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Solo trip

AUS
Level Contributor
65 posts
13 reviews
Solo trip

Hi I’m heading to Sri Lanka for 10-12 days and am torn between going solo or joining a tour (Exodus or similar). Tour seems easy and will be with others for company. However, it includes a few things I rather not waste time doing and misses a few things I do want to do.

Is hiring a driver easy/safe? Do I pay their accomodation as may be too expensive? How do I organise activities like hikes/safaris/tea plantation or do they help? Is walking around towns safe if not in a group? Any advice appreciated!

14 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
16 posts
1. Re: Solo trip

Do not hire a driver if you're a solo traveler as it is going to cost you a lot! use the public transport! Colombo of course you can use uber for travelling. it will save you more time and money i would say! and the uber drivers will take you to the necessary places like temples restaurants and shopping malls. Book your accommodations through online booking sites, you would get special rates when you book through them and it is more safer way too! The accomodation guild would arrange a tuk tuk to near by attractions. you always can bargain!

Enjoy your stay! BTW you can walk around alone, but be vigilant always!

Brisbane
Level Contributor
2,363 posts
104 reviews
2. Re: Solo trip

Hi travgirl 1

I see that you have been on TA for some time and have had a few conversations so assume you have some life and travel experience.

#1 could give the impression that travelling alone as a woman in Sri Lanka is, with some vigilance, somewhat of a breeze. I'm afraid that a lone woman needs to be very vigilant, more so than in Australia or anywhere else where vigilance around her personal safety is learned by a woman child early in life. Please search the forum for threads on safety for solo woman travellers.

You can definitely have an awesome holiday solo in Sri Lanka if you are well researched and well informed. I have, and do travel around without my husband. [Always, now, by private vehicle or tuk tuk hired via someone I know. Guesthouses have good, safe contacts for tuk tuks and even vehicles if you know the ball park cost and the quote is within it. Advantage is that someone knows who you are travelling or going about with.]

The main warnings are:

1. Don't take night trains and be wary on crowded buses and trains.

2. Choose accommodation carefully, especially the location eg not on lonely lanes. Use google earth to view locations

3. Be aware that anyone who approaches you and speaks has some idea/plan that is NOT good for you. This is true for every traveller with tuk tuk rides taking you to some unrequested place to good deal gem shops etc

4. Don't take any notice of that nice person who chats you up on a bus or train and tells you that this place is closed. not good and he can get you a better deal. These guys are very well organised and have caught very many trusting travellers !

5. Visiting bars and clubs alone is not safe behaviour, sometimes even with a male partner. Women who drink alcohol in Sri Lanka are not viewed well and own the men's behaviour. [as happens frequently anywhere]

Private transport: If you are thinking of joining a tour you can probably afford to hire a well recommended driver/guide who will not only take you where you want to go in your own time but also take care of your safety. The important words were "well recommended". The Top Questions on this forum are well worth reading for information and advice.

You do pay for driver accommodation if it's not available at your guesthouse or hotel. Unfortunately places seem to be stopping this or demanding an extra fee where previously they supplied it [incorprorated into the room rate.]

Driver/guides will arrange safaris and the like for you.

Walking around towns during the day is safe - with the previous advice in mind.

don't go alone at night unless there are other tourists around.

Regards Archi

Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
116 posts
22 reviews
3. Re: Solo trip

One to add - wear a ring on your wedding finger.Not very feminist, I know, but our feminist daughter still strongly recommends it to ward off unwelcome male attention.

R J
Level Contributor
136 posts
4. Re: Solo trip

Hi thank you both for your kind replies.

Archi, I heed your advice and that’s why I’d get a private driver. I’m just a little concerned to be alone with one for ten days and choosing a really good one (seems to be hundreds of them!). I don’t plan to be out at night anyway as prefer early to bed and up to make most of the days. I’ll just need dinner. I’ve emailed a few to get idea of price.

Good to hear about driver organising safari tour etc. i was worried to miss out if solo,.

Thank you again!

Brisbane
Level Contributor
2,363 posts
104 reviews
5. Re: Solo trip

Contact the DEs and frequent visitors for driver/guide recommendations.They won't usually contact you via PM with their contacts themselves due to spamming issues etc. It is important to secure a driver with whom you can be comfortable.Over the years most of our drivers have become friends and I know many other people who have also formed lasting friendships in this way.

You didn't say when your proposed trip will be. Keep in mind that December through February to March is peak season and well known and recommended driver guides become booked up well in advance. [They thrive on personal recommendation from genuine and happy clients.]

Regards Archi

Manchester, United...
Level Contributor
66 posts
105 reviews
6. Re: Solo trip

Hi travgirl1 I have completed two tours now as a solo female traveller and on both occasions used the same car and driver who was fantastic. The price that you get quoted will include all driver expenses including accommodation and food. I was more than happy to explore the areas that I stayed in obviously being aware of the same risks that I would be aware of anywhere, Sri Lanka is a wonderful country you will have a great time, let me know if you what any further info from a 'solo female traveller' perspective.

Toronto
Level Contributor
5,074 posts
34 reviews
7. Re: Solo trip

You need to be vigilant when traveling alone in Sri Lanka. Use your street smarts and commonsense. Avoid the big night clubs in Colombo hotels, don't go anywhere with strangers because they know a "special" place to see or a "special deal", avoid lonely places and unknown areas at night. Generally people are very friendly and will offer help and take care of you. One other thing, don't assume that police is always good and has no ulterior motives.

Using a car and a driver for the whole duration is a very good idea and go on personal recommendations. We had a really good driver two weeks ago and if you are interested PM me and I will provide contact details. He was personally recommended to us by people known to us and charged SLR 7500.00 per day.

AUS
Level Contributor
65 posts
13 reviews
8. Re: Solo trip

Thank you both! Somehow I missed your reply.. I have organised a driver so hoping we get on well as just me. But your comments have helped and I am very excited to go! Thank you so much!!! Happy to hear your favourite bits;)

Kalutara, Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
16 posts
1 review
9. Re: Solo trip

can i be your travel buddy in sri lanka, i am very friendly and approachable i am from kalurata its near to mirissa

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
5 posts
2 reviews
10. Re: Solo trip

Hi there,

I’m heading off on my solo trip soon. I was wondering if it would be possible for you to give me your drivers details as you speak highly of him!

Thank you!

Edited: 6:33 pm, November 27, 2017
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