Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round,
three-pin plugs are used.
Most people speak Sinhala, which is the national and
official language. Tamil is also spoken, and English is spoken at
most tourist establishments.
A 10% service charge is added to most restaurant and hotel
bills. Tipping is a customary way to show appreciation for almost
all services and small amounts are sufficient, otherwise 10% of the
amount due is standard. There is no need to tip taxi drivers.
Photography near government or military buildings is
prohibited. Homosexuality is illegal. Topless sunbathing is not
allowed, and visitors, particularly women, should cover up when
entering Buddhist sites. It is considered offensive to pose for
photographs in front of a Buddha statue. Smoking and drinking in
public are forbidden. Honour, or personal dignity, is extremely
important to Sri Lankans and causing an individual to 'lose face'
by public criticism or anger should be avoided.
In Sri Lanka, due to a warm climate, the dress etiquette may
vary according to various sectors of business. In the more formal
sectors, men will be required to wear lightweight suits, but a more
casual approach is acceptable during the warmer months depending on
regulation. Appointments are to be made in advance and business
cards to be swapped upon first engagements. It is considered rude
to be late for meetings. Business hours are generally 9am to 5pm
Monday to Friday with an hour taken at lunch.
The international country dialling code for Sri Lanka is +94.
The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code
(e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City or area codes are in use,
e.g. (0)11 for Central Colombo. International direct dial
facilities are available in Colombo and other major cities. Mobile
phone operators provide GSM 900/1800 frequency networks with
coverage across all the main parts of the island. Internet cafes
are available in the main towns and resorts.
Travellers to Sri Lanka over 18 years do not have to pay duty on
the following items
2 bottles wine and 1.5 litres spirits; perfume up
to 59ml and 250ml eau de toilette; and souvenirs to the value of
US$250; 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars and 340g of tobacco. For family
members travelling together free import applies for two members.
Passengers must declare personal effects to ensure free export when
they arrive in Sri Lanka. Restricted items include firearms,
ammunitions, explosives and weapons, plants, fruits, birds and
by-products, medication (unless it is for personal use), and goods
for commercial purposes. Prohibited items include drugs or
narcotics, pornographic material, and material that ridicules
religious belief systems.