Where is Sri Lanka located?

What countries border Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka Weather

What is the current weather in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka Facts and Culture

What is Sri Lanka famous for?

  • Cultural Attributes: While some groups seek independence, people generally seek peace, unity, and economic development for the entire population. Sri Lankans... More
  • Family: Traditionally, the various caste systems of each ethnic group have governed family patterns and relationships. Even with the declining influence... More
  • Personal Apperance: Western-style clothing is popular, but traditional forms of clothing also are popular. With variation two basic styles of apparel for... More
  • Recreation: Cricket, introduced by the British in the 18th century, has become the country's most popular sport. In villages, amateur players... More
  • Diet: Rice is a staple in the Sri Lankan diet and is the basic food for all meals. Each ethnic group... More
  • Food and Recipes: The different religions of the country play a large role in determining what is and is not eaten. Sri Lankans... More
  • Visiting: Sri Lankans are very hospitable. If refreshments are offered by the hosts, it is impolite to refuse them. In some... More
  • Dating: Although individual choice of marriage is found among more Westernized circles, traditional practices of arranging marriages still prevail in Sri... More

Sri Lanka Facts

What is the capital of Sri Lanka?

Capital Colombo (commercial capital); Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)
Government Type presidential republic
Currency Sri Lanka Rupee (LKR)
Total Area 25,332 Square Miles
65,610 Square Kilometers
Location Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India
Language Sinhala (official) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%. English is widely understood.
GDP - real growth rate 5.5%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $11,200.00 (USD)

Sri Lanka Demographics

What is the population of Sri Lanka?

Ethnic Groups Sinhalese 74%, Tamil 18%, Moor 7%, Burgher, Malay, and Vedda 1%
Nationality Noun Sri Lankan(s)
Population 22,889,201
Population Growth Rate 0.89%
Population in Major Urban Areas COLOMBO (capital) 693,000; Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital) 126,000
Urban Population 15.100000

Sri Lanka Government

What type of government does Sri Lanka have?

Executive Branch chief of state: President Ranil WICKREMESINGHE (since 20 July 2022); the president is both chief of state and head of government; Prime Minister Dinesh GUNAWARDENA (since 22 July 2022); note - prime minister functions as deputy to the president)

head of government: President Ranil WICKREMESINGHE (since 20 July 2022)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister

elections/appointments: president directly elected by preferential majority popular vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 16 November 2019 (next to be held on 30 September 2024); prime minister appointed by the president from among members of Parliament for a 5-year term)

election results: Ranil WICKREMESINGHE elected president by Parliament on 20 July 2022; Parliament vote - WICKREMESINGHE (UNP) 134, Dullas ALAHAPPERUMA (SLPP) 82

Note: amid public protests which began in March 2022, President Gotabaya RAJAPAKSA fled the country on 13 July and Ranil WICKREMESINGHE became acting president; RAJAPAKSA announced his resignation on the 14th, which was accepted by the speaker of Parliament the following day
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Citizenship citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Sri Lanka

dual citizenship recognized: no, except in cases where the government rules it is to the benefit of Sri Lanka

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years
National Holiday Independence Day (National Day), 4 February (1948)
Constitution history: several previous; latest adopted 16 August 1978, certified 31 August 1978

amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of its total membership, certification by the president of the republic or the Parliament speaker, and in some cases approval in a referendum by absolute majority of valid votes; amended many times, last in 2020
Independence 4 February 1948 (from the UK)

Sri Lanka Video

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Sri Lanka Geography

What environmental issues does Sri Lanka have?

Overview A pear-shaped island in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka lies 18 miles from India at its closest point. It has an area of 25,332 square miles, a length of 268 miles, and a width of 139 miles. Located in the tropical zone between 5 N and 9 N and between 80 E and 82 E.

Sri Lanka has many areas of scenic beauty and historic interest. The island consists of two main topographical sections: the mountainous south-central region which rises to 8,281 feet above sea level and the low-lying northern, eastern, and southwestern coastal plains. Dense vegetation covers a large part of Sri Lanka, particularly the southern and western coasts. Rubber and coconut trees grow in the midlands and lowlands, and the highlands have vast tea estates.

In Colombo, temperatures rarely rise above 90 F or drop below 70 F; relative humidity varies from 70% during the day to 90% at night. The mountainous districts have an average day temperature of about 60 F, but at night it drops rapidly, sometimes to near freezing in winter in places such as Nuwara Eliya (altitude of 5,905 feet).
Climate Monsoons produce two rainy seasons. The southwest monsoon lasts roughly from May to September. During this period, the southwestern part of the island, including Colombo, receives much of its average annual rainfall of 100 inches.

The northeast monsoon, from about October or November through February, provides the northern and eastern parts of the island virtually all their average annual rainfall of 60 inches. Monsoon showers can become torrential in the Colombo area. December through March generally proves the driest period.
Environment - Current Issues deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; waste disposal; air pollution in Colombo
Environment - International Agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Terrain mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior

Sri Lanka Economy

How big is the Sri Lanka economy?

Economic Overview Sri Lanka's economy faces significant challenges, including a high external debt burden, a trade deficit, fiscal imbalances, and currency depreciation. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened these issues by disrupting global supply chains and tourism revenues. Political instability and governance problems have hindered economic reforms. As a result, Sri Lanka grapples with high inflation, reduced foreign exchange reserves, and slowing GDP growth. The government is seeking assistance from international organizations like the IMF, implementing fiscal consolidation measures, and aiming to attract foreign investment. These challenges have led to rising unemployment, inflation, and disruptions in essential services, causing frustration among the population. Key priorities for recovery include fiscal discipline, structural reforms, and exchange rate stability.
Industries rubber processing, tea, coconuts, and other agricultural commodities; clothing, cement, petroleum refining, textiles, tobacco
Currency Name and Code Sri Lanka Rupee (LKR)
Export Partners US 37.7%, UK 12.6%, Germany 4.3%
Import Partners India 13.8%, Hong Kong 8.1%, Singapore 7.2%, Japan 5.9%, South Korea 5%, Taiwan 4.8%, UAE 4.5%, UK 4.3%, China 4.3%

Sri Lanka News and Current Events

What current events are happening in Sri Lanka?
Source: Google News

Sri Lanka Travel Information

What makes Sri Lanka a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Sri Lanka is a presidential parliamentary democracy with a developing economy. On May 18, 2009, more than 26 years of conflict ended with the Sri Lankan government defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). During the war, the LTTE had a history of attacks against civilians, though none were directed against U.S. citizens. There have been no terrorist attacks since the end of the conflict, and the government has authority throughout the island. The LTTE remains on the U.S. list of designated terrorist organizations.

Sri Lanka's beaches, hill country, and archeological sites attract visitors from around the world. Tourism increased in 2013 and is expected to rise further in the coming years. The capital city of Colombo, the Cultural Triangle (Dambulla, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa), the cities of Kandy and Galle, and many southern beach towns have good tourist facilities, and the roads connecting many of those destinations are improving.


There is an elevated criminal threat in Sri Lanka. Most violent crime occurs within the local community. However, reports of violent crime, sexual assaults and harassment directed at foreigners have been increasing in recent months. Police response to assist victims can vary from a few minutes to hours, even in the tourist areas, and particularly in remote areas. In response to this rise in crime, the Sri Lankan government now requires that all foreign tourists provide their passport information to hotel staff when registering at local hotels and guest houses so that this data can be used by local law enforcement for the monitoring of foreign tourists.

Organized and armed gangs are known to operate in Sri Lanka and have been responsible for targeted kidnappings and violence, although there is no evidence to suggest that U.S. citizens are at particular risk. A British national was killed and a Russian national sexually assaulted and beaten during a violent attack by a gang in a tourist resort in the southern beach town of Tangalle in December 2011. The Sri Lankan justice system can be slower than in the United States and there are a number of outstanding cases of crimes against foreign nationals.

U.S. citizens are advised against travel on public buses in Sri Lanka, as passengers can be targets of criminal activity and bus drivers do not all obey driving regulations.

Travelers, especially women, should consider travelling with other people when possible. Western women continue to report incidents of verbal and physical harassment by groups of men. Such harassment can occur anytime or anywhere, but most frequently has taken place in crowded areas such as marketplaces, train stations, buses, public streets and sporting events. The harassment ranges from sexually suggestive or lewd comments to physical advances, and sexual assaults have occurred as well. While most victims of sexual assault have been local residents, an upswing in sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas in the southern beaches underlines the fact that foreign women should exercise vigilance.

Routine petty crime, especially thefts of personal property and pick-pocketing, is not uncommon if the traveler does not take appropriate safeguards. Cell phone theft is the most frequently reported crime against foreigners. Street hustlers or “touts” are common around hotels, shopping centers, and tourist sites. Credit card fraud is frequent and can happen in any establishment, or when paying online. Sri Lankan law enforcement personnel recently uncovered a foreign ring of criminals who were using “false fronts’” and “pen camera devices” to clone bank cards and steal personal identification numbers at ATM machines in Sri Lanka. Travelers should consider paying in cash whenever possible, and should carefully review billing statements to ensure that purchases displayed on their credit card statements are accurate. Consultation with personal credit card security advisors is encouraged for travelers to develop a protection plan that is best for your travel to Sri Lanka.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Sri Lanka, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. In places like military checkpoints, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Sri Lanka, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

Persons violating Sri Lankan laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Sri Lanka are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Under the Cultural Prosperity Act and the Antiques Ordinance, the unlicensed export of antiques from the country is considered a criminal act.

While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

There are six large hospitals in the Colombo area, including three facilities with emergency trauma service: Asiri Surgical Hospital, Lanka Hospital, and the government-run National Hospital. Medical facilities outside Colombo are limited. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of private physicians that may be obtained upon request. The availability of medical supplies is uneven; as a result, travelers should carry any special medications with them. Serious medical conditions do require evacuation to the United States or to a nearby country with more advanced medical facilities, such as Thailand or Singapore. Neither Thailand nor Singapore requires U.S. citizens to have entry visas.

Several mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue fever, chikungunya, and Japanese encephalitis are present in Sri Lanka. Adequate mosquito protection is strongly advised.

Safety and Security

Newspapers and other sources report ongoing criminal activity around the country, including murder and kidnapping. Most violent crime occurs within the local community, although reports of violent crime and sexual assaults directed at foreigners have been increasing.

The Sri Lankan military continues to maintain a heavy presence in the north, and military roadblocks and checkpoints are commonly encountered when traveling in this region.

Although the government and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) continue operations to locate and dispose of landmines in the north, a number of areas are still mined. Landmines and unexploded ordnance are found in parts of northern and eastern Sri Lanka, especially in the areas north of Vavuniya, including the areas of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaittivu, Mannar and Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK). A map of the affected areas is available. Travelers in these areas should stay on main, heavily traveled roads, and never walk in forested or agricultural areas or in abandoned properties. Travelers should make themselves aware of, and able to recognize and avoid, any area cordoned off for landmine clearance. Travelers should not touch anything that resembles a landmine or unexploded ordnance and should notify local police if they see something that resembles a landmine.

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Sri Lanka should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow prudent security practices. You should avoid political rallies, military bases, military or police convoys, and closed areas of high security zones.

Demonstrations at or near Western embassies and international organizations are not uncommon. There have been recent demonstrations against the United States and United Nations. Some have been large, and on occasion they have become violent. Given the unpredictability of demonstrations, U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution when demonstrations are announced or reported, and avoid areas where demonstrations are occurring or crowds are forming. Demonstrations can occur with little or no advance notice. U.S. citizens are urged to consult media sources and the U.S. Embassy website for current security information and to enroll with the Embassy to receive e-mail messages or cellular phone short message service (SMS) texts about impending demonstrations in Colombo.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to always carry their U.S. passports while in Sri Lanka. U.S. citizens of Sri Lankan origin may be subject to additional scrutiny upon arrival and while in the country. The activities of visiting journalists, researchers, aid workers, and volunteers may also receive particular attention.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

While in Sri Lanka, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Vehicular traffic in Sri Lanka moves on the left (British style). Traffic in Colombo can be congested. Narrow two-lane highways, overloaded trucks, poorly driven buses, and a variety of conveyances on the road, ranging from ox carts and bicycles to new four-wheel-drive vehicles, make driving dangerous. Unexpected road blocks and one-way streets are common and may not be clearly marked. Many visitors hire cars and drivers for long trips through the country. Individuals who choose to hire three-wheeled vehicles (“tuks” or “three wheelers”) should use metered vehicles or negotiate prices beforehand to avoid confrontations upon arrival. If you are renting a vehicle, you should specifically request one with working seatbelts.

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