Visiting Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations in the world with its vast cultural diversity. Sri Lankan culture is rich in a lot of customs and rituals, more than 2000 years which were handed down from generation to generation. Sri Lankan culture has reflected the art, architecture, Colorful festivals and sculptures. Sigiriya is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Sri Lanka. It is known as the most valuable historical monuments of Sri Lanka. This ancient fortress complex attracts thousands of tourist from the earlier period. Sigiriya also is known as the Lion’s Rock and it is located in the heart of the island between the towns of Dambulla and Habarane, Matale district of Sri Lanka. Lion Rock today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is also declared by UNESCO as the eighth wonder of the world.

Visiting Srilanka.

  • Where is Sri Lanka located at?

Sri Lanka is an island which is located in the Indian Ocean separated from peninsular India by the Palk Strait. It lies between latitudes 5°55′ and 9°51′ N and longitudes 79°41′ and 81°53′ E and has a maximum length of 268 miles (432 km) and a maximum width of 139 miles (224 km). Sri Lanka belongs to the continent of Asia, the largest continent in the world.

  • When is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is a year-round destination and any time is a great time to visit Sri Lanka. But there is a fact not to miss when selecting destinations you need to visit in Sri Lanka. SriLanka receives rainfall as a result of the winds blowing across the Indian Ocean and because of this Sri Lanka’s weather is dominated by two key monsoon seasons.

The south-western monsoon brings rain to the south-west and hill country of Sri Lanka during the period from May and September, while the dry season in this region is from December to March.

The weather in the northern and eastern coastal regions of the country is influenced by the north-eastern monsoon, which brings wind and rain between October and January, and drier weather between May and September.

The period from December to mid-April is considered the peak season of Sri Lanka and it is so in most counties of Asia.

  • What to wear in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a tropical country. The weather is hot and humid. So, travelers are comfortable with loose fitting, light cotton wears in natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk. However, the Hill Country temperature is low and it can get chilly at night. To keep the cold away, it is good to wear a wool sweater for the nights while in the day time a light cardigan.

When travelers enter the religious and sacred places of Sri Lanka, please consider and be properly attired. Female travelers need to cover their shoulders and legs. Male travelers will also need to take note of that. Ensure that your clothes cover your body completely. Long shorts or trousers paired with t-shirts or shirts would be good for the gentlemen and ladies should generally wear loose long trousers, dresses, skirts, and blouses. Never enter a temple or any religious place in beachwear, shorts or skinnies. Before entering the religious sites, you should remove your shoes, hats, and headscarves. If you are carrying an umbrella fold it.

When visiting sacred places, it is comfortable to wear sandals or flip flops as they are easier to remove. But Keep in mind that, if you are engaging in hiking or trekking through jungle trails to get there it is better to wear a good pair of socks and trainers.  Sunglasses, hats, and caps are also a necessity to protect you from the bright rays of the sun.

Women can wear bikinis when they are on the beach but when traveling around, they need to be mindful of cultural sensitivities.

  • How to get around Sri Lanka

Traveling around Sri Lanka is a little bit time consuming because of the narrow roads, congested with pedestrians, cyclists and trishatrishaws, making travel difficult. But however, when you leave the hustle and bustle of urban areas in Sri Lanka you can enjoy the scenic drives. Sri Lanka, despite its small size, offers many travel modes for travelers. Let’s see what they are.

By bus

Buses are the staple and also the cheapest mode of transport in Sri Lanka. There are two services, one operated by the Sri Lanka Transport Board (under the Sri Lankan government) and the other operated by private bus companies.  They provide additional services as semi-luxury and luxury, with more facilities than normal buses. Intercity services are also available and make fewer stops en route. Most of these convenient services are offered by private bus companies and their bus fares depend on the services provided en route and are always higher than normal bus fare.

Both private bus companies and the Sri Lanka Transport Board deploy luxury services for traveling along the expressways. Not that you may have to pay the full fare for the entire route served by the bus, irrespective of where you get off.

By train

The train network in Sri Lanka is made up of three main railway lines.

The maritime line runs along the west coast from Puttalam heading south past Negombo, Colombo, Panadura, Kalutara, Bentota, Beruwala, Ambalangoda, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Weligama, Matara and also after 2019 to Tangalle and Hambantota.

The Hill Country line runs from Colombo to Kandy and furthermore to Badulla through Hatton, Nanu Oya, Haputale, Bandarawela, Ella.

The Northern line runs from Colombo to Jaffna via Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Vavuniya. There are three sub-lines originating from the northern line. The first one is from Colombo to Batticaloa via Kurunegala, Habarana, Polonnaruwa.  The second is from Colombo to Trincomalee via Kurunegala, Habarana. The third line is From Colombo to Talaimannar via Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Mannar.

There are three train compartment classes. They are economical, second class and first class. Between second- and economy-class compartments there are not many differences. Second class seats have a bit more padding and the occasional fan in the compartment. However, the second-class compartment is known to be less crowded and hence comfortable to travel.

First class compartments are available only on selected trains and always need to be reserved in advance. There are three different types of seatings.

  • The normal seats in a/c first-class compartments on intercity trains
  • Seats in an observation car in hill country trains
  • Sleeping berths in overnight journey trains

Smart modern a/c carriages are comfortable to travel but some travelers prefer to travel in a second- or economy-class compartment with open windows and doors looking out which are better for photography and give the feeling of a real subcontinent train journey.

TukTuk Tours.

Motorized rickshaws are well known among travelers who visit Sri Lanka. They are well suited for short distance travel, especially within cities. This is extremely convenient for locals especially and can be fun for travelers to try out. Most of the rickshaws are unmetered except in Colombo. So, before taking the tour, it is always advisable to agree on a decent fare.

These are the main public transport modes in Sri Lanka and if you prefer to drive around the country by rented cars, cruises or boats Overa Tours can offer you safe, affordable and luxurious transfer options according to your preference.

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