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in Sri Lanka, routine petty crime, especially thefts of personal property and pick-pocketing are not uncommon. Street hustlers or "touts" are common around hotels, shopping centers, and tourist sites. Visitors are unlikely to encounter any violent crime.
Sri Lankans are generally friendly and welcoming, and most female travelers have a safe and fun time in Sri Lanka.
There have been occasional reports of women experiencing unwanted attention from local men including being asked personal questions, being followed while alone or in an isolated place, plus lewd comments, physical advances and sexual assaults. These can happen in crowded areas such as marketplaces, busy transport hubs and sporting events. Drink spiking has been reported in southern beach resorts. Don't accept drinks from strangers at bars and restaurants, and don’t leave drinks unattended, or drink anything you haven't watched being prepared and poured. Some measures you can take to keep safe include:
There are numerous scams used on visitors in Sri Lanka. Some tips to avoiding being scammed:
Visas for Sri Lanka are electronic so you can apply for one before you travel saving you the drama when you arrive so you can breeze through immigration. Tourist visas are still available on arrival though if you have been unable to obtain one online beforehand.
Be aware when you arrive at Colombo International Airport of being overcharged for the Sri Lankan visa. Do your research before leaving home.
Always be careful whenever you use a credit card as there are times when people inflate the prices charged or they may duplicate your card information. Never let the machine or card out of your sight and be diligent about checking your account in case of shonky transactions. It's advisable to use cash wherever possible and if you need to use an ATM, make sure it's attached to a bank or major hotel. Avoid withdrawing money at night. Let your bank know before departure where you are heading so their fraud protection doesn't kick in and block your transactions.
I am a ...... (some official - off duty today) but come to my office for tea or something, I will show you what I do for a living / help you understand the life here in Sri Lanka / show you some places that tourists don't normally go
The scammer will take you to an (expensive) hotel or restaurant – as their office is too far away to walk – and order drinks. After some convivial conversation, when you try to pay and move on, you find it's extraordinarily expensive, as the con artist has asked for some cigarettes to be added to the order. You don't want to make a fuss, so you let it ride after all it's only a packet of cigarettes (and they are such nice company!).
Lots of freebies are offered then they claim you are suffering from X and Y and need to purchase these medicinal herbs at expensive costs. The free tours are great but do your own research and buy from spice shops in the bigger cities where the quality is likely to be higher.
Book through only via official travel agents, hotel, or online. Don’t book through a taxi driver or a tuk-tuk driver as they will take a commission off the top and the quality is likely to be lower.
If an overly friendly stranger on the street tells you there is a festival or a ceremony or a special temple open for one day only and it sounds too good to be true, then it is. They will hail a special tuk-tuk who will say they are an official government tuk-tuk but they will take you somewhere secluded and rob you, or take you to stores where they will get a commission.
And as always on transport, be wary of bag snatchers and pickpockets. Don’t show off valuables or keep your wallet or phone in your back pocket.
You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.
Like any developing nation, Sri Lanka has its share of health issues. Find out how you can avoid traveler's diarrhea, dengue fever and more while traveling.
You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.Get a quote