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Quick Facts

About Colombo

Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, Colombo is a cosmopolitan, multi-cultural city, with a long and fascinating history, and a strong cultural identity.


An Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is required for most visitors to Sri Lanka. Visit www.eta.gov.lk to obtain your visa. On the basis of reciprocity, citizens of Singapore, the Maldives and the Seychelles need not obtain an ETA to visit Sri Lanka.


The unit of currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee, which is available in 20, 50, 100, 1000, 2000 and 5000 denomination bank notes and 5 and 10 denomination in coins.

It is normally abbreviated with Rs., or LKR, to distinguish it from other rupee currencies.

Credit cards are accepted in all major hotels and shopping malls. Cash and travellers’ cheques can be exchanged in licensed exchange offices and at international hotels.

Here are the most recent exchange rates for some common currencies.

LKR 1.00 equals:

Exchange Rates Currency
0.0052 Euro (EUR)
0.0046 British Pound (GBP)
0.68 Japanese Yen (JPY)
1.00 Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
0.006 US Dollar (USD)


Hotels' rates are subject to 30.28% local taxes.



Tipping is not compulsory, although a gratuity for good service will be appreciated.

Business Hours

Bank Hours: 9am – 3pm, Monday to Friday

Office Hours: 8.30am – 4.30pm Monday to Friday

Shopping Hours: 10am – 7pm Monday to Friday, 10am – 3pm on Saturdays

Public Health

Health Risk 

The health risks in Sri Lanka are different from those encountered in Europe and North America. Watch out for bowel diseases such as diarrhoea and amoebic dysentery, vector borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever and a variety of fungal infections. Sri Lanka’s physicians, many of whom have trained in the West, are particularly experienced in dealing with locally occurring diseases.

Before you go 

No inoculations are compulsory unless you are coming from a yellow fever or cholera area. (Cholera is very occasionally reported in Sri Lanka, and therefore not considered a serious risk). However, the following vaccinations are recommended, particularly if you are planning a long trip or intend to visit remote areas: Typhoid (monovalent), Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies.

Children should also be protected against diphtheria, whooping cough, mumps, measles and rubella. Remember to plan your vaccinations well ahead. Allow up to six weeks to receive the full course. Some vaccinations require more than one dose, and some should not be given together.


Drink bottled water only. Tap water is not safe to drink, and boiling and filtering is sometimes done too hastily.

Local Health Care 

Minor health problems can always be treated by doctors with practices in the resorts and elsewhere in the country. If you have a more serious problem, Colombo has a number of modern, well-equipped private hospitals.

A growing number of foreigners are taking advantage of affordable, high-quality private healthcare in Sri Lanka, and combining it with the chance to take a holiday. Though the medical tourism industry in Sri Lanka is still in its early days, several private hospitals in Colombo are providing advanced surgery and other treatments to international clients.


Cotton clothes are appropriate at any time of the year, but you will need warmer and waterproof clothes for the hill country and mountain areas. Modest dress for women is advisable, especially off the beach and when visiting religious sites. Don’t forget comfortable shoes, sandals or trainers, and cotton socks. If you are planning to trek and climb, go prepared with suitable gear.

Dress code is generally smart-casual for special occasions and activities and formal for official functions, weddings and business conventions unless stated otherwise.


Tropical climate. Mostly sunny, with occasional monsoonal rains. Humidity is high.


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Local Climate
Month High Low
Jan 32.4°C 29.7°C
Feb 33.2°C 30.2°C
Mar 33.4°C 30.9°C
Apr 34.2°C 31.2°C
May 34.8°C 30.7°C
Jun 36.1°C 30.3°C
Jul 35.5°C 30.6°C
Aug 35.5°C 30.1°C
Sep 34.7°C 29.9°C
Oct 34.6°C 30.1°C
Nov 32.4°C 29.9°C
Dec 32.7°C 29.6°C

20.97 million (2015)

English, Sinhalese, Tamil

Time Zone
IST, GMT (+5.30)

International Metric System

220 / 240 volts

Plug Type