Indian passport holders can enjoy visa-free travel to less than 60 countries(2020). Some of them offer E-Visa, and very few offer Visa on arrival. This becomes the biggest hindrance for Indian backpackers and flashpackers. Fortunately, our neighbour Sri Lanka with whom we share a marine border in the South-East, has made it easier for Indians to get a tourist Visa.
India and Sri Lanka have shared connections for millions of years. According to the legendary epic of Hindus “Ramayana”, Lord Raama built a bridge between India and Sri Lanka ( that starts from today’s Dhanushkodi of India). Sri Lankans believe that their king Ravana, Raama’s rivalry in the mythology, built this using floating rocks made of weightless corals. Whatever the truth is, it is easier for Indians to get a Sri Lankan tourist Visa with fewer documents.
TYPE OF VISA –
Indian tourists are eligible for ETA Visa -Electronic Travel Authorization. An eTA is electronically linked to a traveller’s passport. Here is the link to Sri Lanka’s official website for Visa applications.
SAMPLE OF ETA ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
We wondered if this is the Visa grant after receiving the email, but it is!
VISA FEES – 1500 INR or 21 USD / person for 30 days duration
TRAVEL INSURANCE – Not Mandatory, But we recommend you always have one.
LIST OF DOCUMENTS REQUIRED – You Need not upload any documents while applying for Visa online. Even Airtickets are not asked! But you have to carry a copy of ETA Acknowledgement, To and fro air tickets, Proof of funds in USD or LKR & accommodation proof to get your Visa once at the airport. Except for our airline tickets, the immigration officer didn’t check anything else though
EASE OF APPLYING FOR VISA – 5/5. BEWARE OF SEVERAL AGENTS’ WEBSITES FOR ETA APPLYING. You will end up paying more if you go through the agents. Use their official website only.
TIME TAKEN TO OBTAIN VISA BEFORE LEAVING – 30 MINUTES!
EASE AT COLOMBO AIRPORT – 3/5. Colombo airport is a transit hub for Pacific countries. So the airport receives lots of tourists for layovers also. The airport works fine but little congested. The airport felt more like a bus terminal than an airport.; There was a shortage of luggage pull carts. I
There were shops selling items like Ceylon tea powder, precious gems and Cinnamon. Strangely, there were even outlets selling washing machines, mixers and other electrical home appliances. I wonder why. Every shop looked like a shop in the countryside and not something you would expect in an international airport.
Did you know a part of Sri Lanka was colonised by Dutches too?
China and Sri Lanka share a great relationship. So Chinese travellers are treated with utmost hospitality. All citizens struggled to lift the trolley suitcase to put it on the check-in luggage counter. But the moment guards saw a citizen with a Chinese passport, they came and helped them with everything possible – Picking their trolley to assemble the luggage, getting a pull cart and even helping them get a taxi. A few bank signboards in Colombo airport said, “Dear Chinese, welcome to Sri Lanka. Many of our staff speak Mandarin. Please get in touch with us for any assistance.”
Sri Lanka’s masks resemble the ones you see in Leh-Ladakh of India.
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