Sri Lanka is a tropical island and the weather is rather pleasant throughout the year. In general terms the Southwest and the Northeast each have a different monsoon seasons and there is a six-week wet season across the country October-November.
May-September: Southwest Monsoon Season.
October- mid-Nov: short wet season across the country.
December-February: Northeast Monsoon Season.
The flight from London to Colombo is 12 hours.
Official Name: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Size: 25,332 sq miles (65,610 km2)
Principal city: Colombo (Kotte is the capital)
Population: 20.4 million
Languages: Sinhala, Tamil, English
Currency: Sri Lanka Rupee
Ethnicities: Sinhalese 74.88%, Sri Lankan Tamil 11.21%, Sri Lankan Moors 9.23%, Indian Tamil 4.16%,Malays/Burghers/Others 0.52% (2012 Census figures from Department of Census and Statistics)
Religions/Philosophy: Buddhist 69.3%, Hindu 15.5%, Muslim 7.5%, Christian 7.5%, others 0.2%
Languages: Sinhala (also called Sinhalese) is the mother tongue of the largest ethnic group and is spoken by around 16 million people in Sri Lanka. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. Tamil is spoken by the Tamil population of Sri Lanka as well as by Tamils in India, Malaysia and Singapore.
World Heritage Sites:
Hortons Plains National Park and Knuckles Conservation Forest
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
Dutch Fort in Galle
Golden Temple of Dambulla
Temple of Tooth in Kandy
For up-to-date advice on any vaccination requirements and any health risks associated with visiting Sri Lanka, please contact your doctor or local GP.
There is useful information at the following NHS website specialising in providing health information to travellers from the UK.
For any up-to-date travel advice relating to political and economic stability, safety and security please click onto the following link for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website:
Help for British nationals in Sri Lanka
It is best to travel to Sri Lanka with a supply of Bank of England cash and/or US Dollars rather than trying to obtaining any Sri Lankan rupees here. It is always a good idea to visit an airport ATM when you land, before leaving the airport. We have not hear any reports of credit/debit or currency cards being rejected at the international airports.
You can’t exchange Scottish or Northern Irish bank notes in Sri Lanka. Travellers’ cheques are not normally accepted.
Most major banks will allow Visa and Mastercard cash withdrawals. There are ATMs in major towns and cities but not all of them accept international cards.
We always recommend you keep a supply of US dollars handy and make sure that notes are clean and undamaged. These are useful for tips for airport and station porters and for hotel staff. Torn or damaged notes (e.g. from a staple or written on) will not be accepted.
In general terms, MasterCard is more widespread than Visa. It may be a good idea to take both if you have them. Usage of American Express is rare.
Exchange Rates are subject to change at any time but the following table gives indicative rates for South-East Asia:
Sri Lanka is 51/2 hours ahead of GMT, 41/2 hours ahead of British Summer Time.
Sri Lanka has two international airports of which Bandaranaike, which serves Colombo, is the most important. The Mattala Rajapaksa airport in Hambantota in the South-East opened in 2013 but is little-used.
Although Kotte is the legislative capital, Colombo remains the principal city.
English is widely spoken throughout the country so communication should not present a problem.
Ethnicities: Sinhalese 74.88%, Sri Lankan Tamil 11.21%, Sri Lankan Moors 9.23%, Indian Tamil 4.16%,Malays/Burghers/Others 0.52%
(2012 Census figures from Department of Census and Statistics)
Size: 25,332 sq miles (65,610 km2)
Sri Lanka drives on the left.