20 things you did not know about Sri Lanka
Warning in Sri Lanka
Do not carry dangerous Drugs. Drugs mean death by law & effect.
Exports in Sri Lanka
Purchases made in Sri Lanka out of foreign currency brought in , can be exported duty free up to certain limit.
Tea in Sri Lanka
Ceylon tea is considered the best in the world. It is sold everywhere. The Ceylon Tea Promotion Bureau sells special high quality gift tea packs at their sales points at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake, at Colombo Passenger Jetty and the office of the Bureau, 574, Galle Road, Colombo 03.
Monday to Friday 0900 – 1700 hrs. Saturdays 0900 – 1300. Tel 2553652. The Ceylon Tea. Packetted tea is available at this counter.
Note : Tea could be purchased for local currency, at the airport ,only at the Tea Counter in the outer lobby. No local currency is accepted at the Tea Counter within the transit & Departure Lounge.
Tea can be the best gift to buy from your last Sri Lanka rupees.
If you intend to take more than 7kg you need to obtain a letter of permission from the Tea Bureau.
Antiques in Sri Lanka
No antique could be exported . Also restricted us the export of rare books, palm leaf manuscripts, and rare anthropological material.
For the export of rare books and palm leaf manuscripts and antiques (sometimes are necessary on special application), permits are necessary from Director of National Archives and the Archaeological Commissioner, respectively. Articles more than 50 years old are considered antiques.
Gems in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Gem & Jewellery Exchange (SLGJE) is a Government Institution, which comes under the purview of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka (NGJA) in functions as a Service Center to facilitate the export oriented gem and jewellery trade.
The “SLGJE” houses 38 Shops which offer for sale a wide range of precious and semi precious gems as well as jewellery both handcrafted and machine made.
There are 52 members of the Exchange out of which 32 are Life Members. Gem Testing laboratory which is part of the “SLGJE” and operated by the “NGJA”, offers a free gem testing facility to foreigners.
Sri Lanka Gem & Jewellery Exchange, Level 4 & 5, East Low Block, World Trade Center , Echelon Square – Colombo 01.
Export Facilitation Activities :
The National Gem & Jewellery, Authority (NGJA) has widened its scope by moving in to its new head Office building and centralizing, following facilities needed for the Export activities on a commonfloor.
- Export Division
- Export Promotion Division
- Gem Testing & Certification laboratory
- Sri Lanka Customs (Gem Unit)
- Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (Ltd)
- Post Office
- Air Forwarding Facilities.
For further Details :
Contact: Manager (Export Promotion) National Gem & Jewellery Authority, 25 Galle Face Terrace, Colombo 03. Tel : 2390645/8
Protected Flora and Fauna in Sri Lanka
Purchase and Export without Licence of any wild animal, bird or reptile dead or alive; also the export of parts of such animal—bird or reptile, such as skins, horns, scales and feathers is prohibited under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance.
Occasional exports are, however, permitted exclusively for bona fide scientific purposes. It is prohibited to export over 450 plant species without special permits. All applications for special permission to export Fauna should be made to Director, Department of Wildlife Conservation, 811/A, Jayanthipura, Battaramulla and Flora should be made to the Director, Forest Department, 82 Rajamalwatta Road, Battaramulla. T: 2866632
Permits For Photographing, Filming & Recording at Historical Sites in Sri Lanka
Tourists who wish to visit and/or photograph the principal ancient monuments in Sri Lanka are required to obtain a ticket from the Central Cultural Fund. Remember that in Sri Lanka, Buddhism is a living religion and most ancient monuments are still venerated.
Photography should not be done in a manner causing disrespect to the shrines, images or monuments. Posing of models in front of statues and paintings is prohibited. There will be separate charges at each site.
The cost of entry tickets to Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa US$25 Sigiriya is US$30 per adult and half rate per child per site, (accepted in rupee value per adult and half rate per child.) Tickets are available at the office of the Central Cultural Fund, 212/1 Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 07. T: 2587912, 2500732/3, or Central Cultural Fund Project Offices at Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Kandy.
These permits will not cover photography at Dalada Maligawa (the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic,) Kandy and the Aukana Temple. In Kandy Permits are obtainable daily at Temple entrance. Rs. 1,500 for European nationals and Rs. 500 for nationals from SAARC Countries. Only authorised guides attached to the Temple are permitted, within the Shrine.
Aukana & Dambulla
The Permit could be obtained at the temple premises. (Above rates depend on existing exchange rates and are subject to change.)
Temple Entry in Sri Lanka
All visitors to Buddhist and Hindu temples are expected to be unshod and have their heads uncovered. Buddhists do not object to visitors offering flowers at the feet of the Buddha. If you wish to make any donation or contribution put it into a till in the temple. You may not be allowed entry to the inner sanctum of Hindu temples.
It is best to be decently clad when visiting any place of worship. Sun and beach wear is not the ideal for temples and shrines. Briefs, shorts, bare shoulders and backs may not be appreciated. You need not be stiff and overdressed. Just comfortable and decently covered.
What to wear during your tour in Sri Lanka
Light cotton dresses of the drip-dry wash-and-wear variety and light-weight suits are the most comfortable year round attire. A wide-brimmed beach hat and sunglasses are recommended Slippers or sandals will be more comfortable than shoes. Medium weight slacks and pullovers will be necessary in the hill country where the temperature can go down to as low as 50 oF (10oC).
Bars in Sri Lanka
Alcoholic drinks are freely available at public bars, restaurants, wine shops, stores & supermarkets.
However sale of liquor is prohibited on Poya Days (Full Moon Days). Most hotel bars and restaurants also observe this rule.
Electricity in Sri Lanka
230 — 240 VOLTS 50 CYCLES A.C.
Holidays in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has a five day week. In addition to Saturdays and Sundays and special Public Holidays, the full moon (Poya) day of each month is a public holiday. All places of entertainment (including cinemas) and bars are closed on Poya day. Hotels make special arrangements for customers to order their drinks the day before a Poya Holiday.
Television In Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has two state owned TV channels Rupavahini and the Independent Television Network (ITN). In addition to these, there are private channels— MTV, Sirasa TV, TN L, ETV, ART TV, Siyatha, Swarnavahini, Derana, MAX TV, TV Lanka & Shakthi TV. 11 Stations cable and Satellite TV services available.
CCTV ART TV carries CNN news bulletins. ETV, MTV carries Fox News and ART TV are exclusive English channels. English movies and documentaries are featured on other channels as well.
Radio in Sri Lanka
In addition to the state run Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), several new private radio stations are on the air on FM bands. Over 15 radio channels in Sinhala, English and Tamil. Yes FM, E, TNL, Lite, SUN FM, Neth FM, Real Radio, City FM, offer latest contemporary music & programming. Gold FM and Classic offer vintage fair.
Newspapers in Sri Lanka
English Dailies: Ceylon Daily News, The Island, Daily Mirror, On Sundays: Sunday Observer, Sunday Island, Sunday Times, Sunday Leader, The Nation, Lakbima News, Ceylon Today.
• EMS Lanka (International) D.R. Wijewardena Mw., Colombo 01, T: 2447844, 2328644 Ext. EMS. EMS (Domestic) Postmaster General’s Office, Colombo 01 T: 2447844 • FedEx Express 300, Galle Road, Colombo 03.1: 4522222, • Aramex 360 Galle Road, Colombo 03. T: 4978140 • DHL 130, Glennie St., Colombo 02. T: 4798600 •TNT International Express 315, Vauxhall St., Colombo 02. T: 2308444
Inland telephone in Sri Lanka
Colombo and most provincial towns are linked by direct dial telephone service. Each provincial exchange where direct dialling facilities are available has a Code number, which precedes the subscriber’s number.
When dialling within the same exchange, do not dial the code.
Mobile Phones in Sri Lanka
The are five mobile telephone services operating in Sri Lanka. All of them — Etisalat, Mobitel, Airtel, Hutch and Dialog — serve Colombo and the suburbs, Kandy and has Island-wide coverage. A wide range of services and packages are offered by all. Information can be sort through the wide network of centers in Colombo and suburbs. The four services offer varying tariff and service packages, Etisalat: 072 2123123, 072 2454154 • Mobitel: 071 2755777 • Dialog: 0777 678678 • Hutch: 0785785785 • Airtel: 0759557000