When is the best time to travel?
Climatically, the best and driest seasons are from December to March on the West and South Coasts and in the hill country, and from May to September in the East Coast. Sri Lanka is subject to two monsoons, the rainy season in the East coast is the dry season in the south west coast and vise versa. This means Sri Lanka is a year around destination, and there is always a ‘right’ season somewhere in the island.
Out of season travel has it’s advantages, not only do the crowds go away, but many airfares and accommodation prices too go down, with many special offers thrown in. On the coast the average temperature is about 27° C. The temperature rapidly falls with altitude. At Kandy (altitude 450m) the average temperature is 20° C and at Nuwara Eliya (altitude 1890m) it’s down to around 16°C.
Are there any areas that I cannot travel to?
We do not conduct tours to the North and Eastern province at present.
What are the do’s and don’t of local photography?
Ask permission before taking photographs of people and respect their wishes if they refuse. Minority groups in particular are often unhappy to have their photo taken. Travellers should avoid paying for the right to take a photo as this has been found to encourage a begging mentality in the locals. If photos are taken please send back copies (through our tour leaders or direct to the village) so that the people receive copies. The locals gain a great buzz from seeing themselves in photos and it encourages a ‘sharing’ rather than ‘taking’ attitude towards photography. Our tour leaders will make every effort to distribute them the next time they are in the area.
While we welcome travellers to pack their video cameras, there are some places where we do not allow you to film. In small villages, at home-stays or trekking, we do not permit the use of videos as local people have requested this and we ask for courtesy and discretion with still cameras.
Ask permission before taking pictures either of people or inside temples or other sacred places. For example, it is forbidden to take photographs inside the cave temple complex of Dambulla. Never use flash on murals inside temples and other places; it can damage them. You are not allowed to use flash at the frescoes at Sigiriya, but where there is no ban, please behave responsibly. Never pose beside or in front of a Buddha statue (i.e. with your back to the statue). Such conduct is considered extremely disrespectful. Never take a photo of a monk without asking permission. Tourists are sometimes asked for money for taking photos. Always ask before you shoot whether payment is expected. Our accompanying representatives will be able to guide you on this.
Never take photos of dams, airports, roadblocks or anything to do with the military. Don’t tote the camera around Colombo Fort.
Can I process my digital photos in Sri Lanka?
There are many franchised photo shops such as Kodak and Fuji with advanced digital imaging services in major towns. Almost all types of digital data storage devices are accepted. It’s always advisable to keep a backup of your pictures before handing over for processing.
It’s always advisable to bring a USB cord (camera to PC) so you transfer the pictures to a PC. The internet cafés are ideal for this (you’ll find them all around the country). Simply copy the pictures to the PC and then burn them into a CD. This is much cheaper than processing through a photography shop/ studio. It’s best to make two copies of the CD. One you keep with you, the other send it home in the post. That way you can always keep your memory cards empty to capture more photos!
Digital camera accessories such as memory cards and batteries are available in Colombo, Kandy and a few major towns.