Airport guide

Airports in Sri Lanka

The tear drop-shaped island of Sri Lanka, situated just 31km off the southern coast of India, is often called the “pearl of the Indian Ocean”. Its beaches are palm-fringed and soft-sanded, its climate is hot and humid and its interior lush and verdant. Overall, it’s not hard to understand why tourists book flights to Sri Lanka every year to enjoy this island paradise.

Beautiful and idyllic it may be, but Sri Lanka is also rich in history. Galle port was used by Persians, Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Malays and Indians before the Portuguese, Dutch and, later, English arrived. As a result, the country has an intricate tapestry of cultural influence. Flights to Sri Lanka will deliver you to graceful people, a beautiful island and a rich holiday experience.

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Sri Lanka climate

Sri Lanka is a tropical country with ocean winds cooling humid heat. Temperatures rarely fall below 60 F in the winter and summer temperatures average a hot 90 F. The monsoon season lasts from mid-October through January and leaves the island drenched.

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Best Time to Fly to Sri Lanka

Thanks to the tropical weather that graces the island, there is no bad time to book flights to Sri Lanka...

Peak Season:
If you’re looking for cheap flights to Sri Lanka, try and visit in between the two rainy seasons. On the south-west coast and in the hills, it is driest between November and April. On the east coast, the best conditions are between May and September.

Off season:
Monsoon season is between May and July, and December and January.

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Getting around Sri Lanka

There is only one domestic plane service in Sri Lanka, ExpoAir, which flies between Colombo and Jaffna. For every other destination, take the train or bus. Three-wheel vehicles, known variously as tuk-tuks, bajajs or auto-rickshaws are a fun way of taking short trips. Independent travellers can rent motor-bikes and cars. Hiring a car and driver is another popular option; drivers will have local knowledge.

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Sri Lanka Travel Information

  • Colombo is the largest city in the country, though no longer the capital, and also the arrival point of all international flights to Sri Lanka. The city has been variously occupied by Portuguese, Dutch and British, leading to an interesting assortment of various architectural styles in the buildings.
  • Nuwara Eliya is the tea capital, the main hill resort. Due to its altitude – about 2,000m above sea level – it remains cool throughout the summer months and Sri Lankans flock here to escape the heat of the city. It is a town of English-style bungalows and afternoon tea.
  • Located about 85km from Colombo, the Pinnewela Elephant Orphanage houses 75 elephants that were either lost or abandoned by their mothers. Established in 1975 by the Sri Lankan Government, this is a popular spot with visiting tourists.
  • The Green, Olive Ridley, Leatherback, Loggerhead and Hawkesbill marine turtles are all endangered and the government takes conservation efforts very seriously, for example paying local fishermen to protect natural turtle-nesting sites. Kosgoda and Rekawa are among the best known sites.
  • In the centre of the country, the sacred city of Kandy was the last capital of the ancient kings of Ceylon. It is home to The Temple of the Tooth Relic. In July or August, the festival of Esala Perahera takes place. One of the inner caskets used for covering the tooth relic is taken through the city accompanied by dancers, drummers, flag bearers and brightly decorated elephants.

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Sri Lanka airports

Colombo Bandaranaike (CMB) (Katunayake) is 29km north of the city.

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Passport and Visa Information

Many visitors, depending on their nationality, can receive a free tourist visa upon arrival to Sri Lanka. Valid passports are required.

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Entry requirements

US citizens need a valid passport to enter the country. Tourists will receive a free visa good for 30 days upon arrival. If traveling for business, you should apply for a visa ahead of time.

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Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.
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    In-flight reading

    Anil's Ghost

    Michael OndaatjeAnil Tissera returns to war-ravaged Sri Lanka, a forensic anthropologist on a human-rights mission. As she unearths victims’ bodies, she struggles to reveal the identity of one body in particular.

    Monkfish Moon

    Romesh GunesekeraA collection of nine short stories highlighting the ethnic and political tensions at play in Sri Lanka since 1948, when the island achieved independence.