Sri Lanka

Worldwide /  Asia /  South Asia /  Sri Lanka
Map Loading
in Sri Lanka

Destination Information

Sri Lanka, the former Ceylon, is an island nation of more than 21 million inhabitants that lies off the southern tip of India. The country offers grand colonial buildings, lush tropical landscapes, fine golden beaches and a rich Buddhist culture. Historically it has been considered a uniquely fortunate place; indeed, the English word “serendipity” derives from Serendip, the Persian name for Sri Lanka. Today, alas, it continues to struggle with the aftermath of a long and bitter civil war between the Sinhalese and the Tamil minority. The island is safe for foreign travelers, however; tourism is increasing, and it is possible to be guardedly optimistic about the future. 

When to Visit

Sri Lanka has two monsoons. From May-August, the Yala monsoon brings rain to the island’s southwest, where the dry season lasts from December-March. The Maha monsoon blows from October-January, bringing rain to the north and east, where the dry season is from May-September. 

Direct Dial Codes

To phone hotels in Sri Lanka, dial 011 (international access) + 94 (Sri Lanka code) + local numbers in listings.


9 . hours ahead of New York (EST). (Time listed is for DST in the West. Difference is one hour more November to mid-March.) 


Sri Lankan rupee (LKR). Fluctuating rate valued at LKR147.95 = US$1.00 as of October 2016. Note: Our suggested hotels quote rates in US$. 

U.S. Embassy

Colombo, Tel. 11-249-8500.

Entry Requirements

Passport (valid for six months beyond end of stay) and visa. Visit, and for travelers’ health information,