Discover Sri Lanka in Asia

Sri Lanka with its capital Colombo is located in Asia (Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean). It covers some 65,611 square kilometres (slightly larger than West Virginia) with 21,128,000 citizens. Sinhalese, Tamil and English are the languages spoken by people in Sri Lanka (consider regional differences). There are no land based border this country shares with any other country.

Sri Lanka formerly known as Ceylon, is in Southern Asia. It is an island country in the Indian Ocean, south of India. Since Sri Lanka is a tropical country, you can expect the rain anytime of the year in most parts. However, the two major rainy seasons are North-East monsoon (October to January) and South-West monsoon (May to July).

Pictures from the Sri Lankan capital

Have a look at our dedicated photo collection to get a view of what Colombo is like. We have selected more pictures from Colombo on our dedicated gallery page.

Awesome photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners.

Landscape, climate, hints for travelling

National Tourism Office

Website: Sri Lanka Tourism

The terrain offers mostly low, flat to rolling plain having mountains in south-central interior. The average density of population is about 322 per km². The climate in Sri Lanka can be described as tropical monsoon with northeast monsoon (December to March), southwest monsoon (June to October). Possible natural disasters include occasional cyclones and tornadoes.

To reach someone in Sri Lanka dial +94 prior to a number. There are 3,523,000 installed telephones. And there are 15,868,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".lk". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 230V - 50Hz.

Description of the flag of Sri Lanka

Yellow with two panels; the smaller hoist-side panel has two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and orange; the other larger panel depicts a yellow lion holding a sword on a dark red rectangular field that also displays a yellow bo leaf in each corner; the yellow field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends between the two panels; the lion represents Sinhalese ethnicity, the strength of the nation, and bravery; the sword demonstrates the sovereignty of the nation; the four bo leaves - symbolizing Buddhism and its influence on the country - stand for the four virtues of kindness, friendliness, happiness, and equanimity; orange signifies Sri Lankan Tamils, green the Sri Lankan Moors; dark red represents the European Burghers, but also refers to the rich colonial background of the country; yellow denotes other ethnic groups; also referred to as the Lion Flag.

National administrative regions of Sri Lanka

Historical background information

The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The coastal areas of the island were controlled by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was formally united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983. After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) formalized a cease-fire in February 2002 with Norway brokering peace negotiations. Violence between the LTTE and government forces intensified in 2006, but the government regained control of the Eastern Province in 2007. By May 2009, the government announced that its military had defeated the remnants of the LTTE. Since the end of the conflict, the government has enacted an ambitious program of economic development projects, many of which are financed by loans from the Government of China. In addition to efforts to reconstruct its economy, the government has resettled more than 95% of those civilians who were displaced during the final phase of the conflict and released the vast majority of former LTTE combatants captured by Government Security Forces. At the same time, there has been little progress on more contentious and politically difficult issues such as reaching a political settlement with Tamil elected representatives and holding accountable those alleged to have been involved in human rights violations at the end of the war.

Demographic Information

Sri Lanka has 546 persons having reached the age of 100 years. Ladies make up for 368 of this count (which is 67%). 1,723,715 young citizens below the age of five (and make up for 8% of the total population). 15.9 babies are born per thousand citizens.

Sri Lankan Age Distribution

Blue bars represent male citizens. Red bars represent female citizens. A pair or bars represents a single age group spanning five years each. Data has been released 2011.

Gender Distribution (Full Population)

Total share of male (blue) and female (red) citizens of the total population of Sri Lanka

Growth of Population (per thousands)

Babies born per thousand citizens (blue) and deaths (red) over the past ten years.

Geography And Economy Facts

Geographic Fact Data
Summary Continent: Asia
Capital: Colombo
Size 65,610 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 25,332 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than West Virginia
Population 21,128,000

Economy Facts

Technology and Economy Data
Currency Name: Rupee, Currency Code: LKR
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .lk
Telephone Country Prefix +94
Mobile Phone Connections 15,868,000
Landline Phone Connections 3,523,000
Military Spendings 2.6% (of GDP, Gross Domestic Product)

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Type of Data Value World Rank
Area 65,610 (sq km) 122

People and Society

Type of Data Value World Rank
Population 21,675,648 57
Population growth rate 0.89 (%) 125
Birth rate 16.64 (births/1,000 population) 119
Death rate 6.01 (deaths/1,000 population) 161
Net migration rate -1.74 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 156
Maternal mortality rate 35.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 117
Infant mortality rate 9.24 (deaths/1,000 live births) 147
Life expectancy at birth 76.15 (years) 83
Total fertility rate 2.15 (children born/woman) 107
Health expenditures 3.00 (% of GDP) 179
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.10 (%) 120
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 2,800 129
HIV/AIDS - deaths 200 101
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 5.10 (%) 155
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 21.60 (%) 27
Education expenditures 2.00 (% of GDP) 166
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 19.4 (%) 61


Type of Data Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 128,400,000,000 67
GDP - real growth rate 6.40 (%) 37
GDP - per capita (PPP) 6,200 146
Labor force 8,194,000 59
Unemployment rate 4.50 (%) 42
Distribution of family income - Gini index 49 24
Investment (gross fixed) 27.70 (% of GDP) 31
Taxes and other revenues 13.6 (% of GDP) 198
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -6.20 (% of GDP) 179
Public debt 81.00 (% of GDP) 26
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 9.20 (%) 196
Central bank discount rate 7.00 (%) 37
Commercial bank prime lending rate 9.41 (%) 94
Stock of narrow money 3,834,000,000 111
Stock of broad money 21,890,000,000 83
Stock of domestic credit 24,420,000,000 75
Market value of publicly traded shares 19,440,000,000 65
Industrial production growth rate 8.40 (%) 22
Current account balance -4,737,000,000 164
Exports 10,510,000,000 94
Imports 19,080,000,000 78
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 7,400,000,000 80
Debt - external 22,820,000,000 77


Type of Data Value World Rank
Electricity - production 11,520,000,000 (kWh) 92
Electricity - consumption 10,000,000,000 (kWh) 90
Electricity - installed generating capacity 3139000 (kW) 88
Electricity - from fossil fuels 53.8 (% of total installed capacity) 148
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 44.6 (% of total installed capacity) 49
Electricity - from other renewable sources 1.6 (% of total installed capacity) 66
Crude oil - imports 41,000 (bbl/day) 60
Refined petroleum products - production 50,000 (bbl/day) 85
Refined petroleum products - consumption 89,620 (bbl/day) 82
Refined petroleum products - imports 48,140 (bbl/day) 69
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 14,090,000 (Mt) 91


Type of Data Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 3,608,000 44
Telephones - mobile cellular 18,319,000 49
Internet hosts 9,552 136
Internet users 1,777,000 77


Type of Data Value World Rank
Airports 18 141
Railways 1,449 (km) 80
Roadways 91,907 (km) 49
Waterways 160 (km) 101
Merchant marine 21 94


Type of Data Value World Rank
Military expenditures 2.90 (% of GDP) 42

Based on the content from The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by, CIA world facts book Edition 2010, 2013 and 2014, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases as well as other sources.