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When You at Sri Lanka

Where is Sri Lanka situated?

Sri Lanka positions between the northern latitudes 5 55' and 9 55' and the eastern longitudes 79 42' and 81 52' 650km north of the equator. It comprises 65,610 sq km and has 1,330km of coastline. There is a 30km divide between the island and India. 1,215km to the west are the Maldives, and to the south nothing but thousands of kilometers of ocean until Antarctica.

Current time in Sri Lanka

What is the best time of year to visit the Island?

Sri Lanka is a year-round destination as it has two monsoons that occur in different halves of the island at different times. So if you wish to enjoy the western and southern coastal resorts when the weather is best, come between December and April. However, even during the monsoon, sunny warm days are common, although evening showers can be expected. When the monsoon sets in the West and the South western half of the island the eastern half experiences a fine weather with warm sunny days. This begins from May to October.

Can we visit National Parks and what kind of animals can be seen?

Sri Lanka owns 14 National Parks which offer the chance to see some of the country's 91 mammals (16 endemic) elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sambur, spotted deer, hog, mouse and barking-deer, wild boar, porcupine, ant-eater, civet cat, loris, giant squirrel, and monkeys such as the macaque, purple-faced leaf money and grey langur.

The largest of the parks is Yala, where jeep safaris provide close encounters with leopards and also abundant bird-life. The best park to see elephants is Uda Walawe.

Is it possible to obtain Ayurvedic treatment?

Yes. Ayurveda is practiced more widely than Western medicine. Many hotels offer Ayurvedic treatment for guests and have qualified practitioners to advise you on how to improve your health, or give various types of baths and massages.

Is it possible to witness traditional festivals?

Every full moon day is a Buddhist public holiday, a POYA. The most important is in May Vesak Poya; a festival that marks the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and bereavement, worth seeing are the illuminated pandals (bamboo frameworks) hung with pictures depicting events in the Buddha's life.

Sri Lanka's best-known traditional festival is the Kandy Esala Perahera, held in Kandy over 10 days in late July to early August. Perahera means "procession" and that's exactly what occurs nightly - a magical passing-by of drummers, dancer's whip-crackers, acrobats and robed elephants.

A caparisoned tusker carries the reason for the festival, the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha for the people.

Mosquito repellent is essential since malaria exists throughout the country apart from the districts of Colombo, Kalutara and Nuwara - Eliya.

What is the ideal length of stay?

The compact size of Island and the accessibility of most major attractions mean that even a week will allow you to visit a number of different areas. But to experience the island properly, a two-week stay is advisable.

What aquatic sports are available?

The island, with a constant sea temperature of 27 c, is an ideal location for wind surfing, water skiing, Jet Skiing, surfing, sailing, scuba-diving (including wreck-diving), snorkeling, speed-boating and banana-boating. In addition there are fresh water opportunities in rivers and "tanks" (reservoirs), such as kayaking and canoeing, and white-water rafting.

What cloths should be worn?

In the low country, loose cotton skirts or trousers and tops, and a long sleeved blouse for visiting temples, are ideal for woman. Men should wear cotton trousers or shorts and a T-shirt, or even the local sarong. Take a sunhat and sandals, slippers or open shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Being a conservative society, especially in the rural areas, very short skirts and shorts should be avoided.

For hill country strip pack a light sweater, and if you intend to sample a natural trail, bring a pair of walking shoes or trainers. If you are travelling with children, a sunhat, loose cotton shorts and tops, including long-sleeved tops to protect them from mosquito bites, will be needed.

What kind of food is available?

Rice is consumed with curries (eggplant, potato, green banana, chicken, and fish) that range from delicately - spiced to near - dynamite. There are also hoppers (a pancake-like snack), string hoppers (steamed rice noodles) and pittu (four and coconut mixture). Lamprais - rice and accompaniments baked in plantain leaves – is a legacy of the Dutch.

Fresh fish, prawns, crab, squid and crayfish are readily available. Desserts include buffalo curd topped with palm-honey, and the caramel-like wattalapam.

Tasty snacks known as short eats are excellent for trips. Fruit includes mango, pineapple, banana and papaya, and the lesser- known but distinctive sapodilla, mangosteen, rambuttan, woodapple custard apple and beli. Colombo has an impressive range of restaurants specializing in international cuisine.

Currency :

The local currency is the Sri Lankan rupee (LKR.), divided in to 100 cents.

There are notes of many denominations from Rs. 5,000 to Rs.10.

Banks:

Banks are open from 0900 hours to 1500 hours Monday to Friday. Some banks are open on Saturday mornings. It's easy to withdraw money across the island at ATMs using international credit cards or debit cards.

Language :

Sri Lanka has two official languages – Sinhala and Tamil – with English as a link language. Most people have some knowledge of English, and signboards are often in English. Sri Lanka boasts a literacy rate over 90%.

Forbidden exports:

No antiques, rare books, palm leaf manuscripts and anthropological material may be exported without permission from the National Archives and archaeological Commissioner.

Duty Free:

duty free shops at the Bandaranayake International Airport stock an extensive range of liquor, electronic equipments, watches, perfumes and much more. Payments is accepted only in foreign currency.

  • Never drink tap water and avoid ice and juices in places where bottled water isn't used.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of safe, clean water, or king coconut – a cheap, healthy alternative.
  • Always use sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15. Remember you are just 600km from the equator.
  • Do not pet or play with stray dogs – they may have rabies.