The official capital is the city of Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, which houses the supreme court and parliament. The actual capital, with the residence of the president and the seat of government, is Colombo.
The state language is Sinhala. Most of the population is fluent in English.
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Most hotels in Sri Lanka are focused on European tourists. Particular attention should be paid to hotels in Colombo, in the mountains, as well as in the southeast of the country.
The mains voltage is 210, sometimes 240 Volts. Sockets with three pins are used. You can always ask for an adapter at the hotel.
The official currency of Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan rupee (LKR). One rupee is equal to 100 cents. The country uses banknotes of 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10 rupees, as well as coins of 5, 2 and 1 rupee and 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
In large hotels and shops you can pay by credit card. Foreign currency imported into the country must be declared.
Banks and exchange offices
It is best to exchange money at the port of Colombo. The check that you will be given after this currency exchange must be kept until the very end of the trip. Then, if you fly out of Colombo, you will have the opportunity to exchange back unspent money at the rate at which you bought them.
Also, money is exchanged at any bank or hotel. Banks are open only on weekdays, from 9 am to 1 pm.
Almost all shops are open from 10 to 22 all week.
Sri Lanka is famous all over the world for precious stones: topazes, rubies, sapphires and others. You need to buy products made of precious stones in specialized stores, requiring you to show a certificate when buying. Spices, Ceylon tea, masks, leather goods and batik are also famous all over the world. In city shops you can buy cheap textiles. See liuxers for Sri Lanka customs and traditions.
You can bargain in private shops and markets. You can reduce the price by as much as 30% from the original. But in state-owned stores, shopping centers, supermarkets and DUTY FREE stores, bargaining will not work.
Useful phones and communication
To call Sri Lanka, you need to dial 8 – (beep) – 10 – 94 (country code) – (area code) – (number of the subscriber you are calling).
Major city codes:
Colombo – 1
Moratua – 1
Halle – 9
Jaffna – 21
Emergency phone numbers:
Ambulance – 144
Police – 133,
Colombo Police – 43-33-44
Fire Department – 122
Emergency Service – 120
Movement in the country is left-handed. The train on public and private buses costs the same and is one of the cheapest in the world. The best way to travel between cities is by train. A trip to the most distant city from Colombo will cost 300 rupees.
In the capital, as well as in its suburbs, it is possible to call a taxi. The first kilometer costs 28-30 rupees. Each next kilometer will cost 24-26 rupees. In Sri Lanka, there is also a special, “folk” taxi. It is a three-wheeled scooter. A trip on it costs only 15-20 rupees per kilometer.
It is better not to rent a car in Sri Lanka – the traffic in the country is very unusual, and drivers, as well as pedestrians, very often violate traffic rules. If you are really confident in your abilities, then to rent a car you need to have a passport, international driving license and a credit card. Also, you must be at least 21 years of age.
Wash your hands thoroughly before eating to avoid stomach infections. You also need to carefully wash fruits and vegetables purchased at the market. You need to drink factory-bottled water – tap water is not recommended.
Repellents should be used when visiting nature reserves and national parks. Before a trip to the jungle, especially with an overnight stay, you should take anti-malaria pills.
You have to be very vigilant about monkeys. These animals can easily snatch things from your hands, not only food, but also a camera. Windows in hotel rooms should be carefully closed, otherwise the monkeys may well arrange a real mayhem there.
Tipping is absolutely optional, they are usually included in the bill and make up about 10% of it. If the waiter has served you very well, you can give him a few rupees. Also porters and porters in hotels expect small tips from you.