As of March 6, 2018, the state of emergency was in force in Sri Lanka. This has been lifted. This means, among other things, that social media such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram and Twitter are working normally again. There are regular demonstrations in Sri Lanka that can also lead to violence. Therefore avoid demonstrations and places where many people come together. In Sri Lanka, road traffic can be described as chaotic. It seems that there are no traffic rules and it is better not to drive yourself unless you are used to it. If you drive yourself, pay close attention. If you are involved in a road accident always wait for the arrival of the police. For more information about road safety in Sri Lanka, please visit the UK government site The purpose of this travel advice is to inform you about the safety in Sri Lanka and you will also find general and practical tips. Read the entire travel advice or choose one of the following topics:
- Unsafe areas
- Travel restrictions
- Local laws, rules and customs
- Accessibility and emergency situations
- Natural disasters
- Travel documents and visas
Traveling in Sri Lanka can entail security risks. There are safety risks for traveling to the areas in the north and east of Sri Lanka. There are still mines around military bases in these areas and it is therefore unwise to leave the main road.
The unsafe areas are:
- All areas north of the A12, the main road that connects the city of Puttalam with the city of Trincomalee
- Around military bases in the Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara districts.
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of robberies and assaults in Sri Lanka. Therefore, be extra careful in places where many tourists come, such as markets and beaches. This is especially true for women traveling alone. For your safety you can observe the following safety measures:
- Avoid the visible wearing of jewellery
- Do not take drinks or other things from strangers
- In the evening it is best to stay in your hotel, if necessary do not go out unaccompanied
- Carry valuable documents, money and credit cards on your body, for example in a fanny pack (bumbag) under your clothes
- Your passport, airline ticket (s) and extra money can best be stored in a safe place
- If you are unexpectedly the victim of robbery, do not resist but hand over your possessions. Resistance can lead to violence.
Local laws, rules and customs
If you travel to Sri Lanka you will have to deal with other laws, rules and customs. You must comply with the laws and regulations of the country you are visiting. Therefore, make sure you are aware of generally applicable laws and regulations and take particular account of the following: There are different religions in Sri Lanka. The majority of the residents are Buddhists, but there are also Muslims, Christians, and Hindus. You must wear appropriate clothing during your visit to religious sites. Cover shoulders and legs and avoid showing Buddha tattoos. This is forbidden. It is inappropriate in Sri Lanka to have you photographed with your back turned to a Buddha statue. Do not take photographs of military objects, government buildings and heavily secured places with soldiers. It is forbidden to take pictures of people in uniform. The possession of drugs is punishable in Sri Lanka. Remember that the punishment for possession of drugs or drug trafficking is much more severe than in the UK. You can even get the death penalty. Homosexuality is punishable in Sri Lanka and this law also applies to foreigners. Keep that in mind in the way you set yourself up and out.
Accessibility in emergency situations
Leave your details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that you are easier to find. Here you can read what you should do in a crisis while abroad. Make sure you are constantly informed of the developments. Through the travel advice, but also through the media. You must always have a valid proof of identity with you.
Do you need immediate help? Call the emergency number 119 (this number is not always answered), or call 011-2433333 (police alert) and 011-2421111 (police headquarters), 1990 (ambulance), 110 (fire service) 011-2421451 (tourist police). Look for information about the British embassy in Colombo on the website.
Check which precautions you should take for your health. Think of vaccinations. Medical facilities abroad may be limited and you may need to evacuate if you become ill or have an accident. The costs are high and therefore you should take out adequate travel insurance, it is not covered under the EHIC card so you need to have travel heath insurance. Ensure you have sufficient funds incase of any unexpected bills. If you have to go to the doctor or be hospitalized, these costs are usually reimbursed from the health insurance.
You can find information on current epidemics, recommended vaccinations and measures to prevent malaria and other infectious diseases that the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) has created. Dengue is currently present in Sri Lanka (dengue fever). This virus is transmitted by a mosquito and can cause life-threatening complications.
Sri Lanka has 2 rain seasons. The first rainy season is from June to August and during this period it mainly rains in the west and southwest of Sri Lanka. The second rainy season is from October to February and during this period it mainly rains in the northeast of the island. There is a risk of flooding during the rainy season. If you plan to travel during one of these rainy seasons, you must inform yourself in advance about the situation on the spot. If you want more information about the weather conditions in an area, check out Disaster Management Center (Sri Lanka)
Travel documents and visas
You need a valid travel document for your trip to Sri Lanka. Your travel document must be valid for at least 6 months on arrival in Sri Lanka. Order your visa easily within 5 minutes, pay by Debit/Credit card, PayPal or Bank transfer and receive your visa the same day or in any case within 72 hours. You can also read here which conditions you must meet in order to qualify for the visa. For example, it is not allowed to travel to Sri Lanka with a tourist visa if you want to work here. Not even as a volunteer. The visa for Sri Lanka is also available via www.eta.gov.lk , the cost is $ 35 and you can only pay with a credit card.