What to bring for a holiday in Sri Lanka?

What to bring for a holiday in Sri Lanka?

This guide will give you an idea on what to pack for your holiday. Sri Lanka has a tropical climate, however the high land can be chilly. There is also som cultural aspects to consider, and some things are not available (or really expensive) in the shops here.

We hope you will find this information helpful!

Taking the train in the high lands. Check this guide for what to bring for a holiday in Sri Lanka

1:  Bring only what you can carry!

This does not apply if you are planning to travel only by taxis or a private driver. Then feel free to bring big suitcases and max out the 30 kg airline limit. If you are going to use the train, local bus or tuktuk´s as a mode of transportation however, you should definitely not bring to much.

In most cases a medium size backpack will be enough to hold everything you need for a Sri Lankan holiday! Some bus drivers will not even stop to let you on if you have too much baggage. On the trains, you might also experience traveling without an actual seat. You will be happy to have a smaller bag that you can easily carry and keep with you at all times.

Try this:  Put out everything you want to bring. Then bring only half of it!  


2: Essentials to bring from home:

  • Passport, valid visa, travel insurance and credit cards (Visa / Mastercard).
  • Sun lotion with SPF 30 and  50.
  • Mosquito repellent.
  • Tampons / Menstrual cup.
  • Diapers if you travel with small kids (very expensive here).
  • Sarong or beach towel


3: What clothing to bring

  • As described in the top, less is better. You do not need much clothes for a typical Sri Lankan holiday. In the beach towns, you will mainly use swim wear, and then some light dresses or shirts in the evening. Laundries can be found everywhere, most hotels offer this service. Sri Lanka also produce some fine Batik, silk and handloomed clothes. Make sure you have space to buy something new!
With this in mind, this is what you should bring: 
  • Minimum one pair of “modest clothes” for a temple visits. It needs to cover the shoulder and the knees (applies for both men and women alike). Avoid the darkest colours.
  • Swim wear. (Only to use on the beach and in the hotels swimming area. Not in the streets!). For most women it is hard to find the right size bikinis here in Sri Lanka. Men can find really cheap tailor made surf shorts here in Hikkaduwa! Also check out NewUse shop, they have a selection of European swim wear.
  • A few dresses/shirts and shorts, in light and breathing materials. In the coastal areas the temperature is between 28-32 most of the year.
  • If you are visiting the highland you will need a pair of trousers, a long sleeve and a wind/rain proof jacket. Ella,  Nuwara Eliya and this area gets temperature from 14-20 degrees in the evening and night, and it can feel really cold!
  • One pair of comfortable shoes (trainers) for hikes, and flipflops for the beach.
Bring a camera to take the most awesome photos from beautiful Sri Lanka

4:  Bring a good camera

Last, but not least. Bring a camera to take the most awesome photos from beautiful Sri Lanka!


What is you best packing tip?

Share with a comment, and we will update this guide.

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