Getting there: Fly into the main gateway Bandaranayake International Airport (CMB) 30 kilometres out of Colombo on direct flights from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Capital city: Colombo.
Population: 20.838 million.
Religion: The majority is Buddhist followed distantly by Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
Language: The national languages are Sinhalese and Tamil.
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR).
Climate: Being close to the equator, Sri Lanka has a tropical climate with wet and dry seasons. The monsoon (rainy) seasons are May to July in the southwest and October to January in the northeast of the country. There is little variation in temperature through the year. The coastal and low lying areas remain warm and humid at all times while the central hill region can vary from pleasant during the day to to freezing cold at night.
Transport: Buses are the main mode of transport as they reach even the remotest of towns but are not necessarily comfortable. Trains do connect most of the major towns but can be much slower. The ubiquitious tuk tuk (motorised rickshaw) is the cheapest way to travel short distances.Hiring a car and driver is the most comfortable way of seeing the country.
Best time to travel: To avoid the rains, the best time to visit the west and south coasts and hilly interior regions is from December to March, while on the east coast April to September has the best weather.
What to wear: It is best to err on the side of conservatism when it comes to dress and do cover up for temple visits. Lightweight natural fabrics are best for the heat but if visiting the hilly interior regions always carry some warm gear.