Sri Lanka Country Information
About Sri Lanka
Lying off the southern tip of India, the tropical island of Sri Lanka has attracted visitors for centuries with its natural beauty. Sri Lanka actually has two capital cities. The original capital was Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte and this where most of the administrative institutions exist including Parliament of Sri Lanka. However, when the British conquered Sri Lanka in 1815 they changed the administrative capital to Colombo, where it remained the capital of Sri Lanka for almost two centuries. Now Colombo is considered as the financial capital of the country and Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is the administrative capital. Sri Lanka has a population of around 21 million. Sri Lanka’s highlands are defined by a series of escarpments, the most spectacular being the ‘Worlds End’ with a near vertical rock face of 1219 meters. Some of Sri Lanka’s highest mountains include Pidurutalagala at 2,524 metres, Kirigalpotta at 2395 metres and Adam ’s Peak (Sri Pada) at 2303 meters.
Politics and security:
Sri Lanka’s political situation is more stable than it has been in the past. However, since the end of the military conflict in May 2009, there has been an increase in nationalism including at times anti-western rhetoric. In the past, there have been protests against the British High Commission and other diplomatic premises. Although no protests have so far been directed at the British community more generally, you should be vigilant and avoid demonstrations. This being said Sri Lanka is a safe country, and the threat against tourists is virtually unheard off. This is still a place where, despite 25 years of brutal civil war, in parts of the country the theft of two bicycles is considered a crime wave! Regarding security and safe ordinary common sense precautions should be taken ie. Avoid carrying valuables, do not carry too much cash, watch out for pickpockets (in busy areas – airports/markets), avoid walking around city centres at night
Economy and Tourism:
The main industries in Sri Lanka are textiles, tea, rice production, agricultural production and tourism. The tourism industries is growing rapidly in Sri Lanka and for centuries has been a popular place of attraction for foreign tourists.
Sri Lanka has two official languages; Sinhala and Tamil. Sinhala is spoken by 75% of the population whereas Tamil I only spoken by 25% of the population. However, these languages are very complex that even learning hello in Sinhala; “ayuboan”, and Tamil; “vanakkan” is seen as a great honour by the host. 15% of the population do speak English, and these are the people that tend to come into contact with tourists. Our Sri Lanka trip comes with an English speaking guide.
Buddhism is considered the state religion in Sri Lanka, with 70% of the country believing in this. However other religions include; Hinduism (12.6%), Islam (9.7%) and Roman Catholic (6.1%)
Unlike many other Asian destinations, Sri Lanka can lay genuine claim to being a year-round holiday destination. You just have to know which side of the island to focus on in any given month. There are two monsoon seasons; the south-western monsoon that occurs from May to September, and the north eastern monsoon between October and January. The peak season in Sri Lanka tends to be from December to mid-April for the overall good weather.