How to stay safe in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka often goes by the name of ‘soft India’, and it’s true, there are vast similarities. In both countries you can choose to take in the culture as you explore the cities, relax on the beaches or enjoy the nature during a hike. Locals travel in tuk-tuks, trains or buses and the streets are always busy and noisy. Yet, there are still some important differences between the two. Sri Lanka is a lot smaller than India and this makes it more manageable to travel. In a relatively short amount of time, you can see a lot of the country. The tourism sector is well developed in Sri Lanka, but there are still some things you need to keep in mind when travelling so you can travel safely in Sri Lanka. The following information will tell you all you need to know to enjoy your journey to the fullest while staying safe in Sri Lanka.
Safety in Sri Lanka: water
The water from the tap in Sri Lanka is not suitable for drinking. Even the locals hesitate to do so. Make sure your water is boiled or filtered or make sure you use a sterilizer. Also, remember to ask if ice cubes, milkshakes, ice cream and fresh fruit juices are also made with filtered water.
Food safety in Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan kitchen in many ways resembles the Indian kitchen and is made up mostly of rice and lots of curries. Most of the dishes are made from local ingredients. The many types of vegetables and fruits are also from Sri Lankan origin. It’s not wise to eat fruits that are washed and sold on the streets. If the fruit or vegetable has not been peeled yet then it is fine. Always be cautious when buying fish or meat. This is usually sold in the searing heat at high temperatures on the local market. These markets don’t always live up to the hygiene standards that we are used to. To keep the risk of getting ill as low as possible it is smart to stick to vegetarian food as much as possible. If you still want to eat meat then make sure it’s cooked properly at high temperatures. It is common that your body needs to get used to the spices, herbs and oils that are used, so don’t worry if that takes a little while to adjust to!
Traffic in Sri Lanka
The traffic in Sri Lanka is very chaotic. Especially in the larger cities like Colombo it’s crowded and noisy. There is constant honking and it seems like there are no rules at all. Buses, rickshaws, tuk-tuks, taxis and private cars all use the same road. That’s why it’s important you watch out properly before crossing the street. Taxis and tuk-tuks are safe and are used by locals as well as tourists. Due to high taxes on cars, taxis are increasingly hybrids. Much better for the environment and a comfortable way to manoeuvre safely in Sri Lanka.
Train travel in Sri Lanka
Travelling through Sri Lanka by train is an adventure in itself. The route between Kandy and Ella is one of the most beautiful train routes in the world. The trains are safe and comfortable. You also do not have to worry about people robbing you, as this hardly ever happens. We recommend you reserve your ticket in advance. One thing to keep in mind is that there are no doors on the trains. Many tourists like to hang out of the train to take selfies. Unfortunately, many people die doing this every year. The view from the window by your seat is just as spectacular.
Safety in Sri Lanka: the civil war
In 2009 there was a terrible civil war in Sri Lanka between the Tamils and the Singhalese. Thankfully, there is now peace. In the years right after the war it was strongly recommended not to visit Jaffna. Nowadays however there is little to see of the military presence and the tensions there. The government is working hard to promote tourism in the North of Sri Lanka. There are good connections to the large city of Jaffna, by train as well as by car. The amount of hotels and other types of accommodations is increasing. The currently undiscovered North of Sri Lanka is definitely worth a visit!
Safety in Sri Lanka: This is how you travel safely through Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a special country with lots of nature and very friendly people. Different religions and different groups of people inhabit the country, which sometimes leads to tensions, but as a tourist this usually does not affect you. Violence and crime against tourists is rare. During the rainy season there are heavy rains. This could potentially cause floodings and/or landslides. Make sure you are up to date with the most recent developments before you go. With good preparation and some caution Sri Lanka is a great place to spend your holidays.
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