Sri Lanka has a reasonable risk of low-level crime and foreign travelers can become vulnerable. Theft and pickpocketing are common in densely populated areas, including known tourist hotspots and hotels. Criminals are likely to target individuals who are unaware of their surroundings or have valuables such as smartphones, purses or other electronic devices on display. Violent crime and armed robbery cannot be ruled out.
In 2019, Colombo was the target of an IS terrorist attack which caused significant damage to the region. This was believed to be a coordinated attack with the use of suicide bombers and resulted in mass casualties at several places of worship and luxury hotels. The attacks appeared to be well-planned with the intent to cause maximum damage within the Christian and tourism community. Most visits to the region have been unaffected by terrorism, however foreign visitors should remain cautious to the risk.
Driving in Sri Lanka can be challenging if unfamiliar with the environment and local driving style. Many drivers use excessive speed, with aggressive or reckless behavior when traveling on major roads, and overuse of horns is common. Road conditions are considered poor in relation to western standards and the region lacks suitable infrastructure.