With your plane ticket and visa in your pocket, you are ready to travel to Sri Lanka. But before you do, read these 5 must-know facts about Sri Lanka.
1: Most people speak English
Tourists travelling to Sri Lanka do not have to worry about not being understood. Although Sinhalese and Tamil are the official languages of the island, the majority of Sri Lankans speak some English. If you can speak some English yourself, the language barrier will generally not be a problem. In addition, Sri Lankans are very friendly towards foreign tourists. If you do run into someone who does not speak English, this person will probably take you to someone who does.
2: Sri Lanka is not a nightlife destination
If you are travelling mainly for painting the town red, Sri Lanka is the wrong place. The island is a quiet destination, especially outside the capital Colombo. Party-loving tourists who go completely wild are therefore not appreciated. Thus, it is better to go to Goa in India or Koh Phangan in Thailand, and then relax in Sri Lanka.
3: Sri Lanka has two monsoons
Although Sri Lanka is a small island, it has two different monsoons. The southwest monsoon, Yala, takes place between April and August. This period is accompanied by heavy winds and rainfall in the west and southwest of Sri Lanka (including the region around the capital Colombo). The second monsoon, Maha, affects the east and north of the country between October and February. Make sure to properly plan when and where you want to visit Sri Lanka. The period between December and March is usually the driest.
4: Think about the validity of your visa
In Sri Lanka, there is something for everyone. It is therefore easy to lose track of time. This can have unforeseen consequences, especially when it comes to your visa. The Sri Lanka visa is valid for a stay of up to 30 days. This period starts to count from the moment you show up at passport control in Sri Lanka. If you stay longer in the country than the validity of your visa, you can expect a hefty fine and be expelled from the country. Fortunately, during your stay in Sri Lanka, you can extend the validity of your visa up to 90 days.
5: The North is very different from the rest of Sri Lanka
The North of Sri Lanka is mainly populated by the Tamils. Unlike the South, where Sinhalese is spoken, here people mainly speak Tamil. A brutal civil war was waged in the north of Sri Lanka for years, and it only stopped in 2009. The consequences are still visible in some places, for example in buildings that are riddled with bullets. The culture in cities like Jaffna is also very different from that of the south of Sri Lanka. The population here is mainly Hindu and this is reflected in its colourful temples. The local cuisine has strong Indian influences. This is not surprising, since India‘s south coast is only 100 kilometres away. If you visit the north of Sri Lanka, this might feel like a completely different country.