How To Sort Out Your Internet Access Before You Start Travelling In Sri Lanka
If interent access is important to you, you may find that some accommodation places in Sri Lanka may advertise the fact that they have wifi access but the reality may be somewhat different. In some instances, it may not exist at all, and at other times, the access may be sketchy to say the least. Of course that is not alwas the case, and some places do have good wifi access, but it may be best if you get yourself prepared before you travel throughut Sri Lanka.
The number one telecommunication supplier in Sri Lanka is Dialog. Others such as Hutch, Etiselat, Airtel and Mobitel of course exist, but Dialog is the champion provider.
If you have a mobile, you will need to buy a sms card and have a prepaid data plan. For your laptop you will need to buy a dongle with a data plan. The Dialog desk at the airport will direct you to their Dialog office, as they do not sell dongles.
Here are the addresses of a couple of Dialog Centres:-
Dialog Service Centre
392 Galle Road
Phone: 077 229 2878
Opens at 9 am.
Dialog Service Centres
365 Main Street
Phone: 031 222 7638
Phone numbers beginning with ‘076’ or ‘077’ are mobile numbers.
Dialog Sri Lanka usually has various types of packages – if you buy this, you can get that. Ask someone to explain the offers and make your decision.
With the purchase of the dongle at 3390 rupees (approx US23.70), I also got a free SIM card.
I purchased an internet prepaid card for my mobile which permits 5 GB during the day, 4 GB at night, with a validity of 30 days for 649 rupees (approx. US4.50), and an internet prepaid card for my laptop with 8 GB during the day, and 7 GB at night, valid for 30 days for 949 rupees (approx. US6.60).
There seemed to be offers varying from 1GB day and night for 199 rupees (approx. US1.40) to 25GB during the day and 10 GB at night for 2949 rupees (approx. US20.60).
The information sheet on the tariffs was only in Sinhala, they had run out of the information sheets in English.
TIP: It is best to buy these prepaid cards there and then at the dialog office. For example if you are in Sri Lanka for three months, buy three cards, one per month. Whilst places offer dialog top ups and cards in many shops, they rarely have the larger prepaid internet cards. They generally cater for an audience that buys in much smaller amounts.
When I had problems with wifi access at one of the hotels in Jaffna, which is in the far remote northern area of the island, I used my dongle. It worked perfectly.
As I had to visit various places, using googlemaps on my mobile was a God send. It also helps your driver go the correct way, saving you time and money.
Be prepared and sort out your internet access in Sri Lanka before you start travelling.
Dialog website: http://www.dialog.lk