Sri Lanka
Key Facts:
  65,610 sq. km
  Southern Asia
  19.8 million
  Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
  President Mahinda Rajapakshe

  Sri Lankan Rupees (1 US$ = approx 104 rupees)

  GMT + 5 ,1/2hours
Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka is a land of massive contrasts. The topographical, ecological and cultural diversity in its compact 66,000 sq km makes it truly ‘a land like no other' with no end to the nature and adventure related activities that are possible! Sri Lanka 's vast variety of habitats includes pristine rainforests, highland grasslands and tea plantations, virgin jungles, mangrove swamps, dry zone areas, white sandy beaches and several internationally recognized National Parks.

Also known as ‘the pearl in the Indian Ocean', Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon island republic) is located 29 kilometres off the south eastern tip of the Indian subcontinent. It is separated from India by the Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar .


Sri Lanka can be described as ‘tropical' in its climate, with a wet and dry season, further affected by two monsoons. The Yala monsoon rain to the southwestern part of the country- from May to August, while the dry season is approximately- from - December to March. In contrast, the north and eastern coast of Sri Lanka is affected by the Maha monsoon that makes it rainy and windy from October to January and dry from May to September. There is also an inter-monsoonal period in October and November when rain and thunderstorms can occur all around the island. These climate variations make it essential to plan your trip in advance to coincide with the best seasons for the particular areas you want to visit. Relative humidity in Sri Lanka varies from 70% during the day to 90% at night with an average temperature of 27°C in Colombo . In the higher elevations it can be quite cool with temperatures going down to 13°C at an altitude of nearly 2,000 metres. So be prepared to bring clothing for the extremes!

  Flora and Fauna

Such a diverse country as Sri Lanka is naturally home to an incredible variety of fauna and flora. Of the 86 species of mammals that live in Sri Lanka , pride of place goes to the majestic elephant – the second largest terrestrial animal surviving today. Other exotic species often seen are the leopard, the sloth bear, and many varieties of deer and monkeys. An island-wide prolific bird life is also sure to satisfy even the most serious of bird enthusiasts.

  Population and People

Sri Lanka has a population of 19.8 million and is set to peak at about 25 million by 2020. Less than one-quarter of the population lives in urban communities. Sri Lanka is divided into nine provinces and twenty-four administrative districts. Each province is headed by an appointed Chief minister.


Sinhala, Tamil and English, are the three official languages, with Sinhala being spoken by more than 80% of the population. Tamil, a Dravidian language of southern India, is mainly spoken by people living in the northern and eastern provinces. English is widely used in many activities and businesses throughout the island.


Buddhism , which was introduced into Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC, is the prevailing faith. As practiced in Sri Lanka , Buddhism also exhibits elements of both Hindu and Islamic traditions


Tamil kings and their followers from South India brought Hinduism initially to northern Sri Lanka .  Today there are significant Hindu communities in Colombo , Kandy and the tea plantation areas in the hill country, as well as in the north and east.


Arab traders visiting Sri Lanka from the 8 th century brought Islam to the island.  The majority of the 1.8 million Muslims are Sunnis, however communities of Shiites have recently migrated from the Indian subcontinent.


Christianity arrived in Sri Lanka with the Portugese in the 16 th century when they brought Roman Catholicism to the island.  The Catholic Church remains strong, particularly amongst the western coastal communities.  During the Dutch period, Protestantism and the Dutch Reformed Church arrived (especially prevalent in Colombo ).  Evidence of other denominations are sentiment to the British period, and an increasing number of evangelist churches spreading and growing.

  Other important information

  Visas endorsement

Nationals from countries under Schedule A . will be Provided  visa endorsements at the port of entry for a max period of 30 days, initially,  which period can be extended if the stay concerns tourism. If the purpose is other than holidaying , the person concerned should obtain a prior visit visa from the Immigration authorities of Sri Lanka through an agent.

Nationals from countries not under Schedule A . should also obtain a  prior visa what ever the purpose of their visit.

Eligibility for Stay
Should have a return air ticket currency or travelers cheques for the stay.
Validity period for Visa 90 days (initial issue)
Extention up to one year.

  Service Charges & Tips

A 10% service charge is automatically added to bills in most top hotels and restaurants. There is no need to tip taxi drivers and if tipping hotel porters, around Rs. 20 per bag is recommended .

  Etiquette/Dress Code

As with many Asian countries, modest dress is required; shoulders and legs should be covered when visiting temples or shrines. All visitors to temples should remove their shoes before entering and heads should be uncovered. Topless sunbathing is prohibited throughout Sri Lanka.

  Credit cards

MasterCard and Visa are the most commonly accepted cards. Other major cards such as AmEx and DinersClub are also accepted.

  Banking Hours
Monday to Friday 09.00 to 03.00 at all state & Private commercial Banks. Saturday banking has also recently been introduced by most Private commercial banks.

The international dialling code for Sri Lanka is +94. When making international telephone calls from Sri Lanka , first dial 00 + country code + area code + telephone number.

  Driving licences and permits

If you wish to drive yourself, you must obtain a temporary Sri Lankan driving licence, for which you need to show your home-country driving licence and preferably an international driving permit too.

  Email & Internet Access

You shouldn't have a problem finding internet facilities in the majority of tourist towns - even most towns that are off-the-beaten track have access. Internet facility in Colombo is cheap (at approx. 60 rupees an hour).

230-240 V, 50 cycles AC
Round 3-pin plugs are used in Sri Lanka .

Tap water is not considered safe for consumption .Bottled water is widely available throughout the country (make sure the bottles are sealed before you buy them).


All top-end and mid-range places to stay have laundry services, and the majority of guest-houses will make arrangements for you if you wish.


Medical facilities in small towns outside of the main cities are not always of a good standard and it is recommended that you take out adequate health insurance covering evacuation. All necessary precautions should be taken. Consider inoculations against typhoid, polio, hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis and take advice regarding anti-malarials. It is always best to check the current situation and any vaccination requirements with a doctor when planning your trip.

  Getting to Sri Lanka

The main way to enter Sri Lanka is by flying although cruise ships also dock in to the Colombo Harbour . The Bandaranaike International Airport is located at Katunayake (approx. 30km north of Colombo). Check with airlines in your country to find the best deals.

  Getting around Sri Lanka

The best thing about buses in Sri Lanka is that there’s lots of them, so there’s never much waiting around. There are two kinds in Sri Lanka – CTB (Central Transport Board) buses and private buses. Most are basic with bench type seats and no air-conditioning. There are also private air-conditioned buses – by far the most comfortable option for long journeys. Be prepared for large crowds – it is not unusual to have some passengers hanging out of the doors within city journeys!


The train ‘system’ in Sri Lanka provides an adventure in itself! It offers a fascinating way to travel and explore the country. However they are slow, unpredictable and often late. Some of the longer journeys offer an over-night sleeper train (with actual sleeping berths) and others offer a first-class ‘observation class’ service. The third class service (although dirt cheap) is generally over-crowded and not particularly comfortable. Second class is adequate, with padded seats, fans and less crowds than the third-class option. N.B. Second-class sleepers do not have berths – just fold-down chairs in shared compartments.

N.B.  When using public transport in Sri Lanka, be particularly vigilant of pick-pockets.


These funny looking vehicles, known in other parts of Asia as tuk-tuks, bajajs or auto-ricksaws, are everywhere. They are an ideal way to travel short journeys (but a little uncomfortable for longer trips). To avoid any hassles, agree on the fare before you get in. Some of the hotels can advise on the ‘going-rate’ for your journey.


For the most intrepid travellers, hiring a motorcycle and exploring the quieter hill country and beautiful coastline is a fascinating experience. Just stay off the main highways and watch out for the roaming buses! ). Please contact us for details – or follow the link in our website to hire Moterbikes.


Hiring a car and driving it yourself is possible . Vehicles with experienced Tourist Guide/ Chauffeur at the wheel is also a popular option along with Airconditioned vans & buses for larger groups - Please contact us for details – or follow the link in our website to hire 4WD


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