Safety in Sri Lanka


We would like to talk about a sensitive but important topic: do you feel safe in Sri Lanka?

How would you define the level of safety in the country?

Can you walk safely during the day and at night without any fear?

Do you think there is a high rate of criminality, social problems or tensions?

Share with us your insight on safety in Sri Lanka and in the city you live in.

Thank you in advance,


I am based in Singapore, but have a residence in Colombo 5/ office in Colombo 8.  I travel in and out of Colombo about one week a month at minimum.
I have never felt unsafe in walking around my areas, or flagging a 3-wheeler day or night anywhere in the city. 
I have not personally experienced street harassment as a woman, though many friends tell me this is a commonplace and very distressing occurrence in Sri Lanka; I suppose for women in a younger age group it is a more significant concern.
Property theft seems to be something that everyone says is an issue, but with good security at my condo and office, I don't find it problematic either. 
Unfortunately, I have witnessed the beginnings of a new social tension.  I have heard otherwise intelligent people of Buddhist faith making anti-Muslim remarks based on what  appears to be someone's fear-mongering.  The number of Muslim people I have interacted with in Sri Lanka has shown me only moderate Islam, which is able to co-exist in a multi-religious society.  I hope the Buddhist-extremist anti-Muslim behaviour of Myanmar does not broadly infect Sri Lanka.  It would be a pity, especially after 30 years of civil war, one would think that all had learned it best to live peacefully with one's neighbours.

With /!\ I AM A STUPID SPAMMER /!\ intent on setting up throughout the countries the Far East, its important to be vigilant.

There are not many people on the road after 8.30pm because there is a lack of entertainment in Kandy.  Walking through the city even late in the night is safe.

You asked about safety. This is what happened to me in NEGOMBO.

I produced a magazine called "Discover Negombo". It was 16 pages, size A5. The centrefold was a map of Negombo listing the top restaurants as acoording to TripAdvisor. I also had my own adverts (I was a property agent there), a listing of activities, some adverts (a restaurant, a snooker parlour), and some articles. One of the articles was entitled "How to Travel to Colombo On A Budget". The white shirt tultuk association members who parole on the Negombo Beach Road took offense to this as they believed that it took away their business. I disagreed in that somebody on a budget would take a bus to Colombo and all I was doing was telling them which bus to catch. I was also accused of printing tuktuk fares. This is completely untrue.

When it came to distributing issue no. 3, I sent a copy of the issue to the Director of the White Shirt Tuktuk Association prior to it going into print.No problem, so it went into print. When I started to distribute this 3rd issue aroudn 8th May 2015 there was a mob of 43 white shirt tuktuk drivers ready to beat me up. Fortunately I managed to escape from the place I was but I had to go into hiding for 5 days before leaving the country.

I reported the incident to the British High Commission, Thiranee.Dalpethado of the British High Commission said they were going to talk to the Chief Officer of the Tourist Police, who replied that he would attend their next meeting and ask for a register to be produced to include the details of all their white shirt tuktuk members.

Another incident occured on 1st July when another British guy wanted to rent some commercial premises on Negombo Beach Road. This caused another riot by the white shirt tuktuk drivers, where they wanted to attack the people involved,

Another reply from the British High Consulate, this time from John Neil, states that he considers the streets of Negombo to be safe, and that if I felt unsafe then I should consider returning to the UK. In addition to the two events mentioned above, this was his reply after I had commented about
1. a man with a machete entering Serendib bar
2. regular fights by young drunken locals in Serendib and Rodeo bar
3. harrassment of females on the street (specifically a 14 yr old daughter of someone I know)

Other things that have happened in the area include a sexual harrassment in Albert Perrera Rd from a lady staying at Serendib Guest House (nothing to do with Serendib bar), attack on a Swedish singer, bag snatching from guys on motorbikes and on 7th July, a British citizen was bound in his home whilst they robbed his premises. SImilarly  a German lady was robbed in a house she was renting in Thaqquiar Road.

You can make your own mind up if it is safe in Negombo, Remember according to the British High Consulate, John Neil,  it is safe but if you don't feel safe then you should consider going back home.

A friend of mine living in Negombo wrote: We were once victims too; a couple of years ago outside the Beach Lodge harassed by two drunks....I was with family, brother, sons, nieces and nephews from overseas and it was no fun i tell you until we tactfully got rid of the menace...Not a cop patrolling the streets to even seek help from !!

We would like to talk about a sensitive but important topic: do you feel safe in Sri Lanka? 

How would you define the level of safety in the country?
You can travel all over the island and stay.

Can you walk safely during the day and at night without any fear?   
Daytime OK    /   night hours questionable (?)

Do you think there is a high rate of criminality, social problems or tensions?
average, but at present some time it goes high - because of the general election....(17th August 2015)
Share with us your insight on safety in Sri Lanka and in the city you live in.
whatever comes we have to face and deal, and handle containment of contradiction to live life.

Thank you in advance,

Yes, I believe safety is high in Sri Lanka. You can walk on the roads at night, alone, but like anywhere else in the world, you need to be careful, cautious, and aware of your surroundings.

Although, at times, Sri Lankan men tease lone 'white' women if they are walking on the streets - they get this 'habit' from western movies which often portray women, especially western wormen, as being promiscuous.

All in all, I would say that Sri Lanka is one of the safest cities in the world.

I've lived in Sri Lanka for eight or nine out of the last twelve years. I'm middle aged and fat. And yet, I've been on the receiving end of a scary amount of sexual harrassment. The constant staring doesn't bother me so much, although it's pretty obvious that it happens. Men, even when knowing that I'm happily married, will hit on me and hit on me and hit on me on the assumption that, because I'm white, I'll sleep with them anytime anywhere. Thanks, Hollywood. Ten years ago, I was at the National Museum by myself when I ended up being surrounded by a crowd of teenage boys there on a school trip - laughing and harrassing me. Luckily I wasn't physically harmed, but it was... So very very very disconcerting and odd and so completely inappropriate and harrassing. And mob mentalities engage quickly here.

I've heard so many horror stories from other women here, mostly locals but also expats. If you're a woman in Sri Lanka, you're not particularly safe if you're by yourself. Which is why I don't go out by myself at all anymore and likely won't ever again except for very rare circumstances.

I love Sri Lanka for the most part. Just... not this.

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