SRI LANKA TRAVEL GUIDE
Sri Lanka has more than 2,550 years of continuous written history by means of the Mahawansha and was also mentioned in several ancient Indian texts. One of the most famous is the Ramayana, in which the island, which was referred to as Lanka, was the island fortress of the king Ravana. And over many centuries Sri Lanka has had many names.
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean southwest of the Bay of Bengal and southeast of the Arabian Sea. It is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait.
Sri Lanka has always epitomised the exotic – a place where the earth opens up to yield a precious bounty of 'pigeon blood' rubies and bright green emeralds, of yellow and blue sapphires as big as rocks and sloping tiers of rubber, tea, coffee and spice plantations on hillsides. Although tiny, Sri Lanka is one of the world’s major tourist destinations, with enough spice gardens, temples, elephants and tea plantations to hold its own against the rest of the Far East.
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SRI LANKA QUICK FACTS
Capital: Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, but Colombo is the commercial capital
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)
Area: 65,610 km²
Population: 21,67 million (2018)
Language: Sinhala , Tamil , English (Official)
Religion: Buddhist 70%, Hindu 15%, Christian 8%, Muslim 8%
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz British G type plug most common + fewer (older) installations of D (round pin plug used in India).
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SRI LANKA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 4 February, Independence Day (banks also)
- 13–14 April, Tamil and Sinhala New Year
- 1 May, May Day (banks also)
- 22 May, Proclamation of the Republic Day (1972)
Any of the above public holidays that falls on a Saturday is observed on the preceding work day; any that falls on a Sunday is observed on the following work day. The full moon day (Poya Day) of each month is a holiday in Sri Lanka.
SRI LANKA WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Sri Lanka is hot and humid with significant variation in climate over time and space. This variation is reinforced by the country’s topography, which creates its unique rainfall pattern. The average annual rainfall in Sri Lanka varies from less than 1000 mm in the semi-arid area of the northwest and southeast of the island to above 5000 mm on the southwestern slopes of the central hills. The country has four major rainfall seasons. The southwest monsoon period (May to September) accounts for up to 55% of the annual precipitation and often exceeds 3000 mm of rain. The inter-monsoon period (October to November) follows the southwest monsoon and contributes over 500 mm of rain in many places. The northeast monsoon period (December to February) contributes about 200 mm to 1200 mm of rain. The inter-monsoon period (March to April) follows the northeast monsoon. Based on precipitation patterns, Sri Lanka is divided into three zones: the wet zone, intermediate zone, and dry zone. The wet zone receives a mean annual rainfall of over 2500 mm, the dry zone receives less than 1750 mm, and the intermediate zone receives between 1750 mm and 2500 mm. Little or no seasonal annual variation of temperature is experienced in Sri Lanka, with mean annual temperature in coastal areas ranging from 26ºC to 28ºC. At higher altitudes, above 1500 m, temperature ranges between 15ºC and 19ºC.
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
HIKING & CYCLING IN SRI LANKA
There are plenty of incredible hiking opportunities in Sri Lanka, but you need to understand that the weather varies across the country! The Southwestern monsoon brings rain to the Southwest from May to September, with the dry season in this region being from December to March. The Northeastern coastal regions of the country are influenced by the Northeastern monsoon, which brings wind and rain from October to January, with drier weather from May to September.
BEACH OPTIONS IN SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka has some stunning idyllic beaches, but you need to understand that the weather varies across the country! The Southwestern monsoon brings rain to the Southwest from May to September, with the dry season in this region being from December to March. The Northeastern coastal regions of the country are influenced by the Northeastern monsoon, which brings wind and rain from October to January, with drier weather from May to September.
SURFING IN SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka has some fun waves for surfing with the consistent offshore winds during monsoon season. The best surf season on the Southwest is from November to March (check out Hikkaduwa), while the best surf season on the East coast is from May to September (check out Arugam Bay).
KITESURF IN SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka has two windy seasons suitable to kite and windsurfing. The best time to kitesurf is from mid May to the end of September, as the winds are most consistent. December until early March also has good winds, although less consistent.
For more details on kite surfing in Sri Lanka expand this section!
HEALTH RISKS IN SRI LANKA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.