Sri Lanka 🇱🇰: Getting started

After another lovely week in London with lots of sun and temperatures up to 20 degrees, it was time for the next trip. Back to Asia with Sri Lanka and India to be explored over the coming two month.

The flight eastwards led me via Doha and was pretty comfortable – my own row to sleep for the first leg and plenty of legspace on the second. We also arrived half an hour earlier and immigration was painless as well. Nice. Some countries could learn a great deal from the Sri Lankan’s.

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Rough itinerary

We only have about 10 days in order to make it to the Holi festival in India in time 🎨🎉🇮🇳. So we will stick to the south and center of Sri Lanka thus coincidentally avoiding the area of the Tamil Eelam – the independent state the Tamil (Hindu) minority would like to establish in the North & East of the island. So Colombo, Kandy, Sigiriya, Ella, Yala safari park and Arugam bay for some beaches.

Once you get past customs at Colombo airport, you have another opportunity to shop duty free. Unsurprisingly you find plenty of booze on offer. New to me were the vast number of white goods stores… I mean who picks up a washing machine on the way home? Never come across that anywhere in the world. It seems to be due to high import duties or so i think (definately confirmed for cars where duties just went up again).

Sri Lanka basics

  • Formerly known as Ceylon (under 🇬🇧 rule), renamed in 1972 when it became a socialist republic
  • 22m inhabitants (75% Sinhalese, other manly Tamils & Moors)
  • High levels of literacy (93% overall, 98% for youth) due close to 100% school enrolment rate
  • High life expectancy (78y)
  • US$4,000 GDP/capita, which is twice of India, Vietnam and Laos
  • The island measures about 65,000 sqkm (about a quarter of 🇬🇧)
  • Population denstity of 340/sqkm exceeds Vietnam (290) but remains below India (390)
  • Religion: 70% Buddhist, 13% Hindu,10% Muslim, 7% Christian. This is in stark contrast to India at 80% Hindu & 14% Muslim. The Tamils (Sri Lankan & Indian) make up most of the Hindu and a significant part of the Christian population.
  • Sri Lanka went through a 30y period of civil war until the army defeated Tamil forces in 2009
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