Sri Lanka is one of the Asian countries that is completely surrounded by the waters of the Indian Ocean. Since the country is relatively small in size, it is perfectly suited for an exploratory cruise along its coast. Continue to read for more information on cruises to Sri Lanka and what you have to do to prepare for it.
Travel requirements for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has a visa requirement for international travellers that want to visit the country. For touristic trips to Sri Lanka, the best option is the ETA. This electronic version of the visa can be applied for entirely online. If you apply for the ETA Sri Lanka online ahead of your journey, you can skip the long queue for the visa on arrival in Sri Lanka.
Before going on a cruise to Sri Lanka, it is wise to apply for a visa for Sri Lanka in advance, as it is not always possible to get a visa at the port your cruise ship is entering. If you are going on a cruise trip to Asia with a stop in Sri Lanka, you must already hold a valid ETA or visa before you arrive in Sri Lanka.
Validity of the Sri Lanka visa for a cruise
A cruise is classified as a touristic travel purpose. The tourist visa for Sri Lanka is valid for 30 days. This means that, from the day of arrival, you are allowed to stay in Sri Lanka for 30 days. The date of arrival may not differ by more than 90 days from the date of arrival that was filled in on the application form. This means that you may arrive a maximum of 90 days earlier or later. If your arrival date deviates more than 90 days from the date indicated on your visa, the visa is invalid.
The Sri Lanka e-visa is a double-entry visa. This means that the same visa can be used twice to enter Sri Lanka. In most cases, Colombo is the only city where cruise ships dock for a short visit to Sri Lanka. In that case, travellers only enter Sri Lanka once.
A transit ETA is not valid for a short visit to Sri Lanka.
The transit ETA might have a validity of 48 hours; however, you are not allowed to use it for a short visit to the country during your cruise trip. The purpose of the transit visa is the transit by plane in Sri Lanka, where you land at an airport and continue your journey on an onward plane.
Places to visit in Colombo
Both nature lovers and culture and history enthusiasts have plenty to explore in Colombo. There are many museums, like the Colombo Dutch Museum, National Museum of Colombo or the intriguing Traditional Puppet Art Museum. You can also take a relaxing walk on the wooden walking paths of Beddagana Wetland Park or on the white sand of Arugam Bay Beach. Animal lovers do not want to miss out on the Attidiya Bird Sanctuary. That vast nature reserve is a refuge for indigenous birds, where you can observe the wild life and try to spot them all.
Like in many countries of Southeast Asia, you can find different kinds of temples in Sri Lanka. One of the most impressive buildings is the temple of Shri Ponnambalawaneswaram Kovil in Colombo. It is one of the few temples in Colombo that was built in the original Hindu style with detailed ornaments on the outside and inside.
Apply for the Sri Lanka visa
Apply for a visa well in advance of your trip to make sure you receive the Sri Lanka visa in time for your journey. As you have the flexibility to deviate 90 days from the expected arrival date that you indicated on your application form, there is little chance that your visa is no longer valid when you travel to Sri Lanka. Always read the requirements for the Sri Lanka visa before applying for the ETA Sri Lanka, to make sure that you are eligible.