The Hambantota International Port has a dedicated berth for all cruise vessels.

Tourist Information

The Hambantota region is fast becoming a vibrant tourist destination within the Island due to the abundance of wild life and pristine beaches.

When in Sri Lanka

Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoilt.

Few places in the world can offer the traveller such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location. Within a mere area of 65,610 kilometres lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometres of coastline - much of it pristine beach - 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, to a culture that extends back to over 2,500 years.

This is an island of magical proportions, once known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon.


Official Name:

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka


Latitude 5° 55. to 9° 50. north, Longitude 79° 42. to 81° 52., 650km north of the equator


430km North to South, 225km East to West





Currency (code):

Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)


4 February 1948

Administrative Capital:

Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte

Commercial Capital:



Mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior

Nature Reserves Area:




Life Expectancy at Birth

74 female, 64 male

Literacy Rate :

Female 87.9 Male 92.5

Ethnic Groups:

Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Moors, Indian Tamil, Sri Lankan Tamil and others


Sinhala (official and national language), Tamil (national language) and others. English (a link language commonly) is used in government. Most people have some knowledge of English, and signboards are often in English.


Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Christian and others

International Dialing:



Sri Lanka's most dynamic sectors are food processing, textiles and apparel, food and beverages, port construction, telecommunications, insurance and banking. In 2006, plantation crops made up only 15% of exports (90% in 1970), while textiles and garments accounted for more than 60%. About 800,000 Sri Lankans work abroad, 90% of them in the Middle East. They send home more than US$1 billion a year.

Labor Force

34.3% of the labor population is employed in agriculture, 25.3% in industry and 40.4% in services: 40.4% (30 June 2006 est.) The unemployment rate is 5.7% (2007 est.)

Agriculture & Products

Rice, Sugarcane, Grains, Pulses, Oilseed, Spices, Tea, Rubber, Coconuts, milk, Eggs, Hides, Beef, Fish


Processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, tobacco and other agricultural commodities, telecommunications, insurance, banking; clothing, textiles, cement, petroleum refining.


Textiles and apparel; tea and spices; diamonds, emeralds, rubies; coconut products, rubber manufactures, fish


Textile fabrics, mineral products, petroleum, foodstuffs, machinery and transportation equipment


Getting Around


Trains connect Colombo with all tourist towns, but first-class carriages, air conditioning and dining cars are available on only a few. Fast services operate on the principal routes, including an intercity express service between Colombo and Kandy, other journeys are fairly leisurely.


An extensive network of services to most parts of the Island is afforded with reasonable quality by the Sri Lanka Central Transport Board (website: Long distance services are operated from Colombo at the Pettah Central Bus Depot. There are two services, one operated by the Sri Lanka Transport Board and the other operated by private bus companies. The private bus station is located close to the Central Depot. Most of the buses have air-conditioning. Buses to coastal towns depart every ½ an hour while Kandy is every 15 minutes.


Charter flights can be arranged to some destinations in Sri Lanka.


Traffic drives on the left.


In Colombo, taxis are metered but it is advisable to agree a rate before setting off. Uber and the local substitute for Uber, known as Pick Me are efficient and price friendly taxi services to use.

Trishaws (Tuk tuks):

Ideal for short journeys within towns and cities, and for short excursions, the country’s many trishaws would be happy to offer you a ride. Most trishaws are not metered. Always agree on a fare beforehand. Most drivers offer a decent fare, charging approximately Rs. 50 per kilometer.

Car hires:

This is available from several agencies. Air-conditioned minibuses are also available. Motorized rickshaws are also readily available for hire in towns and villages. Chauffeur-driven cars are less expensive and recommended.

Regulations / Documentation

Most roads are tarred, with a 56kph (35mph) speed limit in built-up areas and 75kph (45mph) outside towns. The minimum age for driving a car is 18. In order to avoid bureaucratic formalities in Sri Lanka, an International Driving Permit should be obtained before departure. If not, a temporary license to drive is obtainable on presentation of a valid national driving license. This must be endorsed at the AA office in Colombo. (

Travel & Health Tips

Sri Lanka's Currency

The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee, divided into 100 cents (you rarely come across scents today). Currency notes are Rs. 5,000, Rs2,000, Rs1,000, Rs500, Rs100, Rs50, Rs20 and Rs10. Beware of mistaking the Rs500 note for the somewhat similar Rs100 one. To check whether notes are genuine when not given at a bank, look for a lion watermark. Coins, should you have received them, will be in denominations up to Rs10. Ensure you have plenty of lower denomination notes (Rs50, Rs100, Rs500), especially when travelling and you need to buy small items, fruit, and eat cheap meals, because change is often hard to come by apart from at hotels and big shops.



Banks are open from 0900 hrs. to 1300 hours Monday to Friday. Some city banks close at 1500 hrs., while some are open on Saturday mornings. It’s easy to withdraw money across the island at ATMs using international credit cards or debit cards.


Credit Cards

Most hotels, restaurants and shopping centers accept credit cards.


What To Wear

Cotton clothes are useful at any time of the year but you will need light woolens for the hills and waterproof clothing or an umbrella. Modest dress for women is advisable especially off the beach and when visiting religious sites. Don't forget comfortable shoes, sandals or trainers and cotton socks. If you are planning to trek and climb go prepared with suitable gear. Water sports enthusiasts would do well to take their snorkels and diving equipment along.


Time Difference

Sri Lanka Standard Time is five and a half hours ahead of GMT. (Allowance should be made for summer-time changes in Europe.).



230 . 240 volts, 50 cycles AC. If you travel with a laptop computer bring a stabilizer


Photo Permits & Entrance Charges

Sri Lanka is a photographer’s delight. However, permits are required before you can take photos at certain sites. Entrance tickets to individual sites are available only from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. These tickets cover charges for photography, recording and parking. Rates are quoted in US Dollars and rupee parities are subject to fluctuation.

Tourists who wish to visit and or photograph the principal ancient monuments in Sri Lanka are required to purchase a ticket from the 
Central Cultural Fund,
212/1, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, 
Tel: +94-11 2587912 /2500733 /2581944 

Custom Imports

You are allowed to bring into the country duty free 1.5 litres of spirits, two bottles of wine, a quarter-litre of toilet water, and a small quantity of perfume and souvenirs with a value not exceeding US $250. The import of personal equipment such as cameras and laptop computers is allowed but must be declared on arrival. However, personal equipment must be taken out of the country upon the visitor’s departure. The import of non-prescription drugs and pornography of any form is an offence.


Custom Exports

On leaving the country you are allowed to export up to 10kg of tea duty free.

No antiques defined as anything more than 50-years-old - rare books, palm-leaf manuscripts and anthropological material can be exported without permission from the:

National Archives,
7 Reid Avenue, 
Colombo -07. 
Tel: +94-11 2694523/ 2696917

Director General, 
Department of Archaeology, 
Sir Marcus Fernando Mw, 
Tel : +94 11 2692840/1 
Tel. +94-11-2694727, +94-11-2667155 , 

Purchase and export without license of any wild animal, bird or reptile, dead or alive, also the export of parts of animals, birds or reptiles, such as skins, horns, scales and feathers is prohibited. Occasional exports are, however, permitted exclusively for bona fide scientific purposes. It is prohibited to export of 450 plant species without special permits. The export of coral, shells or other protected marine products is also strictly prohibited.

Applications for special permission to export fauna should be made to the 
Department of Wildlife Conservation, 
382 , New Kandy Road, 
Tel: +9411 25060380 

And flora should be made to the 

Forest Department,
82, Rajamalwatta Road,
Tel : + 94 11 28666 16/ 2866632

Department of Immigration and Emigration 
Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha, 
Colombo 10. 
Tel: +94 11 5329000 / +94 11 5329316 / 20 / 21 / 25

Health Tips


Tap water is generally not safe to drink.



When you flop onto the beach or poolside lounger for a spot of sunbathing, always remember to apply a sunscreen product with a sun protection factor of at least 15. Remember you are just 600km from the equator.



To avoid heatstroke, take plenty of bottled water to the beach, or buy a thambili (king coconut) from an itinerant seller.


Prickly Heat

Prickly heat rash occurs when your sweat glands become clogged after being out in the heat for too long or from excessive perspiration. The rash appears as small red bumps or blisters on elbow creases, groin, upper chest or neck. To treat it, take a cold shower, clean the rash with mild soap, dry yourself, apply hydrocortisone cream, and if possible, a product that contains salicylic acid. Repeat every three hours.


Local Health Care

Minor health problems can always be treated by doctors with practices in the resorts and elsewhere in the country. If you have a more serious problem, Colombo now boasts a selection of modern, well-equipped private hospitals offering the latest in conventional medical and surgical therapies. A growing number of foreigners are taking advantage of affordable, high quality private healthcare in Sri Lanka, and combining it with the chance to take a holiday. Though the medical tourism industry in Sri Lanka is still in its early days, a number of private hospitals in Colombo are geared to provide advanced surgery and other treatment to international clients.

Tourist Attractions

Hambantota was the centre of a flourishing civilization and hive of cultural and economic activity around 200 BCE. The area was renowned for its natural harbor where travellers from China, Siam and Indonesia sought safe anchorage. The large boats in which they travelled were called ‘Sampan’. With the addition of ‘thota’, which means harbour in Sinhalese, the area came to be called Sampanthota, which evolved into the current Hambantota. The district has a tropical savannah climate, with an average temperature of 26.6 °C/79.9 °F and annual rainfall of 1,045 mm/41.1 inches. Hambantota is home to many wonders of nature and culture.

Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. It is home to a variety of ecosystems, ranging from  moist monsoon forestsdry monsoon forestssemi-deciduous forests, thorn forestsgrasslands, marshes, marine wetlands, lagoons and sandy beaches. Many rivers and tributaries flow across the park, providing water during the dry season. Yala hosts 215 bird species, including six endemic to Sri Lanka, as well as over 44 mammal species. It has one of the highest leopard densities in the world. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and national park in 1938.


Divided into five blocks, in addition to having six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in its immediate environs. About 300km from Colombo.


1 h  /62.8km via bus from the port




Yala National Park Official Site:

Lush green carpets of grass, towering trees and exotic flowers are distinguishing features of Mirijjawila Botanical Gardens, offering visitors a first-hand experience of nature. Prior to its designation as a botanical garden in 2006, the 300-acre extent of land was covered with thorny shrubs and abandoned slash and burn cultivations. It is the first Sri Lankan botanical garden developed by local experts for the conservation of dwindling species of trees, shrubs and medicinal herbs, while providing an attractive eco-tourism destination for foreign and local tourists. Three water tanks named Kohombagas Wewa, Malitthangas Wewa and Demataththa Wewa, have been constructed within the gardens.


Located on the Colombo-Kataragama main road, covering nearly 300 acres


11 min /6.6 km via bus from the port


Year- round


Department of National Botanic Gardens:

Sri Lanka Travel:

This is the first ever Safari Park in Sri Lanka where animals are in the open, and visitors can see them from well-protected buses or safari jeeps. Covering 500 acres, the park has been divided into six separate zones: four for carnivorous and two for herbivorous animals. Currently, the 35-acre African Lion Zone, 54-acre Sri Lanka Elephant Zone and 80-acre World Zone can be viewed, while more zones are under construction. The park is home to African lions, Asian elephants, zebras, giraffes, Bactrian camels, Arabian Oryx, Lechwe, Indian blue bulls, African cape buffaloes and large birds such as ostriches.


Located in Ridiyagama and spreads over 500 acres of land


39 min/23.7 km via bus from the port




Department of National Zoological Gardens:

Asia's largest Bird Park and Research Centre, located in Hambantota, is home to endemic and exotic birds covering over 180 varieties and around 3,200 birds. The park has dedicated exhibit areas such as Wetlands, Wings of Asia, Flightless Birds, Macaw & Cockatoo Zone and Parrots Paradise. In addition, there are swans and ducks, peacocks and pheasants, love birds, conures, amazons, large birds such as ostriches, and many more. The park covers 35 acres, and includes a research center for students and research fellows, making it an ideal place for forging academic and professional links with fellow enthusiasts.


Located in Hambantota covering 35 acres of land


29 min /14.8 km via bus from the port




Birds Park Official Site:

Bundala National Park was the first wetland to be declared as a Ramsar site in Sri Lanka, in addition to being designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. 58 of the 197 avifauna species found in Bundala are migratory, including the greater flamingo, which migrate in large flocks during winter. Bundala also is home to spotted deer, the rare pangolin, the playful grey langur monkey, wild boars, grey and ruddy mongoose, crocodile, porcupine, giant Indian palm squirrels, wild buffalo, the endemic jackal, fishing and rusty spotted cats and many more. The park also harbours a small herd of elephants.


Located 251km southeast of Colombo, close to the City of Hambantota, Covers 3,698 hectares (33.39 kms/14.28 sq miles).


29 min/24.6 km via bus from the port


August-April for fantastic wildlife safari

December for birding



Kumana is among the most important bird nesting and breeding grounds in the country. It is bounded on the south by Kumbukkan Oya, with the addition of 20 shallow lagoons and tanks, which combine to support the extensive birdlife, recorded at over 225 species. These include endemic species, migratory waterfowl and wading birds from as far as Siberia, Tens of thousands of birds migrate to Kumana from April to July each year. Mugger crocodiles, turtles, and mammals like leopards, elephants, rusty spotted fishing cat can be spotted at the park. Elephants roaming within the park are estimated at around 30-40 individuals.


Located in the Ampara district of south-east Sri Lanka at a distance of 391 kilometers from Colombo. Covers an area of 356.6km2.


80.1km  via bus from the port





Blowholes or marine geysers are a rare phenomenon worldwide. They are likely to occur along the coastline where there are crevices with vertical shafts. The hydraulic compression of sea waves, bursts forth at the top of the crevice, resulting in a spectacular shower of water accompanied by a loud noise. Hummanaya is the only known blowhole in Sri Lanka, which is also considered the second largest in the world. Seawater is forced upwards for about 40 meters through a fissure in the rock, after which it shoots out to a height of about 30 metres into the air.


190.7km from Colombo and located in a small fishing village called Kudwella.


1h 16 min 49.3 km via bus from the port




The hot springs are located in the Madunagala hermitage. According to legend, around 5th century BCE, Buddhist monks from a nearby temple were told in a dream about the hot springs whose waters could heal them of their incurable rash. This site consists of six hot springs, which derive their temperature due to heat from the earth’s mantle – scientifically called geo-thermal heat. The temperatures range from 34º C to 46º C. Water from these hot springs, believed to have healing powers, contain 22 minerals, including sulphate, nitrate, sodium, calcium, chloride, etc. Separate changing rooms are available for males and females.


Located in between Sooriyawewa and Ridiyagama and 241.6km from Colombo.


37min/32.9km via bus from the port




The beach which stretches for about 10 kms, is renowned for its turquoise water, rows of palm trees and white sands, with a series of smaller bays along the way. The sunsets are simply breathtaking. Tangalle town is a very relaxed place with minimal tourists, few local fishermen and great seafood at the many restaurants along the beach. Though the currents can be rough, parts of the beach are protected by an offshore reef, making the sea completely calm and safe to swim. The beach is also dotted with several star-class hotels. Turtle watching in Rekawa is highly recommended.


Located 191km from Colombo


56 min/38.3 km via bus from the port


November to April and May through October


The beach at Ussangoda is close to a patch of high ground that stretches over a considerable distance. It is noted for its unique flora, brick-like hard reddish soil, rocks having multiple layers with distinct pigmentation and a high concentration of iron. This is believed to have been caused by the fall of a meteor during ancient times, while local legends abound concerning its origins. The area is also home to the Ussangoda National Park, having archeological and geographical importance, in addition to being close to ‘Miniha Gal Kanda’, where there is evidence of pre-historic human existence.


Located 217km from Colombo in Ambalantota, Hambantota District


30min /15.7km via bus from the port




Kirinda Rajamaha Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple, which is among the most venerated places in Buddhism. It located on top of a rocky mountain overlooking the sea. One has to climb a series of stair to reach the temple. According to local folklore, it is said to have been constructed around BCE 2nd century by King Kavantissa to commemorate the spot where Queen Viharamahadevi is said to have disembarked, after a perilous journey by sea. This Buddhist shrine includes a stupa and large statue of a standing Buddha. Kirinda is also noted for its spectacular beaches and several star-class hotels.


Located in Tissa-Kirinda Road, 267km from Colombo


53min/43.9km via bus from the port




Mulgirigala Raja Maha Vihara is believed to have been built by King Saddhatissa during the third century, with further additions by later rulers. It has been constructed on a 205 m (673 ft) high natural rock, which is surrounded by another four rocks known as Benagala, Kondagala, Bisogala and Seelawathiegala. It is a sprawling complex of intricately painted caves and temple buildings. It comprises seven stupas constructed within five compounds named Siyambalamaluwa, lower vihara compound, Bomaluwa, Rajamaha vihara compound, and upper Vihara compound. The temple has been formally designated as an archaeological site by the Government of Sri Lanka.


Mulgirigala is located  in Hambantota District about 190km from Colombo.


1h 20min/68.6 km from port




Agricultural Technology Park/Botanic Garden, also known as the Bata Ata Botanic Garden, covers an area of 190 hectares. It has been set up to showcase modern agricultural machinery, demonstration of old and new agricultural technologies, as well as various crops; focused on the educating farmers, visitors, foreign tourists and students. The park displays floriculture gardens, dry zone home gardens, herbal gardens, improved chena cultivation and evolution of paddy cultivation, among others. It is also intended to promote agricultural tourism among local and foreign tourists. Visitors have the option of trying out ‘fish therapy’, which is offered free of cost.


Located in Hambantota district, 207km from Colombo.


Just 30min/20km from port.




The jungle-river safari takes about 1.5 hours through a beautiful landscape of trees and canopies surrounding the river, providing stunning views of six varieties of mangroves, 52 fish species, 72 bird species, 38 plant varieties and 28 animal species. This safari offers the chance to see trees full of sleeping bats, water buffaloes, eagles, cormorants, peacocks, monkeys, and the occasional crocodile. The safari also takes you to the point where the river meets the sea. The safari is especially recommended for bird-watchers, as it shows various types of egrets and herons flocking together, along with other amazing sights.


Located in Hambantota, 222.5km from Colombo.


18 min/9.7 km from port




The historic Ramba Rajamaha Viharaya, dating back to 11th century AD, is situated on the banks of the Walawe Ganga in the Southern Province. It is reputed to have been an important religious and academic center between the 10th and 12th centuries and the royal temple of that period. A large number of artifacts, including a Buddha image made of the white sandstone, have been found during excavations in this area. There is historical evidence to show that the area had a renowned international harbor during ancient times. The entire place is surrounded by lush green trees and a placid environment.


Located on the bank of Walawe River near Ambalantota, 223km from Colombo. 


35 min/23.5 km from port




Ella, literally ‘waterfall’ in Sinhala, is situated at an elevation of 1,041 metres (3,415 ft) above sea level. Noted for its rich bio-diversity, the area is surrounded by hills, cloud forests and tea plantations. Attractions in the vicinity of Ella include Dhowa temple, a 2,000-year-old rock temple, Little Adam’s peak, Ella Rock - a lookout point, Lipton’s Seat, Diyaluma Falls (220 m/720 ft), Ella Spice Garden, Ravana Waterfall Yahalamadiththa temple and Mahamevnawa Buddhist Monastery. The Nine Arches Bridge is noted for its architectural ingenuity; having been built using only rock and cement, without any steel in its construction.


Located in Badulla District of Uva Province, 208km from Colombo


2 h/ 112 km from Hambantota




Kataragama is a pilgrimage destination and multi-religious sacred town, considered hallowed for centuries by Hindus, Buddhist, and even the indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka. It also attracts foreign tourists in large numbers for its colourful festival. While the main shrine is dedicated to Lord Kataragama or Skanda, the area is home to Kiri Vehera Buddhist stupa, built by regional King Mahasena in the 6th century BCE. A related shrine called Sella Katirkamam is dedicated to the elephant-faced God Ganesha. Having a sacred bath in the Manik Ganga or Manika Gangai (River of Gems) is believed to cleanse one of all sins.


Located in Kataragama, 281.8km from Colombo


1h /62.7km from port


Year-round/ July-August-Kataragama Perahera


Hotels in the Vicinity

Anantara Tangalle
Peacock Beach Hotel & Spa    Hambantota
Shangri-La's Hambantota Golf Resort and Spa  Hambantota 
Jade Green Hotel Hambantota 
Bandagiri Village Eco Resort   Hambantota
Best Life Eco Resort Mattala 
Osias Hotel Mirijjawila 
Gunawardana Ayurveda Center   Ambalantota 
Samrain Hotel   Hambantota 
Tissa Inn Hotel  Tissamaharama 
Ceylon Sea Hotel Tangalle 
Hotel Samans Tangalle 
New Flamigos Weerawila 
Gayana Guest House  Tangalle
Mawella Beach Resort Tangalle
Camelia Hotel Ambalantota 
Robinsen Hotel  Kataragama 
Ussangoda Rest Inn Ambalantota
Hotel Tissa  Tissamaharama 
Ussangoda Beach Resort Ambalantota 
Kirala Kele Resort  Ambalnathota 
Saklya Lake View Sadungama Road 
Goyambokka Guest House Tangalle
Papaa Palace Hotel  Tangalle 
The Rain Tree Hotel Tissamaharama 
Austrian Beach Resort  Dickwella 

* The tourism information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, expressly or impliedly, about the completeness, reliability, suitability, availability or applicability of this information neither are we endorsing any of the mentioned hotels, tourist attractions or restaurants. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this information.

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