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Sri Lanka Country Information

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The pearl in the Indian Ocean!

Sri Lanka. An Island of approx 65,610sq. km. Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean off the southern tip of the coast of India. It lies between 5 55' and 9 55' north of the equator and between the eastern longitudes 79 42'and81 52'.

The population is nearly 19,3 million, 74,5% Sinhalese, 11,9% SLTamils, 4,6% ind Tamils, 8,3% Moors, 0,3% Malays, 0,2% Burgers and 0,2% Others. Literacy rate average 90,0% one of the highest in Asia. In 1948 the population was only 7 million, but between 1963 and 1972 it increased at an average of 2,3% annually before falling to 1,5% in the 1990 in 1999 it was 1.1%. About a third of the population is under the age of 15. The life expectancy for men is 69,8 years of age and for women 75,4.

The Communication is rarely a problem because English is widely spoken in all parts of the country. Place names and signboards are in the national languages and often in English. Official languages- Sinhala, Tamil and English. National languages- Sinhala and Tamil.

The Island's proud history of over 2500 years and the breathtaking diversity of scenery will capture your heart and soul like no other destination. May the time you spend in the Island be filled with exciting experiences - memories of which you will carry long after you leave our shores.

The palms clasped together and a gentle bow of the head accompanies "Ayubowan"(may you be blessed with long life), Sri Lanka's gentle gesture of welcome and respect. It is the age-old greeting of our people, and the chances are you will be greeted this way, wherever you happen to travel throughout the island. What may strike you most about Sri Lanka is its amazing diversity of scenery. It is possible to pass brilliant green paddy fields, sun-bronzed beaches, ruined cities, small lively villages, near desert regions, sanctuaries for wildlife in tropical jungles, and hill country tea plantations literally within hours of each other. Ancient Sanskrit literature refer to Sri lanka as Sinhaladvipa - Island of the Sinhalese. The people called by that name have inhabited this island from earliest historical times.

Traditions recorded in the historical chronicles of sri Lanka trace the origin of the Sinhalese to an exiled North Indian prince, Vijaya, and his retinue, who settled down in the island and established the Sinhalese kingdom in the 6th B.C. However, the earliest recorded civilization dates back to 380 BC, when Anuradhapura was established as the first Capital City. Following the advent of Buddhism in the 3rd Century BC, a civilization rich in Indo-Aryan culture took root. It produced the great cities with their "dagabas" which compare, and even exceed in size, the pyramids of Egypt, palaces and pleasure gardens, rich art and architecture and the gigantic irrigation works, many of which are still in use today. With invasions from neighbouring South India, the base of power shifted to Polonnaruwa and other cities such as Dambadeniya, Kurunegala, Kotte and Kandy. In the 16th Century the island had its first recorded encounter with the traders and colonisers of the West, with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1505. What followed was a period of nearly five hundred years during which the island came under the control and influence of the Portuguese, Dutch and British.

While the Portuguese and Dutch ruled over the maritime regions for a rough 150 years each, The British established complete control over the island with the fall of the Kandyan Kingdom in 1815. They too ruled for 150 years before the country regained independence in 1948. The impact of many cultures over centuries, from South Indian to the Moorish and that of the western colonisers, have resulted in the country's culture being enriched by a rich diversity, much of which is in evidence today. The island's economy has traditionally been based on agriculture, with rice as the main food. Spices such as crop, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and pepper have been age old exports, as were gems and even peacocks and elephants. With western commercial influence, rice gave way to cash crops, until the British made tea the base of the economy. The people of Sri Lanka are of diverse races and faiths. The majority are Sinhalese who are Buddhists, while among the minorities the Tamils mainly Hindus are the largest, followed by the Moors who follow Islam, and a sharply declining number of Burghers, descended from the Portuguese and Dutch, who are Christians. There is also a considerable population of Christians among the Sinhalese and Tamils.

The country was the first in South Asia to move away from a State-centred economic structure and embrace a private-sector led market oriented economy. The opportunities are many for foreign investment, with almost all exchange controls relaxed and many incentives given for foreign investment. Free Trade Zones, repatriation of profit, widespread education, a sophisticated middle class and a newly emerging capital market have made Sri Lanka most attractive to foreign investors in the past decade. Although well on the road to modernisation, the country and its people still cherish most of their traditional values and take pride in their rich culture. An aspect which continues to attract visitors from abroad, as much as the beauty and diversity of scenery, and the warmth and friendship of the people.

Tourist Police Division:

A fully fledged Tourist Police force has been established at the Sri Lanka Tourist Board premises. Its functions are to re-establish a network of Tourist Police Stations in key tourist areas for visitors, both local and foreign to enjoy a hassle free holiday. The division will also ensure that Sri lankans are also protected from negative practices such as use of children for commercialsex, drugs and other undesirable activities.

Visa Rules:


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.
The authority to issue ETA lies with the Department of Immigration & Emigration, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
A person can directly apply for online ETA. In addition to this option, an applicant can go for an alternative option
Official and Diplomatic passport holders are exempted from ETA processing fee, only when their applications are submitted through the state agencies such as Ministries, Statutory Bodies etc
The ETA is initially limited to 30 days from the date of arrival and it may be extended up to six (06) months. More information or Apply for a visa click here

Nationals of over 24 countries are exempt from visa requirements. However, the visa they obtain at the point of entry is formally valid for only 30 days. The Government of Sri Lanka will take action against visitors to the country who overstay their visas. Hotels and guest houses which harbour such persons are also liable to prosecution. A national of a non-Commonwealth country who is in possession of a visa for over 30 days or intends to stay in Sri Lanka for a period of over 30 days is required to report forthwith at the Aliens Bureau, 5th floor, New Secretariat Building, Colombo 1, for the purpose of registration. Compliance with registration would be one of the requirements for consideration of an application for extension of visa beyond the 30 day period. Nationals of countries not listed in Schedule 'A' should obtain prior Visit visas whatever the purpose of visit is. Department of immigration and emigration more info click here


Do not bring or carry dangerous Drugs, Drugs mean DEATH by law and effect.

Protected Flora and fauna in Sri Lanka:

Purchase and Export without Licence of any wild animal, bird or reptile dead or alive; also the export of parts of such animals - bird or reptile, such as skins, horns, scales and feathers is prohibited under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance. Occasional exports are, however, permitted exclusively for bona fide scientific purposes. It is prohibited to export over 450 plants species without special permits.

What to wear:

Light cotton dresses of the drip-dry wash and wear variety and light weight suits are the most comfortable year round attire. A wide- brimmed beach hat and sun-glasses are recommended. Slippers or sandals will be more comfortable than shoes. Medium weight slacks and pullovers will be necessary in the hill country where the temperature can go down to as low as 50F (10 degrees Celsius) .


230 - 240 Volts 50 Cycles A.C.


Sri Lanka has a five day week. In addition to Saturdays and Sundays and special Public Holidays, the full moon (Poya) Day of each month is a Public holiday. All places of entertainment (including cinemas) and bars are closed on Poya Day. Hotels make special arrangements for customers to order their drinks the day before a Poya Holiday.

Mobile Phones:

There are four mobile telephone services operating in Sri Lanka. All of them Celltel, Mobitel, Hutch and Dialog GSM serve Colombo and suburbs, and Kandy. Except for Hutch all others have Island-wide coverage. A wide range of services and packages are offered by all. Information can be sort through the wide network of centers in Colombo and suburbs.


No antique could be exported. Also restricted is the export of rare books, palm leave manuscripts and rare anthropological material. For the export of rare books and palm leaf manuscripts and antiques(sometimes allowed on special application), permits are necessary from the director of National Archives and the Archaeological Commissioner, respectively. Articles more than 50 years old are considered antiques.

Download Important Numbers  in Sri Lanka to Your Pda, Laptop, E-reader or to be Printed outWe have compiled a list of important telephone numbers. We strongly recommend that those who plan to travel to Sri Lanka download the important numbers to your PDA, E-Reader, Laptop or to be printed out before leaving.

For more Information please contact us



Last Updated on Thursday, 27 September 2012 17:59