Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, island country lying in the Indian Ocean and separated from peninsular India by the Palk Strait. It is located between latitudes 5°55′ and 9°51′ N and longitudes 79°41′ and 81°53′ E and has a maximum length of 268 miles (432 km) and a maximum width of 139 miles (224 km).
Proximity to the Indian subcontinent has facilitated close cultural interaction between Sri Lanka and India from ancient times. At a crossroads of maritime routes traversing the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has also been exposed to cultural influences from other Asian civilizations. Ancient Greek geographers called it Taprobane. Arabs referred to it as Serendib. Later European mapmakers called it Ceylon, a name still used occasionally for trade purposes. It officially became Sri Lanka in 1972.
Bandaranaike International airport is the only international airport in Sri Lanka and is located in Katunayake, about an hour’s drive away from Colombo. Air traffic flying in and out of the Bandaranaike International airport includes carriers from India and other parts of Southeast Asia, Europe, Australia, Middle East and United States.
Buses connect Colombo with the airport as well as other places of interest in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Transport Board runs a wide network of buses throughout Sri Lanka, and the Central Bus Stand in Colombo serves as the pivotal point for all buses moving in and out of Colombo.
Colombo has a good rail network which connects it to other important places of interest including Matara, Badulla, Kankesanturai and Talaimannar. Though crowded, trains are the cheapest way to travel in Sri Lanka.
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