Almost everyone needs a visa to enter Sri Lanka so I applied and got my electronic visa about a month before leaving home. It was easy. I used the Sri Lankan government site www.eta.gov.ll. It cost $30 US. There are other sites that will get the visa for you but it costs 3-4 times more. All you have to do is fill out the on line application form and you get a reply within a few days. You can get a visa on arrival but it may take hours and truthfully after a long flight of 25 plus hours I was happy not to have to wait in line to get the visa processed.
Once you have your suitcase and have gone through customs and exit you have money changers ,taxis and those with set rates ( I would advise taking one of these taxis). People with signs looking for Mr. and Mrs. X ,but it was not as overwhelming as it can be in some countries.
Like most international flights my plane landed at about 0730 and when I got to my hotel my room was not ready and a number of people like myself had just arrived and were waiting for their room to be ready
Leaving the airport on the way to my hotel I had mixed emotions as I felt I could be in the Caribbean, India or somewhere else.
It was warm out a change from Toronto so I took the opportunity to see and do a few things till my room at the Fairway Colombo was ready
One thing I did was take a tuk-tuk to the Fort Train station so I could purchase a ticket From Kandy to Ella, which is one of the most scenic and sought after train rides in Sri Lanka. Even though it was days away before I got to Kandy. ( more on this trip in another part) The only train ticket left was the 0745 train in first class and only a few seats left so I took a ticket for $9.00 US.
The next stop was the Red Mosque (women are not allowed in)also known as Jami Ui-AL Far. The architecture reminds me of inside the mosque in Cordoba Spain red and white and very distinct
Next was a Dutch hospital, which was a meter from my hotel. It had a number of shops, which I spend some time going through and restaurants
Later that afternoon I went to Galle Fort Green, which was about a 10-minute walk from my hotel. On the way, I saw women leaving work dressed in their colorful sari’s
Galle Fort Green is on the waterway with some food vendors and is a good place to people watch and watch the sun go down.
Dinner was at Upali by Nawalaka 65 ww Kannagara. I had the Sri Lankan Noodles which was delicious with a drink, dessert and service charge for 1454 Rupees less than $10 US
For those of you that want to stay closer to the airport and totally chill out Negombo is about a 20-minute ride to the airport and most hotels are on the beach or very close to a beach.
I spent the last few days of my trip in Sri Lanka in Negombo at the Jetwing Blue. The pool was amazing and you can walk for miles on the beach. Some arrive in Colombo and stay in Negombo to chill out after a long flight I stayed on the way home as it was closer to the airport
A few things
Get your visa for Sri Lanka prior to leaving home, It will save you a lot of time when you arrive’
When using a tuk-tuk negotiate the price before you get in. It will save you a from being ripped off and frustration
Taking the local bus from town to town is an experience but in some cases, it can take up to 8 hours and yes it cheap$2-3 US but taking a taxi which most hotel can book is cheap and only takes a hours
If you plan on taking the train to Ella or Nurawa Eliya book it in advance or you may be disappointed as this train experience fill up fast