Preparations and tips for Sri Lanka
Before to travel to Sri Lanka, we did some preparations because we stayed 35 days in the country and our goal was to visit the most of the island by extending our visa from July 16 until August 19 so our trip:
Colombo -> Kandy -> Nuwara Eliya -> Ella -> Tissamaharama -> Udawalawa -> Mirissa -> Galle -> Polgahawela -> Anuradhapura -> Mihintale -> Jaffna -> Sigiriya -> Dambulla -> Polonnaruwa -> Kandy -> Colombo
Passport: making sure that our passport is not expired
Visa: we filled an online form. Once done, we received a confirmation within 24h with a validation of only 30 days. We made it just 3 days before to take our plane. Download also the extension form since we planned to stay more than 30 days and filling it before to go to the visa department of Colombo.
Hotel: we booked at least the 2 first nights. Once at Sri Lanka, we booked our hotel at the same day in the morning or the day before by internet according to where we wanted to go.
Apps: agoda, booking, tripadvisor, xe money converter, express train map.
Others: mosquito repellent, a guide book, small plastic spoon/knife for camping, toilet paper, electricity converter
Train: try to buy your ticket in advance to increase your possibility to have a seat. Not all 1st class has air conditioning. Check with the station employee.
Bus: there are always 2 employees, the driver and the ticket guy. Ask always one of them if it is the correct bus and to warn you when to get off. Don’t doubt to ask them to drop you off at the wished place only if the bus has to take the same street/road.
Trip: by train and/or by bus, go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat.
Tuk-tuk (three-wheelers): if possible, take a meter tuk-tuk. If not possible, ask and/or negotiate the price before to take it to avoid any bad surprise. Never trust them to take a bus (99% will lie to you), if you have doubts, always ask any bus driver/ticket guy
Hotel: except if you will go to a 5 stars, book 1 night and if all are OK, book more nights on internet or directly with the hotel. Often, pictures don't correspond to the reality. In this country, hotel means also eating place.