Country Name
Conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
conventional short form: Sri Lanka
former: Ceylon
Size 65,525 sq km
Capital Sri Jayawardenepura
Commercial Capital Colombo
Airport Bandaranayake International Airport, Katunayake (34 km north of Colombo)
Government Sri Lanka, is a free, independent and sovereign nation with a population of 18.774 million (1998 mid year estimates). Legislative power is exercised by a Parliament, elected by universal franchise on proportional representation basis. A President, who is also elected by the people, exercises executive power inclusive of defense. Sri Lanka enjoys a multi party system, and the people vote to elect a new government every six years.
Population 19 million
Population density 309 people per sq km
Literacy rate 91.8%
Languages Sinhala & Tamil English is widely spoken throughout Sri Lanka, with the exception of remote villages.
Ethnic mix Sihalese- 74 per cent; Tamil- 18 per cent; Muslim -7 per cent; Burgher (descendants of Dutch and Portuguese colonist) and others- 1 per cent
Religion Buddhism- 70 per cent; Hinduism- 16 per cent; Christianity- 7 per cent; Islam-7 per cent
Climate

Low Lands – tropical, average 27C
Central Hills – cooler, with temperatures dropping to 14C. The south-west monsoon brings rain to the western, southern and central regions from May to July, while the north-eastern monsoon occurs in the north and east in December and January.

The best time to visit the west, south and Central Highlands is October to March, after the South-West monsoon, while the East Coast is best between May and September.

Time

GMT +5.30 (Winter time)
BST +5.00 (Summer time)

Holidays Saturday, Sunday and every Full Moon Daya (called Poya Day) are holidays in Sri Lanka. On Poya Days all Public places of entertainment are closed and selling alcohol is prohibited. However hotels make special arrangements for their in-house guests.
What to wear Light weight cotton or linnen clothing. Higher reaches of the hill country can get chilly at night so a sweater is recommended.

Recommended Vaccinations (Please check with your Doctor)

Hepatitis, Malaria (Required in some parts of the country), Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio, Tuberculosis (for children only).
Industries Processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, and other agricultural commodities; clothing, cement, petroleum refining, textiles, tobacco.
Currency

Sri Lanka follows decimal currency system in Rupees (Rs.) and cents (Cts.) with 100 cents equal to a rupee. Currency notes are available in the denominations of Rs. 10,20,50,100,200, 500 and 1000. Coins are issued in values of Cts.10, 25 and 50 and Rs.1,2,5 and 10. The intervention currency continuously will be the US Dollar.

Exchange Rate Approx Sri Lanka Rs 195 = £1.
Visa (Entry Regulations) Free 30-day visa on arrival for most nationalities. 60-day extension on request (variable fee) at the Department of Immigration and Emigration
Working week Sri Lanka works a five-day week, from Monday to Friday.
Business hours Government offices 9.00 a.m. -5.00 p.m, Monday to Friday
Banks Generally opne 0900-1300 or 1500 Mon to Fri; 24-hr facilities at the airport. ATMs accepting Visa Mastercard and Cirrus are widely available in cities and town.
Credit Cards Most international Credit Cards are accepted in major establishment within and outside Colombo including almost all major hotels
Post office 8.30 a.m.- 5.00 p.m.,
Monday to Friday
8.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. on Saturday. The Central Mail Exchange, at D.R.Wijewardene Mawatha, Colombo 10, (Telephone : (+94 [11] 2326203) is open 24-hours.
Location An island off the south-eastern cost shores of India, 880 km north of the equator, in the Indian Ocean.
   [click to view a larger map] Large Image - with roads 22MB
National Flag National Flag of Sri Lanka is the Lion Flag. A Lion bearing a sword in its right hand is depicted in gold on red background with a yellow border. Four Bo leaves pointing inwards are at the four corners. Two vertical bands of green and orange at the mast end represent the minority ethnic groups. It is an adaptation of the standard of the last King of Sri Lanka.
National Anthem "Sri Lanka Matha" composed by late Mr. Ananda Samarakoon.
National Flower the Blue Water Lily (Nymphaea stellata) is the National Flower