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Sri Lanka

Is Sri Lanka Safe to Travel To In 2024

Image: Aerial view of the City of Colombo in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a stunning island nation and a paradise of mesmerising landscapes, warm hospitality, and rich cultural heritage. From the majestic Sigiriya Rock Fortress to serene beaches and historical marvels like Anuradhapura, the country promises a diverse and exciting experience for all types of travellers.

But before we get too excited, let’s first address the elephant in the room; is Sri Lanka safe to travel to?

Sri Lanka Safety Scoop

Image: Fruit market in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Before you pack your travel bag and go, here is what you should know;

Current Political and Security Situation

Sri Lanka has experienced its own fair share of political instability and security challenges. The 2009 civil war is probably the most notable one. However, since then, things have significantly changed, stabilising the security situation.

Even so, occasional political unrest and peaceful protests may still occur so travellers need to stay informed about the political climate before and during the visit.

Crime Rates

Crime rates in Sri Lanka are relatively low compared to most other tourist destinations. However, you still need to keep an eye out for the safety of your belongings. If you are visiting major towns or crowded areas such as marketplaces or on public transport, be cautious of pickpocketers and scammers.

While violent crimes are rare, you can take these standard precautions to enhance your safety;

  • Avoid walking alone at night in less populated or unfamiliar areas
  • Keep valuables secure and out of sight
  • Use reputable transportation services, especially when travelling long distances

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are inevitable. Heavy downfalls, which mostly occur during the monsoon seasons may cause flooding and landslides. Monitor the local weather in your travel destination to avoid these disasters or prepare accordingly.

Health and Medical Facilities

It is wise to consider that Sri Lanka is in a tropical zone, and diseases like dengue fever, chikungunya, and malaria are present. Ensure to take precautions against mosquito bites and have all necessary vaccinations before travelling.

When it comes to medical and health facilities, note that urban areas like Colombo are more equipped while more remote areas may have limited access to medical services. Travel insurance with comprehensive medical coverage is highly recommended.

Local Laws and Customs

Never ignore the local laws and customs. Understanding and respecting the laws and customs would enhance your safety and allow for an enjoyable trip. Things like posing with a Buddha statue, and mistreating Buddhist images and artefacts may seem petty to you but turn out to be a serious offence.

Public display of affection and/ or certain dress codes may be a big issue too. Save hugging and kissing for behind closed doors and dress modestly at religious sites.

Smart Travel Tips

Image: Watching a beautiful sunset at a sunset bar at Mirissa Beach in Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Here are the top 5 travel tips to ensure your Sri Lankan adventure is as enjoyable as possible;

Steer clear of crowds - Avoid large gatherings, particularly political demonstrations. This can help you avoid unexpected situations that might arise in busy or chaotic environments.

Stay alert - Pay attention to your surroundings and familiarize yourself with local norms and traditions. This will help you navigate social situations more effectively and ensure that you do not unintentionally offend anyone or break local rules.

Secure your stuff - Keep your valuables such as cash, gadgets, and passports locked up in hotel safes or other secure spots. Carrying these items around can make you a target for theft. Just take only what you need when you are out and about.

Plan your route - Before you head out, plan your route and know how to get to your destination to reduce the chances of getting lost in unfamiliar areas. Use reliable GPS or maps, and always have a backup plan.

Use trusted transportation - Opt for trusted and reliable modes of transportation. This could mean using reputable taxi companies or ride-sharing apps that are recognized for their safety standards. Avoid hopping into random vehicles, especially in less populated or unfamiliar areas.

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