What to pack if you travel to Sri Lanka?

It depends obviously on many preferences, and details such as how long you’re on the island, is it your first time, which season and which part of the country you want to visit, etc. But there are some very generic, as well as location specific requirements that’s worth to keep in mind while you’re packing for Sri Lanka.

All the necessary documents

Before you begin preparations to visit Sri Lanka you need to note the followings. For more updated and detailed information, visit the official site of Sri Lanka. Ensure you are aware of the documents that need to be submitted and carried with you to ensure a hassle free visit. If you have any doubts or clarifications drop an email on helloagain@srilanka.travel and they will help you to prepare for your visit!

  • Online visa – ETA: Visitors can apply for online visa through eta.gov.lk. It’s a very easy and quick process, after payment (35 USD), still the same day you receive your visa.
  • Coronavirus update: “Fully Vaccinated” travellers are exempted from pre-departure COVID-19 PCR/ Rapid Antigen tests from 1st March 2022. Take face mask with you, at some of the places it’s required, some places not. But it’s better to have with you, just in case!
  • Insurance: You must ensure you have the mandatory COVID-19 Insurance of 12 USD with one month cover of 75,000 USD required for all travellers (whether fully vaccinated or not vaccinated). You can pay through this website.
  • Health declaration form: All passengers travelling to Sri Lanka must submit the mandatory Health declaration form.
  • Flight & accommodation confirmation: You should have your flights and accommodation confirmed as well in advance. Make sure you have them with you on your phone or printed out. So you can prove that you will leave the country after your vacations.

Travel adapter

Sri Lanka operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. For Sri Lanka, there are two associated plug types, types D and G. Plug type D is the plug that has three round pins in a triangular pattern and plug type G is the plug that has three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern. The round pins are rarely used anymore, so it’s better to get the one with rectangular pins.

Right clothing for sacred places

Covering up is always appreciated and necessary at places of worship. So, before entering sacred places be ready to have a cover up with you (shoulders and knees to be covered – they take this very seriously). Also your shoes should be removed, though socks can stay. Which is sometimes on the burning hot pavement is useful! Try to use as light cover ups as possible, as normally it’s crazy hot and the weather is very humid. The most recommended colour is white, or light blue.

Right clothing for the climate

Outside of the sacred places wearing shorts and tops is unlikely to attract much attention. Especially in the touristy areas, locals couldn’t care less what you are wearing. But be prepared for the extreme hot in the major part of the country and colder weather in the mountains. In the territory of the tea plantations, Kandy, Ella, Haputale. Here you would definitely need some long sleeves and long trousers too!

Light coloured, linen clothes

The more lighter clothes you can take is better. You can wear pretty much anything outside of the sacred areas, so take your lightest clothes in light colours with you. You will thank yourself if you pack your linen and cotton summer clothes.

Bathing suit

If you are planning to have a bath in the ocean, bring your more comfortable and durable bathing suits, as the currents are strong, the waves are big. So, you will need something that stays on you. Also, around the better hotel areas there are always swimming pools to cool yourself down.

Large scarf or cover up

In Sri Lanka you can use this for many occasions. For entering sacred places you can cover yourself with it. To go to the beach you can use them as cover ups or even as towels. If you are disturbed by the sun, it can cover your head or shoulders too. If it’s chillier in the mountains, or it’s raining, then it can warm you up.

Rain jacket

Almost every second day there’s a short but intense 5-10 minutes rain. Also it can be bigger storms too, usually quick but can leave you soaking wet. So, a light rain jacket can be an essential item.

Long sleeves & long trousers

As mentioned, in the tea plantations it can be surprisingly cold, especially in the evenings. Obviously not freezing cold, rather around a twenty-few degrees. Which you can feel – after the constant crazy hot weather that you could experience in the coastal areas – suddenly indeed really cold.

Sport shoes

To Sri Lanka you don’t need many kinds of shoes with you. Actually with a comfortable pair of sport shoes you can conquer the whole island. You can hike in Ella, walk around Colombo, even run if needed.

Sea shoes & flip-flops

Besides the sport shoes, it’s worth to have a pair of sea shoes, and some basic flip-flops. The beaches are not always cleaned so in order to avoid that you step on something, it’s better to have these with you.

Sunglasses

Might be an obvious thing for any sunny summer vacation, but it’s indeed worth it. Don’t forget to pack yours!

Mosquito repellent

There are mosquitos all around the island. Be prepared and take your most effective repellent with you. In Sri Lanka you can only buy natural citronella oil, with no chemicals. Of course it works, but in Europe there are more effective options as well.

Sunscreen & after sun cream

You can get sunscreen at the pharmacies in Sri Lanka, but it’s not as obvious as in Europe. They usually have only one or max two options, which work. But you need to rely on the opening hours of the closest pharmacy and your luck if they actually have one. As locals don’t really tend to use sunscreen, neither after sun creams.

Wet wipes & tissues

The hygienic conditions are pretty good in Sri Lanka, yet not always on the level as you would like it to be. It’s worth to bring some wet wipes to clean your hands and tissues if by any chance the toilet has no paper.

Always have water with you

Although many Sri Lankans have access to clean tap water from the taps, some of the quality may not be up to standard. The rule is simple, avoid tap water! Don’t drink it and don’t eat anything that was washed with tap water. Make sure that your ice cubes are made out of filtered water, and use this kind of water or bottled water once washing your teeth. Not to mention that forget to let the water run into your mouth once taking a shower.

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