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Travel Information Sri Lanka

History

Sri Lanka is the only country in Asia that has a historical record traced to the 5th century BC. Its ancient cities narrate endless stories to the modern day visitors.Anuradhapura “the city of Ninety kings” was founded in 5th century BC. The medieval capital of Polonnaruwa was founded in the 13th century. Sigiriya “The Lion Rock” in its natural setting is an architectural marvel.The painted images of the heavenly maidens that are 1500 years old arouse the passions and curiosity of even the sages and savants who see them.The mirror wall that leads to the frescoes hold some 650 inscriptions where the visitors of old have expressed their fascination, appreciation and fantasies evoked by the voluptuous maidens plastered to the rock surface.

 

..The golden skinned maiden seduced my mind and my eyes
Her lovely breasts reminded me of Swans drunk with nectar.
How does her heart behave, the one with fawn eyes…….
(Sigiri Graffiti)

 

Want to read more of these ballads of love, and laughter? If you do, then visit Sigiriya. Behold the beauty of the fawn eyes of these maidens. Your guide will tell you more of the haunting lyrics on the Mirror Wall.History is embedded in every pebble and grain that makes up the miles of golden sandy beaches. The Plains that hold the ancient cities with giant reservoirs and temples and shrines narrate the story of a flourishing ancient kingdoms. Sri Lanka is a country of diverse peoples with a quaint cosmopolitanism that makes it a microcosm of South Asia.The littoral areas of the island were controlled by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century. The Dutch occupied region of the island was ceded to the British in the Treaty of Amiens in 1796, following the Napoleonic wars.It became a crown colony in 1802, and was united under British rule when, the last Sinhala Kingdom that repulsed successive European incursions for three centuries was ceded to the British Crown in 1815 by the Sinhala Chieftains of the Hill kingdom.

 

The Island became independent in 1948 as Ceylon. Its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972 with the adoption of a Republican Constitution. A protracted Civil Conflict that tortured this island ended with the total defeat of the terrorist movement in 2009.You now arrive in a country that is at peace with itself with a diversity in its composition that include Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers with Portuguese, Dutch and British ancestry. This evolving story is narrated by archeological finds preserved or restored. Buddhist Temples, Hindu Shrines, Churches, Cathedrals and Mosques testify to the zeal of proselytizing missionaries, enterprise of traders, the pride of a pastoral people and the resilience of a nation to endure the past and grasp the future in heavenly harmony and the nonchalance, natural to a people to whom nirvana is a state of mind..“The people of Sri Lanka” said Bernard Shaw are”in the cradle of the human race because everyone there looks an original”.

 

LUGGAGE 

Hand luggage should be one piece per person and should be limited in size so as to fit under your coach seat or in the small overhead shelf. These are the responsibility of each trip member and should be carried on/off the coach with you.

ON COACH WIFI 

WiFi is now available on our air-conditioned vehicles / coaches in Sri Lanka. The on-coach WiFi uses the 3G mobile phone network, which means connection will be slower than standard broadband and at times may not be available. It’s perfect for sending emails and keeping in touch, but not strong enough for streaming video or large photo uploads. Free WiFi is also available in many of the hotels we stay in, generally in public areas. 

 

 

Awareness to health and safety issues

After many years of war, Sri Lanka has finally returned to a state of peace and harmony. As such, security is no longer an issue; however please do be mindful of your belongings and person at all times.

 

INFORMATION SERVICE

The Tourist Information Center (TIC) run in Colombo by the Ceylon Tourist Board is located at 78, Steuart Place, Galle Road, Colombo 3. Tel:(+94) 112 437059(+94) 112 437060 , (+94) 112 437055

Kandy TIC – Headman’s Lodge, 3, Deva Veediya, Kandy, 0812 222661. Open 900 hrs. to 1645 hrs. on weekdays. Saturday 0900 to 1300 hrs.

Negombo TIC – 12/6, Lewis Place, Negombo. Open 0900 – 1715 hrs.

Hikkaduwa TIC – Commercial Bank Bldg., Galle Road, Hikkaduwa. Tel : 09122-223397

Airport TIC – Located in the arrivals lounge of the International Airport, Katunayake and open day and night. Tel:11 2 452411

 TOURIST POLICE UNITS

Special Tourist Police Units are available to assist our visitors – Hotline +94112421451

 

TAKING CARE OF VALUABLES

Always keep your valuables – money, passport, tickets, and jewelry in the hotel safety deposit locker. You should not leave your valuables unattended on the beach or leave your money or passports in your baggage which may be unlocked. 

ECO SENSITIVITY

When enjoying the natural beauty of our island please remember to remain silent whilst in forest trails. It is best if nothing is left behind, and fires should be lit only in designated camp sites. Always seek the assistance of a trained guide and try to avoid lone excursions.

In case of an animal encounter, please do not try to harass, chase, touch, handle or feed.

  

HEALTH ISSUES

Generally, every town will possess a pharmacy and a qualified medical practitioner is not hard to find. If you are on medication please bring an adequate supply of your drugs. If you rely on prescriptions, make sure that your doctor indicates not only the brand name but also the generic name of the drug.

It is advisable to always drink bottled water. While the water supply in cities is treated they cannot be guaranteed as portable. Boiling water for drinking is a common practice in homes in Sri Lanka. You are advised to use bottled water with its sealed top intact.

CURRENCY NOTE 

Payment for Optional Experiences can be made in cash. Cash can be accepted in most major currencies. Please be sure to advise your credit card provider that you will be travelling in Sri Lanka, before you leave home.

 

ATTIRE:

Visitors of both genders have to wear decent clothing to cover the body appropriately when visiting religious places and shorts and sleeveless tops are not acceptable. This rule is strictly adhered to at all religious sites especially the Sacred Bo Tree and Stupas in Anuradhapura and the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy.

Visitors should remove hats, caps, shoes and slippers when entering buildings and sites with religious monuments. Most of these places have a secure facility at the entrance for visitors to leave behind shoes and slippers for a very small fee.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Unforeseen escalation in fuel prices, new taxes/levies on hotels and transportation services or any hikes in entrance fees. Any large tax hikes and new levies shall be payable extra and shall be billed accordingly with reasonable prior notice

In the event of any unavoidable circumstance we reserve the right to change and reduce the coverage and sequence of the above itinerary. Therefore, In the event of adverse traffic conditions or unforeseen circumstances, we reserve the right to change the itinerary without prior notice.

 

 

Climate

Sri Lanka located in proximity to the equator has a tropical climate and two distinct seasons. Surrounded by the Indian Ocean the relatively small island has a blowing wind that makes you forget the high humidity and warm nights during your Sri Lanka holiday.. As you reach the central hills the temperature drops along with the altitude. Thse parts of the Island has a pleasant climate for most of the year. The constant see breeze alleviates the average temperature of 27 C to 30 C.The tropical climate of the Island is greatly affected by the Asiatic monsoon which reverses the wind direction at predictable periods.

 

Rainfall in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka receives most of its rainfall from the monsoon winds. In between May and July, the south west monsoon winds bring rain to the western, central and southern areas of the Sri Lanka. Again, in the months of December and January, most of the rain occurs in the northern and eastern part of the island which is brought by the north east monsoon winds.Thus, it can be concluded Sri Lanka Weather is marked by very little diversity.

 

 

Shopping Information

Sri Lanka is still the magnet that draws the cognoscenti and the connoisseurs of gems, spices and porcelain on the Sri Lanka retains its claim to be the exotic emporium it was on the Silk Route with some adjustments to the modern world. Tea has replaced tusks.The wide array of items on offer range from exquisite blue sapphires to elegant handloom wraparounds of bewitching color combinations. Look around for that object d’art that will adorn your naughty nook if you have one!Costume Jeweler of Silver and other metals tell you that the craftsman have retained their eye for imaginative detail of their ancestors whose carvings enthralled you in the shrines you visited.

 

Gems:

Your choice includes Sapphires that are blue, white and star Saphires, Chrysoberyl cat’s eye, Spinel, Tourmaline, Garnet, Topaz, Moonstones and Zircon. In these days of derivatives diving for cover a precious stone of Beauty, clarity and durability is an investment for life.

 

Handloom Products:

Wraprounds, sarongs, kurthas and a wide range of blouses and shirts in tasteful colour contrasts form the apparel choice. Table linen and upholstery materiel promise both quality and value not forgetting the fact that they are hand spun cotton.

 

Antiques:

You can look for the porcelain and pottery as well as furniture of the Dutch period. You can always settle for the reproductions of furniture at much lower prices. If you are type who can wait for the paperback instead of the hard cover the latter is a wise proposition.

 

Spices:

All the aromatic spices first sought by Romans who found that the Arabs had beaten them by a length and half are now available in attractive gift packs that can convey a charming message to the recipient.

 

Tea:

Tea is available in all the blends and flavours beginning with Earl Grey once sought as the stuff from the Jewel of the Empire in the salons of Victorian England. The trendy teas that go as Sri Lanka Exports have more exotic flavours. The Tea can be bought in ingenious and innovative containers made of soft wood, polished hard wood, metal, leather, cloth and even reeds. Obviously the tea is vacuum packed.

 

Other than Gems and Antiques and Objects d’art can be bought while you are on your Sri Lanka tour from the many shops that cater to visitors or from super markets. In case you miss or forget an item you can always get it at the Sri Lanka airport.

 

 

Travel tips

While the distances are given in kilometers it is best that you plan your travel in terms of time as well. While roads are being fast upgraded congestion in some main highways and cities can cause delays. The best time for travel after an early breakfast or after lunch. The public transport system is dependent on Buses and Trains. Generally, these tend to be crowded during peak hours and before and after weekends on long distance routes.

 

Buses:

A relatively inexpensive mode of travel. Buses are operated by the state as well as by private operators. On main routes connecting cities such as Galle, Kandy, Kurunegala and Colombo you will find comfortable air conditioned buses albeit at a premium price. The comfort when on long journeys is well worth the extra charge.

 

Trains:

Slightly more expensive than travelling in a bus.. There is a high possibility of a seat on long distance trains. It is definitely the most interesting way to enjoy the scenic beauty of the island as the Railway lines were intended to connect cities to bring produce to Colombo in the shortest possible time, in an age where packing crates and jute bags were the norm and refrigeration was not easy. The Railway lines run through scenic mountain passes and long tunnels into the hills, and on bridges built on over tranquil lagoons and winding rivers.

 

Taxis (radio cabs):

Please do inquire with your Hotel Front Desk/ Reception, as many would be happy to provide you with a taxi cab. Cars may be hired for your visits to places of interest on a predetermined itinerary at an agreed price, with information being readily available through maps, and guidebooks

  

Driving in Sri Lanka:

If you rent a car with the intent of driving on your own please be fully briefed on all formalities you need to be aware of while driving in Sri Lanka. Please do inquire about road rules, traffic conditions and be aware of other drivers who may not be as careful as you.

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