Sri Lanka Facts
- Official Country Name: The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
- Location: South Asia
- Capital: Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte, Colombo
- Area Code: 0094
- Time Zone: UTC+5:30
- Population: 21.44 million
- Land Area (km²): 65,610
- Languages: Sinhala, Tamil
- Major Tourism Cities/Places: Kandy, Anuradhapura, Galle
Sri Lanka, the full name of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is a tropical island country located in the Indian Ocean, one of the members of the British Commonwealth. Sri Lanka is at the southern tip of the South Asian subcontinent, facing the Indian Peninsula across the Bauk Strait in the northwest, close to the equator. Sri Lanka in Sinhala means "Happy Land" or "Bright and Rich Land". It is also known as "Jewel Kingdom" and "Pearl in the Indian Ocean" and was considered by Marco Polo as the most beautiful island.
Sinhalese migrated from India to Sri Lanka in the 5th century BC. In 247 BC, the Ashoka king of the Indian Peacock dynasty sent his son to the island. Since then, the Sinhalese have abandoned Brahmanism and converted to Buddhism. In about 311, the Tooth Relic was introduced from India to Sri Lanka. Around the 2nd century BC, the Tamils of South India also began to move in.
From the 5th century to the 16th century, the battle between the Sinhala Kingdom and the Tamil Kingdom continued until the Portuguese fleet landed near Colombo in 1521. On May 12, 1656, the Dutch army captured Colombo. On February 15, 1796, the British occupied Colombo and the Dutch rule ended.
In 1802, Britain and France signed the Amiens Treaty, and Sri Lanka was officially declared a British colony. On February 4, 1948, Sri Lanka officially declared its independence and became a dominion of the British Commonwealth. The country was named Ceylon. On 22 May 1972, the country was renamed the Republic of Sri Lanka. A new constitution was promulgated on August 16, 1978, and the country was renamed the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
After the independence of Sri Lanka, the Tamils established the Tigers in 1972. Since then, the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government have engaged in long-term fighting. On May 17, 2009, the Tigers admitted that the 25-year war with the government army had failed and ended the battle with the government army. On May 18, 2009, Prabakaran, the top leader of the LTTE, was killed by government forces in the northern Muletivu region. The Sri Lankan civil war was declared over.
Sri Lanka is divided into 9 provinces and 25 counties. The nine provinces are Western Province, Central Province, Southern Province, Northwest Province, Northern Province, Northern Central Province, Eastern Province, Uva Province and Sabaragamuwa Province.
Sri Lanka has a tropical monsoon climate. Sri Lanka is hot all year round, and there are only dry and rainy seasons in a year. The average annual temperature is 28 ℃ and the average annual precipitation varies from 1283 to 3321 mm. The rainy season is from May to August and November to February each year, when the southwest monsoon and northeast monsoon pass through Sri Lanka.
70.2% of Sri Lankan residents believe in Buddhism, 12.6% believe in Hinduism, 9.7% believe in Islam, and a small number of people believe in Catholicism and Christianity.
Sinhala and Tamil are both the official language of Sri Lanka and the national language, while English spoken by the upper classes.
►Sri Lanka Rupee
Sri Lanka Rupee is the official currency of Sri Lanka. The international abbreviation "Rs", "Re" or " LKR" is commonly used. The subsidized unit is cent: 1 LKR=100 cents. The issuance of currency is the responsibility of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The international organization for standardization has designated its standard code name LKR.
- Issuing bank: Central Bank of Sri Lanka
- Subunit: cents
- Banknotes: 20 Rs, 50 Rs, 100 Rs, 500 Rs, 1000 Rs, 2000 Rs, 5000 Rs
- Coins: 1 Rs, 2 Rs, 5 Rs, 10 Rs
The exchange rate between LKR and other currencies are as below:
1 AUD≈126 LKR; 1 CAD≈135 LKR; 1 CNY≈26 LKR; 1 EUR≈208 LKR;
1 GBP≈231 LKR; 1 JPY≈1.7 LKR; 1 USD≈185 LKR; 1 KRW≈0.15 LKR
Sri Lanka is a tipping country. Although restaurant and hotel bills have already charged a 10% service charge, most of the money will not be allocated to waiters, so it is best to tip waiters. Similarly, people who lead you, people who look at shoes in temples, and people who help you with luggage all need to be tipped.
There are 12,380 kilometers of highways and 1,640 kilometers of railways in Sri Lanka. The main ports are Colombo, Hambantota, Galle and Trincomalee. Colombo Airport and Hambantota Airport are international airports. Sri Lankan Airlines operates the international aviation business. The flights from Colombo International Airport can reach all parts of the world, and the airport is about 36 kilometers from the city center.
The railway network in Sri Lanka is widely distributed, and travelling by train is a good choice. The most common modes of transportation between Sri Lanka's cities are trains and intercity buses. The most convenient means of transportation for urban travel are taxis and local electric Rickshaw.
Sri Lanka Railways website: www.railway.gov.ik
Sri Lanka has a rich natural cultural heritage with a unique and charming cultural atmosphere, known as "the pearl of the Indian Ocean". Because of its beautiful seaside scenery, mysterious ancient city, rich natural resources, and unique and charming culture, Sri Lanka is regarded as the most beautiful island by Marco Polo.
►Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka
December to March is the best time to travel to Sri Lanka. Especially around Christmas, it is Sri Lanka's peak tourist season, and a large number of European tourists come here to spend the winter.
►Best Places to Visit Sri Lanka
Colombo is located on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka Island, bordering the Indian Ocean. Colombo is the old capital of Sri Lanka; the new capital had moved to Kotte in the 1980s. Until now, most of the capital's functional institutions have remained in Colombo. Therefore, in the impression of most people, Colombo is still the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is the largest city and business center in Sri Lanka, known as the gateway of Sri Lanka. Colombo is a typical seaside city in Southeast Asia, with beautiful coastal scenery.
Kandy is the second-largest city in Siri Lanka, and it's also the administrative and religious center in history. In 1998, UNESCO listed the Kandy city as a cultural heritage in the "World Heritage List." Built in 1595, the Temple of Tooth Relic in Kandy is a famous historical building and a pilgrimage place for Buddhists. Dambulla Cave Temple is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, has a history of more than 2,000 years and has attracted pilgrims for thousands of years with its exquisite murals and stone sculptures.
The Galle city is also known as the Galle Fort. The old city walls protected its city and witnessed the changes in the colonial period. The city wall is 3 kilometers long in the Galle Fort. In the 14th century, Galle had become one of the most active ports in Sri Lanka. Today, Galle has become one of Sri Lanka's famous tourist cities, attracting tourists from all over the world for its unique architecture and beautiful seaside scenery.
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka's old capital city, is located on the 200-meter-high "Lion Rock", about 170 kilometers northeast of Colombo. Sigiriya is famous for its Sigiriya murals, which are the only secular murals handed down in Sri Lankan history. It was built during the 5th century, as famous as Borobudur in Indonesia, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and Ajanta Caves in India. Popular attractions in Sirigiya include Elephant Orphanage, Lion Rock, the Ancient City of Sigiriya, the Dambulla Cave, the Sigiriya Museum, The Ruins of Polonnaruwa, the Ancient's 1st Capital city Anuradhapura etc.
Nuwara Eliya is a mountainous city in Sri Lanka, located southeast of Kandy, at an altitude of 1,889 meters. It is the highest point in Sri Lanka. Known as Asia's Garden City, Nuwara Eliya is one of Sri Lanka's most important tea producing areas. Due to its high altitude, the climate of Nuwara Eliya is much colder than the lowlands of Sri Lanka. So, Nuwara Eliya is a summer resort in Sri Lanka famous for its hills, canyons and waterfalls.