While Sri Lanka is one of the safest destinations for solo female visitors, there are certain steps female travellers can take to stay safer during their Sri Lankan getaway. Here are some safety guidelines that may come in handy.
While there are no Sri Lanka travel restrictions in place at the moment, female travellers would do well to follow local news updates or keep tabs on the general atmosphere of the island upon arriving in Sri Lanka. There may be rare instances where curfews are put in place in certain areas of the country while restricting travel to various other corners may also be imposed due to various reasons. Solo female visitors should ideally stay on top of these changes and make sure they are not inadvertently breaking the rule of law by wandering around during curfew hours or visiting areas that are under lockdown.
Although there is no need to dress conservatively within the confines of your holiday base at Jetwing Beach or any other hospitality hub around the country, female travellers must be more modestly attired when visiting public places. This not only includes sacred spaces such as temples, churches and mosques but also points of interest such as the Old Parliament Building, the National Museum and Independence Memorial Hall. While shorts, tees and tank tops are perfectly acceptable for shopping in malls around Jetwing Colombo Seven or touring the tea estates near Jetwing Kandy Gallery, it is necessary to cover one’s shoulders and knees when visiting cultural and religious attractions in Sri Lanka.
A single woman travelling alone in Sri Lanka must also return to their base hotel at Jetwing Lagoon or Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel before it gets too dark unless they are with a group of people. While there is no specific threat to the well-being of female travellers, being seen on the road or in a location far from one’s resort in the late hours of the night can be a recipe for an unsavoury incident or run-in with scammers, swindlers or even other intoxicated individuals. This is especially relevant for those who are heading to beach towns around the island where the nightlife scene is unregulated. If one is planning for a late-night, it is best to have a tuk-tuk ride or a cab reserved for the trip back to the hotel.
Unless solo female travellers have kept their valuables in their in-room safe at Saman Villas or Jetwing Yala, it is important to stay vigilant of your belongings when travelling around. Although instances of petty theft are low, there is no guarantee that a pickpocket or any other dubious individual on public transport or at a local marketplace will not steal your bag, wallet or snatch something valuable on your person. Keeping tabs on your belongings is crucial regardless of whether one is with a group or travelling alone as it is not uncommon for passengers to crowd together in local buses and trains or other public places where thefts can occur.
The question of whether Sri Lanka is safe for women depends also on the circumstances female tourists may find themselves in unwittingly. There’s no harm in knocking back a few drinks in the comfort of your resort suite at Jetwing Kandy Gallery or any other hospitality hub as long as you are aware of your alcohol intake when partying at Le Garage and other local nightlife hotspots. Public intoxication is never a good idea when you are travelling overseas alone so go slow during a night out on the town.