Native food is spicy and hot, and it is recommended to approach curries with
caution. There are a wide range of fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. You can also find Continental,
Indian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine in Colombo. A specialty is curry made with coconut
milk, sliced onion, green chili, aromatic spices such as nutmeg,
cloves, cinnamon and saffron and aromatic leaves.
A hopper is a cross between a crumpet and a muffin
with a wafer-crisp edge, served with a fresh egg soft-baked on top.
Stringhoppers are steamed circles of rice flour,
a little more delicate than noodles or spaghetti. Jaggery
is a type of fudge made from the crystallized sap of the kitul palm.
Durians are widely available and considered great delicacy.
Amongst the best in the world, tea is the country's national
comes from the sap of the palm tree and is a favoured local drink.
When fermented, it becomes arrack, varying in degrees
Alcohol is not sold on poya holidays (which is scheduled each lunar month
on the day of the full moon).
Some hotels in the capital provide clubs with music for dancing. Theatres are also available in Colombo and cinemas showing films from the USA.
Ballet, concerts and theatre productions also take place.
The popular and special buys are handicrafts and curios of silver, brass, bone,
ceramics, wood and terracotta. Also straw hats, cane baskets, reed
and coir mats and tea. Batik fabric, lacquer ware and lace are also
Visitors can buy masks which are used in dance-dramas, in processions
and on festival days. The ‘18-disease’
mask shows a demon in possession of a victim encircled by 18 faces
– each which cures a specific ailment. Versions produced for
the tourist trade are usually of a high standard.
Gems are also popular goods to buy in the country of Sri Lanka. Fabrics include cottons,
batiks, rayons, silks and fine lace.
hours: Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.30 pm, Saturday 9.00 am to 1.00 pm.
For more details and exact dates, get in touch with the Sri Lanka Tourist
Board (see Contacts
The following is a selection of special events in Sri Lanka in 2005:
||Duruthu Perahera Festival
(commemorating a visit of the Buddha to Sri Lanka), Colombo;
Thai Pongal (traditional Hindu festival)
||Navam Perahera Festival (colourful
street procession with nearly 100 elephants and ‘low
country’ dancers), Colombo; Classic Car Rally,
Colombo to Wattala
||Independence Commemoration Day
||Elephant Polo, Weligama
||Hindu New Year; Flower Show and Gardening
Competition, Nuwara Eliya
||Wesak Festival (commemorates the
Birth, Enlightenment and Death of the Buddha)
||Bellanwila Festival, Rajamaha Vihare
||Kandy Esala Perahala
||Kataragama Festival, Tissamaharama
||Facets 2005 - International Gem and Jewellery
||International Marathon, Kandy
||Sri Pada Pilgrimage Season
hands is the normal greeting.
Tea is normally offered when visiting and it is rude
To be punctual
small token, such as a souvenir from home or company, is normally
Informal, Western dress is acceptable.
Tourists should be appropriately dressed when visiting any places of worship,
while shoes and hats must regularly be taken off.
Men do not need jackets and ties in the evenings apart from formal
functions when lightweight suits should be worn.
Most hotels add a 10% service charge into the bills. Extra tipping
is at your discretion.