Gorgeous beaches and stunning mountain scenery. Historic world heritage cities, and spectacular wildlife. Sri Lanka is a small miracle with a tropical climate, just waiting for you to visit.
The Greeks called it Taprobane. The Arabs called it Serendib. The British mistranslated the Portuguese name as Ceylon. The modern name comes from the Sanskrit Sri (sacred) and Lanka (island). According to Hindu mythology there was a land bridge to the Indian mainland some 19 miles to the north.
The climate is tropical. There are no clear seasons, and two monsoon times. The west and south tends to get rain in May to July, and in December and January the monsoon brings downpours to the northeast. The hills are usually a cool 20˚C. The plains and coast can be a hot 30˚C with 90% humidity, but a cool sea breeze often makes it feel pleasantly warm.
Sinha monarchs ruled over the island for 2000 years, but invasions from India were frequent. Most recently, the island fell to the British when they took Kandy in 1815 and colonialism continued until independence was granted again on 4 February 1948.
From 1983 to 2009, civil war tore apart the country. The separatist Tamil Tigers fought to create a separate state in the north-east until their senior leadership was killed and President Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed victory.
The country is famous for its exports of tea and coffee, cinnamon and rubber. Food processing, textiles and finance industries are now equally important, and the nation has the highest GDP in South Asia.
There are two official languages in Sri Lanka – Sinhalese and Tamil. About 10% speak English, which is still widely used in commerce. The country has many ethnic groups and religion is an important part of most people’s lives. The predominant religions are Buddhism (70%), Hinduism (15%), Christianity (8%) and Islam (7%).
I hope you will come to visit the lovely beaches of the west of Sri Lanka, the beautiful landscapes of the hill country, stunning wildlife on safari in Yala, impressive ruins in Galle, a vibrant culture in Kandy, exciting river trips on the Kula Ganga, expensive shopping trips in Kalutara and Colombo, fine food and a charming people. With so much to see and do - as Sri Lanka Tourism says – no wonder Sri Lanka is a small miracle. I hope one of my tours helps make your stay a memorable one.