6 tips on what not to miss in Sri Lanka

Rules of conduct for tourists in Sri Lanka: 10 bans

Sri Lanka is one of the most popular countries in the world. Going there, every traveler wants to take a break from the gray of everyday life and get a lot of unforgettable sensations. However, in this country have their own laws and customs. Violation of these rules can bring the tourist a lot of problems and completely ruin such a long-awaited vacation.

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To avoid getting into an unpleasant situation in Sri Lanka, before the trip you need to familiarize yourself with the main taboos of this unusual country. Especially since there are not a few such prohibitions. Among the main ones are the following:

  1. On the island it is strictly forbidden to hurt the monkeys. And it would be OK, but these animals here have grown naked. They can cause tourists a lot of harm and hassle: to snatch food from his hands, snatch expensive equipment (camera or camcorder), steal your purse or take away jewelry. Moreover, there are a lot of monkeys in Sri Lanka. You can see packs of them almost everywhere. Even if they have stolen your expensive equipment, you should not scold or chase the animals. Otherwise, your actions can cause aggression in the native population of Ceylon. To avoid unpleasant moments, keep an eye on your belongings. And also, be sure to close the windows in the hotel room. In your absence there may be ubiquitous monkeys and make it a real mess;
  2. The Lankans celebrate the full moon once a month. According to local customs, it is forbidden to drink alcohol on this day. Moreover, even if you live in an all-inclusive hotel, alcohol is prohibited on the day of the full moon;
  3. You must not turn your back on local shrines or monuments of Buddha. It is considered disrespectful to the traditions of the country. In addition, worshippers must remove their shoes before visiting the temple. And women must wear some kind of cape on their heads. Otherwise, you may not be allowed into the temple;
  4. There is poverty and unemployment on the island. Therefore, there are many crooks and pseudo-guides. For a penny price you can be offered a fascinating tour of the interesting places of the city. When you pay the money, the guide will simply disappear from your sight. Therefore, it is best to book tours in hotels. Also refrain from shopping in the streets. When buying the goods you like, don’t be afraid to ask the seller for a certificate. This way you can protect yourself from fraud;
  5. In Ceylon it is forbidden to smoke in public places. If you decide to break this taboo, you will have to pay a fairly large sum of money;
  6. If you want to avoid possible intestinal infections and poisoning, you should not drink tap water. Moreover, you should not wash fruits or vegetables with tap water either;
  7. There are a lot of monks on the island. You can’t touch them or take pictures of them. It is also forbidden to shake hands with them. It is considered a sign of bad manners;
  8. In Ceylon it is not customary to flaunt your feelings. Try to refrain from hugging in public places and kissing in public. In principle, there are no penalties for this, but the locals will be displeased with such actions. In addition, women should dress modestly and inexpressive. Try not to walk alone on the island, especially in the evenings. Even a man can be attacked here, not to mention the weak female field;
  9. Tourists are not allowed to hunt in Sri Lanka, as well as to collect “live corals”. Violation of this prohibition can lead not only to a large fine, but also to imprisonment;
  10. It is forbidden to photograph important strategic facilities on the island, which include train stations, checkpoints and airports. It is also full of military personnel whose photos are also forbidden. Violating this taboo can cause serious trouble in the form of imprisonment.
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Adhering to these rules for tourists in Sri Lanka, the rest on an exotic and unique island is sure to please you. After all, the unearthly beauty of Ceylon, its rich flora and fauna can not leave any traveler indifferent. Have a nice holiday and a colorful experience!

What can not be done in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is an exotic country and there is little information about it. Maybe who was and will prompt something interesting about the rules of conduct and regulations in this country?


Of course, both customs and mores in Sri Lanka have developed over a very long period. The main contribution to their existence was made by the religions of Sri Lanka and, naturally, by Buddhism. In principle, the rules of conduct on the island are similar to other countries, but there are some features to consider when traveling to Sri Lanka.

Holidays. Full Moon Day, which is celebrated every month. It is a non-working day, so all the bars, restaurants and stores are closed. On this day is strictly forbidden to drink alcohol, especially in public places.

Visiting any temple (even ruined) should take off shoes (you can stay in socks) and hats. Clothing should cover the back, shoulders, and knees well.

It is forbidden to touch monks, especially to try to say hello to them by hand. It is also forbidden to sit if a monk is standing at the time. Front seats on public transport in Sri Lanka are always reserved for monks.

There are a lot of beggars on the streets of towns and villages. Here you have two choices – either don’t give them anything, or get small bills and hand them out when you’re leaving (through the car window, if possible). Otherwise, it will be impossible to get rid of their annoyance.

You should not show your intimate relationships in public – walking around in an embrace, or kissing.

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Women should not sunbathe topless on beaches, show up in sexually suggestive clothing, or sit in the car in the front seat.

If you want to take a picture of any of the locals, you should ask them for their consent before doing so. It is strictly forbidden to photograph local women. It is forbidden to take photos with your back to the Buddha statues.

Men should not wear shorts to dinner at the hotel. It is better to wear pants or jeans.

Remember that food can only be held with the right hand while eating. Only a glass may be held in your left hand.

While swimming do not need to reach the bottom or break branches of coral. This can be fined, in the worst case – arrested.

Do not sing songs loudly or make noise in public places.

Watch your cash carefully, unfortunately, there are many thieves in the country.

Single women are not advised to flirt with the local “macho”. There are many professional gigolos among them.

To greet or say goodbye to the locals, you should fold your palms at chest level and tilt your head slightly forward.


Also, the simplest but basic. Do not forget about the simple rules of personal hygiene, because the elementary non-compliance can lead to infection of various diseases, you need it. And drink bottled water only.


1. Do not wear too open and light clothing if you go for a walk or an excursion in the woods or the park, in these places there is a huge accumulation of dangerous and harmful insects, which can not only cause unpleasant emotions and disgust, but also damage the person. The most common types of insects are mosquitoes and a variety of mosquitoes, also, in Sri Lanka tourists can meet bloodsucking worms, which can get to a person, provided that he walks in open shoes and, for example, in shorts.

2. If you will need to go somewhere in the evening, then take with you family or friends, often there have been cases of attacks on single girls and women, so it is better to behave not only carefully, but also prudently, to avoid dangers and unpleasant situations.

Many travelers may try unwashed fruits and vegetables, despite the many cautions, no matter how beautiful and attractive fruit is, you should always wash it as long as possible in clean water and observe basic rules of hygiene, especially this rule applies, and small children, for which you need to watch as best you can, so they also did not try something harmful and dangerous.

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4. You can not drink the water flowing from the tap, even if you are assured that it is clean and suitable for drinking. Always carry a bottle of mineral water with you, especially if you will be making frequent walks or going on excursions, where tourists often do not have the opportunity to buy water for themselves.

5. Do not walk barefoot even on the beaches, it is always advisable to be in shoes, especially in the evening, in Sri Lanka tourists can be attacked by snakes and other dangerous animals, so it is always better to stay away from trees, stumps and bushes, in these places you can most often meet reptiles.

6. Do not travel in Sri Lanka with pets, if you do not have with you in the presence of an international veterinary certificate, as well as a certificate of vaccination against rabies. There have been cases that some tourists have managed to bring and take out of the territory of the state small animals, such as: hamsters, rats or parrots, they could put them in a pocket, and no one noticed anything, of course, these cases can not help but look without a smile, but such things definitely should not do, because to ensure the safety of the animal, it is better to collect all the documents and visit the vet.


There are no particular prohibitions, but there are some features that you should not forget. For example, it is not accepted to be photographed and pose in front of statues and images of Buddha, it is not worth even a friendly stroke on the head of small children. At the entrance to the temple it is customary to remove shoes.


There are no special restrictions on the behavior of tourists in Sri Lanka, radically different from other countries of Southeast Asia. Respect for the local residents and the laws of the country, as well as compliance with the basic rules of etiquette and you will never have problems when visiting this country. I would like to stress a negative attitude towards narcotic drugs. There are stiff penalties and long prison sentences for drug trafficking and distribution in Sri Lanka. For the use of drugs, you risk being arrested and imprisoned. Being in public places under the influence of alcohol is not welcomed. Drinking alcoholic beverages in such places may be punishable by a large monetary fine. Lankans also don’t like public displays of defiance and indecency between a man and a woman. Therefore, their feelings towards each other should be shown with restraint and without frank excesses. Otherwise, the country is friendly with a nice friendly locals.


The situation in the country is not easy and the precautions taken by the authorities are noticeable at every step, more so in the northern part of the country. The streets are guarded by the military, there are checkpoints on the roads inside the country, facilities such as bus and train stations are fenced and all passengers’ documents are checked at the entrance. Some national parks, hotels, resort areas are guarded by the national army, but they do it professionally, that is, without disturbing or distracting others unnecessarily. In the south the situation is different, and yet you should feel confident and calm during inspections, and the checks are carried out in a correct form.

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It is forbidden to take pictures of strategic objects such as bus stations, airports, train stations, power plants, military units and other buildings belonging to this category. There have been cases where tourists were detained and even questioned just for trying to take a photo of a tank being transported or for taking a photo of a bridge near Colombo.

Personal belongings do not leave unattended, all seemingly obvious from can steal, but not only. It can be interpreted as an attempt of an act of terrorism, and that there are explosives in things.

And yet in this country for possession of narcotic drugs is subject to the death penalty, and even this does not prevent to offer tourists at almost every step easy drugs.

Hunting is forbidden in Sri Lanka for sea creatures and animals, as well as the collection of “live corals” is prohibited, dead branches can be collected on the shore. Do not forget about the sacred animals, which are considered here, not only cows, and others.

The Lankans are very friendly and yet there is a category of professions that impose their attention is the local guides and street vendors – they are especially intrusive.

And when it comes to pictures, you shouldn’t take pictures of people without their permission, it is also forbidden to take pictures of temples and turn your back to the Buddha or pose against the statues. It is forbidden to show the soles of your shoes and feet, to point at something with your finger, and not to take things with your left hand.

A separate problem is considered to be monkeys. They can easily and deftly snatch any small thing, even a photo or video camera. At the same time on the territory of monasteries monkeys are considered a sacred animal, so your attempts to chase him will be perceived negatively by local residents, and they may show aggression. There were cases when the monkeys got into the room and made a mess there. When going out to avoid similar situations, close the windows well or make sure that they have special mosquito nets. Speaking of insects, in central areas there are a lot of mosquitoes, stock up on mosquito repellent.

Wild wasps can pose a particular threat, they are often found near historic monuments, at the slightest noise they can attack the curious who disturbed their peace. Therefore, when visiting ancient sites you should not touch them.

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As for clothing, follow the dress code when you go to the temples and their territory, wear clothes that cover your shoulders, back, and legs. At the entrance to the temple you should take off your hat and shoes, be aware of the local anti-sanitation and have several pairs of disposable socks or take care of the antiseptics, which can be used to treat your feet after visiting the place.

Formal dress is almost never required here, even for lunch at the big hotel restaurants you can arrive quite modestly dressed, but sportswear and beachwear are discouraged.

All beaches on the island are public, and only a few hotels boast their own isolated beaches. Girls should be careful when making new acquaintances with local guys, as there are frequent cases when in a restaurant you had to pay for two, because the gentleman disappeared without a trace, or some just were robbed.

As for customs regulations, it is forbidden to take out of the country, without a special permit, items of cultural or historical value, books, manuscripts, antique masks, collections of coins and stamps, ivory products, animals and plants, more than two pounds of tea, untreated semi-precious and precious stones.


In principle, the locals of Sri Lanka are good-natured, easy to talk to and very well treated by tourists. Some rules and norms of behavior, of course, it is necessary to comply, but they are not many and they are not too burdensome. For example, it is not necessary to dress too frivolously to visit any religious sites: temples, monasteries, etc. The religious feelings of the Lankans will be hurt if you try to touch a monk in a Buddhist monastery. While men are not allowed to touch only the monk’s head, women are not allowed to touch anything at all. Also should be treated with respect to the numerous statues of Buddha – they can not turn their backs, so that is not desirable to be photographed against them, especially try to climb up on a pedestal, closer to the statue – it might not like the surrounding locals. Do not take pictures of the military, police, military and government agencies. You should not point your index finger at anything or anyone – this gesture is considered indecent and rude by the Lankans, the same applies to the public demonstration of the feet and toes. It is against the law to sunbathe topless on public beaches in Sri Lanka, without the top part of the swimsuit can sunbathe only on beaches belonging to hotels or at hotel pools, where the locals almost never go.

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