Travelling alone is always going to be a daunting experience for anyone but perhaps even more so for solo female travellers. For the right reasons or wrong reasons, solo female travellers have a lot more to watch out for and take precautions than their male counterparts. When it comes to Sri Lanka, many people assume that it is another Asian country that isn’t safe for solo female travellers, given Sri Lanka’s close proximity to it’s louder and brasher big brother India.
Yet, somehow solo female travellers, some confident, some strong-willed, some curious, some loud and some who are wall flowers have made their way to this tiny island every year and have enjoyed themselves thoroughly in Sri Lanka’s colourful culture, myriad of sights and welcoming locals. What you have to know when travelling around Sri Lanka is that, as with any country, there are always going to be dangers by being a solo female traveller. But that doesn’t make Sri Lanka generally unsafe for them. Not at all.
To help you out, here are five helpful tips to make sure your solo holiday doesn’t end up being a solo ordeal:
Listen to your heart always
Always listen to what your gut says. If you feel uncomfortable, get out of that situation as fast as you can. Be smart about your accommodation options too. For example, if you’re wondering where to stay in Colombo, there are plenty of budget hotels in Colombo to choose from. There are also some excellent Hotels in Colombo 3 that you can check out that are closer to some of Colombo’s hottest attractions. This way, you get to enjoy all that the city has to offer and get back in time to your hotel before darkness starts rolling in.
Be cautious about what you wear
Keep in mind that Sri Lanka is a conservative country and while the locals are always going to be warm and welcoming, they also appreciate it when it comes to keeping covered. Think mid-length skirts, tops that cover your shoulder and don’t expose much cleavage and those long, flowing trousers. This kind of clothing is particularly important when visiting religious sites. By all means, you can take some crop tops and the like but just be mindful where and when you choose to wear them. Here’s a general guide for women travellers in Sri Lanka
Check out this post you want a few handy tips on what to pack for your Sri Lankan holiday.
Be savvy when using public transport
Using public transport is another time you’ll need to pay attention to your outfit choice. Travelling by bus or train in Sri Lanka is generally safe but wearing something revealing can invite a lot of unwanted stares. When in Sri Lanka and when travelling using public transport, you’re are likely to get a few curious glances regardless but not as many or for long. Put your shoulders back, exert an air of confidence, and enjoy the ride.
Attitude is everything
Be pleasant – it goes a long way and you’ll find that with the right attitude, there’s kindness and help all around. You may get a few incredulous stares when you mention you’re travelling alone but don’t sweat it. You’ll definitely find the majority of the local folk genuine and even adamant about helping in any way possible.
Be wary when the sun sinks and the moon rules the heavens
When the sun calls it a day and goes to bed, so do the Sri Lankan women to their homes. After hours in Sri Lanka is very much a man’s domain. As a female solo traveller, this is perhaps the most intimidating experience in Sri Lanka. Having an early-ish dinner and heading to your hotel is the best course of action.
With that being said, Sri Lanka is a wonderful place to be in where hospitality of the locals are legendary. Like anywhere else in the world, you just get one or two bad eggs. It’s always smart to follow a few simple rules to keep your adventure in Sri Lanka one you’ll remember for years to come.
Featured image by Chris Kendall.