Geography

Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean that is located closer to the peak of the Indian peninsula. The island covers a total area of 65,610 square km of which 870 square km is reserved by waterways. It has a length of 432 km from its Northern point Jaffna to the Southern point Devundara and 224 km from the Eastern point Chilaw to its Western point Batticaloa. A 1340 km of a coastline can be found around the island where beautiful sandy beaches reign.

The land rises as it move towards the center of the island. Therefore a central mountain range can be found where many rivers begin and flow through the mountains and plains to the sea. These create awesome waterfalls and other waterways along their pathways. The highest point of the country is the top of a hill called Pidurutalagala in the central mountains which is 2524m in height.

The climate takes a fairly balanced turn with enough sun and rain during the whole year. Green forests like Sinharaja, Yala, Udawalawe and many other forest reserves uphold a magnificent compilation of bio-diversity. The south-west monsoon which falls from May to July brings rain to the western area of the country while the north-eastern monsoon which falls from December to January brings rain to some of the eastern parts. The temperature reduces with the rise of the land and because of that, you find a cooler climate in the central hill country. Nuwara Eliya is the city with the lowest temperature during the whole year.

Population

The total population estimate is 21,128,772 at the beginning of 2008. A majority of the Sri Lankan population is Singhalese, but when considering the overall population, it is a blend of Tamil, Muslim & Burgher people.

The main three languages spoken in Sri Lanka are Sinhala, Tamil and English.

Time

Sri Lanka is +5.30 Greenwich Mean Time.

Clothing

Light cotton clothing is suggested as best for those who visit the country due to the tropical climate that can be experienced in most parts of the island. Short dresses, shoes and also head gear are banned to be worn for religious places such as temples, kovils and mosques. Footwear has to be taken off when entering Buddhist temples. For the cool weather in the hill country, you may get through with a little heavy clothing like long thick trousers, sweaters etc. It is better to come ready for rain as well, with the rain coats and other equipments.

Means of Communication

From the traditional postal communication to the most recent communication technologies are easily available in Sri Lanka. From posts to telegrams, telephones to mobiles phones, teller to faxes and internet, you can have your choice. You can locate telephone cards or internet cafes in most of the big and small towns.

Transport

Public transport is available by the means of trains and buses. You can rent a cab anytime of the day from anywhere in the country if you have means of communication via telephone. Many of the tourist hotels also provide transport themselves. They can contact a cab service and get a vehicle for you upon your request.

Health

There aren’t any problematic health issues like spreading diseases in the country but just to be on the safe side, you should avoid drinking common tap water or well water without boiling. You can buy bottled water from the shops or use filtered water from any responsible place.
For any kind of health emergency, there are both Government hospitals and private hospitals which are available 24 hours. A good number of them have medical equipment and medical specialists who are available any time of the day.

Electricity

The main flow of electricity is 210-240 volts, 50Hz, Alternating Current. Most plug sockets take round pins but there are square ones as well. You can use multi-plugs as appropriate which can be bought at electric equipment shops as well as in supermarkets.

Currency

Sri Lankan Rupee is the currency that is used in Sri Lanka. The value of the Rupee varies with the world market rates; therefore check the current value when exchanging money. Nearly all the banks and many high class tourist hotels are certified to exchange money. You can also use American Express, Master Card and Visa Card without an issue within the country.

Visas

Tourists from many countries could acquire visas on arrival at the airport. You can check about this before arriving with the closest Sri Lankan embassy. The visa that is granted at the airport on arrival is valid only for 30 days but extensions can be obtained if required from the Department of Immigration & Emigration in Colombo. To apply visa click here…

Shopping

Sri Lanka is an ideal place if you are someone who likes to take back some unique goods. You can buy quality items from a wide range such as clothes, ivory objects, woodwork, ceramics, leather goods, gems etc.