"Serendipity" Top 5 Page for this destination Sri Lanka by Maxus

Sri Lanka Travel Guide: 3,882 reviews and 9,365 photos

Sri Lanka

I have been to lots of places in the world but nowhere has left as deep an impression on me than Sri Lanka and the last 10 years I have either just back from a visit or preparing for my next one. I have never fully understood my obsession with the place, it is a beautiful island with its fair share of historical sites but I have always preferred to spend my time ‘village side’ with real people rather than looking at ruins in the Cultural Triangle.

Being an island, Sri Lankan history and culture is a little less blurred around the edges than some countries, it’s more distinct and somehow more ‘fathomable’' for an outsider who likes to know what makes things tick but if you are interested in finding out more about Sinhalese society and culture you need to get away from the main tourist areas or the famous 'cultural triangle'.

Sri Lanka has changed a lot in recent years and not all the changes have been positive. When I first came here people who didn’t rely on tourists for a living would politely ignore you, those who did need your money would use their easy charm to separate you from it. Well that’s pretty much as it is now but much of the politeness and charm has gone, there seems to be an attitude that being polite to foreigners is somehow demeaning, tourists are there to be fleeced and if they don’t like it they shouldn’t come.

Increasingly I meet people in VT whose experience of Sri Lanka has been less than magical, the tips below are designed to help you get out and about with a minimum of hassle.

Where to go and how to get there.........

My ramblings on Sri Lankan life and culture are on my home page, below are links to some tips for travellers heading to Sri Lanka, I hope you find at least some of them useful.

If you are visiting this page because you are considering a trip to Sri Lanka – all I can say is do it and do it now because it’s changing fast

Below there are links to a series of honest travel tips some of which you may find useful

If you have any comments or questions please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Warnings and Dangers

: News Agencies are reporting around 25,000 cases of Dengue Fever so far this year resulting in at least 245 deaths, the number in the whole of last year was 1,456 with 85 deaths and with around 7,000 new cases reported in July alone, there is no doubt that the current outbreak is serious and tourists should be concerned.

From what I can gather, the worst places to be are Kandy, Kegalle, Colombo, Gampaha and Kurunegala.

There’s no preventative medicine all you can do is try not to get bitten and if you get flu-like symptoms go to see a doctor ASAP (don’t take aspirin, the last thing you need with Dengue is a bleeding stomach). As ever good medical insurance is vital.


The Sri Lankan army now have control of the territory formally held by the ‘Tamil Tigers’ who were most or less wiped out in a dramatic and bloody last stand.

However there is currently political unrest and travellers should keep updated with events"

The future is anyone’s guess.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Where do I start?
  • Cons:It's changing fast (and not always for the better)
  • In a nutshell:There is still some magic left in the world
  • Last visit to Sri Lanka: Jan 2010
  • Intro Updated Feb 12, 2010
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Reviews (94)

Comments (60)

  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
    May 19, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    Hi Mark, wow, this is certainly one of the best VT pages I have ever read! Just loved your tips, so useful and full of insight - I learnt so much!

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Apr 1, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    Hi Mark. Am heading to Sri Lanka for a few days beg. of May. Thank you for sharing your great insights, especially the Local Customs. I really enjoyed reading your page / Jessica

  • anitpotter's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2010 at 8:06 AM

    sounds like you have a sim?send a text every 3/6mths to keep active.put reminder in fone to text to keep it active. itll tell you how long its valid for after youve sent it. that way every time you go back you have your own sim ready to roll.

  • georeiser's Profile Photo
    Jan 24, 2010 at 4:16 AM

    VERY GOOD on Warnings Or Dangers: Crime in Sri Lanka. Rate 5!

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Feb 17, 2009 at 10:38 AM

    Hey Mark...revisiting your Sri-Lanka pages so it looks like I'm "there"...nice story about the stilt fisher and tipping at elephant farm...I'll stay away from "ganga"...How are you today? Norman

  • PierreZA's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    Mark, thank you for your reply on the Forum. This page on Sri Lanka is one of the best pages I read on VT. Great, practical tips which are really useful. Thanks!

  • erikute3534's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2009 at 8:37 PM

    good job on SriLanka! sorry, pressed by mistake wrong buttons and rating was incorrect.. Thanks for all info!

  • axelebert's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2009 at 2:27 PM

    Hi, I assume Qatar Airways did not respond in a helpful way. I had similar experience and will avoid this airline in the future.

  • joiwatani's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2008 at 6:45 PM

    Great job on your Sri Lanka page. GAve you great ratings!

  • TravellingSpirit's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2008 at 5:46 PM

    It's strange how some places take hold of our hearts like this? Your love of the country is palpable in your writing about it.

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