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  • Travelling with children | About Sri Lanka | Rough Guides
    toddler starts monkeying around even in quite posh establishments Having said that travelling with babies may prove stressful Powdered milk is fairly widely available but disposable nappies and baby food are rare while things like baby sitting services nursery day care changing facilities high chairs and microwaves for sterilizing bottles are largely unheard of car seats will also probably have to be brought from home Breast feeding in public however discreet is also not something that Sri Lankan women usually do while prams are virtually useless since there are no decent pavements to push them on the common sight of mothers burdened with a tiny baby on one arm and a small child in the other scrambling on and off packed buses or fighting their way across busy roads is one of Sri Lanka s more stomach churning sights The heat and the associated dangers of dehydration are another concern not to mention the risks of mosquito borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever Older children will get a lot out of a visit to the island Sri Lanka s beaches are likely to provide the main attraction with endless swathes of golden sand to muck around on and warm waters to splash about in though you should always check local swimming conditions carefully and guard carefully against the very real possibility of sunburn and dehydration Beaches apart the outstanding kids attraction is the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnewala a guaranteed child pleaser especially for its cute babies this is one of the few places in the world where children can see elephants that are even smaller than themselves There are further elephant spotting opportunities around Kandy while a visit to any of the national parks is also likely to stimulate budding zoologists Yala where there s a good chance

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/sri-lanka/travelling-children/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Crime and safety | About Sri Lanka | Rough Guides
    case of their loss and passport information it s worth taking a photocopy of the pages from your passport that contain your personal details If you do have anything stolen you ll need to report it to the police there s little chance that they will be able to recover it for you but you ll need a report for your insurance claim Given the fact that you might not find any English speaking policemen on duty you might try to get someone from your guesthouse to come along as an interpreter The process of reporting a crime is usually a laborious affair with much checking of papers and filling in of forms Unfortunately although tourist police offices have been set up in a few parts of the island they re not much cop Dangers Following the end of the civil war in May 2009 the entire island is now at peace for the first time in almost thirty years and almost all travel restrictions have been lifted with the exception of a few remote areas in the north which remain out of bounds No LTTE attacks have been reported since the end of the fighting although the landmines and UXO pose a risk in remote areas An altogether more prosaic but much more serious source of danger in Sri Lanka is traffic Be particularly careful when walking near busy roads and treat buses in particular with respect as a pedestrian you re at the very bottom of the food chain in the dog eat dog world of Sri Lankan road use Drowning is the second most common cause of death amongst tourists in Sri Lanka after road accidents Currents can be strong and beaches may shelve off into deep waters with unexpected steepness and there are no lifeguards to come and pull you out if you get into trouble Always ask local advice before venturing in the water anywhere that is obviously not a recognized swimming spot Conditions can vary radically even within a few hundred metres so don t assume that because lots of people are swimming at one end of the beach the other deserted end will be safe The only warning signs of dangerous swimming conditions are the red flags posted on the beaches outside major resort hotels Sensible precautions include always keeping within your depth and making sure that someone on the shore knows that you re in the water Never swim under the influence of alcohol newspaper stories of locals washed out to sea after too many bottles of arrack are an almost weekly occurrence Scams and hassles Sri Lanka has an unfortunate but well deserved reputation for hassle ranging from tuktuk drivers gem shop owners and guesthouse touts to virtuoso scam merchants who run well oiled schemes to entrap the unwary At its simplest you ll encounter low level hassle from people who want you to visit their shop stay in their guesthouse or be your guide or alternatively who want to take

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/sri-lanka/crime-safety/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Health | About Sri Lanka | Rough Guides
    and w cdc malaria ncsa uiuc edu It s recommended that you talk to your doctor or even better a travel health specialist although be aware that different doctors and travel health resources may offer different often conflicting advice If you do decide to take anti malarial drugs there are various options including the traditional combination of proguanil Paludrine plus chloroquine trade names Nivaquin or Avloclor although some sources claim that chloroquine is no longer effective in the island Alternative anti malarials include doxycycline and Malarone a combination of atovaquone and proguanil The stronger mefloquine Lariam isn t usually prescribed for Sri Lanka The disease itself has a typical incubation period of nine to sixteen days sometimes longer hence the importance of continuing with the medication once you get home Initial symptoms are virtually indistinguishable from severe flu If you think you might have malaria have a blood test done as soon as possible Avoiding bites Even if you re on medication it s important to avoid being bitten since no antimalarial offers total protection and mosquitoes in Sri Lanka also transmit other diseases such as dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis Malarial mosquitoes come out at dusk and remain active throughout the night Standard avoidance techniques are to wear light coloured clothing with long sleeves use a repellent containing DEET on exposed parts of your body and if your room s not air conditioned always sleep under a net You might also want to spray your clothing with a permethrin spray burning a mosquito coil in your room or putting one under the table while you eat is also recommended An alternative to coils are the Pyrethroid tablets that you place on a tray and put in a plug the electricity heats the tray and vaporizes the Pyrethroid Citronella oil available from many chemists in Sri Lanka is also thought to be good for repelling mosquitoes Dengue fever More widespread than malaria and equally serious is the mosquito borne disease dengue fever regular outbreaks of which continue to plague the island causing numerous fatalities Dengue is a predominantly urban disease Colombo is particularly at risk As mosquitoes lay their eggs in water dengue outbreaks tend to peak during or after periods of rain There are four subtypes of dengue fever so unfortunately it s possible to catch it more than once The disease is typically characterized by the sudden onset of high fever accompanied by chills headache a skin rash and muscle or joint pains usually affecting the limbs and back hence dengue fever s nickname break bone fever The fever usually lasts three to seven days while post viral weakness lethargy and sometimes depression can persist for anything up to several weeks A rare but potentially fatal complication is dengue haemorrhagic fever DHF which is almost entirely confined to children under fifteen who have previously been infected with dengue fever There is no vaccine for dengue fever which makes avoiding getting bitten in the first place see Sun all the more important Unfortunately the mosquitoes that transmit dengue bite during the day making them harder to guard against than malarial mosquitoes If you think you ve contracted dengue fever go to a doctor Japanese encephalitis A third mosquito borne disease is Japanese encephalitis JE a virus transmitted by mosquitoes which bite at night It s particularly associated with rural areas as the virus lives in wading birds pigs and flooded rice fields JE is most prevalent following periods of heavy rainfall resulting in large areas of stagnant water JE is an extremely dangerous disease with mortality rates of up to forty percent though tourists are only rarely affected As with malaria you won t contract JE if you don t get bitten see Rabies Symptoms include drowsiness sensitivity to light and confusion An effective vaccine exists for JE three shots administered over 28 days though the standard advice is that it s only worth considering if you re travelling in high risk areas during the monsoon for a period of over a month especially if you ll be spending a lot of time in the country and or camping out a lot Sun The potential health risks associated with the sun are easily underestimated especially since a desire to soak up the rays is often a major reason to come to Sri Lanka in the first place Sunscreen should always be applied to exposed skin when outdoors young children are particularly vulnerable to burns and should be kept out of the sun at all times Older kids should wear the highest factor sunblock and a hat For all ages eyes also need to be protected by proper sunglasses If you do get sunburnt take plenty of warm not cold showers apply calamine lotion or aloe vera gel and drink lots of water A common but minor irritant is prickly heat usually afflicting newly arrived visitors It s caused by excessive perspiration trapped under the skin producing an itchy rash Keep cool a c is good shower frequently use talcum powder on the affected skin and wear loose ideally cotton clothing At its worst prolonged exposure to the sun and dehydration can lead to heatstroke a serious and potentially life threatening condition Symptoms are a lack of sweat high temperature severe headaches lack of coordination and confusion If untreated heatstroke can lead to potentially fatal convulsions and delirium If you re suffering from heatstroke get out of the sun get into a tepid shower and drink plenty of water Marine hazards Besides the risks of drowning see Common scams swimmers are also at a small potential risk of marine stings Jellyfish are common and some can inflict painful stings coral scratches and cuts can also be painful although more of a problem for the coral itself which dies on contact Occasionally people develop quasi allergic reactions to stings if you start to wheeze or swell up around the face go to hospital immediately The other thing you need to think

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  • Costs | About Sri Lanka | Rough Guides
    places include all taxes in the quoted priced the so called nett rate others charge one or more taxes separately These taxes include twelve percent VAT a one percent Tourist Development Tax and a two percent Nation Building Tax in more upmarket hotels It s always worth checking beforehand what is and isn t included the extra twenty five percent added at a top hotel can add a nasty twist to the bill if you re not expecting it Tourist prices Another thing to bear in mind is that many places on the island apply official tourist prices At all national parks and reserves and at government run archeological sites the authorities operate a two tier price system whereby foreigners pay a significantly higher entrance fee than locals sometimes almost a hundred times more than Sri Lankan nationals At the national parks for example locals pay an entrance fee of around 25 cents while overseas visitors pay around 25 once various taxes and additional charges have been taken into account A similar situation obtains at the sites of the Cultural Triangle at Anuradhapura for instance foreigners pay 25 while locals pay nothing This makes visiting many of Sri Lanka s biggest sights a pricier prospect than in other parts of the subcontinent a fact of life that many visitors grumble about although the most vociferous critics are local Sri Lankan hoteliers drivers and others involved in the tourist trade who have seen their businesses suffer as many visitors vote with their feet and stay on the beach Bargaining As a tourist you re likely to pay slightly over the odds for a range of things from rickshaw rides to market groceries It s worth remembering however that many prices in Sri Lanka are inherently fluid there s often no such thing as a correct price only a best price Many hoteliers for instance chop and change their prices according to demand while the price of anything from a tuktuk ride to an elephant carving may depend on anything from the time of day to the weather or the mood of the seller Given this it s always worth bargaining The key to effective bargaining here as throughout South Asia is to retain a sense of humour and proportion There is nothing more ridiculous or more damaging for local perceptions of foreign visitors than the sight of a Western tourist arguing bitterly over the final few rupees of a budget room or an item of shopping The fact is that even the most cash strapped Western backpacker is in Sri Lankan terms extremely rich as their very presence in the country proves And however tight one s budget it s important to realize the difference that even a few rupees can make to a guesthouse owner who is struggling by on a handful of dollars a day On the other hand it s also important not to be outrageously overcharged Visitors who lack a sense of local prices and pay whatever

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  • Travel essentials | About Sri Lanka | Rough Guides
    Maps There are several good maps of Sri Lanka The best and most detailed is the Rough Guide Sri Lanka Map 1 500 000 it s also printed on indestructible waterproof paper so it won t disintegrate in the tropics and can even be used as an emergency monsoon shelter at a pinch Otherwise the entire island is covered by a series of 92 1 50 000 maps detailed but somewhat dated These are only available from the Survey Dept on Kirulla Rd Havelock Town Colombo 5 Mon Fri 10am 3 30pm you ll need to show your passport to get in In Colombo Arjuna s A Z Street Guide is generally useful if not always totally accurate Money The Sri Lankan currency is the rupee abbreviated variously as R R or R and as in this book as Rs Coins come in denominations of Rs 1 2 5 and 10 Notes come in denominations of Rs 10 20 50 100 200 500 1000 2000 and 5000 Try to avoid accepting particularly dirty torn or disreputable looking notes and break big notes and stock up on change whenever you can don t expect to be able to pay for a Rs 50 cup of tea with a Rs 5000 note At the time of writing the exchange rate was around Rs 130 to 1 Rs 175 to 1 and Rs 210 to 1 you can check current exchange rates at w xe com The Sri Lankan rupee continues to devalue steadily against hard currencies To guard against the effects of this devaluation top end hotels always give their prices either in US dollars or occasionally in euros though you ll be expected to pay in rupees with the bill converted at the current bank exchange rate Many other tourist services are also often priced in dollars anything from entrance tickets at archeological sites to tours balloon trips or diving courses though again payment will be expected in rupees Sri Lanka is well supplied with banks The six main chains most larger towns will have a branch of at least three or four of these are the Bank of Ceylon Hatton National Bank Sampath Bank Commercial Bank People s Bank and Seylan Bank All are open Monday to Friday from 8 or 9am in the morning until 2 or 3pm in the afternoon and all shut at weekends Exchange rates for foreign currency whether travellers cheques cash or making withdrawals by credit or debit card are fairly uniform you may get fractionally better rates if you shop around but you won t make any dramatic savings If you need to change money outside banking hours head to the nearest top end hotel most change cash or travellers cheques though at rates that are up to ten percent poorer than bank rates Failing this you could try at local guesthouses or shops the more tourist oriented the place you re in the better your chances though you ll probably have to accept poor rates All towns of any consequence now have at least one bank ATM that accepts foreign debit and credit cards details are given throughout the Guide ATMs at the Commercial Bank which accept both Visa and MasterCard are usually the most reliable followed by those at the Hatton National Bank Despite the usefulness of plastic you might still feel it s worth taking at least a few travellers cheques These can be changed rapidly and painlessly at any bank in Sri Lanka Sterling euro and dollar denominated travellers cheques are all universally accepted but take a standard brand Amex Thomas Cook or Visa to avoid problems You might also want to carry some cash with you for emergencies US dollars euros pounds sterling and Australian dollars are all widely recognized and easily changed New Zealand or Canadian dollars might occasionally cause problems but are generally accepted in most banks Opening hours Most businesses including banks and government offices work a standard five day working week from Monday to Friday 9 9 30am to 5 5 30pm Major post offices generally operate longer hours typically 7am 9pm and stay open on Saturdays as well Many museums shut on Fridays while Hindu temples stay shut until around 4pm to 5pm when they open for the evening puja Buddhist temples by contrast generally stay open from dawn until dusk or later Phones Phoning home from Sri Lanka is straightforward and relatively inexpensive although if you re planning a long trip and are likely to be making a lot of calls using your own mobile is probably the most cost effective option Ask your service provider whether your handset will work abroad and what the call costs are Most UK Australian and New Zealand mobiles use GSM which works well in Sri Lanka but US mobiles apart from tri band phones won t work While some foreign mobile providers have reciprocal arrangements with local operators and offer surprisingly cheap rates using your existing SIM card you might like to check tariffs before you travel it s generally cheaper to replace the SIM card in your phone with a new SIM from a Sri Lankan company assuming your phone isn t locked This will give you a Sri Lankan phone number and you will be charged domestic rates as low as Rs 15 per minute for international calls and around Rs 5 for local calls SIM cards can be picked up for around 10 or less from the myriad phone shops which have sprung up to cater to the Sri Lankan mobile boom these places also sell chargers and adaptors for Sri Lankan sockets and cards with which you can top up your airtime or look for any shop displaying the relevant sticker The main operators are Dialog w dialog lk Mobitel w mobitel lk Etisalat w etisalat lk Airtel w airtel lk and Hutch w hutch lk You can get a mobile signal pretty much everywhere on the island apart from a few

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  • Things not to miss in Sri Lanka | Photo Gallery | Rough Guides
    China Cambodia India Indonesia Japan Laos Malaysia Nepal Myanmar Burma Philippines Singapore South Korea Sri Lanka Taiwan Thailand Vietnam See all destinations Sri Lanka Overview Introduction Fact file Where to go When to go Getting there Getting around Accommodation Eating and drinking The media Festivals and public holidays Sport and outdoor activities National parks reserves and eco tourism Cultural values and etiquette Shopping Travelling with children Crime and safety Health

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  • Sri Lanka Itineraries | Rough Guides
    Lanka and a marvellous showcase of Sinhalese religious art architecture and dance 2 Dambulla Drive north to the cave temples at Dambulla crammed with Buddhist statues and decorated with Sri Lanka s finest murals 3 Sigiriya The nearby rock citadel at Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka s single most dramatic attraction the remains of a fifth century palace perched on the summit of the vertiginous Lion Rock 4 Polonnaruwa Another short drive leads to the marvellous ruined city of Polonnaruwa home to some of medieval Sri Lanka s finest art and architecture including the giant Buddha statues of the Gal Vihara 5 Horton Plains National Park Return to Kandy and then continue to Nuwara Eliya for a trip to Horton Plains National Park a marvellously rugged stretch of unspoilt hill country culminating in the spectacular view at World s End 6 Ella Continue to lively little Ella village set in a dramatic location amid tea plantations on the edge of the hill country 7 Yala National Park Drive south to Yala National Park home to one of the world s densest populations of leopards and much more besides 8 Mirissa Spend some time on the beach and go on a whale watching trip at the village of Mirissa 9 Galle Continue around the coast to the city of Galle and its time warped old Dutch Fort colonial Sri Lanka at its most perfectly preserved 10 Colombo Finish with a day or two in the nation s energetic capital The following itinerary which picks up on some of the best natural attractions not covered in the Grand Tour could be done in a week at a push allowing plenty of time to combine with other attractions en route during a fortnight s visit to the island 1 The Knuckles Range From Kandy you can hike into the rugged Knuckles Range one of the island s most beautiful and biodiverse areas 2 Nuwara Eliya Head south to this venerable old colonial town in the heart of the hill country with spectacular walks in the surrounding countryside 3 Horton Plains National Park Sri Lanka s most scenically stunning national park a misty mix of moorland and cloudforest home to rare indigenous flora and fauna 4 Haputale Dramatically perched on the edge of the southern hill country and with fine hiking through the surrounding tea plantations particularly the walk down from nearby Lipton s Seat 5 Bundala National Park One of Sri Lanka s premier birdwatching destinations spread out around a stunning string of coastal lagoons 6 Rekawa Watch majestic marine turtles haul themselves ashore to lay their eggs on beautiful Rekawa beach 7 Uda Walawe National Park Superb elephant watching opportunities either in the wild or at the attached Elephant Transit Home 8 Sinharaja Stunning area of unspoilt rainforest home to an internationally significant array of rare endemic flora and fauna A slightly offbeat alternative to the Grand Tour featuring less mainstream destinations mixing religion culture and wildlife 1 Kalpitiya Superb dolphin watching

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  • Colombo and the west coast Guide | Sri Lanka Travel | Rough Guides
    Lanka View Guide Indonesia Rough Guides Snapshot Southeast Asia on a Budget View Guide The Rough Guide to Bali Lombok View Guide The Rough Guide to Thailand View Guide The Rough Guide to Vietnam View Guide The Rough Guide to India View Guide Kyoto and Nara Rough Guides Snapshot Japan View Guide The Rough Guide to Beijing View Guide The Rough Guide to Taiwan View Guide The Rough Guide to Korea View Guide Sri Lanka s west coast is the island s front door and via the international airport at Katunayake just outside Colombo the point of arrival for all visitors to the country at least pending the opening of the new international terminal at Hambantota This is Sri Lanka at its most developed and populous the busiest brashest and most Westernized region in the country home to the capital city and the principal coastal resorts which have now all but fused into an unbroken ribbon of concrete which meanders along the seaboard for over a hundred kilometres Situated about two thirds of the way down the west coast Sri Lanka s sprawling capital Colombo is usually low on visitors list of priorities although beneath the unprepossessing surface lies an intriguing and characterful city which offers a fascinating microcosm of contemporary Sri Lanka North of Colombo is the busy resort of Negombo whose proximity to the airport makes it a popular first or last stop on many itineraries while further up the coast is the idyllic Kalpitiya peninsula with deserted beaches and superb dolphin watching and a short drive inland the vast Wilpattu National Park now slowly regaining its former glory after decades of upheaval during the civil war South of the capital lie the island s main beach resorts The principal areas Kalutara Beruwala and Bentota are home to

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