Known as Ceylon until the early 1970's, Sri Lanka is a tear-drop shaped island lying just to the east of the southern tip of India. In ancient times, the country was ruled by local kings, including those of the Sinha Dynasty which lasted for 2000 years. Much later, in 1815, the island became a British colony and was not to become fully independent until 1948. Buddhism was introduced to the country in the 2nd century BC and is today the religion of 70% of the population. With a mountainous central region that rises to a high point at Pidurutalagala (2524m / 8281ft) and includes the sacred rock spire of Adam's Peak, surrounded by tea estates, dense forest, coastal plains and a tropical coastline, Sri Lanka's great strength is its variety. Historical and cultural highlights include the natural rock fortress of Sigiriya, the cave temples of Dambulla and the old city of Kandy. Excellent trekking can be found in the Knuckles Range and on the Horton Plains, whilst other opportunities are provided by nature reserves, elephant orphanages, classic train rides and Indian Ocean watersports.


Sri Lanka is an island country located in Indian Ocean approximate 31 miles off the southern coast of India and separated by the Palk Strait.  The maximum length and width of Sri Lanka is 435 km and 225 km respectively and the total area of Sri Lanka is 65610 sq km (Land area: 64740 sq km, Water area: 870 sq km).  Its coastline is 1,340 km long.  The pear-shaped island consists mostly of flat-to-rolling coastal plains, with mountains rising only in the south-central part. The most significant mountains in the Island are Sri Pada and Pidurutalagala, which is also known as Mt Pedro, Sri Lanka's highest point at 2,524 meters (8,281ft). The Mahaweli River and other major rivers provide fresh water to the burgeoning foliage. The pattern of life in Sri Lanka depends directly on the availability of rainwater. The "wet zone" which consists mainly of the mountains and the southwestern part of the country, receive ample rainfall (an annual average of 250 centimeters). Most of the southeast, east, and northern parts of the country comprise the "dry zone", which receives between 1200 and 1900 mm of rain annually.

Time Zone

The time in Sri Lanka is GMT +5:30 hours.


You should attend your own doctor and dentist for a check-up. Your doctor will have access to the most up to date information on the required vaccinations for the country you are visiting. In general we recommend vaccinations against the following: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis ‘A'. Malaria prophylaxis is not usually recommended for holidays in Sri Lanka.

A very good online resource is the NHS travel website at

Additional Sources/Information


Sri Lanka. Lonely Planet Guide.
Footprint Sri Lanka.  Footprint Guides.
Sri Lanka: The Bradt Travel Guide.


Sri Lanka. Nelles Guides & Maps - 1:450,000
Sri Lanka. Periplus Maps - 1:525,00


Lonely Planet -
Rough Guides -