Sri Lanka is a safe place for tourists to visit.
You would need to be extremely unlucky, reckless or foolish to experience misfortune.
However, it is your responsibility to exercise due care and caution.
Sri Lanka is a safe country for a tourists to travel around alone. You would have to be extremely unlucky or totally foolish to get into any sort of physical harm or verbal abuse.
In general the locals will be courteous, friendly and helpful.
Modern tourism and commercialism has, however, resulted in some locals trying to exploit gullible tourists. Rarely will any physical harm come to you. The best precaution is to travel with a companion, stick to reputable hotels and venues and ignore any unwanted attention. Never accept any offers from strangers.
Women Traveling Alone
Women, traveling alone are generally safe. A female alone will, however, draw attention from young men. Unfortunately, this phenomenon in not unique to Sri Lanka. The biggest factor affecting the attention a woman will draw is how she is dressed. Being a relatively conservative society, scantily clad women in short dresses and skimpy tops, etc. are seen by local men as being "loose" and likely to draw a lot of unwanted attention and comments.
The best approach is to dress sensibly (don't wear short dresses, short shorts and flimsy revealing tops) and ignore any comments from young men. Don't talk to them that will only encourage them.
It is best to use only bottled water for anything that goes into your mouth. That includes drinking, brushing your teeth, etc. Don't forget to keep your mouth shut when in the shower. Lots of people forget this.
Western stomachs aren't used to Eastern bugs. This is a fact of life. So be careful.
If you pig-out on your first day in Sri Lanka and even worse if you eat uncooked, or unwashed or food from a street vendor, well you are asking for it. Over time your tummy will adjust and you can be more and more adventurous.
Most reputable hotels and restaurants have very good standards of hygiene. They are generally safe to eat in.
If you have a sensitive stomach, avoid uncooked food and unwashed fruit. Drink only bottled water.
If you get sick the local hotel doctor will fix you up quickly. They usually know exactly what your aliment is and how to fix it (cost around $50 with medication). If you have your own anti-diarrhea medication that will work too but probably more slowly that what the doctor gives you.
Travelling to any country exposes the traveller to pathogens their bodies are not accustomed to. It is best to check out the relevant health website in your country for travel advice vaccination advice.
Depending on how well you have acclimatized yourself you may sweat profusely in the hot and humid weather. Be sure to take a bottle of water and keep yourself hydrated.
There are plenty of places to stop, relax, cool down and have a drink.
Theft, Touts, Con-artists & Bamboozlers
Sri Lanka is very safe but just like any other place on earth unwitting travelers are easy targets for criminals. Be watchful of your belonging. Don't flaunt your wealth or wads of cash. Hold your belongings close to you.
Unfortunately Sri Lanka isn't immune from touts, con-artists and bamboozlers. These characters will try to befriend you with a friendly smile and ask you where you are from to strike up a conversation with you. Never be conned by sob stories or offers of fantastic prices on precious gems or special deals. Ignore these people or politely and firmly say "No Thank You" eventually they will leave you alone. Here are some well-known Scams, Fraudsters and Touts.
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