Sri Lanka is an island country southeast of India in the Indian Ocean. Diverse landscapes, an exciting culture and a large variety of species are attracting more and more travelers. While the locals are very hospitable, travelers should not underestimate the risk of terrorist attacks.
|Official Language||Sinhala, Tamil|
|Telephone Area Code||+94|
Fast facts to know
- Sri Lanka is exotic, diverse, surprising and colourful.
- Sri Lanka used to be called Ceylon, the name means something like “honorable island” or “shining land”.
- Sri Lanka is a mecca for vegetarians.
- There are two main ethnic groups on the island – the Sinhalese and the Tamils.
- English as a language is widespread.
- Selfies with Buddha are forbidden, as is turning your back on them.
- 70% of the residents are Buddhists.
- A slight shake of the head means, unlike us: Yes.
- Sri Lanka has the highest density of leopards in the world, the island is very species-rich, and animal protection is unfortunately often neglected with growing tourism.
- The country is considered malaria-free, but dengue fever is definitely a problem.
- Sri Lanka is the world’s largest exporter of cinnamon.
- To enter the country you need: a passport that is still valid for at least 6 months, a visa, an electronic travel registration form, a completed entry card, a valid return or onward travel ticket.
- No mandatory vaccinations, standard vaccinations are recommended, caution with drinking water.
- There have been a number of violent terrorist attacks by Islamist fundamentalists in recent years. So keep an eye out when travelling.
Exciting cities in Sri Lanka
- Nuwara Eliya
History of Sri Lanka
- Nagas and Yakkas form Sri Lanka’s first indigenous population.
- 500 BC North Indian settlers (Sinhalese) came.
- 247 BC Buddhism in the form of the Theravada tradition is made known.
- Since about 200 BC Buddhism is the state religion of the kingdom of Anuradhapura.
- In the Middle Ages part of different kingdoms, e.g. Sinhalese and Tamil kingdoms.
- In the 1st millennium trade and cultural exchanges with the Roman Empire and China begin.
- 15th Century: Several unsuccessful attempts by the Chinese to conquer Sri Lanka.
- During the colonial period that followed, Sri Lanka fell under the rule of European powers several times.
- Independent of the British Commonwealth since 1948.
- In 1972 Ceylon became a republic with the name “Sri Lanka”.
- 2004 severe natural disaster caused by a tsunami.
Climate & travel weather in Sri Lanka
- Tropical monsoon climate.
- South-west monsoon from May to September with heavy precipitation on the west and south-west coasts.
- October to mid-April northeast monsoon with precipitation in the north and east.
- Hurricanes (cyclones) predominant in May, October, November.
- Mountainous country as a climate divide: south-west always humid / north-east dry & alternating humidity.
- High temperatures all year round.
- Milder climate in the mountains, snow possible in winter.
- Recommended travel time:
- East: April – September.
- South & West: December – April.
- North: January – October.
- Highlands: January – March.
Ideas for trips in Sri Lanka
- Ruinenstadt Polonnaruwa
- Sigiriya Rock Fortress & Sigiriya Rock
- Dambulla Cave Temple
- Ranweli Spice Garden
- Stupa Ruwanwelisaya in Anuradhapura
- Horton Plains National Park & Horton Plains Hiking Trail
- Temple of the Tooth in Kandy
- Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
- Sri Pada (Holy Foot)
- Golden Temple
- Nationalmuseum in Colombo
- Train ride from Kandy to Ella
- Tangalle Beach & Beaches at Bentota
- Swim, snorkel and sunbathe in Pigeon Island National Park
- Climb Adam’s Peak
- Whale watching in Mirissa
- Hike on Ella Rock
Food & Drink in Sri Lanka
- Sinhala cuisine uses a lot of spices.
- Many dishes very spicy.
- Typical spices and ingredients: coconut milk, chili, coriander, cumin, fennel, garlic, cardamom, ginger, tamarind pulp, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg.
- Diverse influences, eg Indian, Arabic, Malay, but also Portuguese and Dutch, are noticeable.
- Paradise for vegetarians.
- Warm food is eaten 3 times a day.
- Traditionally, you eat with your right hand and your left hand under the table.
- Rice & curry can be found in almost every dish.
- It is usually served lukewarm and in different bowls at the same time.
- Typical side dishes: lentils, aubergines, cucumbers, breadfruit and pappadam (crispy, flat bread made from lentil dough).
- Chutneys are usually served with meals.
- Delicious tropical fruits: papaya, mango, banana, pineapple.
- Typical Ceylonese breakfast are hoppers (hollow, hemispherical pancakes made from rice flour, coconut milk, coconut flakes).
- Fish or seafood widely available, but meat is also available.
- They like to drink tea (with milk).
- Local beers: Three Coins, Royal Pilsner or Lion Lager.
- Rice Brandy Arrak quite popular.
- Typical dishes:
- Appé (pancakes made from rice flour, yeast and coconut milk).
- Bandakka Curry (vegetarian dish with okra beans).
- Gotu kola (tiger grass soup).
- Paripoo (Lentils in Ceylonese, mashed side dish with tuna and turmeric).
- Dosa (thin pancakes made from rice and urd beans).
- Rathu Isso (Garnelencurry).
- Wattalapam (pudding made from palm blossom sugar, coconut milk and spices).
- Rotis (small flatbreads made from wheat flour).
- Breudher (a yeast cake of Dutch origin).
- Lampries (rice cooked in meat broth, stuffed with minced meat, baked in a banana leaf).
- Yala National Park
- Tea plantations in the mountains
- Pidurangala Rock
- Udawalawe National Park