Sri Lanka is surging the travel Industry with new visa-free entry policy for Maldives, Seychelles and Singapore

Sri Lanka, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, is a captivating tourist destination renowned for its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, lush tea plantations, and vibrant wildlife. Visitors can explore ancient cities like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, admire the sacred Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, or embark on scenic train journeys through the picturesque hill country. Adventure seekers can enjoy safaris in Yala National Park, while beach lovers can relax on the pristine shores of Mirissa and Unawatuna. Sri Lanka’s diverse offerings make it a prime spot for leisure travel, cultural exploration, and nature adventures. Additionally, citizens from three countries—Maldives, Seychelles, and Singapore—can enter Sri Lanka without a visa, making it a hassle-free destination for travelers from these nations. For other countries, an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) is required, which can be conveniently obtained online. This ease of access, combined with Sri Lanka’s enchanting attractions, enhances its appeal as a top global travel destination. Indian travelers need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before their arrival, which is a simple and free process during the program’s duration. This visa-free entry is part of Sri Lanka’s efforts to recover from economic challenges and increase tourist arrivals, with India being a significant source market.

Sri Lanka recently had introduced a pilot program offering free visas for citizens of India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand until March 31, 2024. For other nationalities, the visa fee for a 30-day tourist visa remains at $50. But though it has expired, still there are avenues that one can explore for travel boom.

Visa-Free Countries




Major Airports in Sri Lanka

Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB)

Location: Katunayake, near Colombo

Description: The main international gateway to Sri Lanka, Bandaranaike International Airport handles the majority of international and domestic flights. It offers modern facilities and services for travelers.

Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (HRI)

Location: Hambantota

Description: This airport serves the southern region of Sri Lanka and aims to boost tourism and economic development in the area. It handles both international and domestic flights.

Top Railway Services in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka boasts a well-connected railway network that offers scenic and comfortable travel options across the island. Here are the top railway services and a suggested itinerary for travelers.

Popular Scenic Routes

Duration: Approximately 2 to 3 hours to Galle and 3.5 to 4 hours to Matara.

Colombo to Kandy

Description: This route takes you from the bustling capital city of Colombo to the cultural capital of Kandy, passing through lush greenery and scenic landscapes.

Duration: Approximately 2.5 to 3 hours.

Kandy to Ella (via Nuwara Eliya)

Description: Known as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, this route winds through tea plantations, misty mountains, and picturesque villages.

Duration: Approximately 6 to 7 hours.

Colombo to Galle and Matara

Description: This coastal route offers stunning views of the Indian Ocean and connects the capital city to the historic city of Galle and further down to Matara.

How to Reach and Travel Tips

Tickets: Purchase tickets in advance for popular routes, especially during peak tourist seasons. Tickets can be bought at train stations, online, or through travel agents.

Train Classes: Sri Lankan trains typically offer three classes—First Class (air-conditioned, reserved seating), Second Class (reserved and unreserved seating), and Third Class (unreserved seating).

Safety and Comfort: While train travel in Sri Lanka is generally safe, keep an eye on your belongings. For longer journeys, bring snacks and water.

Scenic Views: For the best scenic views on the Kandy to Ella route, sit on the right side of the train when traveling from Kandy to Ella, and on the left side when traveling from Ella to Kandy.

Cruises in Sri Lanka and Sample Itineraries

Sri Lanka is becoming an increasingly popular destination for cruise ships due to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, rich cultural heritage, and scenic beauty. Here are some of the cruise services available and sample itineraries.

Major Ports for Cruise Ships in Sri Lanka

Colombo Port

Description: The largest and busiest port in Sri Lanka, located in the capital city.

Attractions: Colombo city tour, Gangaramaya Temple, Galle Face Green, Pettah Market, National Museum.

Galle Port

Description: Located on the southern coast, known for its historic significance.

Attractions: Galle Fort (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Dutch Reformed Church, Galle Lighthouse, local markets.

Trincomalee Port

Description: One of the world’s largest natural harbors, located on the northeastern coast.

Attractions: Koneswaram Temple, Fort Frederick, Nilaveli Beach, Pigeon Island National Park.

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