Sri Lanka is a great little country for business travel, as most of it happens in the capital city! The main thing to remember is before you even start packing, have some kind of checklist so that you know exactly what to bring to Sri Lanka. These tips will mostly be about weather and culture, and if you follow them you’ll have an easy time travelling in the country. The list is also especially useful for those staying at a Colombo Business Hotel, but it should apply to any city in the country!
First off, you don’t have to pack a lot to come here. Concentrate on lightweight shirts and blouses that will be good for warmer weather – stay away from heavy fabrics. Don’t bring too many pairs of shoes, and make sure you’re good to walk in them. Because of cabs and the air conditioning of offices this may not affect your outfits as much, but bring airy clothes and have a handkerchief or oil absorbing sheets to mop up any sweat on your face before you enter a meeting! Have a good comfy pair of shoes for when you’re taking a break – sneakers or sandals will do – as you will want to check out the local life if you have any free time. In general, be aware of the humid weather in Sri Lanka and pack accordingly. Make good use of the laundry facilities available at your hotel, so that you can travel light but still have enough outfits for all the days that you are here.
One of the most important things you can do when you touch down in the airport is to buy yourself a SIM card, as this will be your lifeline workwise, and family wise. Offices and hotels will have Wi-Fi, but not all other establishments do, so you will want to get an internet package for the duration of your stay. They don’t cost much, and you can buy a decent amount of GB for not very much, so you should be set for keeping in touch with everyone on the go. This is also important for google maps and ordering cabs using ride share apps.
Another tip is to understand that Sri Lankans tend to run on a different time than others. So prepare to be a bit more relaxed, and enjoy this change of pace. This applies to meetings that may start slightly later than anticipated and run a bit later than expected, as well as travel times (that can take anything from longer than usual due to traffic and fast as lightning when there are no vehicles on the road!).
Some advice when it comes to travelling is use ride share apps – such as the homegrown Pick Me or the internationally known Uber – because getting three wheelers, or tuk tuks, off the road might be dicey as it can be tricky to negotiate a price. If you do have to hail one from the street, make sure they have a meter.
While not a hack, per se, I would advise you to go around Colombo if you have any downtime. Try to visit Galle Face, and the Dutch Fort for a sample of Sri Lanka’s cuisine and nightlife. Independence square is a good place to go for walks.