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).