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Sri Lanka Tour Guide – How to Choose?

A “Sri Lanka tour guide” assists tourists in exploring places and learn new things about Sri Lanka.

A guide by profession is someone who has a good knowledge of places, their archeological importance, and also of the history related to areas. When tourists come to Sri Lanka, guides are there to help the tourists visit sites in Sri Lanka and gather knowledge about those places.

Here is a video from Touropia…

Sri Lanka is a country with a 2500-year-old history. Sometimes, even more. There are quite a lot of historically significant places to visit all around Sri Lanka. For instance, Sigiriya is considered the world’s 8th wonder by the locals.

In addition to that, Sri Lanka is also a country rich in scenic beauty. From the warm sand beaches through thick rain forests to the cold mountain tips, there are hundreds of places to visit in this small emerald isle.

Therefore, Sri Lanka tour guide plays a crucial role in making sure the tourists get the most out of their visit.  

Most of the tourists come from India, Germany, USA, China, France. Languages people use are different. It sometimes acts as a barrier for tourists to experience most out of their stay in Sri Lanka. Although locals use English as the universal language, native people in Sri Lanka use their native language, Sinhala. Therefore, it might be difficult sometimes for tourists, even to buy something from a shop in Sri Lanka.

In this case, tour guides become very useful to connect with native Sri Lankan people and share knowledge and ideas. It might come in handy to whoever wants to have an authentic Sri Lankan experience.

Sri Lanka Tour Guide - Charges?

The service charge for guides can vary from USD 10 per day to USD 60 per day.

This amount depends on the

  • Size of the group of tourists
  • The demand
  • Experience
  • Knowledge

and many other factors.

If you are using a separate driver, then, along with the service charge, there is something called the driver’s bata that tourists have to provide. Driver’s bata is a small provision for the driver to cover his expenses for his meals, tea, or a drink and some snacks. Usually, around USD  4-5 is given per day. That is from Rs.700 to Rs.900 per day.

For long-distance travel, sometimes you might have to stay overnight. In this case, you can agree on paying an extra $10 for the transfer.

But,

if you register yourself to an all-inclusive tourist package, then you might not want to consider all these expenses for guides.

Government Official Website

You can book a tourist guide through the government website for tourists who are touring Sri Lanka. Click the button below to go to the official website to find your tour guide.

On the website, you will find close to 1500 Sri Lanka tour guides registered in the Sri Lankan tourism board. All the information, including name, email, address, telephone number, and the website shows their registration number as well.

Finding a Sri Lanka tour guide at the Site

However, there is another way that you can approach a guide if you want information regarding a specific place.

For instance, say you are visiting Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. Say you want a guide to assist you in the trip to Sigiriya. Some guides are at the entrance of Sigiriya, waiting to help tourists tour throughout the premises. So, at the gates, you can talk to one of such guides, ask for the price and then book one of the guides to guide you throughout the Sigiriya premises.

Likewise, there are guides located in most of places where you can simply book one there. You can find such guides at the below-mentioned sites.

  • Sigiriya
  • Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa ruins
  • Dambulla temple
  • Safaris
  • Peradeniya botanical gardens
  • Horton plains
  • Knuckles mountains
  • National parks

These types of guides are licensed site guides.

Licensed Sri Lanka Tour Guide

In addition to all that, there is another type of guide called a licensed Sri Lanka tour guide. There are two categories under licensed tour guides.

  • Handle small tourist groups (1 – 7 people)
  • Has his vehicle
  • Driven by himself
  • Sri Lanka tourist board allow them to take any number of people to any place in the country
  • Has large coach buses
  • Usually has a dedicated driver and a helper
  • Usually, handle larger groups

Although, I’m telling loads of details and facts on Sri Lankan guides, the real reason I am writing this blog post is to communicate some key points that every tourist needs to know before booking a Sri Lanka tour guide.

In Sri Lanka, apparently, tourism is a developing industry. Even though there are laws to protect the tourists who travel to Sri Lanka, there are one or two culprits who may try to scam the tourists and loot their money.

Therefore, all the tourists who travel in Sri Lanka need to know how to get rid of fraud. Hence, the list below shows some of the ways that these fraudulent tour guides can scam tourists when they search for a guide to lead their way.

sri lanka beach

Sri Lanka Tour Guide Scams

The Liar

As I have explained before, guides help tourists understand the historical significance of historic sites all over Sri Lanka. Also, guides give facts and details about different places in Sri Lanka and explains why a particular area or thing is significant. 

There are trained professional guides too for this purpose registered under the tourism board of Sri Lanka.

But sometimes you might note that there are many people near historic sites claiming that they are guides. Evidently, some of them are frauds. They will demand you a price and take you through several ancient ruins and spill out lies as much as they can to make you believe what they say. Sometimes they might not even speak proper English.

Over Charger

I have given you the standard rates that all the guides go for commonly. However, there is a fraudulent set of tour guides who demand a high amount compared to the standard rates. Usually, tourists fall into this trap because of not knowing the prices for tour guides in Sri Lanka.

Networker

Some of the guides have their network of acquaintances where he gets the tourists into contact.

For instance, spice gardens in Sri Lanka are one such node in the network where most of the tour guides have useful contacts. Therefore, the guide will give a colorful picture of the spice garden, pitching it sky-high and suggests the tourists experience the products. Say tourists buy some products from the spice garden. The percentage of those sales are given back to the guide from the spice garden as commission.

However, there might not be an issue in this if the products are of high quality and fair price. But in “some” of the spice gardens in Sri Lanka, the products are labeled with skyrocketing costs for a moderate quality product. In that case, it is looting the tourists trying to sell something to them. There is a separate blog post about spice gardens in Sri Lanka and how to find out the right places where the tourists can gain quite a lot of knowledge regarding spices in Sri Lanka and their uses.

Not only spice gardens, but it can also be restaurants, shopping malls, historical places, etc.

Review Requester

Tour guides who are having high reviews get the chance to gain more attention from the tourists coming to Sri Lanka. In that way, they can market themselves since they are endorsed by tourists visited early. Of course, this method is suitable if they genuinely follow it.

But, in some cases, the guide demands good reviews from tourists. In this manner, they try to show themselves as better guides, which is a false reality. New tourists tend to get caught into this trap as well too.

Tourists should always consider whether they were delighted with the guidance of the person before giving him a review.

How to get rid of these scams?

Always book tour guides recommended by Sri Lanka Tourism Board. The link is posted below for reference again.

Sri Lanka Tour Guide – Official Website

If you go to the website, you will find out details about the guides. Know their language skills and check their experience before you choose them.

There are many apps and websites regarding the information about the guides and places to which tourists travel.

Furthermore, there are a lot of tourist reviews about Sri Lanka tour guides

Tourists who traveled to Sri Lanka has reviewed many guides. Those reviews can be considered authentic and accurate reports to a certain extent. Trip-Advisor website gives places where you can search for reviews.

Before booking a guide, finalize all the payments that you might have to incur.

As explained before, check the license of the guide and see to which category he falls in.

  • Chauffeur or national guide?
  • Is there a helper?
  • What is the cost of a guide per day?
  • Drivers bata (allowance)?

There are ancient relics and ruins in all areas of Sri Lanka. Half the time, you can find the information you need about the place at the site itself. In addition, if you search Google using the same name, you will get loads of information about the site and its history.

Certainly, knowing the history of the ruins might blow your mind in a place like Sigiriya.

There are many other places like Sigiriya all over Sri Lanka.

There are many areas in Sri Lanka that tourists can visit. Tourists can go down south, Jaffna, central hills, knuckles, etc.

Get a list of places where the guide is taking you. Then, google each destination and check the reviews for those places.

There are some lovely places which are rich in natural and scenic beauty. So, search for those places and request the guide to take you to those places.

If you follow the steps given above one by one, you will be able to explore Sri Lanka as much as you can within your period of stay without getting caught into scams.

In this way, you can make the most out of what you pay. What I believe is that you should not travel having tight schedules. I think you should loosen up the plans a little bit, give yourself time to feel the authentic Sri Lankan culture, the people, nature, and its great history.

Take a deep breath, release your difficulties and problems with the air you exhale, let nature take control of you in your stay, 2 weeks is enough to heal you totally, that is Sri Lanka. :)

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23 Comments

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