Sri Lanka Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte tourist information, Sri Lanka food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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Sri Lanka Travel Guide

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Full country name: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Area: 65,610 sq km
Population: 20,238,000
Capital City: Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte
Language: Sinhala, Tamil
Religion: 70% Theravada Buddhists, 15% Hindus, 7,5% Muslims, 7,5% Christians
Government: Democratic socialist republic
Time Zone: Sri Lanka Standard Time Zone (UTC+5:30)
Dialing Code: 94
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)

Money & Costs:
Average yearly salary: USD 4,500

Budget: $7-10
Mid-range: $20-30
High: $40-50
Budget: $10-30
Mid-range: $50-80
High: $100-150

Geography: The island of Sri Lanka is located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of the Bay of Bengal. The Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait separate Sri Lanka from the Indian subcontinent. The island's terrain is mostly flat with rolling coastal plains, and mountains situated only in the south-central part of the country.

Climate: The climate of Sri Lanka is tropical, and it has two distinct seasons influenced by monsoons: dry and wet. The central highlands have an average temperature of 16 C (60.8 F), and winter frosts can stay for several days a year. The lowlands experience an average temperature of 33 C (91.4 F). January is the coldest month of the year, whereas May is the hottest.

Recommended clothing: Lightweight cotton clothes of bright colors are advisable throughout the year. However, during the coldest period, in January, people wear coats or sweaters in the highlands. So if you are planning to go to hilly regions, pack some warm clothes. At the beach or anywhere else, nudism is taboo.

Food: Sri Lankan food is as various as various the food can be. It has been influenced by invaders and traders, such as Indians, Arabs, Moors, Malays, Dutch, Portuguese, and English, and it will definitely make your trip a culinary discovery. The Sri Lankan food can seem a little too piquant, but it is worth trying and you easily get used to it. International food can be found in all major Sri Lankan Restaurants. Excellent seafood with delicious prawns and crabs are also widely available. Being a tropical country, Sri Lanka has a large variety of fruits, such as Mangosteen, Rambutan, Pineapple, Papaya, passion fruit, melons, guavas, etc. You will be surprised with the variety of shapes, sizes and tastes of such simple fruits as bananas or mangoes.

Drink: 'Ceylon Tea', considered to be the finest tea in the world, is what Sri Lankans can be proud of. There is a local version of coffee, which is a bit strong, but still very good. Highly recommended are the fresh fruit juices, since the variety of Sri Lankan fruits is stunning. Popular international soft drinks are available throughout the island. There are two extremely popular local intoxicating beverages - Toddy and Arrack. Toddy is a natural drink, produced from palm trees, and Arrack is the same Toddy, but fermented and refined. These drinks are considered to give strength. A sweet, clean and refreshing drink Thambili or King Coconut can be bought anywhere on the roadside. It is advised not to drink tap water, bottled water is recommended instead.

Health: Almost every town has a pharmacy selling the most popular medicines, however an adequate health insurance is recommended. Yellow fewer vaccination is required if you are coming from an infected area. You need up-to-date Hepatitis A, Polio and Tetanus immunizations.

Public Holidays:
Jan 14 Tamil Thai Pongal Day
Jan 29 Navam Full Moon Poya Day
Feb 4 National Day
Feb 27 Milad-Un-Nabi (Holy Prophet's Birthday)
Feb 28 Madin Full Moon Poya Day
Mar 13 Mahasivarathri Day
Mar 29 Bak Full Moon Poya Day
Apr 2 Good Friday
Apr 13 Day Prior to Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day
Apr 14 Sinhala & Tamil New Year Day
Apr 28 Adhi Vesak Fool Moon Poya Day
May 1 May Day
May 27 Vesak Full Moon Poya Day
May 28 Day Following Vesak Fool Moon Poya Day
Jun 25 Poson Full Moon Poya Day
Jul 25 Esala Fool Moon Poya Day
Aug 24 Nikini Full Moon Poya Day
Sep 10 Id-Ul-Fitr (Ramazan Festival Day)
Sep 22 Binara Fool Moon Poya Day
Oct 22 Vap Full Moon Poya Day
Nov 5 Deepavali Festival Day
Nov 17 Id-Ul-Alha (Hadji Festival Day)
Nov 21 II Fool Moon Poya Day
Dec 20 Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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