In any place where travelers come to visit , there are bound to be social and legal rules that need to be observed to ensure an uneventful trip. Taking the time to know these rules and abiding by them shows respect for the host country. Travelers will have to take particular note of acts that are not usually seen as violations in other countries.
1. Do not take pictures without permission.
Visitors are reminded that it is necessary to ask permission if pictures are to be taken of people particularly in sacred places like temples, including monks. Any refusal must be respected. There are also designated places where taking pictures are strictly prohibited including dams, airports, roadblocks, and anything related to the military. There are certain guidelines to be observed when taking pictures of murals. It has to be noted that there are certain places which will require payment when pictures are taken so it is always best to clarify.
2. Do not bring in or out prohibited materials.
Prohibited imports in Sri Lanka include firearms, explosives and dangerous weapons, antiques, animals, birds, reptiles (dead or alive) and parts, tea,rubber, coconut plants, dangerous drugs, and pornographic materials. Avoid buying souvenirs made of tortoise shells, ivory, and ebony,as these resources have become very scarce thus production of such are encouraged if not out-rightly banned by the government. It is also considered illegal to export antiques without a license.
3. Do not disrespect cultural differences.
Dealings with local people should be done according to the prevailing ways in the country and should not be the other way around. Demanding tourists usually do not get the cooperation and respect of locals. It would be a more fruitful visit if communication and interaction with the locals are done harmoniously.
4. Do not break corals or buy it when offered for sale.
Buying coral shells directly affects the already fragile ocean environment of the country. It is illegal and will be punished by a heavy fine. This is true with all marine products found in Sri Lanka.
5. Do not forget to obtain correct information about the country’s social etiquette.
Such things as the form of greeting used and the consequence of refusing when offered tea are very important for courteous interaction with the people of Sri Lanka. It does not take much effort to know these things. However, failure to observe the accepted practices may be deemed insulting whether or not it is due to ignorance or plain disrespect.