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Sri Lanka Facts

Climate

Sri Lanka is a tropical country with distinct dry and wet seasons. It generally offers warmth and sunshine throughout the year. Temperature ranges from 15 degrees in the Hill Country (Nuwara Eliya) to 37 degrees in the North East Coast (Trincomalee). Average temperature in Colombo is between 27-30 degrees. During the night time the temperature can drop down by 3-4 degrees.

The country has a humidity of around 70%. Humidity ranges between 60% to 90% depending on the area and the time of the year.

The West Coast, South Coast and the Hill Country are the driest. The best months to travel south and west coast are from December to March. For the East Coast the driest season is from April to September.

Below chart provides an insight to the Sri Lanka’s weather patterns.

Geography

Sri Lanka is located in the Indian Ocean about 30km south of India. It lies between 6° to 10° North Latitude and 80° to 82° East Latitude providing the country with warm weather throughout the year. The landmass spreads around 65000 sq km and about 870 sq km of it is covered in water. It has a maximum length of 432 km (North to South) and a maximum breadth of 224km (East to West). Sri Lanka is commonly identified as being the “Jewel of the Indian Ocean” as it is surrounded by sea and the land lies just a little above the sea level. The hill country is about 4 hours from Colombo and rises above 2000m from the sea level providing cool temperatures around 16 degrees all year round. Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka while Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is the administrative capital.

Demography

Sri Lanka has a population of just above 20 million which comprise of the ethnic groups: Sinhalese (74%), Tamils (17%) and Moors (7%). Sinhalese are mostly Buddhists (68%) and Christians (6%). Tamils are mainly Hindus and the Moors are Islamic. The official language spoken in Sri Lanka is Sinhalese. Tamil is also spoken by the Tamil and the Moors community. English is spoken by a majority of the people in the city and if not spoken is understood by many. Sri Lanka has a literacy rate of 92%.

Food

The Sri Lankan experience doesn’t just stop at the breadth of history and the breathtaking landscapes. It also offers another tantalising experience through the many mouth watering dishes.

The traditional breakfast includes Appa (hoppers) a crispy wafer from outside and soft and spongy in the middle, indi appa (stringhoppers) made out of flour similar to noodles steamed and placed on small round woven trays, Pittu and Kiribath (milk rice). Kiribath is usually made on special occasions and considered as a ceremonial food. Apart from the traditional dishes, many Sri Lankan’s consume bread for breakfast especially in the city areas.

Lunch is usually rice and curry (few vegetable dishes, meat/fish dish and traditional Sri Lankan salads). The accompaniments are pol sambol (made out of coconut powder), Seeni sambol (made out of fried onion), lunu miris (mix of chilli and finely chopped onion) and pappadams.

Dinners are also a similar variety to the lunches. There are also a variety of other meals such as biriyani, fried rice, a number of Sri Lankan style Chinese dishes, and a variety of pastries that are commonly consumed for lunch and dinner in the suburban areas. And of course don’t forget to experience the traditional and very popular Lamprais (rice and curry wrapped in banana leaf).

Sri Lanka also offers a number of traditional desserts such as kavun, kalu dodol, muscat, aluwa, kiri pani, watalappan (a rich pudding made with Jaggery, fudge from the Kitul palm treacle). There are also a variety of western style desserts including fruit salad (with delicious tropical fruits), cakes, puddings and ice creams.

While you are here, don’t just ask for fruit juice. Tambili (King Coconut juice) drunk straight from the golden fruit is an experience you must try to compliment the tropical Sri Lankan weather!

Restaurants also offer some mouth watering dishes. They range from small cafes to five star dining.

You will also find a number of fast food chains such as McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos offering meals that suits the Sri Lankan appetite.

People/Culture

Sri Lanka offers a melting pot of great cultural diversity and this is reflected in the ancient art, archaeological sites, temples, mosques and churches that co exist in Sri Lanka. Varying degrees of colonial impact, modern influences, wealth and income add other shades to this cultural mosaic. The people are kind, hospitable and very inviting.

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