South Asian nations have been on the radars of solo travellers for many years. But countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia continue to steal the limelight from some of their equally attractive neighbours, and Sri Lanka often isn’t top of the list for many tourists.
Despite playing second fiddle to the more established solo travel hotspots, this beautiful island nation has all the ingredients necessary for tourists to head out on an unaccompanied trip. In this post, we’ll explore some of the things you’ll need to know if you’re considering going solo in Sri Lanka, as well as some top tips for anyone already committed to the adventure.
Is Sri Lanka safe?
One of the first questions you will need to find out the answer to is whether or not a country is safe to visit on your own. Fortunately, Sri Lanka is generally considered to be safe for tourists to travel to, alone or accompanied, and the people are extremely friendly.
Sri Lanka ranked 90th in the 2022 Global Peace Index report, which represents a medium state of peace. While some of its Asian neighbours ranked much better, like Singapore (9th) and Japan (10th), Sri Lanka far outperformed the USA, which ranked 129th in the report, and could help to give you some context.
While no holiday is guaranteed to be completely crime-free, you can help to reduce the risks associated with travelling solo but taking the necessary precautions. Pickpocketing in particular remains prominent in the tourist areas, so try and keep your possessions hidden and limit the amount of valuables you carry with you.
What to include in your itinerary
The next thing you’ll need to know is how you can expect to fill your itinerary. Sri Lanka is a very small country, measuring around half the size of the state of New York. Despite this, there is so much to do across the island – and in its surrounding seas – and you will never be short of ways to fill up your days. In order to extensively explore the country, you will likely need a minimum of 14 days in Sri Lanka, but a week would be long enough to give you a real insight into the place and its people.
One thing you can’t overlook when planning your itinerary is the catalogue of exotic beaches. Sri Lanka isn’t short of a sandy stretch or two, and the waters of the Indian Ocean are inviting at just about any time of year. From Hirekteya on the south coast to the western jewel of Bentota Lagoon, there are a vast range of world-class beaches to choose from when padding out your plans, and a day (or ten) at the beach will be one well spent.
Top tips for solo travellers
Choose your accommodation wisely. There are plenty of hotels and hostels to choose from within the most popular tourist areas. Hostels will generally be the cheaper option, and are great places to meet like-minded travellers.
Respect the culture. In order to feel completely comfortable exploring Sri Lanka, it’s important to respect the local culture and customs. Importantly, you should always dress modestly when exploring the country, especially when visiting religious sites.
Make the most of public transport. Sri Lanka is generally well connected by trains and buses. Not only is public transport a cheap means of getting around, but it’s also a great way to see different parts of the country through the eyes of the locals.
In summary, Sri Lanka is a great option for solo travellers. Not only is it generally a safe country, but with so many different things to do, you will be spoilt for choice when planning your itinerary.
This is a guest post article