Colombo FAQs

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Area geography

With an assortment of land and water bodies in its geography, Colombo has a lake and many canals around the city. The city is spread across 37.3 square kilometres.

Notes currencies cards

The currency of Sri Lanka is Sri Lankan rupee. You will find plenty of ATMs spread all over the city in Colombo from where you can withdraw money. Credit cards are accepted at major stores and shops.

Cellular service for tourists

Mobitel and Dialog are the most popular and cost-effective mobile service operators in Sri Lanka and both of these have outlets at the international airport.

Wifi internet

Internet facility is available throughout Colombo and most of the hotels, restaurants and high-end cafes have either free or chargeable Wi-Fi internet access.

Drinking laws

The legal drinking age in Sri Lanka is 25 years.


Most of the food and beverage outlets add a service charge in the final bill, so tipping is not necessary. However, small tips for good service are always appreciated.

Custom visa

An intended traveller planning a holiday visit, a short business trip or to transit through, needs to apply and obtain an ETA prior to arrival in Sri Lanka. ETA application can be submitted using one of the following options:

  • By the applicant
  • By Third party
  • By Registered agents
  • At Sri Lanka Overseas Missions
  • At the head office of the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DI&E), Colombo
  • On arrival at the port of entry in Sri Lanka

The application for ETA should be submitted electronically using one of the six submission methods mentioned above. The Department maintains a NO REFUND policy.

An ETA holder is entitled to enter Sri Lanka within three months from the date of issue of ETA.

The types of ETA:

  • ETA for Tourist purpose with double entry for 30 (thirty) days
  • ETA for Business purpose with multiple entry for 30 (thirty) days
  • ETA for Transit for 07 (seven) days. (First 48 hours free of charge.)


Colombo has a low crime rate and therefore considered relatively safe. However, petty crimes like pickpocketing or bag snatching are common. It’s advisable to always be cautious of your surroundings and avoid visiting isolated areas.

General information

Languages spoken

Sinhala, Tamil, English

Time zones


Major religions

Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam

Domestic international calling codes

00 94 11

Electricity standards

230 V/50; Plug type D, G and M

Common greetings

Yes: Ow

No: Naa

Hello/good day: Ayubowan

Thank you: Istuti

Thank you very much: Bohoma istuti

How are you?: Kohomadhe?

Fine: Varadak neh

Please: Karunakerara

What is your name?: Nama mokadhdha?

My name is: Mage nama

OK/very good: Hari hondai

Delicious: Hari rasai

I don’t understand: Mata terinneh neh

Very expensive: Hari ganan

No sugar please: Seeni netuwa

Please stop here: Metana nawaththanna

Where are you going?: Koheda yanna?

Where is the hotel?: Hootale kohedha?

Where is the station?: Stesemeta eka ko?

What is this?: Mekeh mokadeh?

How much (is this)?: (Meeka) kiyadha?

Do you speak English?: Ingirisi dannevada?

I don’t speak Sinhala: Singhala danna naa


Emergency numbers

Ambulance (Fire) (Colombo)


National Help Desk




Government Help




Accident Service General Hospital


Army Head Quarters

011-2432682 to 5

Bomb Squad Army

011-2434251, 2437515, 2330646

Blood Bank

011-2695728, 2692317, 2674799



Emergency Police Mobile Squad


Electricity Break Down

011-2466660, 4617575

Fire & Ambulance


Police Emergency


Police Head Quarters


Poison Information Centre


Red Cross