What it is like to travel as a female in Sri Lanka
Before I depart on a solo trip I am very used to hearing “ooh…that place is very dangerous for a girl.” As much as I appreciate people’s concern whenever I arrive in the country it is always a lot less dangerous than what people make it out to be.
However, when I was telling people that I was going to Sri Lanka, no one could really tell me that it was dangerous because no one even had the slightest idea about Sri Lanka. Well I am here to tell you that it is totally fine to do as a female traveler. In fact – I met a lot of other female travellers there.
Here is some insight into what to consider as a female traveler in Sri Lanka:
When I travel solo I am rarely actually a
lone. I stay in hostels whenever possible which allows me to meet other travellers. To be honest, Sri Lanka is more difficult for meeting other backpackers so a hostel is your best bet.
Since I was traveling alone I did pre-book almost all of my accommodation to save myself from wandering around in the hot sun by myself trying to find a place to stay. Having a place to stay before I arrived in a location also helped prevent me from being bombarded at the bus stations by people trying to get me to stay at their hotels.
Traveling alone is easy-peasy. Trains are filled with other tourists so this is where you will feel the least vulnerable. Buses are super simple to use and you can just ask to make sure that the bus is going where you need it to. Ask a couple of different people just to make sure that you are on the right bus because sometimes a bus driver may tell you what you want to hear to make an extra buck.
I always felt extremely safe while taking the buses. If all else fails there is always a keen tuk-tuk driver willing to take you where you want to go!
Tip: Do not miss out on the train journey from Kandy to Ella: The Most Amazing Train Ride of My Life
Sri Lanka is a culture where they cover up. Out of respect for the culture I always tried to either have my shoulders covered or my knees. In beach towns you can get away with this a bit more.
When taking public transportation I would advise for you to cover up more since you will have a lot more eyes on you. Nothing is more uncomfortable than sitting in a bus for 2 hours while the old man next to you stares at your legs.
Sri Lanka doesn’t have much when it comes to nightlife so you won’t find that you have any need to wander around at night. The only places that really have any party scene are on the beaches. If you stay in a hostel you can meet friends that you can go out with so that you have someone to watch your back.
Overall, men may come up and talk to you but in my experience they were usually just being friendly and I never once felt unsafe. Sri Lanka is a stunning country with beautiful people and it would be a shame to miss out on this experience because of people telling you that it is dangerous for a girl. Keep a good head on your shoulder and have your wits about you and you will have an amazing time!