Travelling Solo In Sri Lanka

Apr 18 2016.

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Perils Of Solo Travellers In Sri Lanka 

For many young foreigners travelling solo is a rite of passage. Leaving school and taking a gap year or taking time out between jobs to travel the world is the norm. With Sri Lanka on the list of several publication’s ‘must visit’ destinations, several hundreds of young people are on a voyage of discovery of this paradise island. However travelling solo around Sri Lanka does have its pitfalls. The general bane of solo travellers are tuk tuk drivers who hound tourists, over amorous people on buses and being overcharged. Living Life spoke to a bevy of solo female travellers at Hangover Hostel in Mirissa and gleaned a few interesting tales from them. 

Cosima Sommer, 24, an intern from Germany has already spent three weeks of an 18 week trip to Sri Lanka. “The tuk drivers are always pestering me for phone numbers. Even though I never given them the number they are really persistent. In general they quote higher prices as they say I am a tourist so I can afford to pay more. They don’t realise how hard some of work back home to save money to travel the world like this and we don’t want to be ripped off.” Apart from tuk drivers Cosmina was told at a restaurant in Mirissa that she would have to pay more than the locals despite her eating the same food as the locals. 

Emma De Thouars, 27, a food writer from Holland has been travelling around the world for the last seven months. She has spent two weeks in Sri Lanka and decided to visit this country after hearing about its natural beauty and friendly people. “Yes the people are friendly, but be prepared to be stared at a lot especially if you are in non-tourist areas. I was on a bus to Udawalawe and the conductor sat next to me and kept talking. After being friendly for a couple of minutes he kept asking me if I had a boyfriend. After I had said yes I then started to listen to my music but the conductor took out his phone and started showing me various selfies of himself. Even though I was ignoring him he continues to show his photos. It was unnerving at that time but now in hindsight I can have a laugh at it. It is also crazy that even the shortest tuk ride can prompt the driver to ask for my number and one even told me that he was looking for an European wife! My advice to young solo travellers is to always cover up when you are travelling especially on public transport." 

Carlijn Schurink, 27, from Holland received a marriage proposal on the second day of her holiday in Sri Lanka after a mere five minute conversation! "Relaxing on the beach in Negombo a local guy asked if he could sit next to me and then after a general chat he said he wanted to marry me. I was so shocked at the time but now it is laughable. I then ignored him and he then took the hint and moved on to the next tourist I presume.” 

By Tina Edward Gunawardhana


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