Sri Lanka is one of those places you have to see to believe. I can’t speak highly enough about it as somewhere to travel. Everything about it from the landscape to the locals will leave you lost for words on a daily basis.
There’s so much to do in Sri Lanka, with access to some of the best safaris and beaches in Asia. It’s somewhere you can surf, go whale watching and see a wild elephant all in the same day. There’s plenty to think about packing for a trip to Sri Lanka, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to the following essentials:
T-shirts, vests, shorts
It’s hot, with temperatures ranging from 22 degrees in January - February, to 31 degrees in March - May. This does vary by region however as different areas of the island have different climates at the same time of the year - check out the weather report on lanka.com for more information.
In general, t-shirts and vests are a must, and you’d be mad to pack any trousers (unless you’re planning a few posh meals out). Bring some comfy shorts for the flight too - it’s a long one (around 10 hours 30 minutes direct from London Heathrow)
Swimming shorts, rash vest.
The surfing in Sri Lanka is some of the best in the world and something you have to experience when on a trip there. A rash vest is a must for the seasoned surfers - it’s not something as easy (or pleasant) to rent, so is a must if you’re planning on a full afternoon on a board. There’s plenty of places to rent surfboards in the more touristy areas such as Weligama and Mirissa, so head there to spend the day catching waves and in the evening enjoy the beach bars for an ice cold beer and freshly caught fish on the barbecue.
Like most tropical islands, it comes with its fair share of mosquitoes. Take plenty of bug spray (with DEET for maximum effect), as you’ll come across your fair share at the beaches in the evening and you don’t want a load of itchy bites on the first day ruining the trip!
Invest in a good camera.
The scenery in Sri Lanka is breathtaking, home to the most beautiful train journey in the world (INSERT LINK) along with some of the most amazing beaches you’re ever likely to see. It’s surprisingly green and mountainous in the more central part of the country, and can feel as though you’re in a completely different country when making a mere 3 hour journey from the coast to the incredible town of Ella, nestled in amongst the hills.
If all that wasn’t enough, it has a couple of outstanding safaris in Udawalawe and Yala. At Yala you might even be lucky enough to see the elusive leopard, although you'll need to keep your eyes peeled as they like to stay hidden during the day. At Udawalawe there a more elephants than you can shake a stick at, although we’d advise against this as they can be known to charge when intimidated. This is however incredibly rare and your experience of them will likely be one of laid back chomping on the surrounding shrubbery.
Plenty of Rupees!
ATM’s in the more rural areas of Sri Lanka are notoriously difficult to find. This can prove to be a problem when needing to get a tuk tuk to an from where you need to be. It’s also good to have low denominations of the currency, as some bus drivers may struggle with change if it’s later on in the day and you’re attempting to pay with something equivalent to £100.
You will find yourself wanting to leave a generous tip everywhere you go, as the locals are so accommodating and friendly (plus everything’s so cheap!). They are very appreciative of tips no matter how much you’re able to give so it’s always good to have plenty of change before you sit down at a restaurant or leave you’re hostel on your way to the next place.