Sri Lanka, popularly known as the ‘pearl of the Indian ocean’, is blessed with an enthralling natural beauty of gorgeous beaches, exotic forests, mountained highlands, agricultural landscapes, waterfalls, a warm tropical climate and reservoirs that can captivate one’s soul. This small yet a vibrant island is enriched with archaeological and cultural attractions, beautiful flora and fauna, great historical and religious sites, handicrafts, artifacts, and performing arts, Possessing a high level of biodiversity, wildlife resources and biological endemism, it has been rated among 34 biodiverse hotspots in the world. Above all, its courteous, harmonious and kind people can make you feel at home, safe and serene.
DO I NEED A VISA BEFORE I ARRIVE IN SRI LANKA?
A Visit Visa is an entry permit signifying the consent of the Sri Lankan Government for the admission of a foreign national to the country. The Visa contains details of the period of time and the condition/s of the stay.
There are two sub-categories which come under visit visas :
- Tourist Visit Visa - A Tourist Visa is issued to bona-fide tourists who want to enter Sri Lanka for sightseeing, excursions, relaxation, visit relatives or yoga training for a short period of time.
- Business Purpose Visa - A Business Purpose Visa is issued to foreign nationals who visit Sri Lanka for business purposes for short period of time. This visa may be issued for single or double journeys.
Apply visa online click here
History of Sri Lanka
According to historical records on Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon), the earliest human colonization in the island dates back to 35,000 years ago. These earliest settlers known to be Mesolithic hunter gatherers lived in the caves.
As per the archaeological records it is evident that the Iron age began in Sri Lanka before 900 BCE and agriculture had developed at about 15,000 BCE.
The first kingdom, Anuradhapura was established in the 4th century BCE. Buddhism was introduced to the island in the 3rd century BCE. Later, the island was divided into numerous kingdoms. From the 16th century onwards, various parts of the country were occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British.
In 1815, the country was united under the British rule. Sri Lanka was given independence in the year 1948 but the country remained as a Dominion of the British empire until 1972. In 1972, it attained the Republic status. As the result of introduction of a constitution in 1978, the Executive President was made the head of the state. The country experienced a 25-year-old civil war, that started in 1983 and ended in 2009.
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY
Sri Lanka is situated in the Indian Ocean and separated from peninsular India by the Palk Strait. It is located between latitudes 5°55' and 9°51' N and longitudes 79°41' and 81°53' E. and has a maximum length of 268 miles (432 km) and a maximum width of 139 miles (224 km). Its total area is 65,630 square kilometers, comprising 64,740 sq. kilometers of land and 870 sq. kilometers of water, with a 1,340 kms. long coastal line.
The south-central part of Sri Lanka is the heart of the country. This area mainly consists of high plateaus, running north-south for approximately 65 kilometers. Most of the island's surface is made of plains between 30 and 200 meters above sea level.
The Central Highlands give rise to numerous rivers which flow in radial pattern towards the sea. Most of them are short, 16 of them are the main rivers which are longer than 100 kilometers in length.
WEATHER & CLIMATE
Sri Lanka is blessed by a year-round warm weather influenced by ocean winds and moisture.The monsoon winds of Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal have the complete control over the rainfall pattern of the island.
The average temperature in Sri Lanka is 27.0 °C (81 °F). The average maximum or the highest temperature is 31 °C (88 °F) in February, March, April & May. The average minimum or lowest temperature is 22 °C (72 °F) during January and February.
The west and the southwest coasts and the hill country enjoy rains brought by the south-west monsoon during April to September, April to June experiencing the wettest weather. The eastern coast enjoys rain brought by the northeast monsoon during the months November through March, November to December being the wettest.The inter-monsoon period during the months of October to November usually brings heavy rainfalls and thunderstorms to the island.
It is advisable to visit the west and the south coasts and the hill country during December and March and the best time to visit the east cost is during April and September.
People, Clothing & Language of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan people are well known for their kindness, geniality, hospitality and politeness. Sri Lankans are known to be very creative and are backed by a rich artistic tradition in the areas such as music, dance, and visual arts.
There are three official languages in Sri Lanka: Sinhala, Tamil, and English. Sinhala is the language of the Sinhalese, the majority population; Tamil is the language of the minority of the population, both Tamils and Muslims and English is also widely used by people from all walks of life.
The traditional dress of men and the women are 'sarong' (a long piece of cloth that is wrapped around the body) and 'sarees' respectively.
Sri Lanka's population follows a variety of religions. As of the 2011 census, 70.19% of Sri Lankans were Theravada Buddhists, 12.6% were Hindus, 9.7% were Muslims (mainly Sunni) and 7.4% were Christians (6.1% Roman Catholic and 1.3% other Christians).
Sri Lanka was chosen as one of the most religious countries in the world according to a Gallup poll taken by The Telegraph UK in 2008, 2009 and 2015, in which 99% of Sri Lankans had said that religion was an important part of their daily life.
Culture & Ethnicity of Sri Lanka
The culture of Sri Lanka is a blend of traditional and modern aspects.The Theravada Buddhism passed on from India has a major impact on the Sri Lankan culture which has its strong roots in the southern and the central regions of the island while South Indian cultural influence is prominent in the northernmost areas of the country.
The portuguese, Dutch and the British have also left their traces in the country many ways.
The Sri Lankan population is made of four ethnic groups. They are: Sinhalese that make up the majority of the population (74.9%), Sri Lankan Tamils (Hindus) (11.2%), Sri Lankan Moors (Muslims) (9.3%) and Indian Tamils (4.1%).
Paramotor is a generic name for the propulsive portion of a powered paraglider ("PPG"). It consists of a frame that combines the motor, propeller, harness (with integrated seat) and cage. It provides two attachment points for the risers of a paraglider wing that allows for powered flight. The term was first used by Englishman Mike Byrne in 1980 and popularized in France around 1986 when La Mouette began adapting power to the then-new paraglider wings. Pilots who fly these engage in paramotoring, also known as powered paragliding. The engines used are almost exclusively small two-stroke internal combustion types, between 80 cc and 350 cc, that burn mixed gasoline and oil.
One can couple the camping expedition with other water activities such as water rafting, bird watching and trekking to waterfalls amongst others. You can have the same concept in a jungle safari too which is an equally thrilling experience. And you can hear the sound of the animals clearly since it is located right in heart of the jungle.
Sri Lanka is Asia’s foremost wildlife destination and probably the best outside Africa. In fact the country has been recognized as one of the ten global bio diverse hotspots in the world. Beautiful Sri Lanka, situated in the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean is a relatively small island yet blessed with some of the world’s greatest natural treasures that are beyond compare. Travel in any direction North, South, East or West and you are in for some exciting moments, take our word, every corner of Sri Lanka reverberates with the sounds of the natural world! The biological diversity in this little island has an unbelievable proportion of endemism for both flora and fauna; to be more specific 23% of flora and 16% of fauna are endemic to the country. There are close to sixty National Parks and Reserves situated all over the country, some of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites because of their high biodiversity, each one unique and exclusive for specific species of fauna and flora. Still more the Sinharaja Rain Forest, a Man and Biosphere Forest Reserve believed to be one of the finest tropical ecosystems in the whole of Asia is teeming with endemism; close to 140 endemic trees, 20 endemic species of birds, with over 50 percentage endemism amongst butterflies, fish, amphibians, and reptiles; it’s a treasure trove that’s waiting to be discovered.
If you’ve always wanted to experience the amazing rush that kitesurfing has to offer, Kappalady is a fantastic place to start your kitesurfing journey. Our excellent team of qualified instructors will guide you safely through the learning process adhering to the IKO syllabus, so don’t be afraid if you’ve never flown a kite or set foot on a board, we’ll ensure you have a lot of fun and learn all the safety and techniques you need to become a proficient kitesurfer. Our lagoon is one of the best spots in the world to learn, with consistent wind all through the season, and waist deep water meaning even if something goes wrong you are able to stand up and sort it out.
White Water Rafting in Kitulgala Experience White Water Rafting in the picturesque Kelani River, covering 5 major rapids and 4 minor rapids. This activity is for anyone above the age of 10 years with safety gear, modern rafts, and a comprehensive safety briefing will be given by our white water rafting instructors beforehand. The distance covered is around 5 KMs. The river and its surrounding will make you feel enchanted, with a memorable Experience during your White Water Rafting Tour in Kitulagala.
For the keen hiker, there is a plethora of opportunities awaiting in Sri Lanka 's diverse and luscious hill country. The beautiful area of Haputale and Diyatalawa, located in the hill country of Sri Lanka , provides a base from which to try out a wide variety of hiking and trekking tours through jungle, across tea estates and up mountains. The river and numerous waterfalls in Sri Lanka are another key attraction that allows hikers and trekkers to enjoy a refreshing dip en-route !
The Kandy Esala Perahera also known as The Festival of the Tooth is a grand festival celebrated with elegant costumes and is held in July and August in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Wikipedia Did you know: The Kandy Esala Perahera is believed to be a fusion of two separate but interconnected Perahera's - The Esala and Dalada.
The ever smiling, mischievous dolphins will put on a show while some of the oldest and the largest sea creatures, the humpback and the blue whales, will nonchalantly glide past you, when you embark on a whale/ dolphin watching excursion off the Southern, Eastern or the West coast of Sri Lanka. The ideal locations for whale watching would be Dondra Point (accessible from Galle, Hikkaduwa and Mirissa) and Trincomalee while the sea off Kalpitiya teems with an abundance of dolphins.
Transport in Sri Lanka is mainly over the road network which is centered around the capital, Colombo. About 93 percent of the land transport in Sri Lanka is through road and there are around 12,000 km of A class and B class roads and approximately 151.8 kms of expressways.
Colombo witnesses a very dynamic and extensive public and private bus transport system. The Central Bus Stand is located in Pettah which is the primary hub for the bus transport.
There are two bus transport operators, Central Transport Board (CTB), owned by the Government and Private buses owned by private bus operators.
Central Transport Board (CTB) buses:
These buses lack air-conditions and run on both local and long-distance routes. You can identify these buses with a Sri Lanka Transport Board logo.
Private bus operators own buses of all types that range from old to latest sophisticated models. While the buses that run in the villages and towns, covering frequent short-distance trips are old models, the intercity buses that cover major and long routes are comfortable ones with air condition facilities. For long distance travels these private buses are preferred as far as comfort and speed are concerned. The fares of the private buses are more expensive than the public buses but are much more comfortable and faster than the public buses.
Taxis are a common sight in all the parts of the country, from villages to towns. Most of them that operate in the towns are metered. They usually cost from Rs. 50 to Rs.100 per kilometer depending on the model. In Colombo, services such as Uber and Pick Me that can be booked through apps and many other taxi services such as ‘Malkey Rent-a-Car’, ‘Kangaroo Cabs’, ‘Budget Taxis’ are available.
THREE-WHEELER (TUK TUK)
Three wheeler, also known as Tuk-Tuk or Autorickshaw is the most common and cheapest mode of private transport for travelling short distances quickly. Even though they are not ideal for long distance travel, they will be a perfect fit and real fun to move around the city. You can find them at every nook and corner of the country and getting one is not difficult. Almost most of them are metered that calculates the distance travelled and amount that you have to pay for your ride thus eliminating any need for negotiation or the fear of being overcharged. . The basic fare is about 50-60 SLR for the first kilometer and about 30-40 SLR for every additional kilometer. The non metered auto rickshaws usually take the passengers on negotiation basis. There are many three wheeler networks within Colombo city limits such as PickMe and Online Cabs that can be booked via an app. on your smartphone and you can have an auto rickshaw at your doorstep within 5 or 10 minutes.
If you have a limited time and want to see all the parts of the island in a lightning speed or if you prefer a memorable, adventurous and luxurious travel then air taxi/domestic flight is the best option. A wide range of air taxi services are offered by both the Sri Lankan Airways and other private companies whose air taxis range from high-tech aircrafts to powerful helicopters that can take you to the places such as Colombo, Kandy, Arugam Bay, Nuwara Eliya, Batticaloa, Dambulla, Beruwala and Hambantota at a great speed. The landing points of these flights are places such as lakes and lagoons which will really add more joy to your travel. Their services include daily scheduled flights, special charter tours and scenic tours on private planes or helicopters. This is a great way to enjoy the view of the wonderful landscape below and fly across Sri Lanka in a matter of minutes there by utilizing your time to the maximum.