Updated: Feb 26
Sri Lanka, an island south of India crams an extraordinary variety of places to visit within its modest size. Lapped up by the Indian Ocean, the coastline is lined with idyllic – and often refreshingly undeveloped – beaches, while the mainland boasts a compelling variety of landscapes ranging from wildlife-rich lowland jungles to the misty highlands of the hills, swathed in tea plantations.
Size and location: Lying a few degrees north of the Equator, Sri Lanka is slightly smaller than Ireland and a little larger than the US state of West Virginia.
Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR).
Politics: Sri Lanka achieved independence from Britain in 1948, and rejected its colonial name, Ceylon, in 1972. The country has had a functioning democracy since independence, and in 1960 elected the world’s first female prime minister.
Religions: Sri Lanka’s population comprises different ethnic and religious groups. The two largest are the mainly Buddhist Sinhalese, and the predominantly Hindu Tamils; there are also many Christians and Muslims.
Languages: Sinhala, Tamil and English are officially recognized languages.
Health: Sri Lankans enjoy a healthy life expectancy of 77 years. But it also has one of the world’s highest suicide rates and one of the highest death rates from snakebite.
Education: Sri Lanka has a literacy rate of almost 93 percent
Exports: The country’s main exports are clothing and tea. Rubber, coconuts and precious gems are also important.