Health and Safety
Sri Lanka is widely considered safe to travel in and violent crime against foreigners is rare.
Sri Lanka is also known for being one of the countries in the world where you are most likely to die from a snake bite, and if this happens you need to seek medical attention immediately. There are five species of poisonous snakes in Sri Lanka and they are particularly common in the north where it is hot and dry. Take care if you are trekking or are walking anywhere off the beaten track and water sensible boots and long trousers. If you do get bitten, try to get a look at the snake so that you can give a description to a doctor, although don’t endanger yourself further doing this.
General vaccinations recommended for all travelers to Sri Lanka include diphtheria, hepatitis A, tetanus, yellow fever, hepatitis B and Japanese encephalitis.
Dengue fever is prevalent in Sri Lanka and visitors should take precautions to avoid being bitten. These include using insect repellent, avoiding going out at dusk, and covering up using long sleeved clothes at night. There is no vaccination or treatment as such for dengue fever.
The risk of malaria is low in Sri Lanka although there are seasonal outbreaks in some parts around the north and north-east so if you plan to travel to these areas make sure to consult with a healthcare professional and consider taking anti-malarials.
When it comes to health issues Sri Lanka is a lot better than many other tropical countries and you can expect a reasonable standard of medical care. That said, there are some things to look out for if you travel here and you should make sure you take out comprehensive travel insurance. For some more general information, feel free to check our page about health precautions.