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| Updated on Jul 11, 2016

Sri Lanka: Taming the Wild

Sri Lanka is an island of idiosyncratic beauty .Emerging from the Indian Ocean, the Sri Lankan coast is fringed with idyllic golden beaches, while the interior of the island offers a wide variety of landscapes. Hills, lowland jungles and magical shores make of Sri lanka the home of more than 20.000 species, ranging from asian elephants and leopards to rare endemic bird species of unreal beauty. In order to make the most of your trip to Sri Lanka, you should get acquaintanced with the compulsory and recommended health measures. To travel to Sri Lanka, you are required to be up to date on routine vaccinations, such as those against measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine and the chicken pox. These vaccines will allow you to avoid the most spread illnesses worldwide. To protect yourself from local diseases, consider vaccinating against Hepatitis A and Typhoid, which can be spread through contaminated food or water. If you did not get vaccinated on time avoid street food and dubious water to minimize the risk of infection. Depending on the length and destination of your trip, the vaccines for Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies are strongly recommended. Ask your general practitioner for his medical opinion, explaining the details of your trip.

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If you are not feeling well during or after your visit to Sri Lanka, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic. Be sure to tell your doctor about any relevant information about your travels, such as if you were in contact with non domestic animals or you travel to unpopulated areas. If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, very common as a preventive measure keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you interrupt your medical treatment too soon, you could still get sick. For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, please consult the measures provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Before visiting Sri Lanka, you are required to apply for a tourist visa. This process can be completely carried out online and has a cost of US$30 and a validity of 30 days. A Sri Lankan travel visa can still be obtained at international embassies for the same price and duration. If you are already in Sri Lanka and you do not have a valid visa, there is a counter at Bandaranaike International Airport that provides short notice visas, although you will be required to pay a small penalty.
If you wish to extend your trip to Sri Lanka, it is possible to renew your 30-day tourist visa twice through a relatively simple bureaucratic process. For more information, contact the Department of Immigration and Emigration. When travelling through Sri Lanka, you must carry a valid passport at all times. This is especially necessary when booking accommodation and accessing the international embassies in the capital. Tip: Although obtaining a Sri Lankan visa for US citizens is not particularly difficult, make sure that you have a valid passport for more than six months. Also, it is advisable to apply for the visa as soon as possible, because your Sri Lankan visa may take weeks to be processed. Sri Lanka paradise

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