Comfortable and breathable Cotton and Linen attire is best suited for Sri Lanka’s year-round warm tropical climate. A few sweaters and fleece jackets will come in handy when touring the highland regions that are cooler than the rest of the island, where temperatures can be as low as 10° C at night. Pack up a raincoat or rain jacket, which will prove useful if travelling during the tropical monsoon seasons.
It is customary to wear conservative clothing, with covered shoulders and legs (covered up to knee length) and to remove headwear and footwear when visiting religious sites. Do not face your back to any statue or object of religious significance when posing for photos. Even religious ruin sites are considered sacred.
Sri Lankan society is predominantly conservative. It is best to wear modest clothing throughout your travels around the island, to avoid unwelcome attention. The same applies for swimwear. Resort to a modest one piece or two piece suit (avoid low cut and Brazilian styles if possible)and throw in a wrap skirt, poncho, sarong or board shorts in your beach bag, as these will come in handy if you decide to wander off to a nearby coastal village or town. You can be freer and more relaxed within the confines of your hotel, where staff and local guests are likely to remain relatively unaffected. Nudity is not allowed in Sri Lankan beaches.
Open footwear such as sandals suit the climate and most purposes in Sri Lanka. Bring your walking shoes or trainers if your itinerary includes some adventurous trekking or hiking. Do not forget to pack your specialist water sport attire if you intend to spend a considerable amount of time at the beach engaging in water sports.