Sri Lanka

The Island Jewel!

The island of Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean, to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal. It is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. Once known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean , Sri Lanka is mere 65,525 square meters but can boast of more than seven UNESCO world heritage sites. Discover the wonder of Asia with Stretches of sandy beaches ( 1330 kilometers of coast line), misty mountains, nearly 500,00 acres of lust tea estates, herds of elephants and wild life and historical sites.

Climate :

Typically tropical climate persists with no marked seasons in Sri Lanka. Two monsoons, northeast monsoon ( December to March) bringing rainy season to the north and the east , and a southwest monsoon ( May to October ) bringing rainy season to the south and the west. The hill country is cooler and more temperate.

General Facts

Official Name:

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Government Type:



Latitude 5° 55. to 9° 50. north, Longitude 79° 42. to 81° 52., 650km north of the equator


430km North to South, 225km East to West





Currency (code):

Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)


4 February 1948

Administrative Capital:

Sri Jayewardenepura

Commercial Capital:




Ethnic Groups:

Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001 census)


Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%
Note: English (a link language commonly) is used in government and spoken competently by about 10% of the population


Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10% (2001 census)

Time Zone:

Sri Lanka Standard Time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT. (Allowance should be made for summer-time changes in Europe.)

International Dialing:



230 . 240 volts, 50 cycles AC. If you travel with a laptop computer bring a stabilizer

Travel Tips :

Visa : With effect from 1st janaury,2012, all visitors must have Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for entering to Sri Lanka. Please visit for more information. Citizens of The Republic of Singapore, The republic of Maldives and The Republic of Seashells are exempt from the requirement of obtaining ETA to visit Sri Lanka. They will be given 30 days entry visa on arrival. There is a facility to obtain visa on arrival also for other visitors with a supplement charge. The ETA is initially limited to 30 days from the date of arrival although it may be extended up to six months. For more information, visit

Photo permits and entrance charges

Entrance tickets to individual sites are available in each site and some of these entrance fees cover the parking charges and photographic charges. Entrance fees are quoted in US Dollars and rupee parities are subject to fluctuate. Entrance tickets can be obtained at Central Cultural Fund site offices at Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya & Kandy. There are separate charges at each site- Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa US$ 25 per person, Sigiriya US$30 per person. Tickets are valid only for the date issued. Entrance tickets for other places such as Dambulla cave temple, temple of tooth relic in Kandy, Botanical gardens, Piinawala elephant orphanage etc can be obtained from respective site offices. Permits are required before you can take photographs at certain locations.


There are some important restrictions that apply to photography in Buddhist temples and ancient sites. When you visit a temple or other religious site, remember that photography should not be carried out in a manner causing disrespect. For instance, it is strictly forbidden to be photographed in front of or beside any statues and murals.
Modest dress is advisable especially off the beach and when visiting religious sites.

Custom –Imports

You are allowed to bring into the country duty free 1.5 litres of spirits, two bottles of wine, a quarter-litre of toilet water, and a small quantity of perfume and souvenirs with a value not exceeding US $250. The import of personal equipment such as cameras and laptop computers is allowed but must be declared on arrival. However, personal equipment must be taken out of the country upon the visitor’s departure. The import of non-prescription drugs and pornography of any form is an offence


You are allowed to take up to 10 kg of tea duty free. No antiques are allowed to take out from the country. Antiques are defined as anything more than 50 years old- rare books, palm leaf manuscripts and any anthropological materials cannot be exported without permission.
Purchase without permission of any wild animal, bird or reptile, dead or alive also the export of parts of animals, birds or reptiles, such as skins, horns, scales and feathers is prohibited. Occasional exports are, however, permitted exclusively for bona fide scientific purposes. It is prohibited to export of 450 plant species without special permits. The export of coral, shells or other protected marine products is also strictly prohibited.

Foreign Currency Regulations

Visitors to Sri Lanka bringing in more than US$10,000 should declare the amount to the Customs on arrival. All unspent rupees converted from foreign currencies can be re-converted to the original currency on departure as long as encashment receipts can be produced.

The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee, divided into 100 cents . Currency notes are Rs.5,000,  Rs2,000, Rs1,000, Rs500, Rs100, Rs50, Rs20 and Rs10

Banks are open from 0900 hrs to 1300 hours Monday to Friday. Some city banks close at 1500 hrs, while some are open on Saturday mornings. It is easy to withdraw money across the island at ATM using international credit and debit cards.

Credit Cards

Most hotels, restaurants and shopping centers accept credit cards. However double checks before purchasing as some establishments do not accept certain credit cards.

Tap water is not safe to drink, and boiling and filtering is sometimes done too hastily in some hotels and restaurants, so the best solution is to drink bottled water

Health Care

Minor health problems can always be treated by doctors with practices in the resorts and elsewhere in the country. State and private hospitals are available in all tourist destinations. If you have a more serious problem, Colombo offers a selection of modern, well-equipped private hospitals offering the latest in conventional medical and surgical therapies.

Travellers With Special Needs

Travellers with special needs, especially if they visit Sri Lanka without a companion, should note that the country has relatively few facilities for disabled people, although greater awareness and improvements are evolving.

Time Difference
Sri Lanka Standard Time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT. (Allowance should be made for summer-time changes in Europe.)

230 . 240 volts, 50 cycles AC.


Cotton clothes are useful at any time of the year but you will need light woolens for the hills and waterproof clothing or an umbrella. Don’t forget comfortable shoes, sandals or trainers and cotton socks. If you are planning to trek and climb go prepared with suitable gear.


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