General Information

Language

Sinhala (a language of Indo-Aryan origin spoken by the majority of the population) and Tamil are the official languages of the country. English is widely spoken and place names and signboards are in all three languages English, Sinhala, and Tamil.

Ayubowan

Ayubowan (āyubōvan) is the formal greeting in Sri Lankan and it is a salutation wishing the recipient a long life. Generally greeted by joining two hands in a prayer-like manner and says “Ayubowan". This phrase can be used any time of the day as a greeting or goodbye. However, in the city, it is more common to be greeted with a handshake.

Currency

Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) is the local currency in Sri Lanka. Major credit cards (Visa, Master and American Express) are accepted in most of the places. Visa debit cards can be used at ATM machines. More information on current note series can be found here https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/en/notes-coins/notes-and-coins/current-note-series

Currency Exchange

Major currencies can be exchanged at the airport and we recommend you to do the exchange at the airport. However, there are many central bank authorized money exchangers are available in Colombo. Please visit https://www.sampath.lk/en/exchange-rates for currency exchange rates

Electricity

The Voltage used in Sri Lanka is 230 V at 50 Hz. Power outlet Type G has been introduced as the standard power socket since 2017. However, there are a number of places which use Type C power outlets. Hence, a travel adapter is strongly recommended.

Clothing

Kinds of cotton and light natural fabrics such as linen are the most practical and comfortable clothes for Colombo. Please keep in mind skimpy skirts and brief shorts are not the considered respectable in Sri Lanka. So generally knee-length shorts/dresses/skirts are advisable. Sleeveless tops or t-shirts are also fine unless one is visiting a religious site.

Religious Sites

Travelers need to be properly attired when visiting religious sites. Shoulders and legs must be covered. Women could wear long skirts, dresses or loose trousers and modest blouses. Men should wear long trousers.

Opening Ceremony

We local organizing committee kindly request you wear your National Dress or a respectful, formal dress and formal shoes for the Opening ceremony. Sandals, flip-flops and T-shirts will not be allowed.

Alcohol and Tobacco

Sri Lanka has a ban on smoking and drinking alcohol in all public areas.

Local time

The time in Sri Lanka is five and half hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+5.30 GMT)

Travel in Colombo

Buses are the common mode of public transportation in Colombo. Three-wheeled taxis are the next cheapest mode. Usually, three wheelers equipped with a taxi meter. Mobile application based taxi services such as Uber and (uber like local service) Pick Me (https://pickme.lk/) is also available in Colombo.