The exotic island destination of Sri Lanka is a beach lover’s paradise. It’s home to fascinating history and sprawling national parks. For a nation so small, it offers so much! But, of course, you may be asking “where is Sri Lanka?”
Where is Sri Lanka situated?
Sri Lanka is an island (with a few small islands off the coast) in South Asia. It’s to the south of India, in the Indian Ocean. Some ask questions like, “Is Sri Lanka part of India?” or “is Sri Lanka its own country?”. Despite their close proximity, the island has always been considered a separate nation, even when it was controlled by other nations. The capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, sits on the western coastline.
Map of Sri Lanka
Are you still asking “where is Sri Lanka located”? Check out this handy interactive Sri Lanka map to help you get familiar with the island destination.
A short background of Sri Lanka
“Where is Sri Lanka?” may not be your only question. The destination is also known for its regional diversity. The culture of the country mixes modern elements with traditional aspects. The nation has been influenced by the heritage of Theravada Buddhism (passed on from India) for a long time.
The religion is mostly focused in the southern and central regions. Despite that, other religions exist alongside Buddhism in Sri Lanka, including Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. The Sri Lankan population is 21.44 million, with the locals popularly regarded for their warm hospitality.
Here are a few tips to make your way through Sri Lanka with ease:
- You may be caught off-guard by the friendliness of the locals. Don’t worry, the people of Sri Lanka are one of the top reasons to visit the country.
- Avoid speaking about politics, it’s a delicate subject. Unless you are well-versed in the country’s politics, it’s best to stick to other topics.
- If you’re considering renting a car, you’ll need a special license to do so. But with hectic traffic conditions, you might be tempted to let someone else drive.
- Tap water is not safe to drink. Make sure to only drink bottled water and use it for brushing your teeth (check the expiry date before purchasing).
- The CDC recommends getting vaccines for hepatitis A and typhoid (to protect you from contaminated food and water). If you’re interested in travelling to the rural areas, get a vaccination for Japanese encephalitis.
- Always be respectful of the local religions. Avoid wearing anything with images of Buddha.
Why visit Sri Lanka?
As amazing as Sri Lanka already sounds, it may surprise you that tourism has yet to explode in the area. Plenty of parts around the country are undeveloped, appealing to those seeking a new sense of adventure. Visit sooner rather than later to enjoy Sri Lanka at your own pace.
The beaches of Sri Lanka make up one of the top reasons to visit the island. Thanks to the generally low tourism volumes, the beaches haven’t experienced much activity. They surround the country, ensuring you have plenty of choices. You can look forward to surfing world-class waves without struggling to find space. Some of the top beaches in Sri Lanka include Arugam Bay, Hikkaduwa Beach, Wijaya Beach and Negombo Beach.
Sri Lanka has more than 2,000 years of culture! It’s waiting to be discovered at ancient sites featuring legendary temples and magnificent fortresses. You won’t have to stand in long lines to access them either. Sri Lanka is home to a stunning amount of Unesco World Heritage Sites (eight in total). Top historic locations include the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa and the sacred city of Anuradhapura.
When is the best time to visit Sri Lanka?
There are two main seasons in Sri Lanka, the dry season (between December and February) and the wet season (between June and August). The island has a tropical, hot, humid climate, with temperatures remaining fairly consistent throughout the year. Most of the rainfall is from March to December. You may find the best time to visit Sri Lanka to be between January and February.
How do you get around Sri Lanka?
Thanks to its small size, the distances between places in Sri Lanka are relatively short. Getting around is relatively easy, with numerous transport options.
Hiring a private car and driver – With hectic traffic conditions, it’s best to have someone drive who is used to navigating such situations. This option is the most efficient way to travel the longer distances in Sri Lanka.
Taking a tuk-tuk or taxi – This is the ideal option for the shorter distances if you’re not inclined to take a walk. Make sure you and the driver can agree on a price before getting in.
Travelling on the bus – Taking one of the buses is a cheaper option for getting around Sri Lanka. With hectic traffic though, they’re not the best option if you’re in a hurry.
Enjoy the scenery on a train – Trains are the best way to get breathtaking views of the landscapes and can be booked in advance.
Where should I stay in Sri Lanka?
If you’re still asking “where is Sri Lanka”, you’d want to find out more about where the best place is to stay. That depends on what you’re planning to do once you get there.
If you’re interested in the shopping scene and hoping to get more insight into Sri Lanka’s history, Colombo is the place to go. Whether you’re on a budget or looking for absolute luxury, you’ll find your perfect accommodation setup. You can explore the Fort area and admire the collection of colonial-era buildings. There are many temples, such as the Gangaramaya Temple, Sri Dalada Maligawa and Isipathanaramaya temple.
Sigiriya and the Cultural Triangle
Treat yourself to easy access to the spectacular natural wealth Sri Lanka offers and explore more majestic ruins. You should look for accommodation near the incredible Sigiriya. Several budget-friendly properties and luxury hotels are available. Picking a place to stay at this location will also put you close to Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. The triangle features more historical ruins, such as the city of Anuradhapura and the remains of Polonnaruwa.
Your time in Sri Lanka wouldn’t be finished without a discovery of the scenic tea plantations! You can put yourself close to those in Nuwara Eliya with nearby accommodation in a choice of budget options and high-end establishments. There’s more than the beautiful tea plantations (there are hundreds of them lining the twisting roads and surrounding the train tracks) to discover in Nuwara Eliya. You can explore many historic Tudor-style bungalows and a country club featuring one of Sri Lanka’s two golf courses.
How do you get to Sri Lanka?
Since you’re asking “Where is Sri Lanka?”, you’d want to know how to get there! You can take a direct flight to Sri Lanka. That’s the easiest way to reach the island. Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) is approximately a 50-minute drive from Colombo.
Is Sri Lanka safe?
Sri Lanka as a whole is safe. You should obviously take some precautions as you would anywhere in the world. Avoid deserted areas, unless you have the assurances of their level of safety from locals. But the locals’ welcoming and helpful nature should put you at ease.
Do South Africans need a visa to travel to Sri Lanka?
Yes, as a South African citizen, you will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. Not to worry, you can get yours on arrival. Simply apply online for Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA). Once your ETA has been approved, you’ll be free to travel to Sri Lanka and collect your visa at the point of entry.
Also read: How to apply for a Sri Lankan Visa
The next time someone asks “where is Sri Lanka?”, you’ll be able to share what you know of this spectacular island nation. Now you’re ready to experience and unforgettable adventure in South Asia.
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All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information.