About Beautiful Sri Lanka, A Land Like No Other!

Geography

A small island 65,610 square kms, Sri Lanka lies in the Indian ocean, south of the coast, 880 kms north of the Equator. Coastal beaches merging into jungle and the hill country with peaks reaching a height of 2,400 meters. You will find terraced tea plantations, waterfalls and lakes, unspoile palm lined beaches with coral reefs, rice paddies, wildlife parks filled with animals in their native habitat and much more.

Population

Approximately 20.87 million

Capital

Sri Jayawardenapura, Kotte

Commercial Capital

Colombo, approximately 35 kms from the airport at Katunayake.

Languages

Communication is nearly a problem because English is spoken in most parts of the country. Place boards and signboards are in the national languages and often in English also. Official languages are Sinhala, Tamil and English.

Ethnic Groups

Majority of population are Sinhalese 74%, Tamil 18%, Muslims 7% and Burghers (descendants of Portuguese, Dutch and English colonists) and other 1%.

Religion

Buddhist 69%, Hindus 15%, Christians 8% and Muslims 8%

Major Exports

Garments, gemstones, Tea, Rubber, Coconut and Textiles

Climate

Being a tropical country, the low-lying coastal regions have a year round temperature of about 27c, Kandy averages 20 - 25c. The hottest time is March to June and coolest time is November to January. The southwest monsoon (December to January) affects the eastern and northern areas.

Currency

Sri Lanka rupee bank notes are in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000. Coins in rupees 1, 2, 5 and 10 and cents 25, 50. One USD equals approximately 131.65 Sri Lankan rupees, at the current rate of exchange.

Dining

Distinctive Sri Lanka curries for eastern dishes, seafood, Chinese meals, Malay food have to be sampled. Western style cuisine also available everywhere. Fresh fruit is abumdamt and cheap.

Temples

You should be conservatively dressed and always remove footwear and hats before entering temples and places of worship.

Shopping

The world's finest tea and spices are grown here. Precious stones are good value and also batiks, silver trays, ornaments and jewellery.

Water

It is recommended that you drink only filtered water, mineral water and aerated waters, which are available at all, the hotels.

Festivals

Festivals occur throughout the year. The most famous is the Kandy Perahera, the festival of the August Full Moon at the temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha, in the hill capital of Kandy.

Sports

Water sports such as Scuba diving, water-skiing, wind surfing, boating, sailing, swimming, snorkelling and fishing, golf, tennis and squash. Trekking, camping and fun rafting are available.