Welcome To Discover Eden Holidays. Your Sri Lankan Tour Operator.

Travel Tips

Custom Regulations & Imports

On arrival visitors are officially required to declare all currency, valuable equipment, jewelry, and gems even though this is rarely checked. All personal effects should be taken back on departure. Visitors are not allowed to bring in goods in commercial quantities, or prohibited/ restricted goods such as dangerous drugs, weapons, explosive devices, or gold. Drug trafficking or possession carries the death penalty. Tourists are generally asked to fill out a baggage declaration form prior to entering the country.



The Sri Lankan Rupee is made up of 100 cents. Notes are in denominations Rs.5000, Rs.1000, Rs.500, Rs.100, Rs.50, and Rs.20. coins in general use are Rs.10, Rs.5, Rs.2, Rs.1. visitors who bring in excess of $10,000 into Sri Lanka should declare the amount on arrival. It is also illegal to bring Indian or Pakistani rupees to Sri Lanka. There is several ATMs and several 24-hour exchange counters at the airport which gives a good rate of exchange. Plastic money is accepted right around the country in almost all the places so that carrying physical money is required minimally.


Electricity & Adaptors

Electricity is 230-240V and square three pins are made a must since recently replacing the round adaptors. Although you may find round adapters used around the country. It is always a good idea to carry a travel adapter or two with you. Power cuts were once frequent and were done to a timetable since the country relies mostly on hydropower and the irregular rains affect that, yet, almost all the places have their own power generators.



For any kind of emergency right around the country, the 24-hour police helpline 119 is available, or for medical emergencies, the 1990 ambulance service is available too. If at any chance all hospitals have an operating emergency section all throughout the day.

Emergency Contact Numbers

Tourism Hotline: 1912
Police: 011 2433333
Fire: 011 2422222
Hospital: 011 2691111
Colombo Tourist Information: 011 2252411
Kandy Tourist Information: 081 2222661
Department of Motor Traffic: 011 2694331
Automobile Association: 011 2421528-9
Department of Immigration: 011 2503629


LGBT Tourism

It is an understanding that runs along with the traveler community and you can find yourself LGBT friendly accommodation. Even though by law it is a no, LGBT tourism remains secretive, but in the touristic parts of the country, it is understood than spoken publicly.



Although Sri Lanka does not suffer from being a crime-ridden society, accidents and delays can still occur. Full travel insurance is advised, at the very least get a medical insurance and coverage for personal effects. It is advisable to select the best matching policy from your local office.



Basically all hotels, lodgings, and cafés has WIFI, for a continuous connection you can always check up with the mobile service provider, you decide to go with while in Sri Lanka and maybe get a plan fixed.



Sri Lanka is 5.5 hours ahead of Greenwich time


Photographs taken

As anyway it is always advised to get prior permission before a person is being photographed, Sri Lankan’s are usually very friendly and responsive when their photo is being taken. Photographing sites are dependent upon the regulations for that specific location. while most spots are free to be photographed, certain regulations on using flash and cameras, in general, may come forward.



Tipping is complete to be decided by you, nevertheless, a 10% tip is a norm to compliment the services being rendered to you, when you are happy. Tipping drivers & guides are accepted practice, and it is especially beneficial on long tours when drivers may be away from home for long periods.


What to take with you

Travel light. Most essentials are available in the cities, items are cheap and laundry services are generally speedy. Take light cotton clothes – it is a good idea to have some very lightweight long sleeve cotton tops and trousers which can protect you from mosquito bites. It can get cooler by the evenings specially in central highlands and warm lightweight clothes is a smart idea too. Loose clothes are most advised for travelling and trainers or canvas shoes might come in handy. Swimwear is at popular outlook at all beach areas, but swimming in inland, lakes, and ponds, it is advisable to speak to a local prior.


Excess baggage

Baggage limit is at 20kg and is levied beyond a point. These 20 kilos do not include one bag of hand luggage which should weigh on or under 7kg. Books and laptops carried in hand are excluded from both baggage and hand luggage weight.


Food and beverage

Locals eat barehanded without any cutlery and rice as the main carb along with freshly done fish or meat is the popular and most available local dish. Sri Lanka is also known for a wide variety of fresh fruit being sold around the country in stalls, but if you have allergies and doubts with certain kinds of fruit, its best to enquire first. Most hotels and cafes serve a whole range of international dishes branching out to several cuisines, if you want to give a try those are available too.
Keep yourself properly hydrated; Sri Lankan temperatures can lie between 32-38 degrees in an average and enough water, coconut, or king coconut water can help to keep you properly hydrated.



Sri Lanka is one of the countries with many festivals. One being a multi-cultural and multi-religion country, one of the more common holidays are full moon Poya days which fall on every month. On religious holidays alcohol and meat are not served specifically on Poya holidays.

Official Government Holidays

Sri Lanka celebrates several religious holidays each year, including a Poya (full moon day) each month which is categorised as a Public, Bank and Mercantile Holiday. These holidays are referred to as ‘dry days’, as the sale of alcoholic beverages at shops, hotels and restaurants is prohibited. Wine stores, taverns and bars are also closed on these days. Your travel consultant will be able to advise if your holiday dates include a dry day, and your chauffeur-guide can assist you with purchasing alcohol in advance if you wish to consume alcohol on a dry day.


General health conditions

It is advised to get all necessary shots after a friendly chat with your local hospital or general practitioner. Mosquito related diseases are quite common, so packing a mosquito repellent, a sting cream, a skin allergy cream may be advised. Pharmaceutical supplies are not as widely available in the outskirts than in Colombo, if you have forgotten to pack, Colombo might be a stop to reassess and fill up the essential medicine take. These may also include common stomach problem tablet-like Imodium or similar. If you are sexually active, relevant protection supplies, a sun protection cream of over 12 factors, and a general painkiller plus an antiseptic cream maybe few ideas to fill up on.


Language and religions

More than 80% of the Sri Lankans are Buddhists and speak the Sinhala language which is also the national language of the country. Tamil and English are equally spoken next and Catholicism, Hinduism, and Islam are the religions that follow in the order of followers.

Allow Enough Time

We believe that you will discover Sri Lankans to be the most courteous and friendly people in the world. However, Sri Lankans will not be rushed, and a genial, relaxed service is not always a rapid one. Allow a little more time for checking out of hotels, ordering food, paying bills, travelling etc.



Pack for heat and humidity. Long-sleeves might be advisable after dusk to protect against mosquitoes. In the hill country, where it is cooler, a light sweater is frequently required at night.

Topless sunbathing is officially illegal. The use of bikinis is generally considered acceptable while on the beach. When swimming in rivers or lakes ask for local advice, as covering up may be necessary.

Away from the beach/pool, be aware that dress standards are comparatively conservative and it is common practice to wear loose, long and lightweight clothing. Be especially careful about modest dress when visiting religious sites, where knees and shoulders are often required to be covered.


Cultural Differences

Sri Lanka’s genuine hospitality to tourists is renowned. Take care to avoid religious offence, however. In particular, respect the Buddhist faith: do not touch a monk, do not pose for photographs on religious statues and remove shoes and socks when entering temples. We recommend that you are as informed as possible about the island before you arrive: read about the religion and culture and learn about local rules and values. Be sensitive to cultural difference. Patience, friendliness and courtesy are highly valued virtues that will win you the respect of many.


Before you go, email yourself a copy of all the important information – airline numbers, phone numbers and passport and driving licence numbers. If your documents and/or wallet is lost or stolen, you can still access all your details.



Entertainment is predominantly, but not exclusively, based around the top hotels, which offer a range of restaurants and bars; sports facilities, from swimming pools to floodlit tennis courts; health facilities and spas; nightclubs, and traditional Sri Lankan entertainment. However, do not automatically limit yourself to the hotel – in Colombo especially, and in other major tourist areas, there are smaller, independent alternatives. Casinos are sanctioned for tourists.



You are strongly advised to contact your own GP or vaccination centre in respect of required vaccinations for Sri Lanka. Check the recommended inoculations at least a month before travel – these usually include tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A / B and polio. For further information, see our Travel and Health section.

Must-have essentials

Sun cream, insect repellent, sting and bite relief cream and antiseptic cream.
Body-salt replenishment powder, such as Dioralyte, and Imodium or similar, to be used for cases of diarrhoea.
Top hotels can advise on reputable local doctors, or private hospitals in the event of serious illness.

The HIV rate is rising throughout Asia, so if you might be sexually active, pack condoms and practice safe sex. Discourage any trishaw drivers or hawkers who act on behalf of any illegal prostitution racket.


All the top hotels offer a one-day laundry service, although prices vary widely. Cheaper launderettes are available in most towns, although quality is inconsistent.

Money and Security

Local currency is Sri Lankan Rupees. Currency can only be exchanged in Sri Lanka, so you would be best to bring US Dollars, British Pounds or Euros. The bank booths in the airport arrivals hall generally offer the most competitive rates and quick service. Debit cards and credit cards can be used in most restaurants and shops. We advise against Traveller’s cheques, which are rarely accepted. ATM machines are widely available in major cities. Beware credit-card frauds whenever you pay direct.


Personal Safety

Travelling in Sri Lanka is extremely safe, but caution should always be exercised when visiting a new country, particularly if you find yourself in an unfamiliar environment. Your personal safety is your own responsibility. Please take extra care when in an area where there may be wild animals and keep a safe distance away should one cross your path. Be mindful of any signs stating that an area is restricted or dangerous due to the presence of wild animals, but be aware that not all unsafe areas are marked as such – if in doubt, always check.

The beaches are some of the finest in the world, but before you swim consider dangerous currents and cleanliness. Sri Lanka also offers: game parks; activity holidays; bird-watching sanctuaries; hill-walking and outstanding historical and religious sites. There is a wide range of shopping options in the country, including gems, spices, linen and batiks, art galleries and hand-made carvings.

Our chauffeur-guides will provide you with safety briefings before you do any activities which carry potential risks such as trekking, safari drives and water-sports. These briefings include a step by step outline of the activity and any advisable precautionary measures. Much of the information included in these briefings is common sense, and we would never recommend any activities that would put our clients in danger. These briefings also include recommendations of what to wear / take along for the activity, an approximate duration and background information.


Sri Lanka is recognised as an amphibian hotspot, with 116 species, 90% of them found nowhere else on earth. A recent IUCN Red List assessment revealed that 72 of the amphibians in Sri Lanka are under the threat of extinction. We urge travellers to take extra caution when visiting delicate ecosystems such as the Sinharaja Rainforest in order to protect their habitats. Take extra care while climbing Adams Peak, as the trail overlooks the habitats of several endemic amphibians, threatened by pollution.

Be wary while shopping to ensure you are not encouraging the wasteful destruction of important natural resources and/or endangered species. Avoid hard wood products likely to have been produced in an unsustainable manner, shells from beach traders or ancient artefacts.


Bartering over the price of goods is widely expected for a variety of transactions, including the hire of tuk-tuks and the purchase of handicrafts. Note though that not all sellers will quote you an inflated price and that therefore requires bargaining. Modern shops, for instance, have adopted Western habits where bartering is not welcomed. We recommend you try to ascertain the guide prices for goods or services before purchasing, and remember that a small and inconsequential saving for you could be an extremely important amount to the seller. Bargaining is best carried out in a light-hearted, courteous manner; aggressive haggling will offend the seller and may increase the price. If you make a purchase, beware extra import costs for tax, handling charges, customs, and delivery fees. In Australia, for example, fumigation certificates may also prove a problem.
The Inland Revenue Department of Sri Lanka has now introduced the Tourist VAT Refund System (TVRS) for visitors to the country. Please read here for more details on this system which was been implemented from the 11th of September 2018.


Smoking in public areas in Sri Lanka is not allowed, but there are designated smoking areas for restaurants/pubs/cafes etc. Some establishments have a designated smoking area inside.


Trip Difficulty

Whilst the recently built highway has helped to quicken many of the journeys, in particular airport transfers, travel around Sri Lanka often entails several long drives, sometimes on rough roads. Bathroom facilities during the drives can at times be very basic; give your chauffeur-guide plenty of warning if you would like to stop at a bathroom en route and they will take you to the most suitable facilities available.
An itinerary may call for a significant amount of walking on uneven paths, and you may encounter long and steep stairs at many of the sites you visit. Some of the historic sites have challenging climbs, which you should assess with your guide before attempting.


Scooters and Motorbikes

Particularly in the main tourist destinations, scooters are a popular way to travel and are available for hire. However, they are rarely found in established vehicle hire shops: most often, scooter/motorbike rentals are offered by locals running an independent business. You may have to leave your passport with the vendor for the duration of the rental. We strongly advise that scooter/motorbike hire should only be considered by those with experience riding in Asia.

Helicopters and Sea Planes

Helicopter and/or sea plane transfers are not only a luxurious and incredible way to travel round Sri Lanka, but are also extremely time-efficient. Senok Aviation, Cinnamon Air, DP Aviation are top rated companies. If you are interested in seeing the island by air, get in touch with your travel consultant for more information. Daily scheduled flights, charter flights and scenic flights are available.

Please note that each aviation company has its own terms and conditions which will apply to any domestic flight undertaken by you. Your travel consultant can share these with you upon request. The terms and conditions include information concerning: weight allowance; conduct, and cancellation. Each airline reserves the right, without notice, to cancel any flight, to substitute any aircraft for that which was originally scheduled, or to transfer you without notice to any other aircraft or flight.