WARNINGS & IMPORTANT CONTACTS
TOP 10 DANGERS OF SRI LANKA
1. Roaming Wild Mammals (Elephant, Leopard, Bear – stay off the road after 4:30pm, especially because of Elephants)
2. Poisonous and Man-Eating Reptiles (Indian Cobra, Russell’sViper, Green Pit Viper, Common Krait, Sri Lankan Krait, Python, Kabaragoya – Asian Water Monitor, Saltwater Crocodile - live in rivers and lakes and get swept into the sea near river mouths)
3. Deadly Diseases (Dengue Fever, Malaria, Rabies – prevent bites by Mosquitoes and don’t get bitten by animals such as dogs, cats and monkeys)
4. Diarrhoea (avoid eating food that you are unsure about and only drink branded bottled water and soft drinks – don’t put ice cubes in your drinks)
5. Sea Bathing, Swimming and Coconuts (beware of undercurrents and quicksand because there are only a few beaches that have lifesavers; watch out for falling coconuts)
6. Touts, Pickpockets and Thieving Monkeys (be careful when accosted by tourist guides especially if you are a woman; protect your valuables carefully when walking because of pickpockets and beware of thieving monkeys that snatch handbags, wallets, cameras, mobile phones as well as food)
7. Dangerous Drivers (although drivers generally obey the road rules always “expect the unexpected” and remember that public bus drivers don’t care about road rules or common courtesy)
8. Public Holiday Blues (shops and other facilities are generally are closed during public holidays, including full-moon days, and it is almost impossible to buy alcohol so make sure you have sufficient stocks)
9. Moonshine and Illegal Substances (don’t try “Kassippu” because that brew is illegally distilled without any quality control; avoid using illegal substances because there are heavy penalties and you certainly don’t want to spend time in a Sri Lankan jail)
10. Creepy Crawlies (avoid being bitten by Tarantula Spiders and bed lice, stung by Scorpions and Centipedes, and particularly avoid blood-sucking Leeches that climb up your legs from undergrowth and drop on to your body from branches)
TOP 10 IMPORTANT TELEPHONE CONTACTS IN SRI LANKA
1. Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (Tourism Hotline: 1912)
2. Government Information Centre (Hotline: 1919)
3. National Help Desk (Hotline: 118)
4. Police Emergency Service (Hotline: 119)
5. Bandaranaike International Airport (011 225 2861 – 5)
6. Flight Information: All Airlines (1973) (019 733 2377)
7. Tourist Police (011 242 1111)
8. St John’s Ambulance Service (011 243 7744)
9. Emergency and Rescue Service (Hotline: 110)
10. Colombo Fort Railway Station Enquiries (011 243 4215)
TOP 10 IMPORTANT WEBSITES FOR SRI LANKA
1. Sri Lanka Online Visa Applications (www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa)
2. Department of Meteorology (www.meteo.gov.lk)
3. Survey Department of Sri Lanka (www.survey.gov.lk)
4. Department of Archaeology Sri Lanka (www.archaeology.gov.lk)
5. Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (www.sltda.gov.lk) (www.srilanka.travel)
6. Government Information Centre (www.gic.gov.lk)
7. Department of Wildlife Conservation (www.dwc.gov.lk)
8. UNESCO World Heritage Centre: Sri Lanka (www.unesco.org/en/statesparties/LK)
9. English - Sinhalese Online Dictionary (www.kapruka.com/dictionary/englishtosinhala/jsp)
10. Sri Lanka Railways (www.railway.gov.lk)
TOP 10 ACTIVITIES THAT ARE ILLEGAL IN SRI LANKA
1. Mistreatment of holy places, especially Buddha statues – no inappropriate clothing, photos or gestures.
2. Visible tattoos of the Lord Buddha or wearing clothes showing images of the Lord Buddha – show respect not just to Buddhism but to all religions.
3. Possession or trafficking of drugs and other illegal substances will incur severe penalties, including the death penalty.
4. Prostitution is illegal even though there is an “underground” market which is known to also involve foreign women.
5. Child abuse is not tolerated by the law and is a cultural and social taboo which carries serious penalties.
6. Rape and sexual harassment is illegal and even making remarks against women can result in arrest and fines (possibly deportation).
7. Working or operating a business with a tourist visa can result in arrest, interrogation or deportation and can be unintentional (eg; engaging in public dialogue in an “official” capacity).
8. Nudity and indecency is not just illegal (eg; advertisements) but more importantly is considered a cultural taboo.
9. Overstaying your visa will result in arrest, detention or deportation and a visa fee and fine if detected at the airport.
10. Hunting of wild animals. Only feral animals such as Wild Boar and Porcupine can be killed and that too only to protect agricultural crops. Even in these instances the flesh cannot be transported off the land or sold.