How it works:
- Unofficial guides:
- Version 1: latch on to you, provide low quality, unsolicited advice, then demand a fee.
- Version 2: giving you wrong directions to get you lost to get you to engage their service (e.g. Ella Rock)
- Tour touts:
- Claim a place is closed, then offer to bring you around and help you get “local prices”.
- Tell you of a big ceremony nearby and will arrange a tuk-tuk which they call a government tuk-tuk which brings people to the event.
- You will be ripped off by the tuk-tuk and end up at a gem shop or spice garden.
Places to beware:
- Colombo: Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple, Viharamahadevi Park, Galle Face Green, Colombo Fort
- Ella: Ella Rock, Demodara Nine Arch Bridge
- Galle: Galle Fort, Sinharaja Forest Reserve (south entrance), Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications, Bentota Beach
- Kandy: Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy Lake
- Matale: Sigiriya World Heritage Site, Citadel of Sigiriya – Lion Rock
- Negombo: Negombo Fish Market
What to do:
- Get a licensed, reputable guide instead:
- Offline operators: ask – is the operator licensed? Is there a website, office and working phone number? Are there real online reviews? What does the price cover – is it too cheap?
- Online platforms: GetYourGuide (leading day tour platform globally) also has many popular tours (e.g. Colombo tour, Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Cave Temple tour, Udawalawa National Park, etc), or check out this page for the best tours in Sri Lanka.