Sri Lanka General Information 

A Land like no other! 

Name: The Democratic Socialists Republic of Sri Lanka . (Formerly known as Ceylon )

President: His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakshe (2005)

Prime Minister: Hon Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka (2005)

Geographical Location : The small tropical island of Sri Lanka is situated south of the southern tip of the Indian sub-continent. The country of Sri Lanka lies 880 kilometers north of the Equator. The central mountainous region of Sri Lanka ( Ceylon ) is surrounded by wide plains that extend up to the island's 1230 kilometer coastline of Palm fringed beaches.

Land area: 65,610 Sq. km

Excluding inland water: 62,336 Sq. km.

Maximum length : 432 Km

Maximum breadth : 224 Km

Population: 20,222,240 (2006) ( growth rate : 0.8%); birth rate : 15.5/1000; infant mortality rate : 14.0/1000; life expectancy: 73.4; density per sq mi: 809

Literacy: Male-90.5, Female-82.4

Ethnicity / Race (%) : Sinhalese 73.8, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2, Indian Tamil 4.6, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9,other 0.5 consisting mainly Burghers (descendents of the Dutch and Portuguese) , unspecified 10 (2001)

Religion (%): Buddhist 70, Islam 8, Hindu 7, Christian 6 (2001)

Languages (%): Sinhala 74 (official and national), Tamil 18 (national), other 8; English is commonly used in government and spoken competently by about 10.

Labour Force : 37 percent agriculture; 44 percent industry & commerce; 19 percent service industries.

Capital and largest city (2003): Colombo , 2,436,000 (metro. area), 656,100 (city proper).

Legislative and judicial capital (2003): Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, 118,300

Other large cities: Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia 214,300; Moratuwa, 181,000; Kandy , 112,400

Administrative units: 9 provinces, 25 Districts, 256 Divisions and 160 electorates.

Electricity : 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Round three-pin plugs are usual, with bayonet lamp fittings.

Time: GMT 6 hours Ahead.

Highest peak : Pidurutalagala 2,524 m

Highest waterfall: Bambarakanda 241m.

Longest River: Mahaweli 335 km

Climate: The climate of Sri Lanka is a perfect example of all year round summer tropical climate. In Sri Lanka the temperature changes with the altitude; The lowland plains average around 27 C in the hill country it ranges from 20 - 25 C and in the mountains between 10 - 16 C. The sea temperature around the island seldom drops below 27 C.

Sri Lanka 's weather patterns have been affected like many other places in the world. However it has definite periods of dry and rainy seasons.

Annual rainfall: 2500 mm to over 5000 mm in the wet zone (Southwest) Less than 1250 mm in the dry zone.

Rainy Seasons : Southwest Monsoon from May to August (rain to wet zone) Northeast Monsoon from November to February (rain to dry zone).

Economy: Sri Lanka 's economy has depended on agriculture and plantation crops since its pre independence era. Rice is the staple cereal. The major export crops continue to be Tea, Rubber and Coconut. However the economy has diversified and the Garment sector, Fisheries, repatriated earnings of Sri Lankans working in the Middle East and Tourism have become major foreign exchange earners for the country.

Annual per capita GNP : US$ 876

Currency: Sri Lanka 's currency is the Rupee. Sri Lankan Rupees (1 US $ = approx 104 rupees – please check current exchange rates). The Rupee is divided into 100 cents. While the currency notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 the coins come in denominations of Rupees 1, 2, 5, 10 and cents 5, 10, 25, 50.

Credit Cards : Major Credit Cards such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express are accepted.

International Airport : Colombo Airport , Katunayake, 35 Km from Colombo City .

International Airlines: The National carrier is SriLankan Airlines. The other Airlines with regular flights to Colombo are Aeroflot, QUATAR Airlines, Cathy Pacific, Emirates, Gulf Air, Indian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, LTU International Airways & ETIHARD Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlines and Thai Airways. Also, all major Airlines of the world have their appointed GSA offices in Colombo . There are also seasonal Charter flights from Germany , the U.K. and Switzerland .

Entry Visa : Nationals of the following countries will be issued entry visa for 90 days on arrival. No payment is required: Australia , Bangladesh , Finland , Malaysia , New Zealand , Philippines , Sweden and USA .

Nationals of the following counties will be issued entry visas for 30 days on arrival. No payment is required.

Albania, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia - Herzegovina , Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, South Korea, Luxembourg, The Maldives, The Netherlands, Norway, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Israel, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, UK, FR of, UAE, Yugoslavia, The Russian Federation (REFSR), Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.

All other Nationalities are requested to obtain prior Visa's from the Sri Lankan Diplomatic mission in their country.

All Nationals arriving to Sri Lanka should have valid Travel documents, a return ticket and sufficient funds in foreign exchange for their period of stay.

Working week: Sri Lanka works a five-day week, from Monday to Friday.

Business hours:

Government offices 9:00 – 5:00 p.m. Monday- Friday

Banks 9:00 a.m-1:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m. Monday- Saturday

Post offices 8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. Monday- Friday

8:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. Saturday

The central mail exchange : Overseas mail usually takes 10 to 14 days. D.R Wijwardene Mw. Colombo 10 (Tel:2326203) is open 24 hours.

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 494,509 (1998); mobile cellular: 228,604 (1999).

Radio broadcast stations: AM 26, FM 45, shortwave 1 (1998). Radios: 3.85 million (1997).

Television broadcast stations: 21 (1997). Televisions: 1.53 million (1997).

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 5 (2000). Internet users: 121,500 (2001).

Transportation: Railways: total: 1,508 km (2002). Highways: total: 96,695 km; paved: 91,860 km; unpaved: 4,835 km (1999).

Waterways: 430 km; navigable by shallow-draft craft.

Ports and harbours: Colombo , Galle , Jaffna , Trincomalee.

Airports: 15 (2002).

International disputes: none.

Member of Commonwealth of Nations

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