Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka at a glance

By Gihan Perera, independent tour guide in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka at a glance…

Location: between 5o 55’ – 9o 50’ north and 79o 42’ – 81o 52’ east

It’s just: 435 Km from Point Pedro (North) to Dondra Head (South) and 225 Km from Colombo (West) to Point Sangamankanda (East)

A total of 65,610 Sq. Km (25,332 Sq. miles)

Over 1,125 Km of pristine palm-fringed shoreline where one can swim, surf, snorkel, sail or simply soak up the sun…

Sri Lanka enjoys a balmy tropical climate. In the North West coast temperatures occasionally rise to 100o F (38o C). The climate varies as you travel to the central highlands. The annual average temperature in Colombo is 82.4o F (28o C). The central highlands of Kandy have an average of 75.2o F (24o C) and an altitude of 488 meters or 1,600 feet, while Nuwara Eliya, high in the Central Highlands, has an average off to 61o F (16o C)

Wildlife: There are 26 national parks in Sri Lanka maintained by the Department of Wild Life Conservation, totaling 8.7% (approximately 2,214 Sq. Miles/ 5,734 Sq. Km) of the Island’s total land area. In-fact it was the world’s first wildlife sanctuary in Mihintale which was established in 3rd century B.C. by the King Devanampiyatissa

A population of 21 million + comprises a spectrum of different races, namely Sinhalese (75%), Indigenous and Indian Tamils (11.8% and 4.2% respectively), Moors and Malays (9%); and “Burghers and others” (almost or less than 1%)

Language: Sinhala and Tamil are considered the national languages. English is regarded as the link language and is widely used in business, banking, international trade and tourist oriented activities

Business Hours: Most of the Government offices are open from 0830 hrs to 1630 hrs from Monday to Friday and the private sector offices are usually open from 0830 hrs to 1730 hrs Monday to Friday. Some offices are open half a day on Saturday

Holidays: Each full moon day (Poya-day) of the month is a religious festival day for Buddhists and is declared as a government & mercantile holiday

Banking hours: 0900 – 1500 hrs (General) Monday to Friday with some banks operating longer hours

Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee – is divided into 100 cents. Coins are minted to the value of 0.25, 0.50, 1, 2, 5, 10 and notes come in 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000 denominations

Voltage: 230 – 240 volts 50 cycles A.C.

Customs and Courtesies: Since Sri Lanka is predominately Buddhist, temples and images are held sacred. When visiting a temple or a Hindu shrine it is necessary to remove your shoes and headgear as a sign of respect. Women should be modestly dressed when visiting temples. It is best to refrain from wearing mini skirts, transparent blouses and shorts


About Gihan Perera, independent tour guide in Sri LankaProfile image of tour guide Gihan Perera
Serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way – but it is interesting to know that Serendib was an Old Persian name for Sri Lanka. You will surely find happiness in your journey and on top of it, the local people would make you feel at home with their gestures in traditional hospitality and the warmth of smiling faces. Diverse opportunities for the explorer never end on this land and I would look forward to share the best of my experiences wi
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