What to Pack For a Trip to Sri Lanka

https://unsplash.com/photos/TVllFyGaLEA Travel Suitcase © Stil / Unsplash
https://unsplash.com/photos/TVllFyGaLEA Travel Suitcase © Stil / Unsplash
Photo of Orana Velarde
Sri Lanka Hub Writer14 January 2018

While planning a trip to Sri Lanka, you should take some simple advice about what to pack. Sri Lanka is a tropical island in the Indian Ocean so the weather can be hot and humid on the coast but a bit cooler in the mountains. Here are some useful tips on what to pack for a trip to Sri Lanka.

The right clothing

Sri Lanka is an island with tropical weather but also a mix of generally conservative religions. For guys, it’s not too complicated in terms of clothing, but it is always good to remember that men in Sri Lanka are mostly conservative even when wearing a sarong. It’s uncommon to see men in sleeveless shirts or tank tops, except in Hindu temples where the dress code is shirtless. For ladies, it’s ok to wear a bikini on the beach or next to the hotel pool, and that’s about it. For getting anywhere on the island it’s best to stay covered in light fabric clothing.

If visiting the mountainous area in Sri Lanka, you must take some kind of warm coverup for the colder nights and crisp mornings.

Light coverup clothing for women is the best choice | © Becca Tarter / Unsplash

Walking shoes

The island of Sri Lanka is best discovered slowly, and that definitely means walking. Better if the shoes are light and breathable since it can get hot and humid. Flip flops are also practical if spending time on the beach. If you plan to go hiking, then consider those kinds of shoes that are full terrain, like Keens. Keep in mind that your shoes will get wet, either by getting caught in the rain or stepping in a puddle, or on the beach etc.

Traveling shoes | © Zahid Hasan Joy / Unsplash

Mosquito repellent

Never let a few mosquitos ruin your holiday. Bring along your favorite mosquito repellents when visiting Sri Lanka. There have been quite a few Dengue outbreaks on the island. It is not a permanent problem, but can show up at any time. Better be prepared. If you run out of your favorite repellent, there are various products available in the pharmacies and natural product stores.

Your favorite sun protection

The sun shines really strongly in the tropics, and Sri Lanka is especially intense. Don’t forget your usual sun protection creams and bring along something stronger just in case. Hats and light breezy shawls will help if the heat is particularly strong while on safari or on the beach.

A sun painted in a temple in Sri Lanka | © Alan / Flickr

More than one bank card

Bank ATM’s can give unexpected results, since some ATM’s will not accept your type of card. Sometimes the POS card swiping machines will break down or not be able to communicate with your bank. Bringing two different kinds of bank cards will help. Also make sure to take out some cash to have on hand.

An easy to carry suitcase

Traveling in Sri Lanka is quite varied in terms of transportation. From cars, to tuk-tuks, to trains and buses that never quite stop, you need a piece of luggage that will make it easier to pick up and move around. A suitcase with four wheels that isn’t too big, or a backpack that isn’t too heavy will help you get around much easier.

There are suitcases in Pettah just in case of a luggage emergency | © Michael Coghlan / Flickr

Your prescription medicine

If you need any prescription medicine on a daily basis, you might run out while in Sri Lanka. Getting that medicine without a prescription from a Sri Lankan doctor will depend greatly on the pharmacist that is on duty and if they want to give it to you or not. They might not even have the medicine you need. When traveling with prescription medicine that might look like a lot of pills, always carry along the doctor’s prescription and medical certificate which states that you need the medicine for your health.

Your favorite tech

Don’t forget your camera or smartphone! Sri Lanka has so much to offer photographers and creative eyes that a camera is vital. Any tech you might need for your style of travel, bring them along. In Colombo, there are some places to get quality tech or accessories but not in the rest of the island. Be prepared, have all your batteries and memory cards.

Sri Lanka is so photogenic | © Surreal Name Given / Flickr