7 Do’s And Don’ts Of Travelling To Sri Lanka

02/12/2022Jenny Han

Travelling to this biodiverse, cultural haven is an incredible experience. But do you know what not to do in Sri Lanka?

Do you know what not to do in Sri Lanka
There are some amazing things to see & do in Sri Lanka. Photo by Adam Vandermeer on Unsplash

There are so many worthwhile reasons to visit Sri Lanka it’s such a beautiful and exciting country to visit. It’s also known as one of the most welcoming too.

As the culture is quite different to ours, you’ll also want to know what not to do in Sri Lanka.

Here are some top do’s and don’ts to know about before you go. 

1. Do… Know When to Cover Up

Being a more conservative country, you’ll see that there are different ideas about dressing here.

Visiting sacred sites is one of the best and most cost-effective things to do in Sri Lanka. But, if you do head out to a temple, women will want to keep a scarf handy to cover their shoulders. You’ll also be required to remove your shoes at some sites, so keep that in mind.

Elsewhere, men are required to wear shirts, and sometimes trousers rather than shorts. It’s a good idea to look at what the locals are wearing and follow their lead.

Women waiting to visit a temple in Sri Lanka
Be aware of the customs when visiting revered sites. Image from Pixabay

2. Don’t… Ride the Elephants

Our first activity when it comes to what not to do in Sri Lanka is elephant rides. 

During your trip, you’ll see businesses offering the chance to ride elephants. It’s very tempting as it’s such a pervasive image of Sri Lanka. However, it’s highly recommended that you don’t do this.

“Riding elephants means you’re potentially supporting abusive animal keeping practices” says travel writer Adrian Marshall from UK Writings and Paper Writing Service. “If you want to see elephants, there are lots of ways of spotting them in the wild on your trip.”

Visiting Yala National Park is one of the best excursions in Sri Lanka because of its ability to bring you elephants in abundance. What make the park so good is that the gentle giants are free to roam in their natural habitat. 

Elephants roaming free in Sri Lanka
Get up close and personal with elephants in nature reserves. Photo by Udara Karunarathna on Unsplash

3. Do… Pay Attention to The Buddhist Way of Life

On your trip, you’ll soon see that a large amount of Sri Lankans follow Buddhist teachings.

It’s a fact about Sri Lanka that over 70% of the nation are Buddhist. This devotion to faith affects day-to-day life, and you’ll need to be aware of this when you’re travelling. Read up on the local customs before you make your trip.

For example, on Full Moon Poya Days, no alcohol or meat is sold. Plus, when visiting a sacred place that features a statue of a Buddha, you must take care not to turn your back on them or take selfies with them. 

Buddhist monks praying in a Sri Lankan temple
Be aware of Busshist sensibilities before your trip. Photo by Evan Krause on Unsplash

4. Don’t… Take Pictures Without Permission

In the Sri Lankan culture, it’s considered to be problematic if you take a picture, without first asking for permission from the people in it.

There are several reasons for this, but overall it’s simply polite to ask before you snap away.

In some areas, you may also need to pay for a permit to take pictures, if you have a lot of photography equipment. When you want to take pictures, it’s always best to ask first and be polite about it. Most of the time, the locals will be happy to give you the go-ahead.

Woman psoing for a photo with locals in Sri Lanka
Just ask before you snap. Photo by Chamara Vijendra on Unsplash

5. Do… Respect Animals 

Going on safaris is a great way to see the wild animals of Sri Lanka, and learn more about them.

If you’re going to book a trip, always do your research and book a tour with a company who are responsible when it comes to caring for your’s and the animal’s safety.

“There are several operators who will chase or corner animals to get you a better view” says Harriet Kane, a blogger at Essay Services and Write My Essay. “That puts you and them in danger, so you want to avoid this.”

When you’re on the trip, remember to respect the animals yourself. Don’t approach any wild animals, or worse, try and touch them. This will again keep everyone safe.

Monkey sitting in Sri Lanka
Respect the wildlife and admire it for its beauty. Photo by Sumudu Wijesinghe

6. Don’t… Touch Dogs That Don’t Have Collars 

On the subject of animals, you’ll see a lot of dogs roaming around Sri Lanka. It’s so tempting to try and pet them, even if they seem friendly.

Before you do, look for a collar, or see if the dog’s ears have been clipped.

Rabies is still prevalent in the country. Even with charities working to vaccinate as many animals as they can. This can be passed on to humans, so you don’t want to take that chance. If you do get bitten, you need to go to the hospital right away.

Smiling stray dog in Sri Lanka
They may be super cute, but resist the urge to pet stray dogs. Photo by Sumudu Mohottige on Unsplash

7. Do… Remember Sri Lanka And India Are Different Countries

While Sri Lanka and India are so closely connected, they are different countries and you do need to remember that when you visit.

There are several key differences, such as their main religion, languages, cuisine, and more.

Do your research before you go and you’ll get more out of your trip because you’ll know what to expect.

Boats bobbing in the lake water in Kandy
There are some incredible spaces to enjoy in Sri Lanka. Photo by Pix Ninty Four on Unsplash

Do… Go To The Beach

Of course, one thing you need to do when visiting Sri Lanka is head for the beach. 

But if you click the button below, we’ll tell you about 6 awesome resorts which have the sand right on their doorstep. 

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