Sri Lanka travel advice
- he Government of Sri Lanka has announced that foreign nationals, with the exception of foreign media crews, no longer need to have permission from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence before travelling to the northern districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaittivu and Vavuniya. See Safety and Security - Local Travel - North.
- Local elections took place on Saturday 8 October in a number of cities across Sri Lanka, including Colombo, Kandy, Galle and Nuwara Eliya. We are aware of violence in northern Colombo on the evenings of Friday 7th and Saturday 8th October. We understand that a senior advisor to the President, Bharatha Premachandra, was one of 4 killed and that a number of others were injured. A curfew was imposed, but has now been lifted. There is a risk of further violence around Mr Premachandra’s funeral, which is due to take place at 15:00 on Wednesday 12 October in northern Colombo.
- Political rallies in Sri Lanka have on occasion turned violent in the past. British nationals should avoid any political gatherings or rallies and beware of spontaneous large gatherings.
- The Government of Sri Lanka has announced its intention to suspend visas on arrival. We are awaiting confirmation of the date of that this will come into force. See Entry Requirements - Visas.
- There is a general threat from terrorism in Sri Lanka. Although the LTTE or “Tamil Tigers” suffered a military defeat in May 2009, the Government maintains extensive anti-terrorism powers and increased security measures including checkpoints. A highly visible military presence remains throughout the country. The last reported LTTE attack was in July 2009 but isolated attacks cannot be ruled out and could be indiscriminate. Foreign tourists and visitors have not been targeted in the past but attacks have occurred in places frequented by foreigners. See Safety and Security - Terrorism.
- Although the conflict is over, extensive military operations are still ongoing, clearing minefields, unexploded ordnance and locating LTTE weapon caches (hides). The security forces are also involved in the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Always obey orders from the security forces or signs warning about the danger from land-mines. Do not venture from the roads or cleared footpaths and if in any doubt, contact the local security authorities for local advice.
- The majority of visits to Sri Lanka are incident free, although there are an increasing number of incidents of credit card fraud, road accidents and drownings. See Safety and Security - Crime, Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel, Safety and Security - Local Travel -Sea Travel , Health and General - Consular Assistance Statistics.
- You should get comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. See General - Insurance.British nationals resident and/or working in Sri Lanka, or visiting for over one month, should register with theBritish High Commission in Colombo.
Taxis and hire cars are inexpensive in Colombo and tourist areas. Motorised rickshaws (tuk-tuks) are readily available for hire in towns and villages. Agree a price before you travel. Most drivers are respectable, although there have been reports of harassment, particularly of lone female travellers at night. You should exercise caution and change to a different rickshaw if you have any concerns about the driver or standard of driving.