Some Little Useful Info About Sri Lanka

On this page we have collected little information that we thought might be of some of interest to you.

Visa

All visitors to Sri Lanka with the exception of nationals of the Maldives and Singapore need to obtain a visa to Sri Lanka since Jan. 1st 2012. The visa is issued initially for 30 days and can be extended up to 60 days. The online visa approval system is fast and efficient and you get your visa approved normally in about 15 minutes through a reply mail. With the printed ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) at hand, you will get a speedy process at the immigration counter at the Airport. This is the official government website for the application of visas. 

http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/ 

 

The countries of whose citizens need to apply for visas are categorized in to 2 main groups, and the fees for different methods of applications can be found here. The option of obtaining your visa on arrival still exists, but with a surcharge and with the risk of waiting longer at the immigration counters. 

http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/fees.jsp?locale=en_US#profee

 

Those who would like to extend their stay, have to get in touch with the Department of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka. Those who are already in Sri Lanka can contact them through their website or visit them at 41, Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha, Colombo 10.

More information can be found here. 

http://www.immigration.gov.lk/web/index.php?lang=en

 

Temple of the Tooth and Kandy Perahera

The dates for the Kandy Perahera 2013 are now officially published and can be found here.

http://daladamaligawa.org/

 

The full moon days are holy to Buddhists all aver the world and are called as Poya Days by the Srilankans. The sacred Temple of the Tooth is visited by many local devotees on these days. Therefore try to avoid the crowded Poya Days. The full moon Poya Days for 2012 are as follows:

 

                                                      2013

Jan.

Feb.

Mar.

Apr.

May.

Jun.

July.

Aug.

Sep.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

26

25

26

25

24

23

22

20

19

18

17

16

 

Holidays in Sri Lanka

Further to the full moon days, there are other government holidays in Sri Lanka categorized as Mercantile, Public and Religious holidays. On these days certain services are restricted or are not available. On Mercantile Holidays banks are closed, so facilities like money exchange are not available. The following link is to the official Sri Lanka calendar 2013, listing all the holidays. It’s a pdf file, you’ll have to zoom in for better viewing and a little patience is called for, as the download is somewhat slow.

http://www.pubad.gov.lk/web/eservices/images/stories/holiday_calendar/bank_holidays-2013.pdf

Visiting the Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya

It can get a little wet at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya even on a sunny day. So visitors are advised to be equipped accordingly. An umbrella the locals carry against the sun is a simple but effective piece of good gear. One should have a polythene bag or two at hand, for those carrying a camera bag or other sensitive items. Calculate a full day for the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens.

 

The gardens are opened daily from 08:30 a.m. to 05:30 p.m. While in Kandy, just hop in to a bus that travels towards Colombo. Some so called “Intercity Busses” do not stop at the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, so inquire before you get in. A one way ticket by bus from Kandy to the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens is about 00.15 U$ cents."

 

Here are two links to pages containing info to the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. The second link is again a little slow in downloading, but the patience is well rewarded with loads and loads of information.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Botanical_Gardens,_Sri_Lanka

http://www.botanicgardens.gov.lk/peradeniya/

Getting around in Sri Lanka

Public transport is still the choice for the budget traveler. Sri Lanka always had an extensive network of roads. Since the end of the separatist war, much resources are now funneled towards the infrastructure and the roads have immensely benefited. Attention is also given to improve the standards of busses both from the private and public sector.

 

Unfortunately, train travel hasn’t seen the improvement we have seen with road transport. Though some new wagons with modern facilities are been introduced on mainlines, much is left to be desired generally regarding the quality of train travel. But you do not have to be a diehard train enthusiast or a railway fan, to do some wonderful rail journeys in Sri Lanka. The stretch from Colombo to Galle is now improved and the travel time is reduced. This is a mainline with new compartments added to some trains. The view is breathtaking with the Indian Ocean on to your right with the beaches and the palm trees.

The following link is not comprehensive, but informs you on the times on major railway lines.

http://colombofort.com/timetable.htm

 

Full train search:

http://www.gic.gov.lk/gic/index.php?option=com_findnearest&task=train

 

There is good news for those who intend heading towards Kandy by rail, or even further to the highlands in some comfort. This company also operates trains to Trincomalle on the East Coast, 3 days a week. Booking can be done online. They have a hotline too.

http://www.exporail.lk/

 

For those who would like to explore Sri Lanka “off the beaten track”, the Tour Operator Saffron Island is a good choice. This is a company run by local professionals with many years of experience gained locally and internationally. As locals they know Sri Lanka inside out and can be highly recommended.

http://www.saffronisland.com/

 

If you need further information that you think we might have as locals, please contact us anytime through this website and we will be glad to oblige.

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Temple of The Tooth