Sri Lanka

Official Name : Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Location : Latitude 5° 55. to 9° 50. north, longitude 79° 42. to 81° 52., 650km north of the equator
Terrain : Mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior
Dimension : 430km North to South, 225km East to West
Area : 65,525km²
Coastline : 1,340km
Population : 21,324,791 (2008 census )
Administrative Capital : Sri Jayewardenepura-Kotte
Commercial Capital : Colombo
Administrative Divisions : 9 Provinces
Airports : Airport 1- Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport
: Airport 2 -Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport
Currency (Code) : Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR)
Exchange rate : LKR 169.00 equivalent to US$ 01.00 (average )
Business Hours : Government offices:- 09 00 hrs – 16 00 hrs
Banks :- 09 00 hrs- 13 00 hrs, some city banks close at 15 00 hrs
Official Weekly Holidays : Saturday & Sunday
International Calling Code :+94
Time Zone : GMT. (+5.5)
Electricity : 230 . 240 volts, 50 cycles AC.
Independence : 4th February 1948
Climate : Typically tropical, with a Northeast Monsoon (December to March) bringing unsettled weather to the North and East, and a Southwest Monsoon (June to October) bringing bad weather to the South and West
Languages : Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%
Note : English (a link language commonly) is used in government and spoken competently by about 10% of the population
Religions : Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10%

Flag & Emblem




Sri Lanka is bit famous for its chaotic traffic in virtue of roads being the backbone of Sri Lanka, over 70% of the nation's traffic traverses the country using the good network of metalled roads that exist here. In fact it is quite a sight to see the native farmer determinedly jostle his bullock cart alongside a car.

Visitors coming from the right-driving countries of the world ( drive on the right-hand side of the road), give yourself time to get used to people driving on the ‘wrong' side of the roads as the driving in Sri Lanka is on the left-hand side of the road. However, the excellent public transport system of this country leaves you with plenty of options to choose from.

Importantly, to avoid all the hassle and make the best use of your time to explore the country, it is thoroughly advisable to rent a chauffeur-driven car or coach.

By Road

The average speed limit of traffic within city limits is 56 km per hour, while it is 72 km per hour up on the main road. If you are an international traveller and intend to drive on these roads, then you will need an international driving permit. The Automobile Association of Ceylon provides general roads, road rules & signs and driving information on Sri Lanka. However, if you decide not to do so, there are several options to choose from,

Three Wheelers

Popularly known as a tuk tuk, this type of mini taxi is an accepted mode of daily transportation in this part of the world. They are quite a unique sight for the Western travelers whose trip to Sri Lanka is incomplete without a ride on one of these colourful three wheelers. Be sure to negotiate a rate/ hire before you step into a tuk tuk without a meter fixed to calculate fares for rides.


If the above mode of transportation is not for you, then you could hire a taxi that is easily found in the major cities. There are radio cab services which are metered available in Colombo & its suburbs and also some of the major cities. They can be rented for intercity trips too.

As there are kind of taxis like tuk tuks, not metered, so it is always advisable to negotiate rate with them before you begin your ride/ journey.

Cars/ Vans

If you are up for a challenge and the chaotic road conditions in Sri Lanka then you can always rent a car and drive your way around the country, though this is not a popular and advisable option.

However, to avoid all the hassle and make the best use of your time, it is thoroughly advisable to rent a chauffeur-driven car/ van or coach which are air conditioned, suited to your comfort with safety rides. These are easily available with Tour Operators/ Travel Agents and besides helping you manoeuvre in Sri Lanka as your guide to the land, its culture and people.

Public Buses

The Ceylon Transport Board (CTB) operates government-owned buses for travelling between the different cities. This network of government-run buses is complemented by a network of privately owned buses. The CTB buses are amongst the cheapest mode of public transportation in the island and tickets can be purchased in advance for semi luxury buses operated by CTB.

However, this is not the case with privately owned buses, which are also a little more expensive than the CTB operated buses. Express bus / A/C bus services offer a more comfortable and faster means of transportation.

Luxury Tourist Coaches

There are various sized A/C luxury coaches meant for tourist transport services with Tour Operators/ Travel Agents and a National Tour Guide Lecture is always required to transport tourists in this kind of coaches.

By Rail

The railway network, largely a legacy of British colonial rule and is less appropriate for the modern transport requirements of the country. This network covers all the major towns and important tourist spots across the country hence with the extensive rail lines that criss-cross this country will give you a great chance to enjoy the beautiful countryside while you chug along in a red train and explore Sri Lanka in an economical and enjoyable way. The main line runs from Colombo to Badulla is probably the most picturesque journey that you can take enjoying the stunning view of the hills as the train makes its way around gorgeous waterfalls and verdant tea gardens.

These trains have three classes, with first class being the best and most expensive and also some of them offer air-conditioned compartments, observation saloons and sleeping berths that are typically more comfortable than the other compartments. Advance reservations can only be made for first class travel.

Intercity Express Train

The possibility of reserving whole compartment only is provided to parties whenever possible on prior application with a reservation fee.

The Viceroy Special

The 75-year-old passenger steam train which is decorated in period style, has two air-conditioned observation saloon carriages. Each saloon comes with its own smoking lounge and a modern toilet. There is a restaurant on board to fulfill your cravings, while you enjoy the scenic view of spectacular countryside. The possibility of chartering this train is there on the availability basis.

By Air Taxi

Sri Lanka has no domestic passenger flights but private operators operate chartered flights from the Ratmalana domestic Airport near Colombo to/ from a selected domestic airports within the slaland.

SriLankan Airlines is the national carrier who has introduced a Air Taxi service to the most popular internal tourist destinations to make these locations more accessible within the island. This Air taxi service which operates utilizing a number of waterways, lakes and domestic airstrips located in close proximity to the tourist attractions, will reduce travel time between destinations, giving tourists more time to explore the beauty of Sri Lanka.


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