Capital – Colombo
Currency – Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
Official & Recognised Languages – Sinhala, Tamil, English
Population – 22 million
Time – GMT+5:30
Sport in Sri Lanka
Volleyball is the official national sport but it is cricket that is more popular and the country has been generally more successful in, winning the World Cup in 1996 and reaching the final in 2007. Rugby Union, Football and Netball are also popular sports in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has co-hosted the Cricket World Cup twice – in 1996 with India and Pakistan, and in 2011 with India and Bangladesh, as well as hosting the Asia Cup on several occasions.
Getting to Sri Lanka & Visa
Sri Lanka’s main international airport is Bandaranaike International Airport, 20 miles north of Colombo. SriLankan Airlines has daily overnight direct flights from London Heathrow and many major airlines offer flights from Birmingham, London and Manchester to Colombo with a stopover.
Search & book your flights through Skyscanner here.
Most countries will require a visa to visit Sri Lanka, please consult your country’s travel advice for Sri Lanka regarding obtaining a visa.
If you are a UK citizen, you can view the UK’s government advice on entry requirements by clicking here. As noted, you can obtain a visa in advance which is recommended and this is the method I chose. The application process is simple and costs $35, allowing stays within the country for 30 days. Upon arrival, you simply present your confirmation at immigration and your passport will be stamped.
Getting around Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has an excellent bus and train network, although it can be a little daunting due to a lack of information available. However, I found travelling by train and bus to be an efficient, inexpensive and fantastic way to get up close to the friendly locals.
Air – Cinnamon Air offers internal flights but options are limited, destinations include Batticaloa, Dickwella, Sigiriya and TrinComalee. Search and book your flights through Skyscanner here.
Bus – Travelling by bus is a great way to travel but it can be a little difficult to find travel information. Services are run by the Central Transport Board as well as by private companies and serve most cities within the country. It really is a unique way to travel, with the buses colourfully decorated and karaoke music and lights blazing on board. Tickets are never going to cost more than a few pounds and can be purchased on board.
Taxi & Tuk-Tuk – Taxis and Tuk-Tuks will be found most places you go. For both methods, it will be important to use your negotiating skills and agree on a fare beforehand. I find you soon pick-up how much you should be paying and its always worth asking your accommodation beforehand how much you should be paying for a journey.
Train – Journeys on the train in Sri Lanka are described as some of the most scenic in the world, heading south from Colombo to Galle, or east to the hill country of Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Ella. Tickets come in 1st, 2nd and 3rd class and can be booked at ticket offices at the station and journeys shouldn’t cost more than LKR 1000.
Further information for travelling between each city, can be found below in the city guide section.
Please click on the links below for a guide to each of these great cities.