Sri Lanka Warnings and Dangers
Sri Lanka is an island country in the Indian Ocean that’s popular for its water activities and wildlife. If you’re planning to visit Sri Lanka, you should be aware of some potential hazards that you might encounter while visiting the country.
Driving in Sri Lanka may be scary if you’re not used to it. Drivers tend to drive aggressively and at high speeds. Bus drivers in particular can be very aggressive – they will try to overtake any vehicle in their way and blow the horn to warn others out of their path. If you’re driving, it’s best to move over and let the bus pass if it’s trying to pass you. If you’re a passenger on a bus, hold on tight and brace yourself for both high speeds and sudden stops. Pedestrians should use extreme caution when crossing the road.
On some roads, particularly near national parks, you will see signs warning you to slow down and watch for wild elephants crossing the road. Be cautious when driving in these areas – you don’t want an accident with an elephant.
You may be approached by agents or touts that offer a special discount, deal, or event at some attraction, like a gem factory or coral reef. This is just a pretext to get you to agree to pay for something that’s overpriced or that doesn’t exist at all.
When you’re taking a ride in a taxi or Tuk-Tuk (a three-wheeled vehicle that is often used to give rides for hire) agree on the price with the driver ahead of time, and make sure that the driver understands and acknowledges you. Otherwise, you may be overcharged.
Many police officers in Sri Lanka often ride on motorcycles, so it may be harder to spot them than a traditional cop car. Many tourists report being asked for bribes to avoid being ticketed and arrested.
The beach is one of Sri Lanka’s greatest attractions, but be careful of the undercurrent when swimming or participating in water activities. The surf can be unexpectedly strong, and it can pull unsuspecting swimmers out too far if they aren’t careful. Check with the locals to get an idea of the surf conditions before you dive in.
While in Sri Lanka, you may be exposed to diseases that you wouldn’t come across at home. Talk to your doctor about your travel plans before you go. That way, you can make sure that your vaccinations are up to date and that you get any medications that you might need to bring with you.
Stay Safe Near the Ocean
Although the Indian ocean appears appealing and awe-inspiring, it is highly advisable not to swim or surf in the area, as hidden strong undertows make for dangerous conditions. If you are truly interested in checking out the water, ask locals about the safest areas to swim. Stick to areas where lifeguards are on duty.
Mosquitoes and Bugs
Keeping mosquito spray on you at all times is essential in Sri Lanka. In addition, taking Vitamin B can be a good preventative measure against bites. Mosquitoes in Sri Lanka are known to carry dengue fever and malaria.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings or dangers in Sri Lanka.