Although the country was in the midst of civil war up until 2009, Sri Lanka has recently opened its arms to the global travel community, with the local people being only to willing to show off the delights of this vibrant nation.
Famed for boasting some of the world’s most incredible Buddhist ruins, this maritime hub of activity is a melting pot of the world’s most fascinating cultures, mouth-watering cuisines, friendly local people and breath-taking coastlines.
- Due to the very high number of waterfalls in Sri Lanka, most of the electricity on the island is powered by hydroelectric energy!
- Sri Lanka’s flag is said to be one of the oldest in the world, dating all the way back to 486 BC.
- Ella kiri (pronounced ala-ki-ri) is the Sinhala term for ‘awesome’, but in literal terms it translates into ‘ cow’s milk’. Say it to the locals when you are chatting, they absolutely love it!
Travel Highlights in Sri Lanka
- Take the Buddhist pilgrimage to the summit of Adam’s Peak. Grab a cup of tea at the top and soak up an incredible view.
- Check out Yala National Park, home to Sri Lanka’s largest population of leopards, as well as loads of monkeys, crocodiles and elephants.
- Head deep into the Dambulla underground cave temples, and experience a treasure trove of Buddhist artwork, statues, shrines and murals.
- Work with the turtles on our Turtle Project in Ambalangonda, which is fast becoming one of the most recognised turtle conservation efforts in Sri Lanka.
- Witness the spectacle that is the Esala Perahera in Kandy, known to be one of the most spectacular festivals in Asia, with everything from elephants and drummers, to dancers and acrobats.
Where is Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka can be found seemingly hanging delicately off the South East of the Indian sub-continent in Southern Asia, right in the heart of the Indian ocean. Being an island nation, Sri Lanka does not share any geographical borders with any other nations (although is very close to India), however being located between Africa, India and South East Asia, and being subject to many years of European colonial rule this country benefits greatly from possessing a truly enlightening concoction of cultures.
Sri Lanka’s Climate
For a small country, Sri Lanka’s climate is relatively complicated. With two annual monsoon seasons, affecting different parts of the country, you need to be careful to travel at the right time of year to avoid getting a bit wet in the rains. However, as there are two different monsoons affecting different regions, this means that there is always somewhere on the island with nice weather! The main ‘Yala’ monsoon occurs on the western and south-western coasts and brings rain from May through to September each year, however the ‘Maha’ monsoon brings rains to the east coastal regions from November through to March. Also, watch out for the heavy rains season in November / December which can affect the whole island.
Beigna tropical country, and not far from the Equator, Sri Lanka stays at a relativel;y consistant temperature year round. The main seasons bring the following temperatures:
Dry Season (December to April) where the temperature is between 22°C to 30°C.
Monsoon (May to August) with the temperature ranging between 25°C to 29°C.
Inter-monsoon (September to November) where the temperature lies between 24°C and 29°C.
Language in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has a population of approx. 20 million people and the official language of the country’s vibrant population is Sinhala. Of these 20 million people approx. 75% speak Sinhala as their first language, with a further 20% having Tamil as their first language. English is the language of business and is used in Sri Lankan government, and therefore is widely spoken throughout the population.
The People & Culture of Sri Lanka
The people of Sri Lanka are incredible friendly and charming, always offering their services to a lost traveller, or going out of their way to speak to you, asking about your life back at home. The laid back,m peaceful atmosphere in the country is partly down to the Buddhist and Hindu influences that are apparent throughout the country. Buddhism accounts for approx. 70% of the population, with countless shrines, temples and ancient ruins scattered across this beautifully spiritual island nation.
Sri Lankan people are easy going, happy and forgiving people by nature, and are extremely appreciative of visitors to their country who take the time to learn more about their culture and respect their way of life!
Travelling in Sri Lanka
Although much smaller that its neighbour (India), Sri Lanka boasts some of the most incredible sights in Southern Asia. From palm-fringed beaches, turtle nesting sites, and wild elephants, to awe-inspiring temples, mountain ranges, bustling cities, the diversity of this island is not to overlooked. In the cities you will find festivals of lights and colour, and the sights and sounds that will remind you of India, then if you head down to the coasts you will find epic beach parties, surf shacks, and adventures. Here is a quick breakdown of our project locations in Sri Lanka
Kandy is simply stunning, it is one of the most scenic and revealing cities in Sri Lanka. Located amidst the rolling hills of the central region, it is home to some incredible cultural attractions, including the famous Temple of the Tooth relic. Sri Lanka has had a dramatic past, with Kandy serving as the capital of the Sri Lankan (Sinhalese) kingdom, withstanding centuries of attacks from the Portuguese and Dutch before finally falling to the British in the early 1800s, which gives Kandy a real sense of culture, ideal for cultural exchanges with local people!
This beautiful, coastal town located on the main transport route between Sri Lanka’s capital and the popular tourist destination of Hikkaduwa on the South West coast, is an amazing place to spend some time during a tour of Sri Lanka, or to settle for a few weeks on a volunteer project. Although slightly overshadowed by some of the other coastal town such as Galle and Hikkaduwa, Ambalangonda is a seaside gem! Many visitors to the town have come to uncover some souvenirs and artefacts from the lively markets and also to unravel some of the mysteries around Sri Lanka’s devil masks and devil dances, used to drive out spirits that are thought to cause illness! Interesting stuff…worth a visit we think!
Gap Year and Career Breaks in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, although not as regarded as one of the top tourist hotspots in Asia, it is slowly growing into one of the best places to visit, with all the cultural and traditional charm that makes you feel like an explorer, but a good tourism infrastructure to make your trip painless and straight-forward. Sri Lanka is becoming more and more popular for gap year, career break and student travel, so why not check it out for yourself!