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Sri Lanka Travel Guide

Sri Lanka — Travel Tips

Language

The official languages in Sri Lanka are Sinhala and Tamil. Sinhala is spoken by the Sinhalese who make up the majority, while Tamil is spoken by the minority Muslim and Tamil groups. English is most popularly spoken in the large cities but isn’t commonly understood in rural areas. Those working in the tourism and business industries tend to have a good grasp of the English language.

Currency

The official currency is the Sri Lanka rupee, which is divided into 100 cents. Most major credit cards are accepted around the country, including MasterCard, Visa, and American Express. ATMs can be found in most of the large cities but some machines refuse to accept international cards. Currency exchange can be made at all official exchange offices, large banks, and major hotels.

Time

Sri Lanka operates on Sri Lankan time, which is GMT +5:30.

Electricity

Sri Lanka uses electricity at 230V.50Hz and has British-style circular electric outlets.

Communications

The international dialing code for Sri Lanka is +94 and for the commercial capital of Colombo, the area code is +11. GSM cellular phones are prolific, with the main cell operators being Dialog Mobile, Airtel, and Mobitel. SIM cards for these operators can be purchased at most airports and local stores. Cell phone handsets can also be bought very cheaply. While wireless internet services are not readily available, there are plenty of internet cafés in most of the big cities which offer reasonable hourly rates.

Duty-free

Duty-free regulations are generally dependent on the country of entry but the following information can be used as a rough guide. Travelers to the region are permitted to enter with: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or five small packets of loose tobacco; one bottle of alcohol; and five bottles of perfume. All other goods should not amount to a value of more than US$250.

Tourist Office

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Colombo: +94-11-242-6900 or info@srilanka.travel or www.srilankatourism.org

Consulates in Sri Lanka

British Embassy, Colombo: +94-11-539-0639
American Embassy, Colombo: +94-11-249-8500
Canadian Embassy, Colombo: +94-11-522-6232
German Embassy, Colombo: +94-11-580-431
Chinese Embassy, Colombo: +94-11-268-8610
Italian Embassy, Colombo:  +94-11-588-388
French Embassy, Colombo:  +94-11-263-9400
Belgian Embassy, Colombo: +94-11-250-43-51

Emergency

Ambulance: 110
Police: 119
National Help Desk: 118

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