Travelling broadens our perspective and helps us grow as individuals and part of that growth process is being respectful to other cultures and their way of thinking. Below are some tips to help you be a respectful traveler in Sri Lanka. There is so much to do and see here, that adhering to these tips will not be a problem and won’t leave you feeling deprived at all.
No Buddha images please
Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist country and quite conservative when it comes to being respectful and are sensitive to images of Buddha being displayed on items of clothing, bags or even as tattoos. This is so serious that it can lead to deportation if spotted, so instead enjoy this paradise island in peace by leaving any Buddha-image t-shirts, bags and such at home. And if by chance you do have a tattoo, keep it covered during your time in Sri Lanka.
Be respectful of places of worship
Correct attire is important when entering a place of worship, meaning that attire should be decent, and legs should be covered. At a temple, footwear should be removed as well, when you explore the environs of the temple. Be respectful of worshippers, avoid touching the Buddha statues and do not ever take a picture with your back turned to a Buddha statue. However, you can photograph the statues and can enjoy the serene ambiance of the temple while you marvel at the detailed wall art you will find at most temples, depicting the different life stories of Buddha. You will leave with a sense of calm and inner peace.
Avoid too much PDA
The younger generations in Sri Lanka are ok with holding hands and even hugging in public but avoid any over the top displays of PDA as it is generally not condoned and will cause discomfort to others. Instead, explore this interesting island at leisure, grateful for the company of your partner or spouse and for the fact that you do not have to see over the top PDA from others either.
No topless or nude sunbathing
The island is paradise with miles and miles of golden beach, fringed by coconut trees and gently lapped by the Indian Ocean. It is the place to sit back, bask in the sun and acquire that golden tan you have always wanted, while taking occasional cooling dips in the sea. Just make sure not to do this topless or nude. Other than that basic requirement, you can pretty much spend your time on the beach as you please, immersed in a book, dozing or even gazing out at the horizon while sipping a refreshing cocktail.
Ask before snapping
Avoid taking pictures of places, such as a temple, museum etc., without first checking if is allowed or if a permit is required. It is a gesture of respect that will be appreciated.