What to wear in Sri Lanka

by | Mar 26, 2017

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Last updated on November 19th, 2023

I travelled in Sri Lanka will a friend who was born and partly raised there. Her rule: shorts will do in the country, but when in the cities such as Kandy or Columbo, a skirt or dress is a must. Citizens are insulted by shorts on a woman as it is considered just too casual.

Jennifer, Winnipeg, Canada

I lived in Sri Lanka for 14 months. Local women dress very conservatively: long skirts, saris and covered shoulders. Err on the side of respectability or you’ll stand out – and I emphasize stand out – and attract all the wrong kind of attention. I frequently saw female tourists shopping in beach towns in bathing suits, which would be offensive to locals. Wear what you like in the confines of a resort, but cover-up when you’re walking on the beach or traveling around this gorgeous country. Oh, and showing your legs and shoulders is a no-no when you visit many of the religious sites around the island, including the famous Temple of the Tooth in Kandy.

Jennifer, Kitchener, Canada (2007)

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