Sri Lanka Warnings and Dangers

  • Warning sign, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
    Warning sign, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
    by planxty
  • Coastguard Station, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
    Coastguard Station, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
    by planxty
  • Paddlers, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
    Paddlers, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
    by planxty

Sri Lanka Warnings and Dangers

  • Touts and Agents. All over the place. A...

    Sri Lanka destinations, hotel fringes (e.g. beach strip from the property), street corners and public places are filled with touts and agents who loiter about looking for tourists. The moment they see one, be it family or individuals, they approach them with a smile, ask you about their country on whether its beautiful, a quip about the weather and...

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  • Watch out for wild elephants on the...

    Sri Lanka is one country that still has a fairly large number of elephants left in the wild.They are generally living inside national parks these days, but many roads goes next to the national parks and there you will see many signs asking to watch out for wild elephants on the road.All you have to do there is drive slowly really so you don't end...

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  • Be ware of undercurrents.

    Sri Lanka has a fantastic coastline with many paradise like beaches, but be ware that there is often a lot of undercurrents and you should always ask locally if this is a problem before going swimming.The surf can be really big on many beaches on the island and being taken by a current is something that can be very dangorous and it kills people...

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  • Europcar car rental AVOID!!

    We loved our short 4 day trip to Sri Lanka last week. The Sri Lankan people were all friendly, kind, informative and just lovely, we really enjoyed their hospitality and welcome to their country. I am going to write another separate thread about our experience with the hotel we stayed in but this one is just about the terrible experience we had...

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  • Think twice to take driver/guide

    I sought on web some good reviews for Sri Lanka freelance driver/guide Chaminda Prabath, we contacted by e- mails and closed the price and all itinerary. We left for vacation to India ,and then we intended go to Sri Lanka, on our last day in India (next day we had a flight to Colombo) ,I got e-mail from Chaminda that he can't be our driver and he...

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  • Beware of these bad drivers and agent!!

    I have contact this "Mr Naim " through begum_tours@hotmail.com as some of the members gave him quite a good review. However he did not pick me up at the airport and broke trust with me very much!!when met in Sri Lanka he looks different as compare to the photos as posted in VT. He gave lots of lies and empty promises. Next day, I gave a call to...

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  • Boys will be boys - girls should be...

    I recently asked an Aluthgama friend if he knew a beach boy who arranged trips for me during my first few visits to the Island. “He has a German wife” I explained. My friend answered “Mark – all Aluthgama beach boys have at least one German wife and usually a Sri Lankan one as well”. This tip may appear a little obvious but having read some heart...

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  • MALARIA CAUSES DEATH !

    *SRI LANKA IS A HIGH RISK AREA*PLEASE PREPARE! Malaria can sometimes be fatal and at best may make you regret that you survived. Most medicines must be taken weeks BEFORE you come here. There are 4 different species of Malaria and humans can get them all from the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Illness and death from malaria are...

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  • Local Guides, Touts and Sales men !

    Literally at every Tourist site, from Kandy to Sigiriya to Polonnaruwa, and from Tissamahrama to Galle to Colombo, there are many touts and sales people who try to make fast buck. Some are local guides, but beware, if you don't decide the price before you start out with them, they will demand quite excessive fees at the end.The touts are people who...

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  • Sigiriya guides

    Beware of sly guides, agree on their fee before the tour starts. USD10 is more than enough.Few chaps were also seen touching ladies while sort of "helping" them when it was not really required.

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  • People Wielding Smiles!

    Sometimes one is just busy. You know walking somewhere, mission minded, oblivious to the outside world, for fear of being side tracked. So the head goes down, ears are pinned back and we trudge forward.Its during these moments, when you are walking through the village trying to make the last bus that will take you home, a Sri Lankan or group of Sri...

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  • Riding Tuk- Tuk and talking to strangers

    If you want to have a Tuk-Tuk ride take it from your hotel..it will be much cheaper! If you take it from the street they may charge you 10 times more (what actually happened with us :))..Second thing to be aware is talking to strangers...As you leave the hotel different people will follow you..They introduce themself as a hotel gardener or hotel...

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  • Traffic and Driving

    Busses are the bullies on the roads of Sri Lanka. It seems that bus drivers have no respect for other road users (or the lives of their passengers). I took a bus from Bandarawela to Matare – I was very relieved when we arrived at our destination, as we had a burst tyre on the way at high speed.

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  • Health Advice: Before you go

    There are lots of websites providing health information for visitors to Sri Lanka, my particular favourite is compiled by The Hospital for Tropical Diseases (University College London Hospitals) and you will find it here: http://www.thehtd.org/travel/destination.asp?DocID=167#vmThere are good doctors everywhere, if you are ill speak to your local...

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  • Chikungunya Viral Fever

    There is much discussion about malaria in Sri Lanka and whether or not anti-malarial drugs are necessary in the main tourist areas but there are other mosquito-borne diseases to worry about too so precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes are increasingly important.Dengue fever appears to be on the increase (a Sinhalese friend was very ill...

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  • Getting Medical Advice

    Having spent a month in a Turkish hospital, I know from experience that a serious accident abroad is no fun and accidents do happen. There are some excellent hospitals in Colombo and in a tourist resort you should be fine but off the beaten track a well equipped hospital or even an ambulance could be hours away. We don't like to think about the...

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  • The Bentota Crocodile

    I don’t know what this reptile is called (Iguana or Monitor Lizard maybe?) but they are common in Sri Lanka and you see them often when out and about, even in towns. They are unlikely to attack you unless provoked but they can grow to quite a size and its best to keep your distance. They ain’t venomous apparently but they live in the nastiest of...

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  • Rabies

    There are lots of cute looking animals in Sri Lanka but petting them (or allowing your offspring to pet them) is not such a good idea. Rabies is not uncommon and things have got considerably worse since the Tsunami (when lots of dogs lost their owners and are consequently running wild) so it is probably wise to keep your distance.

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  • Crime in Sri Lanka

    You are highly unlikely to get involved in the 'crime' associated with the civil war: the thousands of people who have disappeared and the allegations of Human rights violations made by both sides, organised crime is becoming a problem in Sri Lanka, a police officer friend told me recently that he would be punished for attempting to investigate a...

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  • Borisade

    When you buy a bottled soft drink or king coconut off the beaten track have a quick look down your straw before you take a drink, I learned the hard way and ingested a small spider and its numerous offspring.Looking down your straw is not as sad as it sounds (you will often see your Sri Lankan friends do it) so no one will think you are strange and...

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  • Medicines, Mosquitoes and Malaria.

    Not everywhere in Sri Lanka has malaria, posting a question in the VT Sri Lanka Forum before you go and seeking local advice when you arrive should keep you aware of the problem areas, as of December 2008 most of the west coast south of Colombo and the Hill Country around Nuwara Eliya remains malaria free but taking your malaria pills is...

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  • Traffic

    Prospective visitors to Sri Lanka often worry more about civil unrest and tropical disease than about being hit by a bus but the fact is that travellers are much more likely to be harmed in a road accident than by any other means.Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are in most danger as the biggest vehicle has the right of way and footpaths are...

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  • Mind Your Head

    "Apparently" coconuts kill ten times more people than sharks, its a fact 150 people die each year after being hit on the head by a falling coconut. These days most of us know better than to linger under coconut trees but it is equally important not to hang around under jackfruit trees either. A jackfruit can weigh up to 50 kilos and with a 10 metre...

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  • Safe Swimming Inland

    Swimming is rarely a problem in a beach resort where you can dip in the hotel pool at your leisure but off the beaten track you may need to take care. Drowning is second only to road traffic accidents in terms of risks to travellers. Crocodile attacks are rare but they do happen and there are also snakes, hidden currents, submerged rocks, sudden...

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  • Look out for Leeches

    Not all of Sri Lanka is infested by leeches, you are unlikely to meet one on the beach (although they are arguably related to the beach boy) but in some areas they are a fact of life and when you are off the beaten track it pays to be prepared. The leeches I have met don't live in the rivers, they live by them, in fact anywhere which gets wet, they...

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  • Mobile Phone rip-off

    If you want to use your mobile in Sri Lanka you may have to make prior arrangements with your network and they are more than likely to rip you off when you start to make or even receive calls. It might be worth going to a local phone shop and getting signed up with a Sri Lankan network. The connection and a new chip cost me a little over Rs1000,...

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  • Friendly?

    No one deserves special treatment but equality is nice, however there is an increase in racism towards white people from some sections of the population. This is usually nothing serious just general ignorance such as being pushed aside by (and served after) inevitably more affluent locals in hotels and shops etc (even when you were there first and...

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  • Con Men Working in Tandem

    As with many places, a trishaw driver OR someone walking will offer to take you to a nearby celebration/festival/procession, or tell you the street is closing and offer to take you elsewhere. Problem in Colombo, is that all these things may be true; BUT these people will try to soak you for MUCH MUCH more than a reasonable fare for the ride. I...

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  • DRUGS = DEATH

    As my plane was nearing Sri Lanka all the passengers were handed landing cards to fill out before we landed. These cards had to be handed in when we went through immigration and Passport control. It simply said at the bottom of the card:DRUGS CARRY THE DEATH PENALTY IN SRI LANKAPlease don’t ruin your holiday.

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  • Monkeys can steal from windows

    Try to avoid placing objects near the windows of your room and leave the window open, even if there are window bars. Monkeys usually wander around and would grab anything they can catch between the bars to play with, and you’ll never have the chance to get the object back. It happened to me with a lighter in Kandy, but wouldn't like to imagine what...

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  • Tamil Tigers liberation army (LTTE)

    been ended, and downtown Colombo looked like under siege. Since then, there seem to have changed to the worse, several reports of bombings in Colombo and on a number of buses criss-crossing the country. Travelling by bus remains a potential threat, but bear in mind the chances you’ll travel with a bomb in a bus are extremely low, considering the...

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  • NEVER put valuables into checked baggage...

    Like at many other airports,also in Colombo your baggage may be controlled by customs or police after you have checked the luggage in.It happened to my wife at our last visit in Colombo, that she - in the hurry of departure - made the big mistake to put a small golden bracelet into her cosmetic-bag, that was stowed in our trolley.We checked the...

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  • Delhi Belly: Don't Panic

    I've had a worse stomach in Gran Caneria than I ever had in Sri Lanka and in your hotel you will probably be fine. However if you are going to hit the road the chances are something is going to upset your tummy for a day or two. Prevention is better than a cure, drink lots of bottled water (anything fizzy is ok too, the carbonisation process kills...

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  • Hotel exchange rates

    In many hotels in Sri Lanka the room rates are listed in US$. If you have £ sterling or SL rupees they give you a very poor exchange rate. If you are planning to travel about and book into hotels as you go it is more economical to buy dollars in Britain and pay with them. Or book by internet before you go.

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  • Scams – gems edition

    If things like the photo here make your eyes go big you’re in danger of a very expensive vacation, and probably of getting very seriously ripped off. If someone finagles you into going to a gem shop be wary. The shop may or may not be legitimate, and you simply won’t know. If you have any real interest in buying gems learn about them thoroughly...

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  • Touts

    Touts will try to persuade you to go to their recommended hotel, store, or restaurant, and those places then pay them a commission. So maintain your will, or consider hiring a car during your stay if you’re going long distances and want unbiased recommendations. Try n book all places of stay in advance.

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  • Salty Pineapple

    Fresh pineapple (annasi in Sinhala) is often sold by vendors on buses and trains and is a wonderful refreshing snack in the tropical heat. But Sri Lankans, who like everything spicy, ruin it by pouring a salty concoction of spices all over it. So just make sure to stop the guy when he gets his shaker of spices out. This also applies if you buy a...

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  • Cultural Triangle Ticket Good for One...

    The Cultural Triangle Round Ticket costs US$ 40, is valid for two weeks, and provides entry to Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, and some other less-visited sites. However, you are only allowed one day at each of the sites. Both Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa include many individual sites over a large area, so some people might prefer to spread...

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  • Snakes

    Sri Lanka has the highest rate of death-by-snakebite in the world, and my personal experience seemed to back up that statistic, though thankfully I wasn't actually bitten. We did have two close encounters with snakes in one day though; one at Dunhinda Falls and the other at Bogoda Bridge in the Hill Country. Both times we were walking on paved...

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  • Election Day Violence

    Our last day in Sri Lanka happened to be the day of city elections in Colombo (May 20th), which we found out because our hotel was closing for the day. We learned that there has been much violence on previous election days, and consequently many businesses and schools close to avoid it. We were told that things are more calm nowadays though, and we...

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  • Women And Crowds

    Beware of walking through or standing in crowds of Sri Lankans. They assume that you must be in the crowd for them to have a grope of. They’re fast moving and you won’t see who has touched you and they're confident they won't get caught. It can happen anywhere from concerts and village fairs to packed trains.

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  • Poya Day

    Don’t try to do anything at all on Poya Day. This is a Buddhist celebration day that occurs roughly once a month in line with the phases of the moon – in English it is called ‘Full Moon Day’. On every Poya Day everything closes down and no-one works. You’ll have trouble finding a shop open or finding any transport etc. If Poya Day occurs on a...

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  • Airport Porters

    Be prepared for scams as soon as you step off the plane at Colombo airport. It's a long flight and the heat and humidity can dull the brain a little. The arrivals exit at Colombo airport has Sri Lankan men working as porters lying in wait for you. They will be wearing a yellow vest which signifies they are licenced to work there as a porter and it...

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  • A Warning For Women

    This took me a while to work out....Sri Lankans will assume that a western woman who smokes is a prostitute. A woman with a cigarette is a big taboo. Therefore, if they see you smoking on the street or in a three-wheeler or even in a bar you greatly increase your chance of being approached for 'business'. Prostitution by Sri Lankan and western...

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  • Tsunami Damage

    While no one should put off a trip to Sri Lanka because of the tsunami, you should be aware that there are some places where the damage is still very apparent and people are still suffering and trying to piece their lives back together. The most extensive damage we saw was between Galle and Ambalangoda, particularly around a village called Kahawa....

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Comments (1)

  • Nov 6, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    Be prepared to pay up to 10 more than locals pay. Sri Lanka discrimanates betweem local and foriegners especially lighter skinned ones. It is most disgusting even public toilet will rip you off as such. Restaurants, attractions, parks etc all charge much more.
    A culture exists to encourage rip offs.

Sri Lanka Warnings and Dangers

Reviews and photos of Sri Lanka warnings and dangers posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Sri Lanka sightseeing.
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