- The Online Guide to Travel The Jewel of the Indian Ocean - Unveiling Sri Lanka's Beauty

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Sri Lanka by Eranda Fernando on Unsplash.

Travel Notes: Asia - Sri Lanka Travel Notes.

Sri Lanka Travel Notes

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Sri Lanka Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Embark on a journey through Sri Lanka's diverse landscapes, ancient ruins, and pristine beaches to discover more about this Indian Ocean island paradise.

About Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a beautiful island nation located in the Indian Ocean, known for its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and diverse wildlife.

Whether you're interested in exploring ancient cities, relaxing on gorgeous beaches, or immersing yourself in the vibrant local culture, Sri Lanka has something to offer for every traveller.

Travel Map Mapping Sri Lanka

Map of Sri Lanka

Map of Sri Lanka

The pear-shaped island republic of Sri Lanka, off the south-east coast of India, was formerly known as Ceylon.

The capital of Sri Lanka is Colombo, on the island nation's west coast.

Sri Lanka Overview

Sri Lanka, officially known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island nation located in South Asia; situated in the Indian Ocean, south-west of the Bay of Bengal and south-east of the Arabian Sea.


Sri Lanka has experienced ethnic tensions between its majority Sinhalese population and the Tamil minority.

This conflict escalated into a civil war that lasted for nearly three decades; ending in 2009 with the defeat of the separatist Tamil Tigers.

The country has since been focused on reconciliation and rebuilding efforts.


Sri Lanka has a vibrant and diverse culture influenced by its history, religion, and ethnic diversity.

The predominant religions are Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.

The country is known for its traditional dance forms, colourful festivals, intricate handicrafts, and flavourful cuisine.


Sri Lanka's economy is primarily based on agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing.

The country is famous for its export of tea, rubber, and spices.

Tourism also plays a significant role in the economy, with visitors drawn to the island's natural beauty, cultural heritage, and wildlife.


Sri Lanka is an island country with diverse geographical features, including tropical beaches, ancient ruins, lush forests, and misty mountains.

The island is characterised by its central highlands, which are home to tea plantations and wildlife reserves.


Sri Lanka has a rich history dating back thousands of years.

It has been inhabited by various ethnic groups and civilisations, including the Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, and Malays.

The island has been ruled by several kingdoms, including the Anuradhapura Kingdom, the Polonnaruwa Kingdom, and the Kandyan Kingdom.

It was colonised by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British before gaining independence in 1948.


Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning beaches, UNESCO World Heritage sites, wildlife safaris, and adventure sports such as surfing and trekking.

Tourists often visit attractions such as the ancient city of Anuradhapura, the Sigiriya rock fortress, the sacred city of Kandy, and the picturesque hill country.


Sri Lanka is renowned for its biodiversity and is considered one of the world's biodiversity hotspots.

The island is home to various endemic species, including the Sri Lankan elephant, leopard, and several species of birds.

National parks such as Yala, Wilpattu, and Udawalawe offer opportunities for wildlife safaris.

Visiting Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality, making it a fascinating destination for travellers from around the world.

Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a tropical climate with two main monsoon seasons affecting different parts of the island at different times of the year.

The best time to visit the west and south coasts, as well as the hill country, is from December to March.

The east coast is best visited from April to September.

Culture and Etiquette

Sri Lanka is a conservative country with strong cultural and religious traditions.

When visiting religious sites, dress modestly and remove footwear before entering.

It's also customary to greet people with a friendly smile and respect local customs.

Festivals are a big part of Sri Lankan culture.

They can be either religious or national festivals; with most public holidays based on religious festivals.


Sri Lankan cuisine is flavourful and diverse, with influences from various cultures.

Don't miss trying local dishes such as rice and curry, hoppers (a type of pancake), kottu roti (chopped roti with vegetables and meat), and seafood specialties.

Health and Safety

Make sure to drink bottled or boiled water to avoid getting sick.

Apply mosquito repellent, especially in areas with a risk of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever.

Take precautions against the sun, such as wearing sunscreen and a hat.

Be vigilant with your belongings, especially in crowded tourist areas.

Be adventurous and explore street food stalls for authentic local flavours.

Places to Visit in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka offers a variety of attractions, including cultural sites, stunning beaches, wildlife parks, and scenic landscapes.

Ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

Ella and the surrounding hill country.

Galle Fort and the picturesque coastal town of Galle.

Mirissa or Unawatuna for beautiful beaches and whale watching.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy.

Yala National Park for wildlife safaris.

Responsible Tourism

Respect the environment and local communities during your visit.

Dispose of waste properly, support local businesses, and avoid activities that harm wildlife or exploit local resources.


Getting around Sri Lanka is relatively easy.

You can use a combination of trains, buses, taxis, and tuk-tuks (auto-rickshaws) to travel between cities and attractions.

Trains are a scenic way to travel, especially through the hill country.

Hiring a driver or joining guided tours is another convenient way to see more of the country.

Travel Visa

Check the visa requirements for your nationality.

Most visitors to Sri Lanka need to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before arrival.

Colombo - Capital of Sri Lanka

Visitors to Sri Lanka do not normally spend too much time in the old colonial-style capital of Colombo.

Travellers prefer to visit the beaches around Hikkaduwa, to the south; or the cool mountain air of Kandy.

Map of Colombo

Map of Colombo

Where to Stay in Sri Lanka

Hotels in Colombo.

Sri Lanka - India Without The Hassle

It is often said that Sri Lanka is 'like India, without the hassle'.

English was the official language of Sri Lanka until 1957, and is still widely spoken today.

A bill was finally passed making Sinhalese the only official language of the country on December 31, 1960, but the Tamil-speaking minority led mass demonstrations against it in early 1961.

It wasn't until January 1966, that Tamil become the official administrative language in the northern and eastern parts of the island. The Tamil Tigers still want more than that.

According to legend, Rama, an incarnation of the god Vishnu, conquered Sri Lanka in prehistoric times, to reclaim his stolen wife, Sita.

Sri Lanka News

The Sunday Times is a weekly Sri Lankan broadsheet newspaper published by Wijeya Newspapers.

It was initially established by the now defunct Times Group and was taken over by Wijeya Newspapers in 1991.

The Mahavamsa

The Mahavamsa is a comprehensive written history of the country, compiled by a succession of Buddhist monks.

The epic was started in the 6th century AD, and provides a virtually unbroken narrative up to 1815; although it can not be taken as gospel because of its biases.

According to the Mahavamsa, a Hindu prince from north-east India, called Vijaya, conquered the island and the resident Veddas people in 504 BC.

Vijaya married a native princess, and installed himself as ruler of the entire island, and called it Sinhala.


Buddhism became the national religion in the 3rd century BC, during which time the Sinhalese produced a highly developed civilisation.

They created vast irrigation projects, and the ancient capital of Anuradhapura.

During the 4th century AD to the middle of the 12th century, Tamil kings ruled over Sinhala, and other invaders from southern India came over for a bit of the action.

Chinese forces occupied Sinhala between 1408 and 1438. Then came the Portuguese traders in 1517; establishing a fort and trading post at Colombo.

The Dutch gained control of most of the island in 1658, except for the kingdom of Kandy.

The British came on the scene in 1795, and in 1798 arrogantly made all the island, except for the kingdom of Kandy, the crown colony of Ceylon and shipped the tea to England.

Adams Peak

A pilgrimage to the top of Adams Peak is considered important to both Muslims and Buddhists.

To the Muslims

Adam and Eve lived here after leaving the Garden of Eden.

To the Buddhists

A rock on the peak contains one of Buddha's footprints.


The Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, is where one of Buddha's teeth is believed to be enshrined.

Historical Sri Lanka

The Department of National Archives in Colombo, contains the official records of the Dutch Administration from 1640 to 1796, the British Administration from 1796 to 1948, and records of the independent nation from 1948 to the present.

Many archaeological finds, from the Stone Age, have been unearthed around the Bandarawela region in the south.

Sri Lanka Tours

If you're booking a tour in Sri Lanka, double check that your tour company really does have the support of the local people.

Tours Lanka

Located in Colombo, Tourslanka is independently owned and have been in business since 1999.

The company offer special interest tours around Sri Lanka including trekking, visiting tribal people living in remote forests, camping and canoeing.

Visits also include ruined cities and meeting with local communities.

Sri Lanka Travel Guides

Sri Lanka (Rough Guides) Sri Lanka (Bradt Travel Guides)

Sri Lanka Travel Guides - Sri Lanka Maps.

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