Most hotels have Western dishes like pasta, chicken escallops and omelets, but Western options like baked beans, fish fingers and burgers are best forgotten. Sadly, the fast food chains can be found in large Cities (KFC, McDonalds, and Pizza Hut). Traditional Sri Lankan Curry is not very hot and the chefs will happily turn down the level of spice for children.

Cots and extra beds are readily available at a small fee and often complimentary for less than 5yrs and Children under 12 yrs sharing with parents will usually stay for free and get 50% discount on meals.

Amenities like disposable nappies and Carpool are hard to find except in the major supermarkets in Colombo, Kandy.

Sun cream and hats are a must. It is better to bring it on your own. They are available in supermarkets and any cosmetic shop.

Responsible babysitting services are available in most hotels and payment is usually at your discretion. Rs. 300-500 would be very well received and a small price to pay for a “night off” or “dinner à-deux”.

Prams or backpacks for very young children should be packed. Bear in mind the heat with backpacks.

Many stray dogs & cats roam the streets. Most are harmless but cleanliness is not apparent and children should be deterred from making “furry friends”.

Cars and 1st/2nd class trains are suitable for young children. Avoid the overcrowded small buses should definitely be avoided.

Before departure reconfirm your airline ticket at least 3 days before. To reconfirm your tickets the passport number, ticket number, departure date and time. Please seek assistance from your travel agent if needed.

Health and care.

There are many medical care centers available in Sri Lanka. Colombo offers the service of some good clinics and specialists. There are general hospitals in each town as well.

You could rely on self-treatment for minor injuries like diarrhea but, for major injuries and issues such as malaria and dengue, you should always seek medication from a doctor.

Check polio, tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis, anti-malaria medication with your local or international medical center before you leave.

Always make sure to check the use-by date to make sure that the package is sealed when you purchase your medication from the counter.

Many towns have good pharmacies, and you could even obtain medication without a prescription.

Travel essentials

In your First Aid Kit – Anti biotics, diarrhea “blockers”, citronella, antiseptic cream or insect sting relief, box of matches (to burn paper and use ashes to stop any bleeding from leeches), lip balm, sunscreen, Tampax (unavailable).

Hospitals – There is some reputed government and private hospitals that offer good quality service in major towns and small towns here in Sri Lanka. Private hospitals consist of an English speaking staff. And doctor’s prescriptions are not always required to obtain medications from pharmacies.

Food & Drink – “If you can cook it, peel it or boil it- eat it”. Avoid dairy products made with un-boiled milk, e.g. some ice creams.

Narcotics – Drugs are illegal in Sri Lanka.

Water usage in Sri Lanka – Tap water is not suitable for consumption. Always use bottled water or filtered water. Look for the SIS logo when you purchase bottle water. The SIS logo indicates that water has been tested by the Sri Lankan government’s standard institution.

Even though you could observe that some of the Sri Lankan streets are littered with rubbish, the hygiene in Sri Lanka is quite good. And only a few visitors have experienced problems.

The Sri Lankan remedy for many ailments from muscular pain to a hangover is King Coconut.

Local Customs

Tipping – employees in most of the hotels live from their tip as they are paid only a very little amount as a salary. You could offer a tip for good service. But usually a 10% amount it billed into any hotel or restaurant bill. For good service over 2/3 days Rs.300-500 depending on the standard of hotel or service. Tipping comes along with the Sri Lankan culture. Even from ancient times our people used to offer something as a thank you for good service. And I’m sure that your little support will be greatly appreciated. However tipping is optional don’t let it annoy you.

Behavior and Photographs – shoes and slippers as well as head wear should be taken off at Hindu and Buddhist worship places. It is not allowed to take pictures standing next to a statue of Lord Buddha as it is considered disrespectful. You might find people following you trying to offer help. Bear in mind that these people are looking for commission and might also lead you to shops and sellers. So if you do not need any help from then simply ignore and leave the place.

Music – Sri Lankan music is a mixture of its own traditions and influences gained though countries such as India and Europe. It is used as a way of expressing a person’s thoughts and feelings. Sri Lankan’s love music. You could listen to Sri Lankan music even while traveling in a bus. Baila music which is quite a famous dance music form was introduced to Sri Lanka centuries ago through the Portuguese. Not only traditional music. Sri Lankans are big fans of international music as well. There are many local as well as international music festivals held in the country during the year.