Tourist visa may suffice for this purpose. It can be obtained from the Sri Lanka High Commission in your country. The link to obtain visa online is given below.

The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) official website of the Department of Immigration & Emigration of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.


You will not be entitled for hostel accommodation in the University due to limitation of such faculties. A list of accommodation given under accommodation tips (may not available at all times) can be obtained from the Coordinator.

Various sorts of accommodations are available in Sri Lanka according to your budget and requirement. Details of Star class hotels, rest houses, guest houses, luxury apartments, small houses (annexes) and rooms can be found on the web. Weekend news papers (Eg: Sunday Observer, Sunday Times) has classified advertisement pages with such facilities in and around Colombo. Newspapers are not free in Sri Lanka and can be bought at newsstands by the road side.

Health insurance is not essential to enter or stay in Sri Lanka but in cases of ill health during the applicant’s stay, costs incurred should be borne by the individual.

There are many government and private hospitals, dispensaries in Colombo. They offer treatment on outpatient basis or admit patients for further care round the clock. The government hospitals are free for all including foreigners but waiting time will vary from 5 minutes to 2 hour depending on the time of the day. Charges in the private sector vary depending on the institution. Channelling a specialist doctor can be done online (e-chanelling srilanka) and the charges will vary from Rs. 750-1500 (prescription only). General practitioners (GPs) charge around Rs. 400-450 with or without medicine. The waiting time may be 1-2 hours to see a specialist and none to 15 minutes for a GP. In an emergency, you can rush to the nearest government hospital for reliable treatment and service. For minor health problems, you can walk to a GP clinic and you do not need prior appointments.

There are no specific immunizations or drug prophylaxis needed prior to the visit.

Colombo is the centre of the island’s bus and railway networks. You may find leaving Colombo by train is easier than by bus, though trains are usually less frequent. But overcrowding is to be expected once on board in both and traffic is part and parcel of Colombo life. Starting early and avoiding the school/office hours will give you some relief. (7 am – 9 am, 1.30 pm – 2.30 pm, 4 pm – 5 pm are the worst times to be on the road!).


The Central Transport Board (CTB) and private bus companies operate parallel services. Fares vary from Rs 9 onwards depending on the distance. On most of the times, the destination is written in English and displayed in the front window.

All out station bus terminals are located just east of Fort train station on the south edge of Pettah. Luxury, semi luxury and normal-pay buses are available but all of them operate on first come first serve basis and thus prior booking is not always available for buses.

Luxury-air conditioned, no stopping on the way for passenger pick- ups, assurance of a seat per passenger. Generally they have curtains and relatively comfortable seats. The fare is about twice that for ordinary buses, but still it is more convenient than other buses.

Semi luxury-not air conditioned, spacious buses, limited stops on the way and hence quicker than the normal buses.

Normal-pay buses-not air conditioned, stops on the way at every bus stop, overcrowded, longer time taken to reach the destination.


The main train station, Colombo Fort, is within walking distance of the city centre. Trains in transit often stop only for two or three minutes. Timetables are clearly displayed at the stations. You will have to check the stops before you board into a train at Fort train station as not all trains stops at every station in the route. Train fares are fixed and are usually marginally lower than bus fares. There is an information office (244 0048; 9 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday, 9 am – 1 pm Saturday) at the front of Fort station. The helpful staff knows everything about transport in and out of Colombo or you could try the information desk in the station. There is left-luggage storage at the station’s cloakroom (per bag per day Rs 20; 4.30 am – 11.30 pm).

Tri-shows (Three Wheelers)

This is the more convenient and economical form of transport, till you get familiarized with the roads. Some tri-shows are metered (displayed) or more often the driver will agree on the fare before setting off. Sometimes faculties are available to call and get down tri-shows and in such instances, they will be displaying the telephone number. Tri-shows (three wheelers) should be used at your own risk, as there are no seat belts or doors. The driver will take to the destination quicker but at the cost of poor road discipline.

The Budget Taxi Services

The budget taxi services (using small Nano cars – seats for 3 passengers) are in operations and cheaper than the other cab services. At times, the charges are similar to the tri-show charges while enjoying the ride in air-conditioned car. Few contact numbers – (011)5 500 500, (011)2 799 799.

Taxi/Cab Services

There are many taxi services operating and you can call and get them down to the desired location for a pick up. Rates per kilometer and other charges involved need to be agreed on with the relevant company. They will take 5 to 20 minutes to reach your place and booking in advanced is advisable to avoid delay and disappointment. All have air-conditioned cars with meters, reliable (mostly English speaking) drivers and average Rs. 40 to 50 per kilometre. They have cars, vans, buses to suit your requirement. Airport drops can also be arranged through them.

Some taxi services operating in Colombo (011) 2 588 588, (011) 2 688 688, (011) 2 501 501, (011) 2 889 889, (011) 2 733 733, (011) 2 556 556.

There are many places offering rent a car services in Colombo. International driving license holders can drive in Sri Lanka. Driving is on the left side on the road. Seat belts are compulsory for the front passengers of motor vehicles. Helmets should be worn by all motor bicycle riders.

All government and private banks will exchange your currency to local rupees. You can use the automated machines to withdraw money from your accounts if your bank has authorized you to do so. Otherwise electronic visa or master cards are accepted by most of the shops (super markets, restaurants, hotels etc) in Colombo.

The international code of Sri Lanka is +94. Public phones (coin boxes) are available on the street and in many public commercial places such as shopping malls. Phone cards can be purchased for local and international calls from shops by the road side. The phone plans in Sri Lanka generally do not include a free phone. Communication centres on road side also offer local and international calls.There are many mobile phone service providers in Sri Lanka such as Mobitel, Dialog, SLT, Hutch, Etisalat etc. offering competitive mobile plans and mobile broadband dongles for web access. Elective students can have free web access in the University.

ServiceTelephone No
Police Emergency011 2433333
Fire & Ambulance011 2422222
National Hospital – Colombo011 2691111
Colombo South Teaching Hospital011 2822261
Ceylon Tourist Board / Tourist Police011 2437055
Bandaranayake International Airport011 2073267
Immigration and Emigration011 2503629
Colombo Fort Railway Station011 2434215
Central Bus Stand (Pettah)011 2329604-6
Telecommunication Office011 2333111, 011 2329711
Air Lanka Reservation011 2421161
Air Lanka Flight Information011 0197337
Red Cross Ambulance011 2691095
National Directory Assistance161
Foreign Call Booking100
International Directory Assistance134

All foreign embassies are located in Colombo (majority in Colombo 7). You can find the details in the respective web site.

There are around 30 public/bank and mercantile holidays in the Sri Lankan calendar. The months of April and May have more holidays than others. It is important that you check these in advanced to avoid unnecessary delays.

See Ministry of Public Administration website for more information.

Click here to download PEP Access Points.