An island of approx. 65,610 sq.km, Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean off the southern tip of the coast of India.The coastland gives way to lowland plains growing rice and coconut. In the mid country, rubber vies with gems, while green carpets of tea clothe the central mountain ranges, reaching heights of some 2,500 meters.
Warm and fine all year round. Average temperature is around 27 C in Colombo and reducing as the land rises to the hill country as low as 100 C.The island has two wet seasons between May and July in the southwest and December/January in the northeast.
Climatically, Sri Lanka has no off-season. Bright sunny warm days are the rule and are common even during the wet season.
Nearly 22 million of which, 70% of the population are Sinhalese, while 12% are Tamils and the remaing 18% comprising Moors, Malays and Burghers.
The literacy rate averages 90% – one of the highest in the Asia.
National Flag of Sri Lanka is the Lion Flag. A Lion bearing a sword in its right hand is depicted in gold on red background with a yellow border. Four Bo leaves pointing inwards are at the four corners. Two vertical bands of green and orange at the left end represent the minority ethnic groups. It is an adaptation of the standard of the last King of Sri Lanka.
Sinhala, Tamil and English are widely spoken throughout Sri Lanka, with the exception of remote villages where it might be Sinhala only or Tamil only.
Predominantly Buddhists but also Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
Sri Lanka’s standard time is 6 hours ahead of Greenwich.
Sri Lanka follows decimal currency system in Rupees (Rs.) and cents (Cts.) with 100 cents equal to a rupee. Currency notes are available in the denominations of Rs.10,20,50,100,200, 50, 1000 & 2000. Coins are issued in values of Cts. 25 and 50 and Rs.1,2,5 and 10. The intervention currency continuously will be the US Dollar.
Sri Lanka generally has a five-day week. Working hours are from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Poya (Full Moon Day) which falls every month is a Public, Mercantile and Bank holiday.
Cottons and light-drip fabrics, comfortable shoes or sandals and light woolens for the hill country are recommended. Swimwear is considered essential. A certain modesty of dress is appreciated on visits to temples.
Toiletries, Cosmetics, personal hygiene needs
Most well known brands available locally,
Voltage 230/240 volts 50 cycles.
Filtered water and mineral water as well as bottled drinking water is freely available for sale.
Comprehensive and skilled national health services. Most hotels have resident doctors or a doctor on call. Private medical aid is also available.
Optional. 10% is considered a fair tip. Most hotels include a 10% service charge plus taxes.
Immunisation against cholera, smallpox or yellow fever is not required unless the visitors have arrived from or passed through infected areas.
It is a requirement to fill a baggage declaration form on arrival. Duty free allowances include the usual tourist quotas of tobacco, spirits, and perfumes.
All major countries are represented.
Residents from permitted countries are issued visas on arrival (visit www.immigration.gov.lk for details), however for short visit to Sri Lanka, you need to obtain an ETA with effect from 1st of January 2012. On the basis of reciprocity, citizens of The Republic of Singapore and The Republic of Maldives are exempted from the requirement of obtaining ETA to visit Sri Lanka. Consult your local Sri Lanka embassy, consulate, tourist office or your travel agent for more details or visit www.eta.gov.lk.