Is Sri Lanka safe?

With Red Dot Tours, you can be sure that your health and safety is taken seriously. As the world comes to terms with Covid-19, the urge to travel has returned as strongly as ever. There is a big world out there and many are eager to see it. Some of you will be warier, but still want to plan a holiday. Assessing the risk of on your holiday to Sri Lanka will mean different things to different people. As the world comes to terms with a new reality, you have a right to expect proper safety standards and precautions from airlines, drivers, guides and hoteliers. When you ask “can I have a holiday in Sri Lanka after Covid-19?” you deserve a detailed answer. Below, we seek to give you all the information you need.


Sri Lanka and Covid-19

The severity and extent of Covid-19 figures is constantly being monitored throughout the world and that is likely to remain for some time. Red Dot’s response to the height of the Covid-19 pandemic was swift and professional. We have 20 years’ experience in providing Sri Lanka holidays and have built our reputation during good times and bad. We are constantly evaluating health and safety measures for our staff and all those we work with, including our drivers, recommended properties and activity providers. Sri Lanka successfully offered a quick and reliable Covid testing service in main tourist areas for those who need it. Entering 2023, masks could still be seen quite regularly in shops.


Essential Points

  • Visitors can apply for an online visa through
  • Fully Vaccinated travellers are exempted from pre-departure Covid-19 PCR/ Rapid Antigen tests.
  • All travellers are exempt from on-arrival PCR / Rapid Antigen tests
  • Partially or non-vaccinated travellers, including children of 12-18 years, must produce a pre-departure PCR test (72 hours before departure) or rapid antigen test (48 hours before departure, no self-swabs allowed). Children under 12 are exempt.
  • Travellers who have had Covid-19 within the previous six months are counted as fully vaccinated under circumstances detailed below.
  • Vaccination certificates or cards must be produced at the airport (in English or with certified English translation).
  • No quarantine required irrespective of vaccination status
  • No requirement to submit a Health Declaration Form.
  • Sri Lanka’s once-mandatory Covid-19 Insurance is no longer required. However, we strongly advise that our travellers take out Travel Insurance.
  • All travellers can travel freely but they are advised to use Safe and Secure certified accommodation providers and travel agents

(Based on Government advice on January 14, 2023)


Is Sri Lanka safe?

Before the Covid pandemic, Sri Lanka was regularly praised as one of the hottest travel destinations in the world and its recovery is already underway.

Sri Lanka is once again a generally safe, welcoming and easy-going country for visitors.

Throughout the world, Governments have relaxed their cautious travel advisories after Sri Lanka’s economic problems brought mass protests, especially in the capital Colombo. There was some violence at the time as police and security forces dispersed crowds.

It bears repeating that there was minimal hostility towards holidaymakers whose presence has always been widely appreciated. But if you happen to come across a protest or demonstration, it is always sensible to keep your distance. Carrying your passport at all times is also worth considering, although many prefer to keep them safely locked away in their accommodation.

With Red Dot, you can be sure that your health and safety is being taken seriously. You have a right to expect proper safety standards and precautions wherever you go.


I don’t want to risk being stranded without fuel.

The Sri Lanka Tourist Fuel Pass Card is a successful foreign currency top-up card that was brought in during the country’s economic crisis. Tourists can use it to get unlimited fuel and priority access at fuel stations – recognition of how vital tourism is to the economy. The priority treatment has brought minimal complaints.


Are tourists at risk of violent crime in Sri Lanka?

Statistics continue to prove that violent crimes against foreigners are infrequent. Most violent crime occurs within local communities, often between rival gangs. More frequent are petty crimes such as fraud, stealing of money or credit cards, or confidence tricksters.


Can a young woman travel alone in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka culture can sometimes be challenging for a young woman travelling alone. The services of a travel company such as Red Dot add an extra layer of experience and security. Take sensible precautions. Young women occasionally suffer verbal or physical harassment, especially by groups of men in tourist areas, in crowds, or on public transport. Follow rules you would follow anywhere in the world: beware accepting drinks from strangers at bars and restaurants, and don’t leave drinks unattended.


Has Sri Lanka’s civil war left any effects for tourists?

The 26-year-old terrorist war between the Sinhalese-dominated Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended in 2009. Rebuilding of the north and east continues. There is free movement everywhere apart from high security zones. Checkpoints have drastically reduced. There is some military presence. Clearance of mined areas is a long process so if you see a sign warning of mined areas take it seriously.


Is the sea safe in Sri Lanka?

The latest estimates by the World Health Organisation estimates that as many as 235,000 died worldwide by drowning in 2019. Bear that statistic in mind every time you take to the water wherever you are. There are some fantastic beaches to enjoy, but many beaches in Sri Lanka have dangerous currents, especially outside high season (December to April on the west and south coast). Always take local advice and, in tourist areas, watch out for red flags. A number of foreign nationals, as well as locals, drown every year.


Is it safe to drive a car, take a tuk-tuk or hire a scooter in Sri Lanka?

Travel has its dangers in Sri Lanka and that is why we recommend our own fleet of experienced chauffeur-guides, who follow a Drivers’ Safety Code (link to Sri Lanka's roads will seem chaotic to all but the most experienced traveller in Asia. Know your limits and exercise extra caution at all times.

Independent car hire is possible upon production of credit card and driving license but, as chauffeur-driven cars can be arranged for similar cost, they are strongly advised.

Particularly in the main tourist destinations, scooters are popular and available for hire. Most often, scooter/motorbike rentals are offered by locals running an independent business. We strongly advise that this should only be considered by those with experience riding in Asia.

Cycling is not to be recommended on anything but the quietest roads, as accident rates on busy roads are high.

Tuk-tuks are the simplest and cheapest way to travel. Good-natured price bartering is to be expected. If you are unhappy with your driver’s road safety, SAY SO.

Buses are also cheap and plentiful but driving standards vary enormously. They can be a hair-raising drive and carry additional risk.