I started traveling around the country as a young girl in my early twenties. Solo female travelers are not that popular in my culture. Since I grew up in Colombo, far away from my hometown, I was not that scared of traveling alone. But, still, people get surprised when they hear my stories, how I used to travel all alone, even during the night.
So, Ladies, If you hear this call from Sri Lanka, just pack your stuff and get your bum here! Here are few tips to survive on this little island as Solo female travelers in Sri Lanka.
In Sri Lanka, if you are not using a taxi service or a car, you can always use the bus or train or even tuk tuk. When it comes this public transportation, you have to keep your eye on your belongings. It’s not for every bus in Sri Lanka. But, when it comes to long drives, you might lose your bags end of the trip. And sometimes you have to face annoying men staring at you all the way in the train just because you have a different skin colour. That’s always better to avoid contact with them. Always try to sit next to a female passenger, and if you feel uncomfortable with sitting next to a man who is trying to sleep on your shoulder, just raise your voice. Don’t worry, There is always someone to stand against men who harass females in public transport.
2. Stay safe in Tuk Tuk
Other than bus and trains, you can easily get a tuk-tuk in almost every town. Also now there are few cab services like Pick me in Colombo and suburbs. If the tuk-tuk is not a metered taxi, that’s better to ask the fare before you get in, so they cant rip you off at the end of the trip. My advice is better to use a company-owned tuk-tuk if you are traveling alone in the night. And also keep calling someone on your way and tell the landmarks you passing loudly! Then the driver knows that someone is having an eye on your way. I always call someone when I get into a tuk-tuk in the night, and sometimes I pretend that I call someone when there is none to call.
3. Covering yourself
Well, when it comes to the Sri Lankan culture, a female should be covering knees and shoulders in public. So most of the time if you are not in a touristic place, you will be attracting all male to stare at you. It’s very uncomfortable when all those greedy eyes passing you like you are just landed on Mars. So my advice is always to try covering yourself in public. If you are visiting a religious place, its a must cover your shoulders and knees. It’s really offensive for the culture of the country if you enter those sacred places wearing shorts and tanks.
If you are at a beach, try to get a beach wrap if you come to the offshore areas such as restaurants and roads. I have seen few notice boards in Hikkaduwa, saying that “bikini is not for the road”. So my young ladies, be aware of your dress code every possible time.
4. Using alcohol in public
When it comes to buying alcohol in Sri Lanka, recently it was mentioned that women cannot buy alcohol in Sri Lanka. But it is not for foreigners. So no worries for you. But still, you cannot consume alcohol in public. And if you are alone always trying to avoid men in the bar, who are constantly looking at you! And use a safe method of transportation once you get drunk in the night. Streets of Sri Lanka is not safe for a young drunk lady at all.
5.Finding Safe Accommodation
Try to use online booking engines as much as you can. You can always read the reviews before booking the place for a nicer experience. Even you can use couchsurfing.com as well. But just be smart enough to go through the hosts’ profile!
6.Getting around with locals
When you are in this paradise, you will meet a lot of nice people on your journey. Sometimes men can be aggressive, but still, not all men are dangerous in Sri Lanka. Always be nice to people you meet and respect the culture of them, you will be free from any worries.
7. What to pack
It’s a tropical country, Obviously, you need some sunblock with a higher SPF to use in Sri Lanka. And rain can hit at any time here, so raincoats and caps are essential. Other than that you might need mosquito and insect repellent. If you are planning to visit any rural areas just in case bring all your stuff for sanitary needs. You may not find that girly stuff in some rural shops.
As a local female traveler, these are the most important tips that I can give for the Solo female travelers in Sri Lanka. So ladies enjoy the stay in paradise. If any help needs regarding Sri Lanka, you can just drop a message to me on Facebook.