Destination Information

Sri Lanka Destination Information

Sri Lanka – the pearl of the Indian Ocean, is a beautiful tropical island covering an area of 65,610 square kilometres (25,000 square miles), situated southeast of the Indian subcontinent and 880 kilometres to the north of the Equator.

The islands eighteen million strong population provides Sri Lanka with an intoxicating mix of cultures and diverse ethnic groups, who have been practising their unique traditions for many centuries. Whilst Sri Lanka is progressive and forward looking in its outlook, it is at the same time deeply embodied with a sense of pride in its traditions and heritage.  Sri Lanka is a must-see destination on any visit to the region.

Most surprising is that communication is rarely a problem, English is widely spoken in many parts of the country in addition to the national languages Sinhala, Tamil and many other foreign languages. Identification of places is made convenient by signboards both in English and Sinhala.

 

Capital:

Colombo, approximately 35 kms from the Bandaranaike International Airport Katunayake

Languages:

Sinhala, English & Tamil

Ethnic:

The majority of the population are Sinhalese at 74%, Tamil 18%, Muslim 7% and the remaining 1% are a mixture of Burghers and descendants of Portuguese, Dutch and English colonists

Religion:

Buddhist 69%, Hindu 15%, Christian 8% and Islam 8%.

Main Exports:

Tea, Rubber, Garments, Gemstones, Coconuts and Textiles

Climate:

It is warm from March to June and cool from November to February. The Southwest monsoon (May to June) affects the southern, western and central areas. The northwest 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 and 1000 and coins in Rupees 1, 2, 5 and cents 5, 10, 25, 50. One USD equals approximately 130.00 Sri Lankan Rupees, at the current rate of exchange which is volatile

Temples:

Visitors should be dressed modestly and should remove footwear and hats before entering temples and places of worship

Time:

4.5 hours ahead of GMT. During the Summer season and 5.5 hours during the Winter season.

Shopping:

The world’s finest tea and spices are grown here. Precious stones, created batiks, hand carved silver trays, ornaments and Jewellery are the island’s pride available at reasonable prices. Designer Label clothing are manufactured in Sri Lanka and are re-exported to USA and Europe; the excess stock is out in the local market. Shopping in Sri Lanka is value for money.

Sri Lanka panorama image courtesy of Tom Gottschalk

 

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