About Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has been known by a variety of names in the past.  The ancient Greeks called it Taprobane, the Arabs called it Serendib (the origin of the word "serendipity"), the Portugese called it Ceilão which was later transliterated into English as Ceylon.  In 1972, the official name of the country was changed to Sri Lanka from the Sanskrit words "Sri" meaning sacred, and lanka, meaning "island".

It is a beautiful, but tiny island, off the southern coast of India, which Marco Polo described as "the finest island of it's size in all the world". 
 
Most people instantly fall in love with Sri Lanka on their first visit, because of it's amazing natural scenic beauty, and even more amazingly friendly people, who seem to smile genuinely at the drop of a hat, no matter where you are in this wonderful island paradise.

Sri Lanka has so much to offer the tourist, a culture that stretches back over 2,500 years, amazing archaeological monuments that are now declared World Heritage Sites, unspoiled wildlife reserves, outstandingly pure beaches, excellent accommodations in five-star hotels, elegant beach resorts, and ecologically designed lodges, Ayurveda traditional healing spas, superior diving opportunities, noted golf courses, exotic festivals, dirt cheap shopping for gems and branded western clothing (it's made here!), vibrant nightlife and even casinos in Colombo city, extremely friendly people, and the heritage of years under British, Dutch and Portuguese occupations evident everywhere you go!

It is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country with a diverse and rich culture, and with a total population of 19 million. English is widely spoken and is studied as a compulsory secondary language in school. Sri Lanka's Per Capita GDP is presently US$ 900 - the highest in South Asia and the Literacy rate is 92% - the highest in South Asia and the second highest in Asia.

The island is blessed with 103 rivers and streams radiating from the central hills, rushing down rocky precipices forming a number of roaring waterfalls of various shapes and heights all throughout the island, especially in the mountainous regions.

Sri Lanka has the widest variety of precious stones among the gem producing countries of the world. What is even more, is that its fame for gem stones began 2000 years ago with the most perfect of them - pearls from our oysters in the Gulf of Mannar.

Sri Lanka has 86 species of mammals (including elephant and leopard) and more than 400 bird species (including 26 endemics), a colourful array of flowering plants and trees, and a Hill Country famous for tea, 14 National Parks out of 100 areas protected by the government, and an Indian Ocean coastline boasting palm-fringed and sandy tropical beaches.

Sri Lanka lies just north of the equator so temperatures remain almost constant throughout the year (around 27C around the coast)..  a very attractive incentive for tourists to visit!

The Sinhalese, the Tamils, the Muslims, and even the Burghers and Christians are all living together here, and respecting each other's religions.  There is even a place called "Kataragama" where all the major religions in Sri Lanka all worship at the same place!

What takes your fancy? Beaches? The coastal stretch south of Colombo offers palm-lined sandy expanses as far as the eye can see. Culture? Try the Kandyan dances, a procession of elephants or the masked devil dances. Ruins? You'll find enough ancient and inspiring architecture in the cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa to satisfy that inner archaeologist, we promise.
 
See you soon in Exotic Sri Lanka!