When Can We Travel To Sri Lanka In 2021?
LAST UPDATE: OCTOBER 22, 2021
Disclaimer: This information is collated from official sources but general in nature. Entry requirements are subject to change at any time. Keep checking for the latest advice from your local government, embassy, or consulate to confirm any visa or entry requirements before travel.
Things around the world are gradually returning to normal as the global vaccine rollout gains momentum. We are monitoring the situation closely and will keep this article updated with any new info. So, can we travel to Sri Lanka in 2021? Read on for the latest.
AM I ALLOWED TO TRAVEL TO SRI LANKA?
ENTERING SRI LANKA
Travel is currently allowed to Sri Lanka!
Fully vaccinated travellers can stay at any type of accommodation with no quarantine or on-arrival PCR test required. Any vaccination accepted by the country of origin is acceptable. An original copy of the vaccination certificate in English must be produced on arrival.
Unvaccinated travellers can still enter Sri Lanka but must stay under the protection of the 'Tourism Bio Bubble' for a duration of 13 nights/14 days.
For additional details, view the official government source (Sri Lanka Tourism).
All travellers to Sri Lanka should apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) visa online before arriving. This is delivered electronically and tied to your passport, valid for up to a 30-day visit.
From October 2021 on arrival ETA’s for Sri Lanka can be organised, though it is still recommended getting this online to avoid delays at the airport.
NEGATIVE COVID RESULT
Arrivals in Sri Lanka must present a negative Covid (PCR) test report in English when checking in. This test must be done within 72 hours of departure.
On arrival travellers must submit a completed health declaration form.
DO I NEED A VACCINE?
A Covid vaccine is not mandatory to enter Sri Lanka. However, being fully vaccinated will allow for no restrictions upon arrival i.e. no quarantine.
PROOF OF INSURANCE
When applying for the visa, travellers are required to pre-purchase mandatory COVID-19 insurance cover for travel in Sri Lanka. This can be arranged at $12 USD to cover one month.
Fully vaccinated travellers can stay at any type of accommodation and travel freely with no quarantine or on-arrival PCR test required!
Those not vaccinated must must stay under the protection of the 'Tourism Bio Bubble' for a duration of 13 nights/14 days and do PCR tests. All facilities of the hotel are made available to the guests and they can visit approved tourist sites.
Find more information from Sri Lanka Tourism here.
The Sri Lankan Stay Safe COVID programme is designed to contain virus spread through QR code tracking. The app is not mandatory to download, but anyone with a smartphone will be able to check in to businesses by scanning QR codes on display.
RESTRICTIONS & OPEN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Travellers must wear masks in public places such as on flights, public transport, businesses and public buildings.
Many hotels and guesthouses around Sri Lanka are opening up to travellers. Restaurants and cafés are open in most areas. Public gatherings such as exhibitions, conferences, parties, indoor and outdoor events, carnivals, musical shows, and processions are currently banned. Physical distancing, respiratory etiquette and venue capacity limits are encouraged.
Each country has different restrictions for travellers arriving from abroad. For information relevant to your situation, keep up to date with local government announcements.
In the UK from October 2021, international travel restrictions will apply under a simplified two-tier system. Countries are either listed as 'red' (must quarantine on arrival in the UK) or 'green' (good to travel). And the good news is that Sri Lanka has gone green! Find out more about UK travel restrictions here.
The amazing news is that Sri Lanka welcoming tourists once again! Opening up travel for vaccinated travellers is a huge step, and we are closely monitoring the global situation to determine when it is safe to recommence Sri Lanka trips. The country is still finding its feet after a challenging 18 months for tourism, so at the moment we are estimating a mid/late January start. We will update this article and our COVID page as official news breaks about when we recommence our trips.
Travelling Sri Lanka is an epic adventure, and joining one of our group tours in Sri Lanka once the country opens up is the best way to experience it! Whether you're on a short holiday, travelling on a gap year or anything in between, on our 12 day Sri Lanka Experience we'll show you the best of this extraordinary place with a new bunch of friends.
NOTE: This information is general and restrictions are subject to change, so keep in touch with the latest official advice from your local government and Sri Lankan authorities.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL IN SRI LANKA?
It may sound cliche, but Sri Lanka is genuinely a year-round holiday destination. If you're after a bit of sun and surf, you're good to travel in any month! The seasons vary quite a lot across the country, with the chance of rain across certain areas at any time of the year. On our Sri Lanka group tours we cover a large part of the country, so you’re sure to get beautiful sunshine with some chance of rain all year round. For more detailed information, check out our Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Sri Lanka.
WHY VISIT SRI LANKA?
From the bustle of the cities to the palm-fringed coastline, Sri Lanka is a nation of kind-hearted people, curries to set your soul (and tongue) on fire, misty mountain towns, inspiring heritage, and breathtaking natural beauty. While beach bums will love the island's coast, hip cafes and pumping surf, the ancient towns and rolling hills of the centre will have nature lovers and history buffs absolutely charmed. This island gem packs a punch!
SEE SIGRIYA FORTRESS
Right in the heart of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya, aka Lion Rock, is an ancient palace and fortress built in 480AD atop a rock island that rises from the jungle. It is one of the country’s most visited cultural heritage sites, and the hike up is tough but awe-inspiring. The Fortress will reward you with abandoned gardens, waterways and frescoes depicted the island’s turbulent history. However, there is a steep entrance fee, so we recommend instead hiking Pidurangla Rock, an adjacent site that offers similarly spectacular views. We recommend going early to be the first ones up, or late afternoon in time for sunset.
GET THE ULTIMATE 'GRAM ON A ROPE SWING
The southern beaches of Sri Lanka have become a haven for instagrammers due to their stunning tropical settings and rope swings. The best swings can be found at Dalawella and Mihiripenna beaches, but many can be found all the way along the coast. Sure, they’re a little gimmicky, but loads of fun. Find out more about our best insta-spots in Sri Lanka here and do it for the 'gram. You know you want to.
Up in the idyllic Sri Lankan highlands sits Ella, a charming town with great hiking opportunities such as Little Adam’s Peak. It’s one of the most popular spots for backpackers inland, with a great atmosphere, lots of bars, pubs, and coffee shops. Plus, the train ride from Kandy to Ella is perhaps the best thing you’ll do in Sri Lanka. Winding through the misty jungle, rolling tea plantations and gushing waterfalls, the scenery and vibe of this train journey make it one of the best in the world.
GO ON SAFARI
Safari... in Sri Lanka? You heard right! With herds of Asian elephants, wild buffalo and plenty of other animals roaming, Udawalawe is one of Asia's finest national parks. Sprawling across the southern lowlands, this park actually surpasses many of the famous African parks in terms of elephant spotting. For more info on this enchanting corner of the world, check out our article about why Udawalawe is a must-visit.
VISIT TEA PLANTATIONS
Sri Lanka’s most famous export, you should definitely visit a tea plantation to learn how this famous beverage is made when backpacking Sri Lanka. The highlands have the perfect climate for brewing top-notch tea, and many famous brands like Dilmah and Lipton source their goods here.
LEARN TO SURF
The whole southern coast of Sri Lanka is a surfer’s paradise and is an especially great place to learn. Cheap boards, easy waves, warm waters, and enthusiastic local instructors ensure you’ll be shredding like a pro in no time. If surfing ain't your style, how about bodyboarding? Or simply work on your tan and sip a cocktail by the sea, we won't judge. For more Sri Lanka travel tips, check out our Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Sri Lanka here!
Restrictions for travel in Sri Lanka have significantly eased, and the country is eager to welcome back double-jabbed tourists. We will update this article, our socials and our COVID page as we make decisions concerning future Sri Lanka group tours.
If the land of Buddha and beaches sounds like your next adventure, click through to check out our Sri Lanka Experience small group tour. With an expertly crafted itinerary, the guidance of a knowledgable group leader, full end-to-end support, and a new group of friends to make memories with, our Sri Lanka trips are the ultimate way to discover this wonderful country! Oh, and did we mention that all of the activities are included? You heard right - everything we mention is included in the tour - no extra payments required. Travel with a group and enjoy the best of Sri Lanka, stress- free.
With flexible booking policies and complete support during this uncertain time, you can be confident when booking with INTRO.