Difference Between Sri Lanka and Maldives

Sri Lanka vs Maldives

Although they share the distinct feature of being the only Island nations in the South Asian region, there is some difference between Sri Lanka and Maldives that distinguish them. Sri Lanka and Maldives are neighbouring countries located in Asia. Both are popular tourist destinations;especially, their attractive beaches. In fact, Sri Lanka and Maldives are part of the South Asian region and are founding members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Both countries are globally renowned as tourist destinations; Sri Lanka known for its cultural diversity, scenic hill country, heritage sites and wildlife sanctuaries, and Maldives for its white sandy beaches that distinguish them.

Sri Lanka

Officially titled the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, it is located in the Northern Indian Ocean off the Southeast coast of India and has maritime borders with Maldives to the Southwest. Historically known as ‘Ceylon’ and famously dubbed ‘the Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, Sri Lanka reflects diversity for it is home to many religions, ethnicities and languages. It consists of Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, Moors, Indian Tamils, Burghers and the natives, also known as the ‘Vedda’ community.

Sri Lanka is a republic and unitary state governed by a presidential system. The administrative capital of the country is Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, although it is famously known by its commercial capital, Colombo. Sri Lanka is also synonymous with Ceylon Tea, which is world renowned. While tea and textiles constitute the largest exports of the country, the Island also produces rubber, coconut, gems and spices among others. It is a haven for many wildlife reserves consisting of elephants, leopards, sloth bears, a variety of deer and other species, tropical rainforests and bird sanctuaries. Although surrounded by the ocean, the Island’s central regions are characterised by plains and mountains, the highest point in the country reaching 2,524 metres (8,281 ft) above sea level. The climate is tropical and moderately warm. The Island’s coastline is fringed by productive marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, lagoons while mangrove systems are an integral part of the Island. Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage and its culture, influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism, spans over 2500 years.

Difference Between Sri Lanka and Maldives


Located on top of the Chagos-Maldives-Laccadive Ridge, Maldives is spread across two rows of atolls in the Indian Ocean. These atolls encompass a territory dispersed across 90,000 square kilometres making the country one of the world’s most geographically dispersed. The country consists of 1,190 coral islands formed around 26 natural ring-like atolls which are made of a coral reef encircling a lagoon with deep channels dividing the reef ring. The reefs are home to a variety of underwater species and exuberant corals that also serve as a protection for the islands from the wind and wave action of the ocean.

Maldives is the smallest Asian country in both population and land mass with an average ground level elevation of 1.5 metres above sea level. It also serves as the country with the lowest natural highest point in the world at 2.4 metres (7ft 10 in.).

200 islands of the Maldives are inhabited while approximately 90-100 islands have been transformed into tourist resorts. The remaining islands are uninhabited or used for other purposes such as agriculture. The Maldivian language, Dhivehi, is the national language although it differs in dialect in some regions in the south of Maldives. Ruled by external forces in the past and a former British protectorate, Maldives is now an independent republic governed by a presidential system. One of the world’s most popular honeymoon destinations, Maldives is renowned for its tourism, production of coir rope and dried tuna fish (Maldive fish).


What is the difference between Sri Lanka and Maldives?

• Maldives is an archipelago. Sri Lanka is not an archipelago.

• Sinhalese and Tamil constitute the two official languages in Sri Lanka while Maldives has one official language, Dhivehi.

• Sri Lanka is a multi-religious nation although its dominant religion is Buddhism. The religion in Maldives is Islam.

• Sri Lanka has a population of approximately 20-21 million while Maldives has a contrastingly small population of approximately 350,000.

• The total land area of Maldives is 298km2 while 99% of Maldives comprises water. Sri Lanka, conversely, has a total area of 65,610km2 and comprises only 4.4% of water.

• While tea, rubber, coconut and other industries constitute Sri Lanka’s export industry, tourism and fishing constitute the major industries of Maldives.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Sri Lanka by Nazick  (CC BY-SA 3.0)