Life As Alice Blog

Travel

7 Random Things You Need To Know Before You Visit Sri Lanka

I have been doing some research on Sri Lanka since we booked to go there in December this year. I have found out a few facts I thought might be helpful to anyone else planning to visit there. They are a bit random but then they are always the most interesting things to know I find....

1 - Not wearing a bra is offensive...

Why is this not offensive here too? It is one of my pet hates. You know when you see a lady whose womanly bits are hanging far too low or bouncing like a Spaniel's ears chasing a ball whilst they are running, because they didn't put a bra on that day and you wince and think 'Oh dear, no love, just no'... well that isn't all that the Srilankan people think when they see it, as it is massively offensive in Sri Lanka to have anything like that on show. To the people of Sri Lanka, modesty is a big custom and so topless sunbathing, no bras under t-shirts and wearing hot pants to them is horrific. So to save face and not offend the locals, keep your hoohahs under wraps and save the hotpants for the nightclub at home.

3- Keep Hold of Your Heart Strings and Your Purse Strings...

No matter how cute the kids are in the towns and villages, don't let them pull on your heart strings enough to hand over some cash. These little sweeties are skipping school so they can earn money begging from the tourists (When I skipped school I wasn't that clever, I just sat in a park doing nothing all day). It is advised by local aid that if you want to help then it is best to do so with donating ballpoint pens and coloured pencils to the teachers and educational practices instead. This reduces the cycle of dependence as if they get used to the idea that begging is a lucrative part time job they are more likely to do it full time later in life.

6- You Need Permission To Take A Photograph...

Being sensitive to the religious etiquette of Sri Lanka is a must. You need to ask permission with a gesture (ask your tour guide or taxi driver for the right gesture, just in case you do it wrong and offend them all) to take photographs in many religious areas which include the ruins in Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. Obviously you should only enter sacred places respectfully dressed and that also includes the ruins above too. This means having your arms and legs covered, your head bare and no shoes. It isn't too much to ask for you to be respectful in an area such as this, so if you aren't, be prepared for backlash.

 

2 - They Just Want Your Money Love...

It is lovely when you get a bit of attention from a handsome young/or not so young man when you're strolling down the beach on holiday. It boosts your self esteem. It makes you feel like a super model. It leaves you broke and looking foolish. I'm not saying all young men are after your money but the so called 'Beach Boys' in Sri Lanka are. They are very self-assured and charming and it is very easy to fall for their charming smiles but don't, they only want your cash. You need to ignore them completely or firmly tell them to sod off but maybe not in that way, be politer than me if you wish, just don't give them the time of day or they'll ruin your day completely.

4 - Quietly Does It...

We are a noisy bunch us westerners and we can be a bit daunting for the local Singhalese and Tamils people as they speak so sweetly and softly to each other even when they are mad. They think it is a bit weird that we think we can achieve anything by raising our voices and waving our hands around like weirdo's. It is obviously a better way of life being quiet as they are always laughing! Something to think about hey?!

5 - It's A Punishable Offence To Take A Photo Next To A Statue Of Buddha...

I'm not kidding you, if you stand next to a statue of Buddah in Sri Lanka for a photo you can be hauled away by police and punished... I dread to think what punishment they give so just don't do it.

7 - They're not Stupid So Don't Forget To Haggle...

The market holders and shopkeepers of Sri Lanka are not stupid, they know us tourists like to haggle on holiday and so they up the price before you even have the chance to start. I have a thing about haggling in these places, I love to do it but in the same breath I know that those few extra Rupees could mean food for their children for a week. So pace yourself when thinking you're being clever and getting a deal, you might make or break their day... however, don't get walked over and pay double, they will find this offensive too. Swings and roundabouts.