Before Arriving in Sri Lanka

Do I need a Visa to visit Sri Lanka?
Yes. To avoid long queues on arrival, we recommend you apply online, at least 72 hours prior to departure. Please visit www.eta.gov.lk

Do I need to have any vaccinations before I visit Sri Lanka?
We recommend a common-sense approach, and either consult a Doctor or friends who have been to SL recently.

Do I need to bring mosquito repellent?
Yes. It is advisable to bring effective mosquito repellent with you.
Most villas will provide mosquito coils, plug in liquid deterrent devices, as well as mosquito nets.

Which power plugs and sockets are used in Sri Lanka?
In Sri Lanka power sockets are either square or round. It is best to bring an international adapter.



Can you arrange wine delivery to the villa, prior to our arrival?

Yes our Concierge team will assist.

 It is worth also noting that on Full moon Poya days (once a month) no alcohol can be sold in public, including restaurants and bars.


Should we bring local currency or USD?

The official and only currency of Sri Lanka is the rupee (LKR) & it’s not possible to buy LKR outside of SL.

USD has no real superiority on the island, except it is used for quoting some hotel prices to protect against the devaluation.  Do bring some currency with you, as back up cash, but more to exchange in the event of an ATM hiccup.

You can change money inside the bank in an authorised dealer.

How easy is it to withdraw cash through an ATM in Sri Lanka?

Please be aware that some banks block cards in Asian countries. We strongly suggest contacting your bank in advance of your trip, to avoid the inconvenience of the long-winded Fraud Detection process.

The ATMs that are friendliest to foreign cards are; Commercial Bank, Sampath Bank, Hatton National Bank and HSBC.

The typical Sri Lanka ATM will let you take out a maximum of $325 (LKR50,000) per transaction, with a fee of $1.95 (LKR300).

Commercial Bank ATMs usually have a higher limit of $520 (LKR80,000).

Can I get money out at Colombo / Bandaranaike International Airport?

There are three ATMs in a row, on your left, when you enter the arrival lounge after going through customs. If one doesn’t work, try another one.

There are also bank counters and money exchange facilities.

We suggest you withdraw cash for your transfer to the villa and any other immediate cash payments.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Credit Cards are widely used and accepted by local establishments. The most commonly used card types are Visa and MasterCard, with Amex to a lesser extent. Please note, the exchange rate indicated in a currency converter should only be used a guideline.

 Can I give you my credit card details for the payment?

We do not take credit card details due to security concerns but we can send a secured payment link, which can be sent by email and paid using a Visa or Mastercard.

Is tipping customary?

Yes.  Like most countries it is expected, that in addition to service charge a tip is given, although not demanded.  

Do you have any advice on carrying money with you in Sri Lanka?

Yes. Always keep your money and valuables either on you or locked away in a safe.


Is it easy to acquire a local mobile connection whilst on holiday in Sri Lanka?

Yes.  We recommend bringing an old phone (smart phones need to be ‘unlockable’) so that you can purchase a local SIM card and top up cards, during your stay. The mobile call rates are relatively cheap for both local and IDD calls as there are many mobile operators in SL.

Dialog’s network service has the best coverage. There is a counter at Colombo Airport where you can obtain a connection on arrival, or a Dialog shop in most major towns. A Dialog connection will cost about LKR 1500. Top up cards are freely available island-wide. You can buy top-up cards for denominations of LKR 100, 400 & 1000. Check that your phone is `dual band’ and ‘unlocked’.

Please note, you will need your passport to register your number.


Can you help us organise transportation during our stay?

Yes our Concierge team can advise on costs, and confirm the following; airport transfers, AC vehicles, (private) charter flights, seaplane, motorcycle rides etc. 

Can I hire a self-drive car / moped?

Yes.  Although our first recommendation is don’t. Taxis are not expensive and local driving habits take more than an average holiday to get used to.  If you insist, we can give you some car hire connections.

What advice can you give about travelling around by tuk tuk?

Make sure your driver knows your destination and that you have agreed a price before setting off.

You should always carry lower denominations with you; Rs50, Rs100, Rs500, Rs1000 as the correct change can be hard to come by.


What is the nearest and best hospital in case of medical emergency?

The best private hospitals are Asiri in both Galle and Matara.

If longer term hospitalization is required, then in Colombo there are several that have a good reputation.

In case of an emergency, you will be taken to a Government Hospital and once stable can be moved to a private one.

Is there a pharmacy nearby?

Pharmacies are widely available, and most remedies can be purchased over the counter.

Events & Weddings

We would like to get married in Sri Lanka, can you help organise this?

Whilst some of our villas allow events we do not co ordinate them ourselves and we can happily introduce you an event planner who we have worked with before.

Religious Festivals & Holidays

How will Religious Festivals & Public Holidays affect my stay in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lankan’s enjoy 25 days of public holidays per year, the highest number of public holidays in the world. The nation celebrates Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian festivals.

Great significance is given to Full moon ‘Poya’ days. These days are marked as an official public holiday to allow Sri Lankan Buddhists’ to make offerings at their local temple and perform other religious observances. During these days (usually once a month), the sale of alcohol, meat and fish is prohibited, and some shops and businesses are closed.

During the Sinhalese New Year festival in mid-April, and the two-day holiday for Vesak in May, there is a general pause in government, mercantile and the banking sectors, when the country takes time off to celebrate.

What is the Religious Demographic in Sri Lanka?

Buddhist 70.2%, Hindu 12.6%, Muslim 9.7%, Roman Catholic 6.1%, other Christian 1.3%, other 0.05%.


Which Buddhist Temples can we visit?

You are welcome to visit any, large or small, and experience traditions and customs that date back to ancient times. Temples are found everywhere in Sri Lanka – from the humble to the spectacular and are a very important part of the country’s cultural community. No matter where you’re staying, you will find a temple nearby.

Some of our favourite Temple’s along the south coast are:

Sri Sudharmalaya Buddhist Temple (Galle Fort)

The only Temple inside Galle Fort, its location affords it an unusual history and design. During Sri Lanka’s colonial times, part of today’s structure, was a church and parts used as a storage facility. Large areas of the temple still hold this unique colonial design today.


Rumassala Temple (Unawatuna) 6 km from Galle

Also known as the Japanese Peace Pagoda, this unique Buddhist temple has uninterrupted views of Galle Fort and the Indian Ocean. An immense and tranquil temple, built and lived in by Japanese monks.


Yatagala Raja Maha Viharaya Temple (Yatagala) 7 km from Galle

About 10 mins from Galle, Yatagala Temple is a lovely one to visit. Peaceful and calm, it is a 2,000-year-old rock temple surrounded by rice paddy fields and panoramic views.


Wewurukannala Temple (Dikwella) 14 km from Galle

This temple is dominated by a 48-metre statue of the seated Buddha, built in the 18th century – the largest in Sri Lanka. The temple houses further Buddha sculptures and Buddhist paintings depicting heaven and hell.




Katalua Temple 18 km from Galle

The crumbling walls of this atmospheric temple give away its age. Katalua Temple has stood in this quiet location for 200 years and is a peaceful place to visit. The ancient dagga (stupa) still stands proud and locked away is an indoor shrine that can be opened on request. Buddhist murals cover the walls and ceiling of the shrine, while flowers and offerings are placed at Buddha’s’ feet.

Insider’s tip: A visit in the early afternoon will, on most days, ensure that you have the entire temple grounds to yourself.


Paravi Duwa Temple / Island Temple (Matara) 2 km from Matara

Commonly known as Matara’s island temple, a bridge takes you from mainland Matara across to a temple on an island in the sea, a spectacular sight. As temples go, it’s not the most intricate or interesting, but it is perhaps worth the wander across the bridge, for the unique experience itself.


Weherahena Buddhist Temple (Dondra) 5 km from Matara

Prepare yourself for quite a sight, as you enter the Weherahena Temple. At around 39 metres, the Buddha statue here will make you feel rather small! Wander to the end of the grounds and be sure to take the stairs down, to what is said to be, the first and largest tunnel temple in the world. Entrance fee to the underground side of the temple is a donation of around 250 rupees, and you’ll be guided through a labyrinth of murals depicting Buddhist tales.


What is the Temple etiquette in Sri Lanka?

In respect of the culture, here are some guidelines to acknowledge:

  • Dress conservatively. Long skirts or trousers and tops with sleeves. If you are in a sleeveless top, many temples will require you to use scarves and sarongs to cover your shoulders, so always keep one with you.
  • Always remove your shoes and headgear at the designated entrance.
  • Turn off mobile phones and remove headphones.
  • You are welcome to join resident’s in prayer, and to offer incense and flowers if you wish.
  • During a ceremony, always sit on a level lower to the monks.
  • During ceremonies and prayers, keep talking to a minimum, and do not walk around.
  • Do not touch a monk even to shake hands. Simply place your palms together in front of you, ideally   close to your forehead, in a prayer pose.
  • Do not sit too close to, or touch a statue of Buddha, or its raised platform.
  • Do not point your feet at another person or Buddha statue, while sitting.
  • When exiting, don’t immediately turn your back from a Buddha statue, back away a few metres first, then turn and walk.
  • Do not point using your finger, instead use your right hand with palm upwards facing.
  • There are no restrictions on taking photographs, although it is polite to request permission.
  • Respect “Do not enter” signs, as these are likely the most sacred parts of the temple.
Beach Life

Is there anything I need to be aware of, regarding the beaches in Sri Lanka?

Yes.  Riptides and your valuables.

Please be aware of rip tides. Even the best swimmers can be caught in them. These currents are strong, fast channels of water moving out to sea.  

If you do find yourself caught in a rip:

  • Try to remain calm.
  • Don’t try to swim against it, you’ll exhaust yourself.
  • Try to stand.
  • If you can, swim parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then head for shore.

As with all beaches, anywhere, never leave valuables unattended.

Shopping & Restaurants

What are the best Restaurants & Shops to visit?

Once you have booked a villa we will give you access to our app that contains details of all local shops & much more.

Can you recommend a restaurant for us?

Yes, we can provide suggestions of where to eat out. We cannot book it for you as very often a credit card is required, but we can give you the tel to do so.

Is there a market or supermarket close by, if we need anything?

Yes.  There are supermarkets in all major and minor towns, of varying quality.

Galle has a growing number of supermarkets which stock a variety of produce, including imported foods and drinks:

  • Keells Supermarket (two in Galle town) has a good bakery and butcher and also has an in-store pharmacy.
  • Seafair (on Galle Road between Galle Fort and Unawatuna) is a family-run supermarket, helpful and friendly, they stock a good
    selection of imported brands.
  • Arpico Supercentre (on Galle Road between Galle Fort and Unawatuna) sells an array of food products and has its own in-house bakery and pharmacy.
  • For fresh fruit and vegetables, the markets on the main high street in Galle are great. There are also various fish markets selling freshly caught seafood along the coast road.


Further along the Coast are the following:

  • Tangalle and Dikwella both have a Cargills Food
    City supermarket. Matara has an Arpico Supercentre.
  • Keells Supermarket can be found on both sides of Matara.
  • Kudawella Fish market is near to Dikwella.


Can we go shopping with the chef?

Yes. In fact, we’d encourage it, so you can get a feel for what is available and the prices.  Also going to the fresh markets (fruit & veg / fish) is fun.

Activities, Trips & Excursions

Can you help us book day trips and excursions, during our stay?

Yes. Our Concierge team will happily help you book any of the following.

Whale watching, Bird Sanctuaries, Rainforest nature trail, Geoffrey Bawa’s Lunuganga Estate, Bike tours, Safari, Heli-ride, Enfield Motorcycle ride, Scuba Diving, Private yacht charter, Catamaran boat trip, Koggala Lake Boat tour, Galle Fort tour & Cinnamon farm visit and more.


Can you arrange yoga and massages in the villa?

Yes, these can be arranged with our concierge team


Should I book everything (transport, activities, meals etc) in advance?

Yes, for transport and activities. Please book through our Concierge team

For meals it would be sensible to book the first and second day in advance of arrival. From then you’ll have a good idea of how talented your chef is and can discuss / plan accordingly.  


Can you help us to plan a round trip before checking in to the villa?

Yes we can certainly give some suggestions.


What is the best place to see elephants? Can we ride them?

The best place to see wild elephants, is in Udawalawe National Park.  

Due to the unkind nature of the process to make this happen we do not offer or endorse the riding of elephants.

Villa Info

Is there safe drinking / bottled water at the villa?

Yes, villas will provide bottled drinking water.

We can arrange sparkling water on request, which will incur an extra cost.

Can we access the kitchen in the villa?

You can access the kitchen if you are operating a ‘float system’, but if you book a villa with a ‘set price menu plan’ we ask that you respect the cook’s space and ask for anything you may need. Having said that if you would like a demonstration how to prepare a Sri Lankan curry our chefs will be happy to oblige. 

Is there a breakage deposit to pay?

This varies from villa to villa.  Should something be broken during your stay, we ask that you inform the staff / office and contribute towards its replacement.


Can you introduce us to a reputable Registered charity or project during our time in Sri Lanka?

Yes. The Rosie May Foundation is a registered International children’s charity, working in Sri Lanka, to protect children in crisis through Project Hope. Please visit www.rosie-may.com.


For a charity involved with Environmental issues we suggest https://lankaenvironmentfund.org

Call us

+94 (0) 91 223 2568

Find us

485 Matara Rd,
Dalawella, Unwatuna
Sri Lanka

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