls, and Bomburuella. Another breathtaking site to visit in Nuwara-Eliya is the Horton Plains which is known for its ‘Great Worlds End Drop.’ Sri Lanka’s ‘Little England’ has much more in store for you, including suburban and charming bungalows, luscious botanical gardens, horse rides in the city, and tranquil lakes.

Unawatuna Beach

The aesthetically pleasing beach of Unawatuna is one that should not be missed on your trip to Sri Lanka. Although the beach can get crowded as it is one of the most popular local and tourist attractions in Sri Lanka, the cerulean waters, beautiful hotels, and beachside cafes will make it worth your while. Other popular beach destinations include the Nilaweli and Marble Beach of Trincomalee. Whichever coastal destination you choose, luxury resorts and budget-friendly villas ideal for relaxation, await to welcome you. Snorkel in clear waters to glimpse mystical coral gardens and sea creatures. Enjoy mouth-watering seafood dishes from the local restaurants that border the beaches.

Bentota Beach

Resorts and hotels in Bentota facilitate recreational and adventure-packed activities in addition to laid-back stays, making the town yet another popular tourist attraction in Sri Lanka. Surf or dive by the Cinnamon Islands or go on a boat safari down the Bentota River (Madu Ganga). Those of you who want command of your own sail can rent a kayak and explore the waters independently! When you’ve had your fill of watersports, settle for a fine dining experience in a star-class restaurant.

Plan your Sri Lanka Tour in Style

Now you know the top tourist attractions in Sri Lanka. Contact Olanka Travels for help with your Sri Lanka Trips. Our Sri Lanka tour planners would be delighted to assist.

The 8 Must -Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is home to a collection of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

This list includes:

  • Sacred City of Anuradhapura
  • Ancient City of Polonnaruwa
  • Ancient City of Sigiriya
  • Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Ancient City of Sigiriya
  • Galle and its fortifications
  • Central Highlands of Sri Lanka
  • Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Here’s all you need to know about the eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka before your next Sri Lanka trips.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka (Cultural) 

Sacred City of Anuradhapura

The north-central district was initially established around 300 B.C. The capital city of the time was home to numerous Buddhist kingdoms whose remains have been preserved to date. Among the ruins lie Buddhist shrines, palaces, monasteries, dagobas, and historic water tanks. This is why the city is known as one of the most sacred places in the nation. The site also includes sacred a Bo Tree which is over 2000 years old. To Sri Lankan Buddhists, the Sacred City of Anuradhapura is a site of cultural appreciation and religious exploration. For tourists, it’s an attraction to uncover the history of Sri Lanka.

Ancient City of Polonnaruwa

Around the 11th century A.D., the next popular ancient capital that came to be was the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Its legacy as a capital city commenced following the leadership of King Vijayabahu I. Nearly a millennium later, the ruins of the city lie unharmed. The astonishing marvels that stand to date include the Royal Palace, temples, monasteries, dagobas, enormous Buddhist statues, water fountains, and mysterious caves. This is yet another city that serves as a must-visit site on your next Sri Lanka trip for all cultural enthusiasts that enjoy historic background.

Ancient City of Sigiriya

The icon of the ancient city of Sigiriya is the Rock Fortress. It is also referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by UNESCO. During the latter few decades of the 5th century A.D., King Kashyapa built his palace on the flat peak of the Sigiriya rock, which stands at an astonishing height of 660 ft. Other sites of historical and cultural value within the fortress’s bounds include the Lion Gate, Royal gardens, ancient pools, the Sigiriya frescoes, and Sigiriya Museum. If you’re on a Sri Lanka tour seeking an adventurous hike that yields scintillating views, then the Lion Rock is one site to set foot on.

Sacred City of Kandy

The unique icon of this UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka is the Temple of the Golden Tooth Relic. Home to the sacred tooth of the Lord Buddha, the temple is the #1 attraction for vast numbers of Buddhist pilgrims across the globe. The temple is situated within a palace complex close to the Kandy Lake. The cool, laid-back atmosphere of the city is great for exploring its other icons – ones that range from historical museums to colonial architecture and modern facilities and gardens. Kandy is a wonderful place for travellers looking for a relaxing and historical experience.

Golden Temple of Dambulla

The next UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka is the Rangiri Dambulla Cave Temple. The site in Dambulla includes five cave temples, each decorated with a vast array of Buddhist artefacts, paintings and is densely populated with statues of the Lord Buddha. While they elaborate on his teachings, a few other artefacts and statues are dedicated to ancient rulers of the Buddhist kingdoms. Despite them being centuries old, they still manage to glisten golden inside the caves that otherwise would be dark and murky.

Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications

The first location that comes to mind when thinking of a southwestern Sri Lanka tour is Galle. Centuries ago, this city was once a buzzing port during foreign rule. The Portuguese initiated the development of the city of Galle in the early 16th century. The city was later ruled by the Dutch and ultimately by the British, and this mix of colonial cultures resonates throughout the architecture of the city. Its main attraction is the breezy Galle Fort. This UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka is one with immense minimalistic vibes and is great for a relaxing getaway beside the windy oceans and deep blue seas.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka (Natural)

Central Highlands of Sri Lanka

The first natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka covers three key areas in the Central Province of the island. They include the Peak Wilderness, Horton Plains, and the Knuckles Conservation Forest. The hill-country is home to the island’s densest tea plantations, scenic waterfalls, misty mountain tops, and dense forest cover. This one is for an adventurous Sri Lanka trip packed with many hiking trails, mystical views, and tranquil moments in nature.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Located in southern Sri Lanka is the low-lying Sinharaja rainforest, home to many exotic species of flora and fauna. The well-preserved biosphere which is the latest UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka has exciting trails running through the forest, overlooking beautiful waterfalls amidst enriched biodiversity. Here’s to the nature lovers and adventure seekers who dream of a Sri Lanka trip through its most famous forest reserve.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are sites of significant cultural or natural value in a global context. There should then be no doubt that you must visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka, not just to add value to your Sri Lanka trips but also to appreciate the beauty of these sites from a global perspective.

Eager to check out some Sri Lanka tour packages? To visit these sites and many more on your next tour of Sri Lanka – plan your Sri Lanka trips with us today!

10 Must – Know tips to make your trip to Sri Lanka a special one

Whether you’re looking for a beach getaway, a hike in the hill country, a cultural pilgrimage, or just a luxurious vacation – a Sri Lanka trip would cater to your preferences. Here’s a list of things that you must know before your next trip to Sri Lanka to make it that much more of a unique experience.

Safety First

Sri Lankan borders have been re-opened to most travelers across the globe. Travelers do, however, require a Visa to travel into the country. Currently, there are a few COVID-19 related restrictions in the country, implemented to promote safety and well-being of all. Sri Lanka does not require vaccinated tourists to quarantine upon arrival, nor does it enforce a minimal number of days for their stay. To view a comprehensive list of our COVID-19 travels protocols, click here.

Know the Best Times

Despite being a small island, the weather and climate vary by a considerable margin. The decisive factor would be the monsoon seasons. Travelers visiting the cultural triangle, the southern or western coast would experience the best season from December through April. To those venturing towards the eastern coast, the best time to travel would be between the months of May and October. 

Plan the Tour Upfront

This could be the biggest and most decisive task of your journey, especially if it’s your first Sri Lanka trip. However, this can be a hassle-free experience if you were to hire a professional tour service. A well-planned tour could be the difference between getting to see the best Sri Lanka has to offer and just barely scratching the surface with a few tourist attractions thrown in. It’s best if you can get the help of an experienced tour service provider like us to cater to your requirements.

Buy a Local Sim

When it comes to having a great journey, minimizing your worries is key. Would you rather subject yourself to expensive phone bills and paid Wi-fi networks, or enjoy the low rates and unlimited packages on your data usage with a local sim? Gone are the days of scavenging for public and unsafe Wi-fi networks. Buy a local sim for cheap to enjoy the amazing perks of telecommunication in Sri Lanka.

Take the Unpopular Route

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations, and you can’t experience something unique if you follow the masses. That’s why you shouldn’t be afraid of going off the beaten path. Professional tour operators like us could help guide you through the lesser-known attractions and local secrets worth your attention! Getting around is quite easy with taxis, tuk-tuks or three-wheelers, and buses. If you’re en-route to Ella on your Sri Lankan trip, then you can’t miss the spectacular train ride!

Dress Conservatively

Tourists are expected to dress conservatively in white and wear less revealing clothing in most cultural sites. Slip-on footwear would be a good option while visiting religious sites as footwear is removed upon entry to the premises. You’ll be fine on your trip to Sri Lanka if you dress for the occasion. You might want to get comfy in cotton clothing and hats, or carry an umbrella, as temperatures usually exceed 25 Celsius, except in the central highlands where you might need a light sweater. Always be prepared for light showers.

Avoid Scams

Sri Lanka is a safe travel destination for tourists; however, situational awareness can’t hurt. There are isolated cases of tuk-tuk scams, unofficial guides, and snatch thefts. The use of a professional tour service provider ensures less interaction with third parties and will keep you away from such scams. However, no matter where you go on your Sri Lanka trip, you’ll be safe if you’re aware and mindful.

Always Carry Cash

Having liquid cash in hand is always a good idea; whether for emergencies or because you want to pick up something from the roadside store. You could exchange your foreign currency once in town in a bank or even right at the airport.

Dollars, Euros, and Sterling are equally accepted, but not everywhere. Carry cards that are internationally accepted (Mastercard or Visa); however, credit card payments cannot be made in foreign currency, and not all goods and service providers accept card payments.

Try Local Food

You can’t have a unique experience on your Sri Lanka trip without tasting the local cuisine! Local food is quite affordable and delicious.

Enjoy a range of dishes and curries that are sweet, sour, or even spicy, and pair it with a plate of rice. In Sri Lanka, there’s a curry for almost everyone. Try out freshly grown local fruits, Faludi, local sweets, and street food for some change and make sure you always carry water for consumption.

Tag Alongside the Locals

Sri Lanka is known for its generous locals. The locals communicate in the Sinhala and Tamil languages, but most of them do speak adequate English. All of them share a common shy smile. Westerners may immediately notice that there’s a lot of head nodding involved in communication. Sri Lankans are also known for their warm hospitality. So don’t hesitate to connect with them to gain insight about life in these parts of the world.

And that’s the list of basics that you must know before your upcoming Sri Lanka Trips.

A Holiday To Sri Lanka is one that anyone would enjoy with just a little preparation. Now that you have all you need to know, why not consider us for planning your next trip to Sri Lanka?

Must visit iconic cultural hotspots during your Sri Lanka trip

Planning to travel to Sri Lanka which is also popularly known as “ The Pearl of the Indian Ocean” to spend your well-deserved vacation? Here is a guide to explore this postcard-worthy holiday destination and what it has in store for travellers. 

Sri Lanka is blessed with a range of mini climates, a wealth of flora & fauna, plenty of high mountain peaks, mountain gaps, rugged terrain, high waterfalls, snaking rivers, and many more. Apart from these, with many amazing attractions, Sri Lanka is a dynamic hub for those interested in culture and heritage-associated travel. The island’s recorded history and civilisation date back to at least 2500 years. Embarking on a Sri Lanka tour that covers the ancient wonders of architecture, well-preserved ruins as well as many other countless tourist attractions is no easy task unless you hire an experienced Sri Lanka travel operator. Although Sri Lanka is a tiny island, it is home to breathtakingly beautiful and fascinating tourist hotspots to offer for any type of tourist. 

Cultural Triangle in Sri Lanka – History of Sri Lanka brought back to life

Millions of travellers visit the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka as it has brought the island’s history back to life and has a few locations with intricate & extensive archaeological ruins that have been named UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

These are some of the most intriguing locations in Sri Lanka that are counted as part of world history. The cultural triangle area is located on the central plains of Sri Lanka and covers the ancient royal cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla, and Kandy. The great heroic kings of Sri Lanka such as Vijaya, Pandukabhaya & Devanampiyatissa ruled from these places during different eras, creating a great civilisation based on agriculture and centred around Buddhism. These kings treasured ancient healing wisdom & the powers of Ayurveda that are still considered the holistic approach to preventing and curing diseases in rural areas. The first capital of Sri Lanka was Anuradhapura and remained so for over one thousand years. It was reputed as the greatest monastic city of the ancient world and was ruled by more than one hundred kings belonging to royal dynasties from 4th Century BC up to the 11th century AD.

After a period of heavy war casualties, Anuradhapura was abandoned and Polonnaruwa was chosen as the capital of Sri Lanka in the medieval period. Two great heroic kings Vijayabahu I and Parakramabahu I were instrumental in establishing Polonnaruwa as the royal capital of Sri Lanka with great irrigational and agricultural developments made by them that exist and are used even today. Polonnaruwa was the capital of Sri Lanka until the late 13th century. Sri Lanka’s history was forever coloured with the embracing of Buddhism in 247 BC as the country’s religion during the reign of Devanampiyatissa in Mihintale. 

Sigiriya became the dynastic capital of Sri Lanka for a brief period during the reign of Sigiri Kassyapa who murdered his father to capture the throne and established a majestic castle on top of Sigiriya Rock which later became a wonder to the world. Scientists and archaeologists are still puzzled by how this king managed to create such ingenious structures and facilities way ahead of time.

Hand-painted by ancient artists, the Sigiriya frescos are visual stunners that colourfully depict women of the royal palace with lotus flowers in their hands ready to worship Lord Buddha.

There are countless ruins that you can discover in Anuradhapura which was the first capital of Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura stayed abandoned and lost for more than a thousand years, during which most of its precious buildings and temples shambled due to negligence. Embark on an informative Sri Lanka tour with a professional tour operator such as Olanka Travels. There are a massive number of sacred Buddhist shrines and sites that can be discovered in Anuradhapura. These include iconic dagobas, palaces, monasteries, monumental statues, and an ancient Bo tree called Jaya Sri Maha Bodiya which is a sapling brought from the Buddha Gaya Bo tree where Lord Buddha reached enlightenment. Mihintale is best visited on a Full Moon Poya Day, especially during Poson Full Moon Day, when it is believed that Mihindu and Sangamitta theros arrived from India to introduce Buddhism to Sri Lanka. The philosophy was received at the Mihintale rock by King Devanampiyatissa. 

Polonnaruwa which was the second kingdom and capital of Sri Lanka is known for its magnificent granite stone sculptures in Gal Vihara that depict the Lord Buddha. Don’t forget to visit the archaeological museum located in Polonnaruwa that provides in-depth information about this ancient and prosperous kingdom. 

Dambulla is most famous for its incredibly old cave temple which features rows upon rows of Buddhist statues with a ceiling made of natural rock covered with beautiful frescos. The ancient city is famous for its rock caves which are marvellously crafted and designed with lots of Buddhist paintings and statues meticulously placed inside the caves. 

Kandy, the last kingdom of Sri Lanka boasts a rich religious and cultural heritage. The ancient hill country is home to the most venerated iconic Temple of The Sacred Tooth Relic widely known as Sri Dalada Maligawa. The rich cultural heritage of Kandy is woven around this historic temple that houses the tooth relic of Lord Buddha. Kandy and Sri Dalada Maligawa are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

This iconic temple is visited by Buddhist devotees from across the island. Tourists visiting the country too make their way to Sri Dalada Maligawa as it is a must-see attraction in Sri Lanka. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is quite significant as it has played a pivotal role when it comes to local politics since the ancient times of kings. It is believed that anyone who holds the sacred relic holds governing authority of the island. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic was the creation of Kandian King Vira Narendrasingha. The octagonal-shaped, architecturally brilliant Patthirippuwa and the moat were added later by King Sri Wickrama Rajasingha who was the last king of the Sri Lankan royal dynasty. 

The famous tourist attraction, the annual Kandy Perahera or festival parade takes over the streets of Kandy between July and August. During the parade, the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha is carried inside a casket on top of a specially chosen and anointed majestic elephant. The sacred tooth relic is only taken out from the inner chamber of Sri Dalada Maligawa during the days of the Kandy Perahera for public worship and admiration. The procession is graced by Kandyan dancers, fire breathers, drummers, and a myriad other fascinating consorts.

The 08 most adventurous places in Sri Lanka

Are you a curious thrill-seeker excited about your Sri Lanka trip? Sri Lanka offers you astonishing possibilities to surf, hike, go on epic train rides, and all things action! Below are the 08 best adventurous places in Sri Lanka you can visit with Olanka Travels. 

Hike Sigiriya but don’t forget Pidurangala.

If you are a die-hard hiker, we are sure that you would definitely grab two hikes in one visit. DEAL?

Pidurangala, the climb-worthy neighbor of Sigiriya is the most incredible vantage point for the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. 

The trail up to the Pidurangala rock includes a steep incline, but that’s what makes it an adventurous hike. Those early morning hikers can witness one of the most stunning sunrises from the Pidurangala rock. Do you want to know another bonus it offers? The entrance fee is just $3. This price has given an extra reason for budget travelers to pick Pidurangala over Lion’s Rock. But remember our deal? Yes, two hikes. Sigiriya, the famous Rock Fortress is a must-visit site on your Sri Lanka trip.

It’s quite a feat to climb the 1200+ steps to the top of the Lion’s Rock, but you won’t mind the heat, fatigue, and sore legs when you reach this amazing archaeological site; The frescoes, mirror wall, monastery, and cave temples, and especially the breathtakingly beautiful sunset.

The fame Sigiriya holds as a UNESCO world heritage site and its historic significance has made it one of the most expensive cultural sites in Sri Lanka.

However, we guarantee that the Sigiriya Rock hike will quench your thirst for adventure and justify the $30 you pay to visit this 8th wonder of the world.

 See leopards in the Yala National Park

If you are a committed wildlife enthusiast, look no further than the Yala National Park. 

Yala, located in the South East of Sri Lanka, is home to a variety of wildlife. You can sight glorious elephants, mysterious leopards, and Sri Lankan sloth bears in this National Park. Yala is most famous for its leopards. It is considered one of the best places in the world to spot leopards.

Giant crocodiles and dancing wild peacocks too are sure to make an appearance during your Yala safari. If you love watching birds, you will be amazed by over 215 bird species ranging from Blue-tailed Bee-eaters to Sri Lankan jungle fowls. To ensure seeing most of these startling wild creatures it’s best to visit Yala during the dry season from February to June.

Waterfalls and tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya

Ever thought of enjoying your holiday in Sri Lanka on top of a misty cool mountain in Nuwara Eliya?

Nuwara Eliya aka Little England is the best location for you to discover the rugged beauty of lush tea plantations and cascading waterfalls. This hilly terrain boasts lush tea plantations which produce some of the finest teas in the world. The Bluefield Tea factory, Mackwoods Tea Museum, and Pedro Tea Estate are a few of the best estates to visit on your holiday in Sri Lanka. Enjoying an exquisite pot of tea, while taking a breath of fresh mountain air should be a top priority on your Nuwara Eliya checklist.

Hike Adam’s Peak

If you are after adventure, hiking up Adam’s Peak should make it to your  Sri Lanka travel itinerary. Locally known as Sri pada, it is the fourth tallest mountain in Sri Lanka and is located in Ratnapura. The sacred footprint found on top of the mountain is popularly believed to be the footprint of Gautama Buddha. Hindus think it’s Shiva’s footprint while Muslims and Christians believe it’s the first man -Adam’s.

The mountain is 2244m in height and offers an exhausting yet energizing hike above the cool clouds. To get to the peak to view the sunrise, start hiking Adam’s peak at midnight. Seasoned adventurers can make this climb any time of the year, although December to May is when devotees embark on pilgrimages.

Snorkeling, surfing, and scuba diving on the South coast

Fond of oceanic adventures in Sri Lanka? The South Coast of Sri Lanka including Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, and Weligama are iconic surfing spots. Untouched coral reefs, world-famous dive wrecks, and friendly encounters with colorful marine life await you at the South Coast of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka offers some of the best dive holidays with ample opportunities to snorkel and scuba dive. Whale and dolphin watching tours can also be added to your tour package if you’re visiting the South of Sri Lanka.

Most beautiful train ride – Kandy to Ella

There’s possibly no other way to experience the beauty of the hill country’s scenic landscapes other than hopping on a train. Without a doubt, this is the most picturesque train ride you will experience when you travel to Sri Lanka. The train will cruise through remote villages, many dark tunnels, and also the picture-perfect Nine Arch’s Bridge. The train ride will also cover bright green tea plantations and glorious waterfalls.

See elephants in Udawalawe

No doubt, the Udawalawe Elephant Sanctuary is the best place in Sri Lanka to witness the magnificence and adventures of Asian wild elephants. Located on the boundary of the Sabaragamuwa and Uva provinces, it provides a natural habitat for over 500 wild elephants. Big or small, they are experts in water sports. Splashing water is one of the favorite activities of baby elephants.

Apart from these giants, Udawalawe is also home to water buffaloes, wild bears, Sri Lankan axis deer, and other rare mammal species. You won’t regret adding a Jeep Safari in Udawalawe to your list of adventures in Sri Lanka.

Kithulgala base camp 

The Kithulgala base camp facilitates white water rafting in Sri Lanka with plenty of thrills and excitement. Located at the Eastern edge of Kegalle, Kithulgala is sought after by adventurers from all over the world. Waterfall abseiling, night camping, cave exploring, stream sliding, confidence jumping, and jungle trekking are a few of the most daring activities available when you travel to Sri Lanka.  Scenic nature, birdlife, and alluring waterfalls make Kithulgala a favorite spot for sightseeing too. 

Let us welcome you!

If ‘adventure’ is your middle name, a Sri Lanka holiday is ideal for you. While these are the 08 best adventurous places in Sri Lanka, there are numerous elusive spots waiting to surprise you.

How to spice up your Sri Lanka trip with a visit to Kandy

Where is Kandy? Kandy, a popular city listed in your Sri Lanka Trips itinerary, is situated in the central hills of Sri Lanka and is preceded by stories of interesting historical accounts and unique cultural anecdotes. Ever wondered how to explore this fascinating city? Well, welcome to your guide to Kandy!

The colourful Kandy Perahera

You are lucky to be in the tropical paradise of Sri Lanka. But if you happen to travel to Kandy in July or August, it is either because you know exactly what you are doing, or you are insanely lucky!

July and August are auspicious months for Kandyans and Buddhists across the country. This is when the “Esala Perahera,” the festival where Buddhists pay homage to the tooth relic of the Lord Buddha takes place. The Perahera culminates in the carrying of the relic which is accompanied by colourfully adorned dancers, Kandyan officials, elephants draped in glamorous capes, drummers, and flag bearers. Thousands from around the country and the world watch the parade from either side of the streets. This ceremony is a reflection of Sri Lanka’s vibrant culture and attracts tourists around the world!

A visit to the temple of the Tooth

A visit to the glorious temple where the tooth relic resides (Sri Dalada Maligawa) can make your Sri Lanka trip that much blessed! The Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is located in the Royal Palace complex belonging to the ancient kingdom of Kandy which was the capital of Sri Lanka many centuries ago. This temple is a popular landmark in the itinerary of tourists who are interested in exploring local culture. It is not only significant as a UNESCO world heritage site and revered by Buddhists around the world but also known for its unique Kandyan architecture.

Trek through the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary

One of the best things to do in Kandy during your Sri Lanka trips is to trail through the Udawatta Kele forest reserve. Perched on a hill behind the Temple of the Tooth lies this sanctuary, also referred to as the Royal Forest Park of Kandy. Find endemic fauna and flora including fishing cats and palm-squirrels in this verdant forest. Walk through tall tree-canopies to catch a sight of colourful birds. Udawatta Kele is a nature lover’s paradise that also features scattered temples, water ponds, mountains, and mysterious caves from the time of the kings.  

What are the best hotels and resorts in Kandy?

Every Sri Lanka Trips itinerary includes a few days of stay in Kandy. Kandy deserves to be explored slowly, with ample time to uncover its mysteries. Choose from a list of resorts and hotels in Kandy that best suit your budget and requirements. Here are a few suggestions that will make finding accommodation in Kandy simpler for you.

Earls Regency Hotel –A classic, colonial-style hotel with stunning views of tea gardens. 

Queen’s Hotel Kandy – Originally a governor’s mansion, this hotel is now a British Colonial style luxury hotel that offers spectacular views of the Kandy Lake.

Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy – A truly enticing hotel with royal heritage, Cinnamon Citadel is surrounded by emerald hills and bordered by Sri Lanka’s longest river.  

Golden Crown Hotel, Kandy – Just a 10-minute drive away from the Temple of the Tooth Relic, this is a 5-star hotel situated amidst lush paddy fields.

OZO Kandy – A playful space with a rooftop swimming pool and bar, this Hotel features rooms with city, garden, and mountain views and is nestled amidst misty mountains and tea plantations.

Where to shop in Kandy?

Shopping in Kandy is one of the most satisfying things to do when on a Sri Lanka trips. There are many authentic Sri Lankan arts and handicrafts boutiques that cater to tourists here. Pick out colourful batik clothing in one of the stores in the city; batik has become a chic hallmark of Sri Lankan fashion.

Walk into the main Kandy market at the heart of the city where locals and tourists can find affordable souvenirs, or shop in boutiques like LUV SL by ODEL, Jayamali Batik Studios, and Selyn for equally authentic and well-crafted souvenirs.

Royal Botanical Gardens in Kandy

Once the pleasure garden of the Kandyan queen, the Royal Botanical Garden, also known as the Peradeniya Botanical Garden, displays over 4 000 different species of plants which are regarded amongst the most superior in Asia.  

Renowned for its collection of orchids and the long, palm framed pathways, the garden is spread over 60 hectares of sublimely designed lawns, pavilions, and plant houses, and is a fragrant and colourful treat to the senses. 

Tour around Kandy by cycling!

One of the fun things to do when you travel to Kandy is to rent a bicycle, cycle freely through the bustling streets, and stop by roadside shops to try delicious street food. Sri Lanka trips are absolutely amusing when you cycle through its cities! Stop at historically significant sites such as the ‘Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha statues’ and ‘Embekke Dewalaya’ to learn about Sri Lankan culture and to experience the diversity of its people. A dip into the Kandy Lake, locally known as ‘Kiri Muhuda’ is also recommended.

As the sun sets, enjoy a drink of ‘Thambili’ (king coconut, a tropical fruit drink in Sri Lanka) to quench your thirst as you listen to the hymns of the ‘Dalada Maligawa’ and make conversation with the locals.

The iconic train ride from Kandy to Ella

Do you know the best way to leave Kandy? By train, course! This could be your favourite part of the Sri Lanka trips. Witness scenic beauty swishing past you as never before in visions of verdant forests, charming tea plantations, and misty mountains!