Stay Safe in Sri Lanka
After the military defeat of rebel rebels in the north of the nation in June 2009, the Sri Lankan government removed travel advisories, although it is still a good idea to check with your country’s local travel advisory office if you have any doubts. Sri Lanka’s long and brutal civil war came to an end a month ago, when government troops defeated the Tamil Tigers. However, land mines may still be there, posing a threat, and infrastructure in northern (and possibly eastern) cities and villages remain war-torn. The Tamils were concentrated in these regions. The United Nations, non-governmental organizations, and Sri Lankan authorities are presently working to remove landmines put down by the warring parties. It’s a lengthy and arduous procedure.
Both sides in the war have used bombings and killings, and all important sites are well guarded. While separatists have never targeted visitors, there have been fatalities, most recently in a landmine explosion in Wilpattu National Wild Park in 2006, and others have been injured as a result of terrorist attacks. After all, war is hazardous. However, road accidents kill more people than terrorists in general. Traveling in Sri Lanka is relatively secure, and many visitors from all over the globe began to visit the nation after the conclusion of the civil war. At the tourist attractions, you’ll encounter a lot of foreign visitors, primarily Westerners. Foreigners are usually greeted with a grin and are typically helpful. It is advised that you do not go alone after dark. Pickpocketing on public transportation is rare, but it should be avoided.
Violent crime is no more of a concern for visitors in Sri Lanka than it is everywhere else in the world. Tourist-related violent crimes have increased in recent years, although they are still very uncommon. Tourists should take the same precautions as if they were at home.
Homosexual conduct between consenting adults is punished by fines and whipping under colonial-era regulations that are still in effect. Travelers who identify as LGBT should take caution.
Con artists and touts
Touts and con artists are a major issue in all tourist destinations. Using a tout for lodging, local transportation, and other services will almost certainly raise the cost. Scams are common among first-time visitors to Sri Lanka, however seasoned visitors are seldom fooled, and it is easy to prevent becoming a victim of fraudsters by adopting the following precautions:
- Without evidence, do not trust anybody who claims to be a professional (such as an airline pilot) or in control of a place (such as a bus station).
- Gemstone-related scams are frequent. Do not purchase with the aim of reselling them for a profit in your own country.
- Be wary of anybody offering you instructions or travel advice without your permission. Take taxi and car driver advise with a grain of salt, particularly if they say the location you wish to visit is closed, hazardous, or non-existent. Check a map if you’re uncertain.
- Give your hotel a call if you’ve been informed it’s closed or filled. If you are a first-time tourist to Sri Lanka, be quiet about it since it will make you a target for scammers.
- Do not commit to employ the same driver for more than a day at a time unless it is absolutely necessary. They are plenty in each city, and the nation is small enough that you will have no difficulty traveling between cities by bus, train, tuk tuk, or other means if necessary. Even if you agree on a daily or hourly fee, the drivers will almost always try to get you to visit one of their friends’ companies in order to increase their commission (e.g. spice, carving or gem shops). Say you’re not interested calmly and firmly, and if they insist on forcing you to go, find another driver – they’re plenty, and you’ll have no trouble finding one.
Stay Healthy in Sri Lanka
- Hepatitis A+B and Tetanus vaccinations are advised. Also, outside of tourist regions, particularly during the rainy season, get the Typhus vaccine. Vaccination against Japanese encephalitis is also recommended by the CDC.
- Dengue fever: Use mosquito repellant during the rainy season. Get a blood test if you have headaches or joint pain. There is currently no vaccine available.
- Malaria : Sri Lanka has been a malaria-free zone since 2016.
- Yellow fever: Travelers above the age of one must have a yellow fever vaccination certificate if they are traveling from an affected region.
- Drinking water from the tap is not recommended for visitors. For both drinking and brushing your teeth, it’s preferable to use bottled water.
- Although snake bites are very uncommon among visitors (akin to being struck by lightning), anybody who has been bitten should seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is true even if there is no pain or swelling as a consequence of the bite. The number to call in an emergency is 119. In Colombo, call 119 or 110 if you need an emergency ambulance.
- In the sand, there are tiny small flies that live (inland only, not on the beaches). Any touch with the dry sand will almost always result in bites and severe scrapes. As a result, even a little amount of sand on your skin, especially your legs, should be avoided.