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Sri Lanka travel guide - Travel S helper

Sri Lanka

travel guide

Sri Lanka, formally the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (previously Ceylon), is a South Asian island nation near south-east India. Sri Lanka has marine boundaries with both India and the Maldives to the northwest and southwest, respectively.

The recorded history of Sri Lanka spans 3,000 years, with evidence of prehistoric human habitation going back at least 125,000 years. From the period of the old Silk Road until World War II, its geographic position and deep harbors rendered it of tremendous strategic significance. From the commencement of British colonial authority until 1972, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon. Sri Lanka’s recent history has been plagued by a thirty-year civil war that was finally ended in 2009 when the Sri Lankan military defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Sri Lanka is a varied and cosmopolitan nation with various faiths, ethnic groups, and languages. It is home to a significant number of Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils, Moors, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs, and the aboriginal Vedda, in addition to the majority Sinhalese. Sri Lanka has a significant Buddhist history, with the Pli Canon, the earliest known Buddhist texts of Sri Lanka, dating back to the Fourth Buddhist Council in 29 BC.

Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state with a semi-presidential government. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the legislative capital, is a suburb of Colombo, the commercial capital and biggest metropolis.

Sri Lanka has a long history of international involvement, having founded the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and being a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Group of 77, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Sri Lanka, along with the Maldives, is one of two South Asian nations presently ranked as having high human development on the Human Development Index.

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Sri Lanka - Info Card




Sri Lankan rupee (Rs) (LKR)

Time zone

UTC+5:30 (SLST)


65,610 km2 (25,330 sq mi)

Calling code


Official language

Sinhala - Tamil

Sri Lanka | Introduction

Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean, close south of India, that is a famous tourist destination. Sri Lanka is renowned for its natural beauty, with beautiful beaches along its coastline, abundant animals and biodiversity, and a rich history and legacy that dates back millennia.

For 30 years, Sri Lanka was torn apart by a brutal civil war between the government and the Tamil Tigers, who fought for an independent state for the Tamil minority. When the Tamil Tigers were bloodily defeated in May 2009, the conflict formally ended, yet significant emigration continues to stifle Sri Lanka’s population growth.

Geography Of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is located on the Indian Plate, which was formerly part of the Indo-Australian Plate. It is located southwest of the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean, between latitudes 5° and 10°N and longitudes 79° and 82°E. The Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait separate Sri Lanka from the Indian subcontinent. A land bridge connected the Indian mainland with Sri Lanka, according to Hindu mythology. Only a network of limestone shoals may currently be found above sea level. According to legend, it was navigable on foot until 1480 AD, when cyclones deepened the waterway. Navigation is still hampered by portions that are as shallow as 1 metre (3 ft).

Mountains rise only in the south-central portion of the island, which is mainly flat to undulating coastal plains. Pidurutalagala, at 2,524 meters (8,281 feet) above sea level, is the highest peak. Because to the cooling effects of the ocean breezes, the climate is tropical and warm. Mean temperatures vary from 17 degrees Celsius (62.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the central highlands, where frost may occur for several days during the winter, to 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in other low-altitude regions. The average annual temperature ranges from 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 degrees Fahrenheit) to almost 31 degrees Celsius (87.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures may range from 14 °C (25.2 °F) to 18 °C (32.4 °F) throughout the day and night.

Monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal affect rainfall patterns. The central highlands’ “wet zone” and certain windward slopes get up to 2,500 millimetres (98.4 in) of rain each year, while the leeward slopes in the east and northeast receive very little. The “dry zone” covers much of Sri Lanka’s east, southeast, and northern regions, with annual rainfall ranging from 1,200 to 1,900 mm (47 to 75 in).

With 800 to 1,200 mm (31 to 47 in) of rain each year, the dry northwest and southeast coastlines get the least. Squalls are common, and tropical cyclones may bring cloudy skies and showers to the island’s southwest, northeast, and eastern regions. Humidity is usually greater in the southwest and in hilly regions, and it is affected by rainfall patterns.

Recurrent floods and associated losses to infrastructure, utility supply, and the urban economy have occurred from a rise in average rainfall combined with larger rainfall events.

There are 103 rivers in Sri Lanka. The Mahaweli River, which stretches for 335 kilometers, is the longest of them (208 mi). There are 51 natural waterfalls with a height of 10 meters or more along these rivers. With a height of 263 meters, Bambarakanda Falls is the tallest (863 ft). Sri Lanka’s coastline stretches over 1,585 kilometers. Sri Lanka claims a 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that is about 6.7 times the country’s geographical size. Highly productive marine habitats such as bordering coral reefs and shallow beds of coastal and estuarine seagrasses thrive along the shore and in the surrounding seas.

There are 45 estuaries and 40 lagoons in Sri Lanka. The mangrove ecosystem in Sri Lanka covers approximately 7,000 hectares and had a critical role in absorbing the power of the waves during the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. Minerals such as ilmenite, feldspar, graphite, silica, kaolin, mica, and thorium abound on the island. The presence of petroleum and gas in the Gulf of Mannar has also been proven, and viable amounts are now being extracted.

Climate In Sri Lanka

Because Sri Lanka is a tropical nation, rain may fall at any time of year in most areas. The North-East monsoon (October to January) and the South-West monsoon (February to May) are the two main rainy seasons (May to July).

Because Sri Lanka is an island, the climate varies greatly from one area of the nation to the next. Nuwara Eliya, for example, in the central Sri Lankan highlands, has a year-round temperature of -5 to 20°C, while Hambantota, in the arid zone, has a year-round temperature of 30-35°C.

Sri Lanka has very hot weather all year, which is why most Sri Lankan men wear sarongs while Sri Lankan women dress comfortably in a long garment.

Demographics Of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is the world’s 57th most populous country, with a population of 20,277,597 people and a 0.73 percent annual population growth rate. Sri Lanka’s birth rate is 17.6 per 1,000 people, while its mortality rate is 6.2 per 1,000 people. Western Sri Lanka has the greatest population density, particularly in and around the city. With 74.8 percent of the entire population, Sinhalese are the country’s most populous ethnic group.

Sri Lankan Tamils are the island’s second largest ethnic group, accounting for 11.2% of the population. Sri Lankan Moors make up 9.2% of the population. British colonists imported Tamils of Indian descent into the country as indentured laborers to work on estate plantations. Following independence in 1948, almost half of them were returned. They are distinct from Sri Lanka’s indigenous Tamil population, who has been in the country since ancient times. Small ethnic groups such as the Burghers (of mixed European ancestry) and Southeast Asian Malays exist. Furthermore, there is a tiny community of Vedda people, who are said to be the island’s first inhabitants.

Religion In Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a nation that is multi-religious. Buddhists account over 70% of the population, with the Theravada school dominating. The Sinhalese ethnic group makes up the majority of Buddhists. Venerable Mahinda brought Buddhism to Sri Lanka in the 2nd century BC. At the same time, a seedling of the Bodhi Tree, beneath which the Buddha gained enlightenment, was transported to Sri Lanka. The Pali Canon (Thripitakaya), which had previously been passed down down the generations as an oral tradition, was first written down in Sri Lanka about 30 BC.

Sri Lanka has the longest continuous Buddhist history of any predominantly Buddhist country, with the Sangha having existed in a nearly uninterrupted succession from the 2nd century BC. During times of decline, interaction with Thailand and Burma helped to restore the Sri Lankan monastic tradition. The Constitution gives Buddhism particular respect, requiring Sri Lankans to “guard and nurture the Buddha Sasana.”

Hinduism is Sri Lanka’s second most popular religion, and it predates Buddhism. Hinduism now has a stronghold in Northern, Eastern, and Central Sri Lanka. Tamils make up the majority of Hindus.

Islam is the country’s third most popular religion, having been introduced to the island by Arab merchants over several years, beginning around the 7th century AD. The majority of Muslims are Sunnis who follow the Shafi’i school of thought. The majority of today’s Muslims in Sri Lanka are said to be descended from these Arab merchants and the indigenous women they married.

In the early 16th century, Western immigrants brought Christianity to the nation. Around 7.4% of Sri Lanka’s population is Christian, with 82 percent of them being Roman Catholics who can trace their religious roots back to the Portuguese. The Anglican Church of Ceylon and other Protestant denominations are equally divided among the surviving Christians.

There is also a tiny group of Zoroastrians (Parsis) from India who arrived in Ceylon under British control, although this community has gradually decreased in recent years. Sri Lankans’ lives and cultures are heavily influenced by religion. According to the Lunar calendar, the Buddhist majority observes Poya Days every month, while Hindus and Muslims celebrate their own festivals. Sri Lanka was rated third most religious nation in the world in a Gallup survey in 2008, with 99 percent of Sri Lankans stating religion was an essential part of their everyday lives.

Language In Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s two official languages are Sinhala, which is spoken by the majority Sinhalese, and Tamil, which is spoken by the minority Tamil and Muslim communities. English is widely spoken in most cities, including Colombo, Kandy, and Galle, as well as by government and tourist authorities. However, although most people in Colombo can speak English, don’t expect everyone, everywhere to be proficient. English is widely spoken on the beach and in tourist areas. Most individuals in remote areas, on the other hand, can only communicate in a few basic phrases in English.

Internet & Communications in Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka’s country code is 94. When dialing from outside the country, remove the intercity prefix (0) before the area code (for example, 0112 688 688 becomes +94 112 688 688). The two digits after 94 indicate the area code, which varies by district.


GSM telephones are widely used, and coverage is excellent.

Dialog and Mobitel are two operators with sales offices within the airport’s arrivals area. Dialog Mobile offers the most extensive coverage in the nation, including rural regions, and the finest GSM / 3G / HSPA +/4G network. Mobitel has a 3G/HSPA+ network as well. Because of floor rate tariffs, all mobile carriers have the same call rates. As a result, it is recommended to go with the network that provides the highest quality. All mobile operators provide low-cost IDD call rates.

If you wish to browse the web, the best option is to get an HSPA dongle and a Mobile Broadband connection. Prepaid Mobile Broadband services are available from Dialog Mobile, Mobitel, hutch, Etisalat, and Airtel and may be activated and utilized instantly.

Dialog is the Vodafone Roaming Network in Sri Lanka, and it provides the greatest value-added services for roamers, as well as lower prices. Etisalat and Airtel also provide low-cost roaming rates, particularly to India.

Mobile phones are becoming more affordable and widely accessible.

Economy Of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s GDP in terms of purchasing power parity is second only to the Maldives in the South Asian area in terms of per capita income, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Sri Lanka developed a plantation economy in the 19th and 20th centuries, renowned for its production and sale of cinnamon, rubber, and Ceylon tea, which is still a hallmark national export. Under British control, the island’s strategic significance as a commercial center was enhanced by the construction of sophisticated ports. From 1948 until 1977, the government’s economic policies were heavily influenced by socialism. Plantations were decommissioned, enterprises were nationalized, and a welfare state was created. The nation was exposed to the free market economy in 1977, which included privatization, deregulation, and the encouragement of private business.

While tea, rubber, coffee, sugar, and other commodities continue to be significant, food processing, textiles, telecommunications, and banking have grown in significance as a result of industrialization. Tourism, tea export, textiles, rice production, and other agricultural goods are the country’s major economic sectors. In addition to these economic sectors, foreign employment, particularly in the Middle East, makes a significant contribution to foreign exchange.

As of 2010, the service sector accounts for 60% of GDP, the industrial sector for 28%, and agriculture accounts for 12%. The private sector employs 85 percent of the workforce. Sri Lanka’s biggest trade partner is India. There are economic inequalities across the provinces, with the Western province accounting for 45.1 percent of GDP and the Southern and Central provinces accounting for 10.7 percent and 10% of GDP, respectively. In 2010, the Northern province recorded a record 22.9 percent GDP growth after the conclusion of the conflict.

Sri Lanka’s per capita income has doubled since 2005. Poverty has decreased from 15.2 percent to 7.6%, the unemployment rate has decreased from 7.2 percent to 4.9 percent, the market capitalization of the Colombo Stock Exchange has tripled, and the budget deficit has doubled during the same time. In Sri Lanka, electricity is available to over 90% of homes. 87.3 percent of the population has access to clean drinking water, whereas 39 percent has piped water. In 2010, a gini coefficient of 0.36 showed that income inequality has decreased in recent years. From 2005 to 2010, Sri Lanka’s cellular subscriber base increased by a whopping 550 percent. Sri Lanka was the first nation in the South Asian area to deploy mobile broadband Internet technology such as 3G, 3.5G HSDPA, 3.75G HSUPA, and 4G LTE.

Sri Lanka’s economy, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, is moving from a factor-driven to an efficiency-driven stage, and it ranks 52nd in global competitiveness. Sri Lanka was also rated 45th in health and basic education, 32nd in business sophistication, 42nd in innovation, and 41st in goods market efficiency out of 142 nations assessed. Sri Lanka is ranked eighth in the World Giving Index, indicating that its people are happy and generous. Sri Lanka was ranked first on The New York Times’ list of 31 places to visit in 2010. Sri Lanka was categorized as an emerging market by Dow Jones in 2010, and as a 3G nation by Citigroup in February 2011. With a score of 0.750, Sri Lanka outperforms other South Asian nations in the Human Development Index (HDI).

Sri Lanka’s road network includes 35 A-grade roads as well as two controlled-access motorways (E01 and E02) (E03). Sri Lanka Railways, the state-owned national railway operator, operates a 1,447-kilometer railway network (900 mi). In addition to the newest port being constructed at Hambantota, Sri Lanka has three deep-water ports in Colombo, Galle, and Trincomalee. The port of Trincomalee is the world’s sixth biggest natural harbour; the British claimed that they could fit their whole fleet in the harbour with space to spare during World War II. SriLankan Airlines is Sri Lanka’s national airline. Sri Lanka’s foreign- and local-currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) have been confirmed by Fitch Ratings at ‘BB-‘ with a “stable” outlook. A space academy has been established with a grant of $20 million from the US and assistance from China with the goal of creating an indigenous space industry capable of launching satellites from other countries as well as Sri Lanka. This dual use of launching technology will help to advance missile technology. China launched Sri Lanka’s first satellite on September 26, 2012, with plans for additional launches in the following years.

Entry Requirements For Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan authorities will arrest and deport anybody who has a tattoo of Buddha or any other tattoo that might be regarded as religiously significant. If you have such a tattoo, it is highly recommended that you cover it up or avoid visiting Sri Lanka.

Visa rules

Except for the Maldives and Singapore, all nationalities may acquire an online tourist visa. It permits for a 30-day stay in the nation and is valid for six months from the day it was granted. Before entering the nation, an application must be submitted in advance and must be done online. Following that, the applicant will be issued an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), which must be shown at the port of entry in Sri Lanka and exchanged for a tourist visa. Visa fees for SAARC nations (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Pakistan) are USD 20 and USD 35 for others (2016). Officially, the ETA is available in two days, however they typically deliver it in 10-20 minutes once money is received.

Furthermore, a tourist visa may be acquired without a planned ETA at Bandaranaike International Airport (at a visa counter in the arrival zone before customs), for USD 40. As a result, an online visa is not required to board a flight/vessel to Sri Lanka.

Important: Immigration officials at Colombo International Airport are extremely particular about the correctness of the passport number on your electronic travel permit acquired online. A single number error is used to compel you to get a new visa and direct you to some obscure government agency in Colombo for refunds on your internet purchases. Take caution with 1 versus. I and 0 vs. O. The number should match the machine-readable portion of your passport precisely, and nothing else (for example, Russian passports have a non-alphanumeric number sign that should be completely excluded).

Visa Extension

Extensions may be obtained at the Department of Immigration, 41 Ananda Rajakaruna Mw, Col 10, Punchi Borella, Colombo, +94 11 532-9300, M-F 09:00-16:30.

A visa extension allows you to remain in the country for an extra two months after your original 30-day entrance visa expires (so in total, you can stay in the country for 3 months). You may apply at any time, from the moment you enter the country until your visa expires. An further 3-month extension (for a total of 6 months) is available, but you must pay the extension cost plus an additional LKR10,000. Extensions beyond this are at the discretion of the department and are subject to a LKR15,000 charge in addition to the extension cost. Fees for the first 90-day extension are shown above.

The cost is determined by the department in US dollars, but you pay in Sri Lankan rupees. The immigration office will need your passport and an onward ticket to complete the extension. Your planned stay in Sri Lanka must conclude at least two months before your passport’s expiration date.

Monday through Friday, at 08:30 a.m., the immigration office starts processing visa extensions. However, a worker often begins to distribute line numbers and forms between 07:00 and 07:30, so come early to be among the first to be processed.

Based on many extensions completed in the summer of 2015, the entire time is about 2.5 hours if you come by 07:00: obtain ticket at 07:15, submit papers at 08:30, make money at 09:00, and get passport back around 09:30. When you arrive at 08:30, the room has typically begun to fill, and you may be there for 3-4 hours. If you arrive after 09:30, it will be filled, and the total duration may be 4+ hours. Arriving after 11:30 is generally not worth it since the payment counter shuts at 14:30; if they haven’t completed the required pre-processing to bring you to the payment step by 14:30, you’ll have to return the following day.

You may leave the room to walk outdoors for a break, but if your number is not called, you may have to wait longer.

Agents may extend your visa for you: they take your passport and papers, wait in line, pay the costs, and return your passport to you. These agencies are often used for extensions by larger tour groups. The agents are familiar with the system: they come early and are assigned the first queue numbers. As a result, being behind one local agent representing a group of 25 foreigners in need of extensions may result in a considerably longer wait period. As a solo traveler, the best suggestion is to obtain your queue number BEFORE the local agents: Arrive before 07:00, and immediately stand in front of the wooden counter on the left right after the door. Do not allow the agents cut in front of you.

How To Travel To Sri Lanka

Get In - By plane

Colombo-Bandaranaike International Airport (IATA: CMB) is Sri Lanka’s first and largest airport; a cab ride to Colombo (35 km) would take approximately an hour. A third international airport, Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (Hambantota International Airport, IATA: HRI), opened in 2013 and is situated in the southern portion of the country, around 250 kilometers from Colombo.

SriLankan Airlines is the country’s flag airline, with flights to and from destinations in Europe, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan. Chennai, Trivandrum, Mumbai, Delhi, Cochin, Bangalore, and the Maldives are among the closest destinations served by SriLankan Air.

With multiple flights daily from Dubai and Singapore to Colombo, Emirates Airlines links several major European cities and others across the globe to Colombo. On these routes, the airline uses 777-300ER wide-body aircraft.

Sri Lanka is served by Indian airline Jet Airways and its subsidiary Jetlite.

Since 2016, FlyDubai Airlines has operated a service between Dubai and Colombo.

Qatar Airways flies from Doha to Colombo three times a day, nonstop.

Jet Airways flies to Colombo frequently from Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.

Tiger Airways, a Singapore-based low-cost carrier, now flies three times a week between Colombo and Singapore, but this will increase to four times a week beginning November 2012.

Air Asia, a low-cost carrier, currently flies from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Colombo, Sri Lanka. This allows tourists from Southeast Asia, as well as those visiting Southeast Asia and then returning to Southeast Asia, to take advantage of low-cost flights (or vice-versa).

Oman Air has announced flights to Colombo via Muscat and Male, and they seem to be offering special rates to coincide with the launch of their new destinations (Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Male, Colombo)

A daily flight from Amman to Colombo is operated by Royal Jordanian.

Ukrainian International Airlines currently offers a route from Kiev to Colombo that travels via Dubai.

Other airlines that fly to Colombo-Bandaranaike include Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai International Airways, Cathay Pacific, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Condor (Germany), Spicejet (India), Meridiana (Italy), and JetAirFly (Belgium).

From America

There are no direct flights from cities outside of Asia, the Middle East, and Europe to Sri Lanka. The distance is almost half the globe from the American West Coast. Depending on your interests and how much free time you have, you may choose a layover in Europe or Southeast Asia or take a nonstop flight from Chicago, Newark, New York City (JFK), or Toronto across the North Pole to New Delhi or Mumbai. This may be the quickest way in many instances, but check to see whether an Indian transit visa is needed. Another quick and simple option is to fly to the Middle East from the United States, with stops in Qatar, Bahrain, or the United Arab Emirates (no transit visa required). For example, the Dubai-based Emirates provides daily flights from SFO, LAX, Houston Hobby (IAH), and Toronto (YYZ) to Colombo with a very short layover. Emirates Airlines operates nonstop flights from Dubai to Colombo two to three times each day. SriLankan Carriers joined the Oneworld alliance in 2013, which enables for through ticketing with American Airlines as well as a number of Asian, European, and Middle Eastern airlines.

How To Travel Around Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s infrastructure and public transportation systems are continuously increasing, making independent travel simpler over time. However, owing to local driving customs, many roads are still severely potholed and, at times, frightening. Buses may not seem like the most attractive mode of transportation for some, what with their sometimes huge crowds (particularly on holidays), frequent lack of baggage room, and occasional harassment of women traveling alone. Nonetheless, they provide excellent chances for contact with people, are inexpensive, abundant, and come in a variety of quality.

Get Around - By plane

Sri Lankan Airlines provides seaplane service to Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Galle, and other locations. This is ideal for photographic excursions since it provides a bird’s eye perspective of the island and takes less time to reach a location than driving. The seaplanes also land on the island’s beautiful lakes and tanks.

Domestic flights are operated by Aero Lanka between Colombo City Airport to Ratmalana, Jaffna, and Trincomalee.

Get Around - By bus

Buses are available for people on a tight budget. They may be crowded and unpleasant at times, but they transport you around for practically nothing; a half-way trip across the island costs around a $1. If you want to splurge, AC buses provide air conditioning and a guaranteed seat on most routes for double the price. They are, nevertheless, nonetheless uneasy. Bus terminals, particularly large ones, may be perplexing, but usually everyone will be happy to try their English and assist you. Also, while traveling by bus, it is customary to offer or give up the very first passenger seats to members of the clergy such as monks or priests if they are present.

As a foreigner, you may be overcharged by the bus attendant; request a written ticket if one is available to see the actual price. If there isn’t a ticket machine accessible, try asking a female traveler for the fare price, since women are generally truthful. If you’re on a limited budget, the basic public buses (CTB) lack air conditioning and are often packed, but they’re dirt cheap by Western standards and operate all the time. You may be overcharged as a foreigner; just ask for a ticket to your location to receive the proper price. Private buses cost approximately twice as much, although they are still inexpensive and typically feature air conditioning and guaranteed seats. Your best option is to notify the destination of your departure as soon as you arrive, and if feasible, reserve a seat in advance. Arrive early in all situations and, if possible, travel light. If you have a lot of baggage, you may need to get a seat for your backpack if you don’t want to carry it on your lap or beneath your feet.

Get Around - By rail

Except for the north, Sri Lanka boasts an extensive railway infrastructure that serves all major towns and cities on the island. When approaching the hill region, the railway system in Sri Lanka is beautiful due to the meandering lines over the slopes, particularly on the Badullu-Nanu Oya line. If at all possible, seat on the right side of the train for a better view. Traveling by rail is an experience in and of itself, whether it be to Central Sri Lanka or along the coastline line. Traveling by rail outside of Colombo is highly recommended. The Hill train ride to Badulla is breathtaking. Choose express trains wherever possible, and attempt to get a reservation ahead of time if possible. Tourists may take in the sights from special observation vehicles. Trains may be slower than buses, depending on whether you are on a route that provides fast trains or not, but they are more pleasant and even less costly.

There are three types of railway carriages, but the first and second classes are only accessible on certain Intercity and Express trains. Traveling in third class isn’t as terrible as it sounds. Often, the only difference between third and second class is the absence of an armrest between seats.

Trains may be busy at times, particularly in the morning and late afternoon. In addition, observation car seats on major tourist lines (such as the Colombo-Kandy line) are often sold out many days in advance during peak season.

Privately operated train services such as Exporail and Rajadhani Express provide air-conditioned and served first-class railway carriages to key locations on a regular basis. While it is more expensive than taking an air-conditioned bus, it is much less expensive than renting a vehicle and includes amenities such as online bookings, courteous on-board services, roomy seats, on-board food, and wireless internet.

When available, trains are an excellent option, and ordinary trains are just slightly more costly than private buses, if at all. One benefit is that first and second class rail tickets may be booked many days ahead of time. Sri Lanka Railways maintains an English-language website. To some of the locations, there are even more costly private trains with first-class carriages and excellent service. These are clearly more expensive, but they remain a viable and practical choice for travelers on a mid-range or higher budget, with a journey from Colombo to Kandy costing about LKR1700/USD13.

Get Around - By three-wheeler

The most prevalent form of transportation in Sri Lanka is a three-wheeled vehicle, sometimes known as a three-wheeler (Tri-Shaw). Due to the loudness of their engines, they are also known as Tuk-Tuks. These function similarly to taxis and are a handy and cost-effective method to move about in many circumstances. However, safety is a problem since none of them have seat belts and are exposed to the sides. Three-wheelers are common in Sri Lanka. You won’t have to wait more than a couple of minutes on any given street for one to pass by that you may wave down.

If you’re traveling with baggage, you may search for somewhat bigger three-wheelers with extra room for your stuff. While it may be the most innovative mode of transportation, it may not always be the most cost effective. Public transportation is much less expensive, and most Three-wheel drivers over-price foreigners, so never accept to the first estimate. For short trips, the best price is about Rs. 50-75 per kilometer, while for lengthy journeys, the best price is around Rs. 30-50. ( more than 15 km). If you come across a metered Tri-Shaw, make sure it’s turned on. Taxis are somewhat more costly, but they are unquestionably safer. Having said that, unless you go in one, you probably haven’t seen all Sri Lanka has to offer.

Get Around - By car

Rented vehicles are often less expensive than three-wheelers, are less prone to traffic accidents, and are suggested by the majority of hotels. Rented vehicles are often accompanied by their own drivers. The vehicle itself is often free, but the driver will demand a fee for his services. Some drivers/guides are government-licensed, while others are highly informed and multilingual, specialized in historical and cultural knowledge, as well as environment/natural history for your excursions to ancient sites and natural reserves.

Driving oneself is dangerous since the driving style differs greatly from that of richer nations. Of course, if you’re not on a budget, and particularly if you’re short on time, hiring a vehicle with a driver for the whole or a portion of the trip may be a handy method to follow this schedule, allowing you to visit two locations in one day in certain instances. Depending on the kind of vehicle you choose and whether you book via a hotel or travel agency that takes a commission, daily prices range between LKR5000 and 10,000 per day excl. petrol.

You may also hire a vehicle without a driver, but you must have your international driving license and have it certified by the Automobile Association of Sri Lanka in order to drive on your own. You may pay an agency in advance to accomplish this for you; otherwise, you must do it in Colombo, which will take a day. International vehicle rental businesses may be found at Colombo Airport, as well as several local companies in Negombo’s beach area.

Tour operators

Tour companies would gladly arrange you a van and a driver to take you around the island, but be aware that the roads are rough and sluggish. If you book on the spur of the moment when you arrive, ask to be shown a map of where you are going before consenting to any ‘tour’ of the island, and do your research before you come so that you have a clear notion of where you may like to go. Backtracking to prolong the journey and raise the cost is a genuine risk, as is a driver’s desire to take you on unnecessary shopping excursions in order to earn commission. Travel websites specializing in Sri Lanka are easy to find and have significantly expanded the options accessible to independent travelers looking for tailor-made trips. The best will create clearly defined travel plans, and some will be flexible enough to make last-minute adjustments to schedules. Request a copy of their booking terms and anti-fraud procedures.

Taxi companies

Taxis are a better method to travel about Colombo than three-wheelers since, owing to metering, they are typically less expensive. Rates are about USD0.55, and full day packages (around 8 hours and 80km) are around USD 40. They will also transport you outstation for about USD 0.30-0.35 per kilometer, with no waiting costs. You may also create your own itinerary and move about that way rather than relying on what the tour company suggests.

Destinations in Sri Lanka

Regions in Sri Lanka

Officially, Sri Lanka is split into nine administrative provinces:

  • Central Province (Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Sigiriya, Dambulla)
    Because of its hilly topography, it is known as the “hill country.”
  • Northern Province (Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vanni, Mannar)
    Home to the Tamil-speaking people of the nation. After being devastated by war, it is being restored.
  • North Central Province (Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa)
    Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms date back over 2500 years. The region is known as the cultural triangle because it is rich in history.
  • Eastern Province (Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Arugam Bay)
    Trincomalee has a unique natural harbour and kilometers of sandy beaches. Surfers’ haven.
  • North Western Province (Kurunegala, Puttalam, Chilaw)
    Plantations of coconuts, dolphin viewing, and salt manufacturing
  • Sabaragamuwa (Ratnapura)
    Sabaragamuwa (Ratnapura) is Sri Lanka’s gem mining capital.
  • Southern Province (Galle, Weligama, Matara, Tangalle, Unawatuna, Hambantota, Yala National Park)
    There are many beach resorts to choose from.
  • Uva (Badulla, Haputale, Bandarawela)
    Highlands. tea, tea, and even more tea
  • Western Province (Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, Beruwela, Colombo, Gampaha, Negombo)
    The capital as well as the commuter belt.

Cities in Sri Lanka

  • Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is Sri Lanka’s new capital.
  • Anuradhapura – historic capital ruins (partially restored). Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Batticaloa is known as the “Land of Singing Fish.” Beautiful shallow beaches, paddy farms, and historical sites are all available.
  • Colombo is Sri Lanka’s commercial capital and biggest city. Hotels, cafés, restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping are all available.
  • Galle is a well-known Dutch fort. Galle Literary Festival is held in this city. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Jaffna is the northernmost capital. The rich history of the Tamil-speaking minority is on exhibit.
  • Kandy is the spiritual center of the nation and the location of the Buddha’s tooth. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Negombo has a lovely scenery and clear blue seas.
  • Nuwara Eliya is known as “Little England.” On racing days, expect cool temperatures, Victorian architecture, and top hats, tails, and fascinators.

Other destinations in Sri Lanka

  • Arugam Bay is a seaside town on the southeast coast of India with many world-class surfing locations.
  • Dambulla – A historic city with fantastic hotels near to Sigiriya. Both have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Horton Plains – A cloud forest in the central highlands with numerous endangered species of wildlife and plants and infinite hiking opportunities.
  • Kitulgala is a four-hour drive from Colombo and is renowned for its beautiful environment, adventure seekers, and white-water rafting.
  • Mirissa is a seaside town on the south coast near Matara with two excellent surfing locations.
  • Pasikudah is a well-known beach resort in Sri Lanka’s east, featuring white beaches and expensive hotels.
  • Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO.
  • Unawatuna is a beach resort on the south coast of Sri Lanka, near to Galle.
  • Yala National Park offers a wildlife safari.

Accommodation & Hotels in Sri Lanka

Accommodation in Sri Lanka has changed dramatically in recent years. The contemporary tourism business started in the 1960s with the construction of conventional beach hotels on the west coast targeted mainly at the package vacation population and traditional travel operators. However, the last decade has seen a significant shift, with the rise of villas, boutique hotels, and tiny autonomous and individualistic homes providing a plethora of options.

Tourist arrivals have increased since the conclusion of the civil war and the defeat of the Tamil forces in May 2009, and since there aren’t many good hotels left, it’s generally best to book early.

Things To See in Sri Lanka

Please be advised that you will be charged up to 10 times more than natives to enter several of Sri Lanka’s tourist attractions as a foreigner.

Popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka include:

  • Sri Dhalada Maligawa and Peradeniya Gardens in Kandy.
  • The ancient temples in Anuradhapura, Dambulla and Polonnaruwa which are very beautiful.
  • Ancient City of Sigiriya.
  • Sinharaja Forest Reserve.
  • Beautiful villages which look like England in Nuwara Eliya. There are many tea estates and Hakgala gardens too.
  • The beaches of Unawatuna, Galle and northern areas.
  • Whales in Mirissa and Kalpitiya.
  • Wildlife in Yala National Park & Wilpattu for the best wildlife Safari experience. Go to Udawalawe to see elephants and Kumana National Park (Yala East) for birdwatching.
  • The unexplored Sri Lanka in Jaffna and the islands in the Northern Province (Delft).
  • See Negombo’s beaches, all sandy and blue.

Sri Lanka has a rich cultural and natural legacy dating back more than 2,500 years, and its World Heritage Sites are among the country’s unquestionable highlights. Sri Lanka presently has the second highest number of World Heritage Sites listed in South Asia, with eight recognized listings (only India, with 30, has more). The enormous Central Highlands (containing three highland parks: Horton Plains National Park, Knuckles Mountain Range, and Peak Wilderness Protected Area), which were inscribed in 2010, are the most recent addition. Aside from these, Sri Lanka has identified two potential World Heritage Sites: Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Vihara and Seruwila to Sri Pada (Sacred Foot Print Shrine), a historic pilgrim path along Sri Lanka’s Mahaweli river.

Things to do in Sri Lanka

Depending on your preferences, you can perform a number of things.

Surfing is available on the western and southern coasts from November to April. Weligama on the southern shore is the best location for novices. A board may be rented for LKR1,500 per day or LKR400 per hour. Lessons are LKR2,500 per hour, which is a good deal.

Kitesurfing is available on the eastern shore from April to September. Kalpitiya (Sethawadi and Kappaladi lagoons) is the finest location for novices, with kite schools and the greatest conditions in Asia.

There is also white water rafting accessible.

Snorkeling – A popular location to view turtles is off the Coral Sanctuary in Hikkaduwa.

Hiking – Horton Plains National Park provides a pleasant hike to the magnificent vista at World’s End.

Food & Drinks in Sri Lanka

Food in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan and South Indian cuisines are quite similar, and many local eateries advertise their menus as Sri Lankan & South Indian. However, there are regional differences, such as various kinds of hopper, devilled prawns/cuttlefish/chicken/etc., and the typical spicy addition to any curry, pol sambol, which is composed of shredded coconut, red chilli powder, and lime juice.

Sri Lankan cuisine is often hot, however you may easily request less spicy choices if you like. It’s worth noting that Sri Lankans eat with their right hands; this isn’t a big issue since every restaurant will offer cutlery if you can’t eat otherwise. But try the Sri Lankan method (tips of fingers alone! ); it’s more difficult than it seems, but wonderfully freeing.

Food is usually inexpensive, with a basic dinner costing about a US dollar. The most costly tourist-oriented establishments seldom charge more than 10 US dollars. Sri Lankans’ main meal is rice and curry, which consists of a huge pile of rice surrounded by different curries and delicacies. If you want to have a cheap lunch, follow the Sri Lankan throng and slip into one of a million tiny cafes, which are confusingly referred to as ‘hotels.’ These usually offer a rice and curry package as well as’short eats,’ which are a selection of spicy rolls. This is excellent for travellers and anyone looking to avoid tourist traps selling burned chicken and chips – you’re paid according on how much you eat, and unless you’re really hungry, it shouldn’t cost more than a US dollar.

If you’re going on a road trip outside of Colombo, there are a plethora of places to stop for lunch along the way. Rest stops and hotels along key highways in Sri Lanka feature excellent restaurants that serve both Sri Lankan and Western cuisine. If you’re not feeling adventurous, these eateries serve you tasty sandwiches and soups. These restaurants offer great rice and curry plates, and you will be given a variety of curries over a large amount of rice. These dishes are very tasty and will leave you feeling full and satisfied at the end of the meal. Eating is an unforgettable experience in Sri Lanka.

Kottu (Kothu) Roti (a mix of chopped roti, veggies, and your choice of meat) is a must-have for everyone visiting Sri Lanka, tourist or not. It has a distinct Sri Lankan flavor and is finest when prepared fresh by street sellers. Several kottu roti eateries, however, have been forced to shut owing to the usage of stale and outdated roti, which caused several customers ill. Use care, and even better, speak with locals to find the finest kottu roti eateries.

String Hoppers, Hoppers, Pittu, and Kiribath are some more delicacies to try.

In Colombo, there are many luxury restaurants to select from. The 5 star hotels have many fine dining restaurants that provide both local and foreign food. These establishments are mostly situated in western Colombo (along Galle Road), but others may be found across the city and in other major cities.

Major cities have fast-food restaurants such as KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Subway, and Burger King.

Drinks in Sri Lanka

Water from the tap is not regarded safe to drink in Sri Lanka. If you use bottled water (1.5 litre for 60-70 LKR in March 2012), ensure sure the SLS (Sri Lanka Standard Institute) logo is visible. Hard water is also found in certain areas of the nation owing to the significant amount of lime in the soil. Because of the environment, fresh milk spoils quickly and is frequently extremely costly. Powdered milk, on the other hand, is harmless and is often used as a replacement.

Thambili, or king coconut juice, is extremely refreshing. It’s sold on the side of the road all around the island, you can tell it’s clean since the coconut is sliced open in front of you, and it’s cheaper than bottled beverages at approximately R30/- apiece. Soft drinks may be found nearly everywhere, usually in dusty-looking glass bottles. Elephant, a local manufacturer, makes a variety of unique beverages; try the ginger beer and cream soda. “Coca Cola” and “Pepsi” are also available in big and small quantities (plastic bottles), as are many local soft drink brands – all of which are accessible in constantly expanding supermarkets and grocery stores throughout the nation.

Lion Lager is the most popular local beer (140 LKR in “wine shops” or 200-300 LKR in restaurants in March 2012). Try Lion Stout for something a little different. It has a tar-like oiliness to the body and a chocolate finish. Three Coins, produced reportedly following a Belgian recipe by the Mt Lavinia hotel group, is another beer.

Arrack is the traditional spirit, which costs approximately $4 USD for a bottle and is often paired with club soda. The quality varies depending on how much you are willing to spend. However, a popular brand that is worth spending 7.5 USD for is “Old Reserve.”

Money & Shopping in Sri Lanka


Accommodation in Sri Lanka is somewhat more costly than in Southeast Asia. Food, on the other hand, is comparable: Local street food costs around €1, a dinner at a local restaurant is about €2-€5, and a bottle of local Lion beer costs about €1. There are modest lodgings, hostels, and homestays all throughout the nation. Prices range from €10 to €20 depending on the equipment. Many tiny boutique hotels have developed along the shore in recent years, with rates ranging from €20 to €30 per night for a double room. Expect to spend more than €40 for greater comfort.


The Sri Lankan rupee (LKR) is the currency. There are coins in the denominations of 25 and 50 cents (bronze), 1 rupee (old version is large and silver, new version is tiny and gold), 2 rupees (silver), and 5 rupees (gold), as well as banknotes ranging from LKR10 to 5000. Coins that are more than a few years old are often in poor shape.

Things to buy

Sri Lankan handicrafts Reed, cane, cotton, paper, leather, wood, clay, metal, and gemstones have been changed and re-expressed in a variety of batiks, toys, curios, and jewelry, all beautiful handcrafted treasures.

Credit cards and ATMs, banking services

ATMs are widely available (particularly at bank offices) in cities and suburbs, but less so in rural areas. Use credit cards with caution, since credit card fraud is on the increase in Sri Lanka. You may also withdraw from debit cards (Cirrus, Maestro, Visa Electron, and so forth) that have the logos shown. When you return to your home country, your bank will usually replace your card. Not every ATM takes foreign cards; try Commercial Bank; they do. REMEMBER! You cannot transfer money from Sri Lanka to another country via Western Union or Money Gram. While in Sri Lanka, money may only be received via international money transfers.

Festivals & Holidays in Sri Lanka

The Sinhala and Tamil new years (“Aluth Avurudhu” in Sinhala, “Puthiyathandu” in Tamil) are two of the most important cultural events on the island. The celebration is held in April (also known as the month of Bak), when the sun passes from the Meena Rashiya (House of Pisces) to the Mesha Rashiya (House of Aquarius) (House of Aries). Surprisingly, the end of one year and the beginning of the next occur at separate times determined by astrologers, with a period of several hours between (the “nona gathe” or neutral period) being a time when one is expected to refrain from all types of work and instead engage solely in relaxing religious activities and traditional games. During the New Year’s celebrations, both children and adults would often dress in traditional attire. However, the clothing must be cleaned and extremely clean in order to be pure.

Traditions & Customs in Sri Lanka

There are a few traditions that will take some getting accustomed to, especially for Western visitors.

  • When visiting temples, it is traditional to remove your shoes and dress respectfully (no miniskirts, tank tops, short pants, etc…). It is also customary to remove shoes before entering a house, but this is not as rigorously enforced as it is in Japan.
  • Never touch or pat Buddhist monks, especially younger monks and temple youngsters.
  • Tattoos depicting the Buddha should not be shown. This is considered extremely disrespectful in Sri Lanka, while being accepted in other Buddhist nations and areas. Arrest and deportation are also possible outcomes.
  • When you’re at a fair distance of a Buddha statue, don’t turn your back on it. This includes posing for photographs in which you should avoid making any arm or body contact with the statue. It is preferable to photograph a Buddha statue with all participants facing it (as if studying it) rather than posing beside it.
  • Public nudity is prohibited in Sri Lanka; thus, naked/topless sunbathing and skinny dipping should be avoided, except at exclusive beach resorts.
  • Although visitors are given a lot of leeway, it is more courteous to use your right hand when handling money and tiny items, etc… You can, of course, use both hands for anything large and/or heavy.
  • Monks should be treated with respect. There is no specific etiquette for Westerners; just be courteous. On a packed transport, always offer someone a seat (unless you’re handicapped or old).
  • Politics, especially the Sinhalese/Tamil split or the LTTE, is extremely contentious. Thousands of assaults occurred across the nation throughout the 26-year civil war that concluded in 2009, including suicide bombs and massacres that murdered hundreds of officials and civilians on both sides.
  • No photography of sensitive sites (inside and out), as well as retail malls and tea factories (outside OK). Take extra precautions at Fort, Colombo (except on the beach). It’s usually not a good idea to picture troops protecting anything. Don’t depend only on signage, since they may be out of date or absent. For example, one end of a bridge may have a “No Photography” sign while the other does not.
  • Although seemingly harmless public shows of affection between lovers, such as kissing and/or embracing, are traditionally frowned upon since they are considered private behavior, they are allowed at adult-only events and venues such as nightclubs, casinos, and beach parties. Foreigners are treated with great courtesy, and holding hands and public love between parents and their children is not frowned upon.

Culture Of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan culture goes back over 2500 years. It is mainly inspired by Buddhism and Hinduism. Sri Lanka has two major traditional cultures: Sinhalese (centered on the ancient towns of Kandy and Anuradhapura) and Tamil (centred in the city of Jaffna). More recently, the people have been impacted by British colonial culture. Sri Lanka has a democratic history that few other developing nations can match.

The earliest Tamil immigrants arrived in the third century BC. Since then, Tamils and Sinhalese have coexisted, and the early mingling has made the two ethnic groups nearly physically indistinguishable. Ancient Sri Lanka is known for its hydraulic engineering and architectural prowess. The rich cultural traditions shared by all Sri Lankan cultures form the foundation of the country’s high literacy rate, long life expectancy, and improved health standards.

Food and festivals

Rice and curry, pittu, kiribath, wholemeal roti, string hoppers, wattalapam (a rich Malay dessert composed of coconut milk, jaggery, cashew nuts, eggs, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg), kottu, and hoppers are among the dishes available. Jackfruit may occasionally be used in lieu of rice. Food is traditionally served on a plantain or lotus leaf.

Traditional Moor meals include Middle Eastern inspirations and traditions, while the island’s Burgher population preserves their culture via traditional dishes such as Lamprais (rice cooked in stock and baked in a banana leaf), Breudher (Dutch Holiday Biscuit), and Bolo Fiado (Portuguese-style layer cake).

Sri Lankans celebrate the Buddhist and Hindu new year festivals in April. Esala Perahera is a symbolic Buddhist event in Kandy celebrated in July and August that includes dances and painted elephants. The event includes fire dances, whip dances, Kandian dances, and other ethnic dances. Christians celebrate Christmas on December 25th to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, and Easter on April 1st to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection. Thai Pongal and Maha Shivaratri are celebrated by Tamils, whereas Hajj and Ramadan are observed by Muslims.

Visual, literary and performing arts

In 1947, the film Kadawunu Poronduwa (The Broken Promise), produced by S. M. Nayagam of Chitra Kala Movietone, marked the arrival of Sri Lankan cinema. Ranmuthu Duwa (Island of Treasures, 1962) marked the beginning of the cinema’s shift from black-and-white to color. It has recently highlighted family dramas, societal change, and the years of war between the military and the LTTE. The cinematic style of Sri Lanka is comparable to that of Bollywood films. Movie attendance peaked in 1979 at an all-time high, but has since been steadily declining.

Lester James Peiris is a well-known director who has directed a number of films that have received international recognition, including Rekava (Line of Destiny, 1956), Gamperaliya (The Changing Village, 1964), Nidhanaya (The Treasure, 1970), and Golu Hadawatha (Cold heart, 1968). Rienzi Crusz, a Sri Lankan-Canadian poet, is the subject of a documentary about his life in Sri Lanka. His work has been published in both Sinhala and English. Similarly, Michael Ondaatje, a naturalized Canadian, is well-known for his English-language books and three films.

The origins of music in Sri Lanka may be traced back to theatrical acts such as Kolam, Sokari, and Nadagam. These plays included traditional music instruments such as Béra, Thammátama, Dala, and Răbn. Nurthi, the first music album, was published in 1903 by Radio Ceylon (founded in 1925). Songwriters such as Mahagama Sekara and Ananda Samarakoon, as well as musicians such as W. D. Amaradeva, H. R. Jothipala, and Clarence Wijewardene, have made significant contributions to the advancement of Sri Lankan music. Baila is a prominent music genre in the nation that developed among the Kaffirs or the Afro-Sinhalese population.

Sri Lankan classical dance is divided into three distinct genres. Kandyan dances, low country dances, and Sabaragamuwa dances are among them. The Kandyan style, which thrived during Kandyan kings, is the most famous of them. It is a refined style of dance with five sub-categories: Ves dance, Naiyandi dance, Udekki dance, Pantheru dance, and 18 Vannam. Male dancers wear extravagant headdresses and a drum called Geta Béraya is utilized to help them maintain time. In addition, four folk drama variations known as Sokri, Kolam Nadagam, and Pasu, as well as numerous devil dance forms such as Sanni Yakuma and Kohomba Kankariya, may be seen.

Sri Lankan art and sculpture may be dated back to the second or third century BC.

The first mention of painting on Mahavamsa occurs in the 2nd century BC, with the sketching of a palace on fabric using cinnabar. The chronicles describe different murals in Buddhist stupa relic rooms and monk residences.

In the nineteenth century, a Parsi theatre group from Mumbai brought Nurti, a mix of European and Indian theatrical traditions, to the Colombo audience. The performance of Maname, a play written by Ediriweera Sarachchandra, in 1956 marked the beginning of the golden period of Sri Lankan theater and theatre. It was followed by a slew of popular plays such as Sinhabhu, Pabvat, Mahsra, Muudu Putththu, and Subha saha Yasa.

Sri Lankan literature dates back at least two millennia and is a descendant of the Aryan literary tradition represented in the Rigveda hymns. The Pli Canon, the main collection of texts in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, was written down in Sri Lanka at the Fourth Buddhist Council in 29 BC at the Alulena cave shrine in Kegalle. Ancient chronicles from the 6th century, such as the Mahvamsa, offer detailed accounts of Sri Lankan dynasties. The chronicles, according to German philosopher Wilhelm Geiger, are based on a Sinhala Atthakatha (commentary) that goes back a few centuries. The Dhampiya-Atuva-Getapadaya, composed in the ninth century, is the earliest extant prose work.

Sandesha Kvya (poetic messages) such as Gir Sandeshaya (Parrot message), Hansa Sandeshaya (Swan message), and Salalihini Sandeshaya are among the finest literary achievements of medieval Sri Lanka (Myna message). Poetry such as Kavsilumina and Kavya-Sekharaya (diadem of poetry) as well as prose such as Saddharma-Ratnvaliya, Amvatura (Flood of nectar), and Pujvaliya are other significant works from this time, which is considered the golden age of Sri Lankan literature. Simon de Silva’s Meena, the first modern-day novel, was published in 1905, and was followed by a series of innovative literary works. Martin Wickramasinghe, the author of Madol Doova, is regarded as a literary icon in Sri Lanka.


While volleyball is the national sport of Sri Lanka, cricket is by far the most popular sport in the country. Rugby union is also quite popular, as are athletics, football (soccer), and tennis. Schools and colleges in Sri Lanka frequently organize sports and athletics teams that compete at the provincial and national levels.

Beginning in the 1990s, the Sri Lanka national cricket team enjoyed significant success, climbing from underdog status to win the 1996 Cricket World Cup. They also won the 2014 ICC World Twenty20, which was held in Bangladesh and was won by defeating India in the final. Furthermore, Sri Lanka finished second in the Cricket World Cup in 2007 and 2011, as well as the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009 and 2012.

Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack ranked former Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan as the greatest Test match bowler ever, and four Sri Lankan cricketers ranked second (Sangakkara), fourth (Jayasuriya), fifth (Jayawardene), and eleventh (Dilshan) highest ODI run scorers of all time, which is the best by an individual. Sri Lanka has won the Asia Cup on six occasions: in 1986, 1997, 2004, 2008, and 2014. Sri Lanka previously had the greatest team score in all three forms of cricket, and now has the highest Test team total. In 1996 and 2011, the nation co-hosted the Cricket World Cup, and in 2012, it hosted the ICC World Twenty20.

Sri Lankans have won two Olympic medals, one silver by Duncan White in the men’s 400m hurdles at the 1948 London Olympics and one silver by Susanthika Jayasinghe in the women’s 200m at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Mohammed Lafir won the World Billiards Championship in 1973, the greatest achievement by a Sri Lankan in a Cue sport. On the coast, beaches, and backwaters, aquatic activities like as boating, surfing, swimming, kitesurfing, and scuba diving draw a significant number of Sri Lankans and international visitors. Cheena di and Angampora are two indigenous martial arts systems in Sri Lanka.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Sri Lanka

Stay Safe in Sri Lanka

After the military defeat of rebel rebels in the north of the nation in June 2009, the Sri Lankan government removed travel advisories, although it is still a good idea to check with your country’s local travel advisory office if you have any doubts. Sri Lanka’s long and brutal civil war came to an end a month ago, when government troops defeated the Tamil Tigers. However, land mines may still be there, posing a threat, and infrastructure in northern (and possibly eastern) cities and villages remain war-torn. The Tamils were concentrated in these regions. The United Nations, non-governmental organizations, and Sri Lankan authorities are presently working to remove landmines put down by the warring parties. It’s a lengthy and arduous procedure.

Both sides in the war have used bombings and killings, and all important sites are well guarded. While separatists have never targeted visitors, there have been fatalities, most recently in a landmine explosion in Wilpattu National Wild Park in 2006, and others have been injured as a result of terrorist attacks. After all, war is hazardous. However, road accidents kill more people than terrorists in general. Traveling in Sri Lanka is relatively secure, and many visitors from all over the globe began to visit the nation after the conclusion of the civil war. At the tourist attractions, you’ll encounter a lot of foreign visitors, primarily Westerners. Foreigners are usually greeted with a grin and are typically helpful. It is advised that you do not go alone after dark. Pickpocketing on public transportation is rare, but it should be avoided.

Violent crime is no more of a concern for visitors in Sri Lanka than it is everywhere else in the world. Tourist-related violent crimes have increased in recent years, although they are still very uncommon. Tourists should take the same precautions as if they were at home.

Homosexual conduct between consenting adults is punished by fines and whipping under colonial-era regulations that are still in effect. Travelers who identify as LGBT should take caution.

Con artists and touts

Touts and con artists are a major issue in all tourist destinations. Using a tout for lodging, local transportation, and other services will almost certainly raise the cost. Scams are common among first-time visitors to Sri Lanka, however seasoned visitors are seldom fooled, and it is easy to prevent becoming a victim of fraudsters by adopting the following precautions:

  • Without evidence, do not trust anybody who claims to be a professional (such as an airline pilot) or in control of a place (such as a bus station).
  • Gemstone-related scams are frequent. Do not purchase with the aim of reselling them for a profit in your own country.
  • Be wary of anybody offering you instructions or travel advice without your permission. Take taxi and car driver advise with a grain of salt, particularly if they say the location you wish to visit is closed, hazardous, or non-existent. Check a map if you’re uncertain.
  • Give your hotel a call if you’ve been informed it’s closed or filled. If you are a first-time tourist to Sri Lanka, be quiet about it since it will make you a target for scammers.
  • Do not commit to employ the same driver for more than a day at a time unless it is absolutely necessary. They are plenty in each city, and the nation is small enough that you will have no difficulty traveling between cities by bus, train, tuk tuk, or other means if necessary. Even if you agree on a daily or hourly fee, the drivers will almost always try to get you to visit one of their friends’ companies in order to increase their commission (e.g. spice, carving or gem shops). Say you’re not interested calmly and firmly, and if they insist on forcing you to go, find another driver – they’re plenty, and you’ll have no trouble finding one.

Stay Healthy in Sri Lanka

  • Hepatitis A+B and Tetanus vaccinations are advised. Also, outside of tourist regions, particularly during the rainy season, get the Typhus vaccine. Vaccination against Japanese encephalitis is also recommended by the CDC.
  • Dengue fever: Use mosquito repellant during the rainy season. Get a blood test if you have headaches or joint pain. There is currently no vaccine available.
  • Malaria : Sri Lanka has been a malaria-free zone since 2016.
  • Yellow fever: Travelers above the age of one must have a yellow fever vaccination certificate if they are traveling from an affected region.
  • Drinking water from the tap is not recommended for visitors. For both drinking and brushing your teeth, it’s preferable to use bottled water.
  • Although snake bites are very uncommon among visitors (akin to being struck by lightning), anybody who has been bitten should seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is true even if there is no pain or swelling as a consequence of the bite. The number to call in an emergency is 119. In Colombo, call 119 or 110 if you need an emergency ambulance.
  • In the sand, there are tiny small flies that live (inland only, not on the beaches). Any touch with the dry sand will almost always result in bites and severe scrapes. As a result, even a little amount of sand on your skin, especially your legs, should be avoided.



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