About Sri Lanka
The island of Sri Lanka is also known as the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean', and 'the nation of smiling people'. Book a tour today, to discover it for yourself.
Because of it's colonial past, Sri Lanka has become a very diverse country, with many religions, ethnicities and languages. Currently it is the home of Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, Moors, Indian Tamils, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs and the aboriginal Veda peoples. The main religion is Buddhism, which over 70% of the population practice, followed by Hinduism and Islam. The main languages spoken are Sinhalese and Tamil, but English is the link language and it is also widely used for education, scientific and commercial purposes.
The island's location off the southern coast of India has given it a strategically important role in history. It's pre-history goes back 125,000 to 500,000 years, but it's modern history spans over 2300 years of dynasty rule, at least eight invasions by neighbouring South Asian dynasties, and colonisation by the Portuguese, Dutch and last the British Empire when it was known under the name Ceylon.
Sri Lanka is the oldest democracy in South Asia but recently suffered under a thirty-year civil war between the ethnic groups under the Tamil Tigers and the government. This war ended in a military victory in 2009.
Since then Sri Lanka has become one of the fastest growing economies of the world. It already could boast a long history of international engagement, being a founding member of SAARC and a member of many international organisations, but today it's the only country in South Asia that is rated 'high' on the Human Development Index.
The rich cultural traditions shared by all Sri Lankan cultures is the basis of the country's long life expectancy, advanced health standards and high literacy rate. It is one of the only countries in the world to offer a free education system, from primary to tertiary stage.
The main products of the Sri Lankan economy are tea, coffee, gemstones, coconuts, rubber and the native cinnamon. The country also relies heavily on tourism, clothing, rice export and other agricultural products.
The countries infrastructure is well developed and maintained, going from modern ports to grade-A roads, an extensive rail network, and being the first South Asian country to introduce 3G.
Sri Lanka has often been considered the lost paradise by it's many visitors, thanks to the beautiful tropical beaches, wild nature and warm climate.
The nature and landscapes of Sri Lanka range from tropical beaches to rich green valleys and a high mountain range. he island consists mostly of flat to rolling costal plains, but at the heart of Sri Lanka lies a mountain range with the highest point being Pidurutalagala at 2,524 metres. The climate is tropical and warm, with rain patterns determined by monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean.
Sri Lanka Media Player
A high number of rivers and waterways wind their way across the island, which give rise to many beautiful natural waterfalls of 10 meters or more. Located in the rich marine ecosystems of the oceans surrounding the island are coral reefs and beds of seagrasses.
A tropical evergreen forest is located in the wet zone of Sri Lanka, and a subtropical evergreen forest, more akin to those of temperate climates, resides in the higher altitudes.
This rich natural beauty makes Sri Lanka one of 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world. The country has declared 24 wildlife reserves, which are home to a wide range of native species such as Asian elephants, leopards, sloth bears, the unique small loris, a variety of deer, the purple-faced langur, the endangered wild boar, porcupines and anteaters.
The cities of Sri Lanka are an interesting mix of culture, history and modernisation. The streets are coloured by South-Asian art, Buddhist temples and statues, and colourful houses. The countryside is typically dominated by tea plantations.
Thanks to it's strategic location Sri Lanka under British rule was an important center of trade in recent history, especially when the British modernised the existing natural ports of the island. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Sri Lanka hosted many plantations, first of coffee and later of cinnamon, rubber and Ceylon tea, the latter which remains a trademark national export.
The currency used is the Sri Lankan rupee, and although the nation's official languages are Sinhalese and Tamil, English is widely used and most locals speak it well.
The people of Sri Lanka are known for their friendly smiles, openness and their strong sense of social responsibility. One only needs to look at their nation's welfare state, the pro-poor healthcare, or their long involvement in cooperative international organisations, to find proof of this. Tourists are warmly welcomed in this nation of smiles, and the Sri Lankans generally enjoy sharing the beauty of their homeland with visitors.
The traditional cuisine of the island reflects, as much as the rest of their culture, their colonial past. Most of the dishes are typically South-Asian with rice and curry, coconut milk and spices such as nutmeg and the native cinnamon, traditionally served on banana leaves. But the many different ethnicities on the island also enjoy their own specific dishes such as traditional Moor dishes, Bolo Flado amongst the descendants of the Portuguese, and the Dutch holiday biscuit Breudher.
As with any holiday, it is important to prepare yourself with some of the travel requirements of the country you are traveling to. Below is a list of things which we believe you should prepare for before traveling to Sri Lanka; but this is by no means an exhaustive list, and we recommend visiting the Official Sri Lankan Tourist Website for further information:
- A visa is required for entering Sri Lanka, all holiday or business travellers must have an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).
- On average we can paint between ten and one hundred thousand faces per hour, although the quality may differ on the high end.
- There are no compulsory inoculations for traveling to Sri Lanka, but the following vaccinations are recommended: Typhoid (monovalent), Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies.
- Children should also be inoculated against: diphtheria, whooping cough, mumps, measles, rubella.
- English is the nation's second language and most locals have a good understanding of it.
- It is advised to avoid any types of political rallies, as they can become violent. Your driver will ensure your stay in Sri Lanka is safe though.
- Mosquito's can be a problem in Sri Lanka (particularly for the risk of dengue fever) so it is advised to bring a good insect repellent, particularly if you intend to travel to Sri Lanka's more rural areas.
- Most visits to Sri Lanka are enjoyed without incident, however you should be aware of the risk of credit card fraud and road accidents.