Language and Communication

What Language will people understand?

Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages in Sri Lanka. English is a ‘link’ language and generally understood by most people and is easy to get by. Off the beaten track knowledge of it thins. English is spoken at all hotels, major restaurants and shops. Dream Vacations provides guides in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese languages to foreign visitors requiring assistance. Road signs are written both in Sinhalese & English throughout the country, with few exceptions.

How are telephone facilities in the country?

Telephone facilities are available extensively throughout the country. There are many telephone booths which accept coins, but the clarity and talk times may be short. Telephone bureaus are quite common with most offering IDD and internet facilities. Some offer the cheaper net-to-phone facilities, but quality is not always reliable. IDD facilities are available in most tourist hotels.

What is the country code and how do I dial area codes?

Dialing in – Sri Lanka’s country code is 94, (E.g. If you need to call a number in Colombo, dial ++94 11 2XXXXXX). If you are calling a mobile number, you dial the number after the country code (E.g. dialing a Dialog number, dial ++94 77X XXXXXX).
Dialing within/ out – If you need to take an overseas call, you’ll have to dial ‘00’. You do not have to dial the area code if you are within the area. However, the area code must be dialed if you want to take an outstation call (e.g. calling within Colombo, dial 2XXXXXX, Calling Kandy from Colombo, dial 081 22XXXXX).

What mobile technology is supported in Sri Lanka?

All mobile operators support the GSM technology on GSM 900/ 1800 bands. WAP & GPRS is widely supported. 3G and wireless broadband is available in Colombo. Wifi zones are available in selected spots in major towns.

Can I purchase a local mobile connection while on holiday?

It’s a good option to purchase a local SIM card and top up cards while you are on holiday. The mobile call rates are relatively cheap for both local and IDD calls.  There are many mobile operators in the country (E.g. Dialog, Mobitel, Etisalat, Hutch etc.). Dialog and Mobitel has a counter at the Colombo Airport and you can obtain a connection on arrival. A Dialog connection will cost about Rupees 1500. Top up cards are freely available island-wide. You can buy top-up cards for denominations of Rupees 100, 400 & 1000. Be sure that your phone is `dual band’ and unlocked.

Can I access the internet freely?

Most hotels provide internet facilities. There are internet cafes in most towns with ADSL connection. Connections in smaller towns will be slow.  The average cost of surfing in a Cyber Café is about Euro .50 per hour. Many large 5 star and some boutique hotels provide Wifi facilities. Dialog also provides WiMAX Broadband wireless connections

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