Etiquette

Sri Lanka is an easy place to navigate if you remember a few key points.

  • Temple footwear Remove shoes and hats at temples. Socks are OK for walking scorching pavements.
  • Clothing Cover shoulders, arms and legs at temples as directed.
  • Buddha statues Never pose beside or in front of a statue (ie with your back to it), as this is considered disrespectful.
  • Buddha images Displaying body art or wearing clothing that includes an image of the Buddha can get you arrested and deported.
  • Photography Ask permission before photographing people. A few business-oriented folk like the stilt fishermen at Koggala will ask for payment.
  • Beach attire Nude and topless sunbathing are not allowed on beaches.
  • Modesty Overt displays of affection are frowned upon.
  • Avoid left hands These are considered unclean. Use both hands or just your right.