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Welcome to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Capital(s): Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo

Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)

Dialling Code: +94

Driving Side: Left

Language(s): Sinhala, Tamil, English

Time Zone: SLST (UTC +5:30)

Population: 22.1 Million (2015)

Shaped like a dripping teardrop, Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) is a tropical island nation lying off the southern tip of India. For centuries, visitors have been attracted to the natural beauty, diverse landscapes and while it is now becoming more chic and sophisticated — it hasn’t lost its charm.

Officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the South Asian nations shares maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest. It is famous for its ancient Buddhist ruins, including the 5th-century citadel Sigiriya, with its palace and frescoes.

The Administrative/legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo. The capital and largest city – Colombo, is home to the imposing Colombo National Museum and the Viharamahadevi Park. The city is also a major hopping-off point for beaches.

With over two thousand years of recorded history, Sri Lanka boasts many nicknames such as Pearl of the Orient, Teardrop of India, Resplendent Isle, Island of Dharma and Serendib. The city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka's ancient capital has many ruins dating back more than 2,000 years.

People visit Sri Lanka for the palm fringed beaches, rugged mountains, vast rainforests and safaris. The cost of living is remarkably affordable, the people are incredibly friendly and the food is delicious. It is the 57th most populated nation in the world and Buddhists comprise 70 percent of the population.

In the words of Marco Polo, Sri Lanka is “the finest island of its size in all the world.”

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

UNAWATUNA BEACH

Unawatuna is a coastal town in Galle district of Sri Lanka. Unawatuna is a major tourist attraction in Sri Lanka and famous for its beautiful beach and corals. It is a suburb of Galle city which is situated about 5 km southeast to the city center.

USSANGODA NATIONAL PARK

Ussangoda National Park is the newest and the 21st national park in Sri Lanka. The objectives of establishing the new national park are providing long term protection for the area's biological, archaeological and geographical values.

BANDAGIRIYA TEMPLE

Bandagiriya forms the highest point in Hambantota District. Located at its summit is the ancient Bandagiriya Viharaya. rock on which the ancient stupas and other ruins are found today is considered the highest peak in the Hambantota district.

Marked by the Bandagiriya tank by one side, this peak gives a wonderful panoramic view of the surroundings. The international airport of Hambantota is also visible from there.

SEENIGAMA DEVALAYA

Seenigama Devalaya (Temple) is located by the Colombo - Galle main road, just before the Hikkaduwa Town. This Temple is devoted for Devol Deviyan ( God Devol) and around 300 years old. But some believe that, this place is more than 1000 years old, but there is no any proven evidence.

KATARAGAMA

Kataragama temple Sri Lanka, is a Hindu and Buddhist temple complex dedicated to Skanda-Murukan also known as Kataragama deviyo It is one of the few religious sites in Sri Lanka that is venerated by the majority Sinhala Buddhists, minority Hindu Tamils, Muslims and the Vedda people.

BUDURUWAGALA

Buduruwagala is located about 5 km from the Wellawaya on the Thanamalwila road. Buduruwagala is an ancient buddhist temple in Sri Lanka. The complex consists of seven statues and belongs to the Mahayana school of thought. The statues date back to the 10th century.

KIRINDA

Kirinda Rajamaha Viharaya is located on top of the rock on a fine beach and most beautiful place. This had been built by the king Kavantissa.

MULKIRIGALA TEMPLE

The most imposing rock temple in the south of the island is situated on an isolated rock 210m high, rising almost vertically from the surrounding forest. Terraces are found across the sloped southern side of this rock, where cave temples nestle beneath ledges of overhanging rock.

HUMMANAYA HUMMANAYA

Hummanaya is the only known blowhole in Sri Lanka and it may be the second largest blowhole in the world.It is located after Matara and Dikwella town in the Southern Province and at small fishing village called Kudawella.

BUNDALA NATIONAL PARK

Bundala National Park is an internationally important wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundala harbors 197 species of Birds, the highlight being the Greater Flamingo, which migrate in large flocks. Bundala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969.

YALA NATIONAL PARK YALA NATIONAL PARK

Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo.

Climate

Sri Lanka climate is tropical and consists of distinct wet and dry seasons. The Yala monsoon brings abundant rainfall to the country's western and southern regions from May to September; the area experiences its dry season during December through March.

Duty Free

The following items may be imported into Sri Lanka by persons over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty:

  • 2 bottles of wine and 1.5L of spirits.
  • A small quantity of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette.
  • Souvenirs up to US$250 in value.

There is no duty-free allowance for tobacco products. You must declare valuable items such as cameras and laptops on arrival and must take these out of the country again when you leave.

Electricity

230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs with three round or three square pins are used.

Getting Around

Sri Lanka is beautiful and small in size. Given the modest size, travelling around the island can be frustrating and time consuming. The narrow and congested roads make travelling difficult. Once you leave the hustle and bustle of Colombo, you can enjoy many scenic drives around the coastal line or in the hill country.

Buses are the standard means of transport. Services reach even the remotest corners of the island, though they’re generally an uncomfortable way of travelling. Trains offer a more characterful, if generally slower, means of getting about, and will get you to many parts of the country – eventually.

If public transport is not your thing, hiring a car and driver is another convenient way of seeing the island in relative comfort. The SriLankan Airlines’ network of “air taxis” offers speedy connections between Colombo and other parts of the island.

Language

The two official languages of Sri Lanka are Sinhalese and Tamil Sri Lanka. The constitution recognises English as the Link Language and it is also widely used for education, scientific and commercial purposes. 

Money

The Sri Lankan currency is the Rupee (Rs or LKR), divided into 100 cents. Rupee coins come in denominations of one, two, five and 10 rupees while the Notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 rupees.

Time

Sri Lanka Standard Time (SLST) is the time zone for Sri Lanka. It is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of GMT/UTC (UTC+05:30)

Tipping

Although a 10% service charge is added to food and accommodation bills, this usually goes straight to the owner rather than the worker.

  • Restaurants & Bars Up to 10% in cash to servers beyond the 'service charge'
  • Drivers 10% of total fee
  • Room cleaners Up to Rs 100 per day
  • Bag carriers/porters Rs 50 per bag
  • Shoe minders at temples Rs 20
  • Guides Varies greatly; agree to a fee in parks and religious sites before you set out.
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