Sri Lanka Tours
The island of Sri Lanka, located in the Indian Ocean, is attractive with parks, palm trees, sandy beaches and historical monuments. Sri Lanka is separated from the Indian Ocean Peninsula by the Strait of Polk.
Tours to Sri Lanka from Moscow can be purchased at affordable prices, and it is convenient to combine sightseeing and beach holidays. The southwestern coast of the island has a well-developed infrastructure. Here the exotic nature is complemented by beautiful beaches, and surfing and diving are the most popular water activities. Temples, national parks Yala and Minneriya, turtle farms, elephant nurseries are considered the treasures of the island.
The climate is tropical. On the average air temperature during the year is about +29 °С and water temperature is +26 °С. On the west coast, the rainy season is from May to September, on the east coast from November to March. Thus, Sri Lanka is a year-round destination, if you choose the right coast.
A trip to Sri Lanka from Moscow involves vacationing at beach resorts and due to the variety of tours you will always find something to do.
Sri Lanka is famous for its tea plantations, not for nothing Ceylon tea with the image of elephant on the package has become a world famous brand. Many tours are dedicated to this destination, which include traditional tea drinking and the opportunity to buy exotic varieties of drink. For example, a tour to Nuwara Eliya, a resort surrounded by waterfalls and tea plantations. The city is also famous for the lake with trout Gregory, colonial-style mansions and a luxurious golf club.
The Royal Botanical Gardens are rare plants, including a pine “drunken alley,” Bengal ficus 2.5 km in area, a giant bamboo from Burma, which can grow up to 1 m in a day, and spruce, planted by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
Tours to Sri Lanka from Moscow – it is also an opportunity to visit Adam’s Peak, where you can meet a spectacular sunrise, as well as to visit a place of pilgrimage of believers, the temple on the mountain.
Pinnavela is famous for its elephant nursery which is a sanctuary for elephants found in the jungle. You can watch them from a fairly close distance, catch them bathing in the river and feeding from a bottle.
A tour to Sri Lanka from Moscow, which prices are reduced during the winter, will allow you to visit many island towns – each with its own twist.
Booking a tour to Sri Lanka from Moscow, you can also visit the cultural center of Kandy. The cost of the tour is justified, because it is a sacred Buddhist place, where they cherish the traditions and maintain folk crafts, dances and music, as well as religious rituals. From here tourists take away wooden products with unique carvings, which has no analogues in the world.
The main historical and religious treasure of the island is the Temple of the Tooth of Buddha with the sacred tooth, which is stored in a 120-kilogram casket and leaves the temple only during the biggest holiday of the East – Esala Perahera. For 10 nights in August, the relic is displayed to the public and a grand procession with elephants decorated with festive harnesses, hundreds of musicians and torch dancers is organized on the occasion.
Tours to Sri Lanka from Moscow can be even more informative if you plan to visit the town of Ratnapura, which has long been famous for mining and processing rubies, alexandrite, topaz, sapphires, aquamarines and garnets. Some of the largest sapphires on the planet, the “Blue Giant of the East” and the “Blue Beauty of Asia”, were found here. A guided tour of Ratnapura includes descending into a gemstone mine, visiting a stone processing factory and a mineralogical museum.
In Galle there are not only colonial buildings, but also partially a Dutch fort. Here you can see the prison building, Buddhist temples and residential buildings.
Sigiriya Fortress on a high plateau is a large palace and castle complex with gardens. It has been preserved since the beginning of our era and is protected by UNESCO.
Colombo, which serves as a transit point for many tourists because of the international airport, is interesting with the Presidential Palace, Independence Square, and Pettah Bazaar.
Buy a tour to Sri Lanka from Moscow is a chance to appreciate the scale of the famous Buddhist temple in South Asia in the city of Dambulla. This is a cave temple and monastery, which began its history in the I century BC. The five caves are painted with scenes of Buddha’s life and contain 73 statues of Buddha.
Anuradhapura is the center of the Sinhalese kingdom. There is a lot to see for history and culture lovers – the ruins of the Lankan civilization, the unusual palace of Lohaprasada II century BC and Bo tree, which grew from the offshoot of the tree, under which the Buddha reached enlightenment.
On your own to Sri Lanka in 2022 – step by step instructions
The rules of entry into many countries are getting easier and easier, and Sri Lanka is one of those countries, which literally every month reduces the requirements for tourists. For a vacation in Sri Lanka you will need a passport, airline tickets from Sri Lanka, processed online or on arrival visa plus one of the “covid” documents (or vaccination, or PCR test, or antigen test). Such simple rules for entering the country make Sri Lanka an attractive destination for seaside holidays and independent travel around the island, where there is definitely something to see.
This article contains instructions for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers on how to travel to Sri Lanka under the current Sri Lanka rules and conditions of entry.
If you have read the Sri Lanka Rules of Entry, you should note that all tourists, whether vaccinated or not, are free to travel in Sri Lanka, stay at any hotel or guesthouse, there are no quarantines, and no tests should they arrive to Sri Lanka.
An independent trip to Sri Lanka must be organized in stages, as some steps are not possible without following the previous ones:
1. Obtain an official document of complete vaccination against COVID-19 (for those who have been vaccinated)
Vaccination document requirements:
- Original COVID-19 vaccination certificate confirming that the tourist is fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks prior to departure to Sri Lanka (if less than 14 days, the tourist is considered unvaccinated);
- Sri Lanka accepts all vaccines registered and recognized by the country issuing the official vaccination document,
- COVID-19 vaccination certificate must be in English or there must be a certified copy of translation into English.
Unusual excursions from locals
2. Choose a travel itinerary and appropriate transportation
Sri Lanka delights with a variety of wildlife, impressive historical and cultural sites, wide sandy beaches and incredibly beautiful sunsets.
To travel independently in Sri Lanka it is important to choose the right
- the time of the trip – so as not to get in the rainy season (the article When it is better to go to Sri Lanka – weather and climate will help),
- the route of the trip according to your preferences – some people want to see the ancient cities and impressive temples, others prefer to drive on all the beaches (the tourist map of Sri Lanka can help).
- suitable transport (article Transport for traveling in Sri Lanka).
If you want to freely move around the sights and beaches of Sri Lanka, and not depend on unpredictable public transport, it is worth choosing one of the options:
3. Buy airline tickets.
Do not chase the cheapest airline tickets to Sri Lanka – you can lose money due to flight cancellations. It’s safer to choose an airline that already flies to Sri Lanka.
- help you find the best options for flights Aviasales and Kiwi.com – I advise you to use filters and a handy app to track prices (save time and money),
- Currently, Sri Lanka is flown by Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul), Emirates and FlyDubai (via Dubai), Qatar (via Doha), Etihad (via Abu Dhabi), Airarabia (via Sharjah) and Srilankan Airlines.
- Air tickets from Sri Lanka should be printed out and must be taken with you on the trip .
4. Book a Hotel
To get an online visa for Sri Lanka (it’s called ETA) and to pass pass passport control, you need to provide a hotel reservation for the first hotel in your travel itinerary.
Hotel reservations can be made on any of the hotel reservation services – booking com, agoda.com or trip.com. To determine which site is the best to book a hotel, you can compare prices using hotelook.
If your bank card is not accepted for prepayment for the room, book a hotel with the payment on the spot.
If you decide to vacation in a small resort, I advise to book a room with meals, at least with breakfast and dinner. Paying for food on the spot is usually more expensive.
One of the best hotels on Hikkaduwa Beach is Hikka Tranz by Cinnamon.
5. Fill out the online visa application (ETA)
- In the Adress in SriLanka field enter the name and address of the hotel you booked,
- Pay for visa (ETA) – 35$ plus approx. 2$ fee,
- After you receive the visa by e-mail, print the text of the received letter.
If you have difficulty paying for the visa, you can get a visa on arrival in Sri Lanka at the Colombo airport, but this option is available only to fully vaccinated tourists.
6. Buy Travel Insurance
The Sri Lankan government strongly recommends that all tourists buy travel insurance and I agree with them. Twice I had to seek medical care in Sri Lanka. I can say the following:
- Government medicine in Sri Lanka is long and chaotic (for example, my child with a fever forgot to take his temperature),
- Private medicine – it is expensive (call a doctor – about $ 100, plus the cost of medicines).
You can buy insurance quickly and easily at Cherehapa (for Russia) or Hotline (for Ukraine).
7. Book a transfer from the airport to the hotel
Think about how you will get from the airport to the hotel. The most convenient way is to book a transfer.
8. Get a negative PCR test for COVID-19 or Antigen test (for the unvaccinated) before you fly to Sri Lanka
Since April 2022, Sri Lanka has given tourists a choice – before flying to Sri Lanka you can present:
- Either a certificate of vaccination,
- or a negative PCR test done no more than 72 hours before departure for Sri Lanka (the time counts from the time of donation),
- or a negative Antigen test done no more than 48 hours before the flight to Sri Lanka (time counts from the time of submission of the material).
Requirements for test results:
- The document with the result of PCR test or Antigen test must be in English , name and surname must match the passport,
- The test results must be in printed form,
- Negative PCR/Antigen test must be submitted by all unvaccinated travelers older than 12 years (for more details – see Sri Lanka Entry Regulations).
9. Upon arrival, exchange currency and get a SIM card
At the airport you will be able to exchange euros, dollars and many other currencies for local money – rupees. Remember that the cash rubles and hryvnia in Sri Lanka is almost impossible to change.
The exchange rate at the airport is not favorable – at the moment it is much better to change dollars and euros in the jewelry stores or at exchange offices in the resort villages on the coast of Sri Lanka (remember that you should almost always bargain).
Cash in local currency you will need, because in Sri Lanka is not everywhere you can pay with a bank card, and ATMs (in Sri Lanka they are called “A.T.M.” – ATM) are much rarer than one would want.
SIM-card with 7 GB Internet from the local mobile operator will help to stay in touch – have access to your mailbox, mesedzhemeram, social networks, news, and calls. You can refill your account in almost any store.
Currency exchange at the airport, in the background, transfer drivers are waiting for customers
10. Travel and enjoy your vacation in Sri Lanka
As with any trip, it is important not to build too high expectations about the trip ahead. Therefore, I recommend reading the article 7 ways to ruin your vacation in Sri Lanka.
Undoubtedly, many of the sights and interesting places in Sri Lanka can be seen on your own, but sometimes you still want to hear a good guide. Before ordering an excursion, I advise you to read the reviews:
It is very encouraging that Sri Lanka is opening up more and more to tourists and if you want, you can afford to travel independently on this incredibly beautiful island. Article that may be useful to you – What to see in Sri Lanka – an overview of the most interesting places on the island.