Volunteering in Sri Lanka - Travel Preparation
In Asia everything is different - at least that's what people say. Perhaps you are therefore prompted by great eyes from family and friends because it's not just a real distance, but it's a journey into an unknown and exotic world. We'd like to inform you about what's different in Sri Lanka and will assist you with your travel preparation.
Flight & Arrival
The reach your volunteer destination, you have to make you way to the Bandaranyake International Aiport (CMG) in Colombo. From this airport you will get picked up and brought to your accommodation.
One of the easiest connections from Europe is Sri Lankan Airlines. With this airline you can fly directly to Colombo depending on your home airport. There are also other airlines which fly with only one stopover to Colombo.
A visa is required to enter Sri Lanka. This visa must be applied for online as "Electronic Travel Authorization" (ETA). This visa costs 35 USD. For further information on visa requirements, please visit the website of the Sri Lankan embassy in your home country.
Getting around in Sri Lanka
Buses are the best way to get around Sri Lanka, as crossing half of the island will cost you only around one euro. However, the styl of driving is often quite adventurous and the equipment of the buses is very simple. There are also better equipped buses that offer slightly more comfort.
The better option here are public railways. These drive regularly, but are very quickly overbooked. If you want a seat, please book your train ticket in time.
While at your volunteer project in schools please always keep your shoulders covered and make sure that your skirt or pants covers your knee. This dress code also applies if you want to visit a temple. In general, please keep in mind that very revealing clothing is not appropriate in Sri Lanka. For this reason we would like to advise you to wear rather conservative clothing.
Before you start your journey to Sri Lanka, please make sure that you are up to date on your vaccinations. You will need the following ones:
diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, whooping cough, polio, tetanus, rabies, typhoid
Small advice on Sri Lanka
- Please take off your shoes before you enter someone's house.
- It's very common to bargain in small shops and at the markets in Sri Lanka.
- Use only the right hand for shaking hands and eating.
- Bring a small gift when you are visiting someone.
- Don't point at people or things with your foot and don't step across someone. The feet, as in many Asian countries, are considered unclean and this is seen as an offense.
- Don't drink from the small bowl next to your plate - it is used for hand washing.
- Don't turn your back to a Buddha figure as it shows disrespect.