Sri Lanka has secured the fourth position in Forbes Magazine’s 2024 ranking of the most sought-after solo travel destinations. The reports emphasize the impressive resurgence of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, despite facing various challenges in recent years.

This ranking stems from a recent survey conducted by Flash Pack, a travel company specializing in organizing small group excursions tailored for solo travelers aged 30 to 50.

Forbes has designated Japan as the top solo travel destination for 2024, with Argentina and Egypt following closely behind. The list continues with Colombia, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, Jordan, Thailand, the Philippines, Bali, and the Gili Islands securing spots 5 to 10.

Forbes Magazine, owned by Forbes, Inc., is a prominent American business magazine that publishes weekly. They feature original articles covering a wide range of topics including finance, industry, investing, and marketing.

The magazine highlights that as the fourth-most popular destination for solo travelers in 2024, Sri Lanka tourism offers guests a chance to experience an upcoming travel trend: slow travel by train. According to Thompson:

Sri Lanka has made a big comeback and its iconic upcountry train routes are a major part of its appeal.”

Curious to find out more about a solo holiday in Sri Lanka? Read below for more details and information.

What entails solo travel?

Planning to embark on your first solo journey marks a significant milestone for any traveler. It provides an opportunity to venture beyond familiar boundaries, enhance feelings of empowerment and independence, and allocate your time towards your precise preferences.

Yet, after gathering the courage for a solo adventure, the first thing that comes to mind is: Where is the ideal destination for solo travel?

To come to this decision, you must first define your interests and preferences. Consider the type of activities you enjoy, whether it’s exploring historical sites, relaxing on a beach, hiking in nature, experiencing vibrant nightlife, or immersing yourself in local culture. Make a list of your interests to narrow down potential destinations.

Next, determine your budget for the trip, including accommodation, transportation, food, activities, and any additional expenses. This will help you eliminate destinations that may be too expensive for your current budget.

Then consider other things such as safety, visa requirements, climate conditions, language and cultural aspects, and most importantly, solo-friendly travel destinations. Sri Lanka tourism promotes favorable conditions for all the afore-mentioned criteria!

Why consider Sri Lanka tourism as an ideal destination for solo travel?

After the conclusion of the 26-year-long Civil War in 2009, Sri Lanka witnessed a revitalization of its tourism infrastructure. Significant investments were made in hotels, tours, and transportation, making it an appealing destination for solo travelers. Although Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages, English is widely understood in major hubs like Colombo and Kandy.

What are the best places to visit in Sri Lanka as a solo traveler?

Sri Lanka tourism offers a captivating setting for immersive adventures. These include ancient cities, undulating hills, scenic railways, tea plantations, stunning coastline, and mountain pilgrimages.

Most journeys commence in the capital, Colombo, heading south to the port city of Galle, renowned for its fortifications and picturesque coastline, and providing opportunities for leopard-spotting in Yala National Park. Further inland lies the Cultural Triangle. Here you can explore ancient temples in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Kandy. Then embark on a scenic train journey for breathtaking views of tea plantations en route to Ella.

In the quaint coastal town of Kosgoda in the southern province, one can unwind on the beach, observe birdlife on the lagoon, and gain insights into the region’s turtle conservation projects. Haputale, situated in the southern Uva Province, boasts rich biodiversity and serves as an excellent location for activities such as white-water rafting, caving, and jungle hikes, particularly during the dry season.

What are the accommodation options as a solo traveler in Sri Lanka?

In places like Arugam Bay on the southeast coast, you’ll discover a variety of options ranging from beach huts and treehouses to boutique villas. In other popular destinations, there are spa hotels, villas, and inns catering to visitors. Opting for guesthouses presents an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in local life, often involving stays with welcoming families.

Is it safe to plan a solo holiday in Sri Lanka?

Several individuals embark on solo journeys to Sri Lanka annually, and the majority of these trips unfold without any issues. Nevertheless, it is advisable to consult the guidelines provided by entities such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK), the Department of State Travel Advisories (US), or the relevant local government agency in your country for the latest advice before your travel. Once you are in Sri Lanka, adhere to local advice, maintain situational awareness, and exercise vigilance regarding your belongings. Exercise caution when considering trekking routes during the monsoon season, as heavy rains can render trails unsafe due to washouts.

How to get around as a solo traveler in Sri Lanka?

One of the favored methods of transportation is to hire a car with a driver during your stay. Cities and rural areas are serviced by a combination of government and private buses. There are also air-conditioned coaches that accommodate fewer passengers than the often crowded regular buses. Opting for taxis is a practical choice if you’re heading to the coast, while, for instance, in the Cultural Triangle, a driver and car are more convenient due to less frequent bus services.

For covering longer distances during your solo travels in Sri Lanka, trains provide an ideal option. The Colombo Fort Train Station serves as the main hub, connecting you to destinations like central Kandy. The southeast train journey to Ella, cutting through lush greenery, is particularly picturesque. Choose to sit on the right-hand side for best views.

Tips for a solo holiday in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is renowned for its warm and hospitable atmosphere, focusing on adhering to local etiquette to honor the country’s culture and traditions. When exploring Buddhist temples, it’s essential to cover your shoulders and legs (particularly advisable for solo female travelers). Proper greetings involve shaking hands, and when dining, use your right hand. Additionally, thorough research is recommended before visiting any wildlife sanctuaries.

How to plan a solo holiday in Sri Lanka?

Simply get in touch with our friendly team of consultants at Travel Treasures Sri Lanka. We will help plan out a customized tour itinerary for you based on your preferences and budget. We can help with train tickets, private transport, hotel stays, excursions, and much more to make your holiday a memorable one!