Is It Safe to Travel in Sri Lanka?
One of the most popular holiday destinations in south Asia, Sri Lanka attracts thousands of tourists every year. Following the end of the civil war in May 2009, Sri Lanka is now at peace for the first time in almost 30 years and nearly all travel restrictions have been lifted, except for few remote areas in the north which still remain out of reach. Although there might be some concerns as to the safety of this travel destination, they are not justified claims. Of course, you should to be careful and take all the necessary precautions that allow you to be kept safe. But these are common precautions which do not vary significantly when compared to other tourist destinations in the world.
How to Up Your Safety in Sri Lanka
Money - When you travel to Sri Lanka, make sure that you do not carry a lot of cash with you. You can benefit from credit card use, which is an acceptable payment method pretty much everywhere. Lack of cash will limit the odds of experiencing a discomforting incident, when you lose money and cannot remember when you last saw your wallet. Apparently, you need to keep your purse and wallet close to your body. In this way, you will be in full control of your belongings everywhere.
Road accidents - An altogether a serious source of danger in Sri Lanka is road accidents. Be particularly careful when walking near busy roads, especially, as a pedestrian always use the yellow crossing line to cross a street. For a road that has sidewalks on both sides of the road, it is acceptable to walk on the sidewalk on either side of the road (facing oncoming traffic or your back to oncoming traffic) because you are separated from the automobiles. It is also recommend to wear light clothes at night when walking on the roads so the drivers can see you clearly.
Walking alone - after hours is not a sensible choice, especially when it comes to women to walk alone the empty streets. It is much safer to walk in pairs or larger groups, in order to eliminate the risk of getting violated in some way. Although there have not been many reports of such incidents, it is better to prevent something than try to cure it. Besides, having company in such a lovely place as Sri Lanka is hardly a restriction!
Swimming - Drowning is the second most common cause of death amongst tourists in Sri Lanka (after road accidents). Currents can be strong and beaches may shelve off into deep waters with sudden steepness – and there could be no lifeguards to come and pull you out if you get into trouble if you swim in a restricted area. It is a must to seek local advice and pay attention to the warning signs, which are the red flags posted on the beaches outside major resort hotels. Always keeping within your distance and making sure that someone on the shore knows that you’re in the water.
Accommodation - If you want to be sure of your safety, you ought to pay attention to accommodation. Instead of choosing to stay at doubtful apartments or cabanas by the beach, you should prefer premium quality accommodation types. These are the best in terms of security, and hence you will not risk losing your sleep over an uncontrollable fear. In addition, you can try staying on higher ground floors. They not only provide exceptional view, but they also maintain the highest level of privacy and safety.
Insect bites - insect bites can result in unpleasant and sometimes serious skin reactions. In case you are sensitive to mosquito bites and other insects, it is a wise decision to apply specific medical lotions on your skin beforehand. Especially, if you are camping at night, try to wear clothing that covers as much of the body as possible such as long sleeved clothing and long trousers and sleep under a mosquito bed net. This will keep you safe and prevent any discomforting bite that can mess with your well-being. More than that, you need to be sure that you have packed any medication you receive with your luggage. In this way, you will not worry about running out and having to get the same medication in a foreign country.
Scams - Just like anywhere, some dishonest tuktuk drivers, gem shop owners and touts will try to take advantage of tourists. If you are travelling in Colombo, it’s always recommended to use metered taxis so you only pay for the distance you travel. Also, do your own research to know the price before visiting a gem store or any other shop to avoid scams.
Cloths - Take comfortable clothes that offer you great flexibility when walking, as you will be visiting a lot of sights and attractions in the area. Pay attention to crowded places and be kept vigilant as to your personal belongings. When you talk to people you do not know, keep a safe distance within your comfort zone and do not allow others to violate this personal space of yours.
Alcohol and drugs - It’s illegal to drink alcohol in public places and minimum drinking age in the Sri Lanka is 21. Offenders will be fined and can be criminally charged. Don’t get involved with drugs of any kind. If you get caught use or possession of even very small quantities remains a crime.
If you be mindful of these things, you will see that Sri Lanka is one of the safest tourist destinations in the world for you to visit. Be safe and enjoy your stay in Sri Lanka!