Travel guides in Sri Lanka; a red colour pair of spectacles on a world map.

The rolling blue waves keep kissing the golden shores in Sri Lanka. Wonderful waterfalls stand majestically with white cascades of water shimmering and falling. The cultural and religious attractions remain in charm, showcasing the ancient grandeur and the majesty of the Sri Lankan heritage. Going beyond, the attractive and the wonderful festivals, create a mesmeric atmosphere while enhancing their sacred vibes. And why not? Sri Lankan also offers the luxury of witnessing the deluxe game of gambling. So, what else do you need to spend a delightful holiday of amusement? Thus, all these reasons have made Sri Lanka one of the significant tourist attractions of the world. Owing to these remarkable significance, of course, even you might be counting days to arrive in this splendid destination. If so, there would certainly be few reasons that would bother you. Among them, would be the doubt about travel guides in Sri Lanka.    

By chance, if such doubt is burdening you at the moment, let us guarantee you that this is a must-read. Of course, there are a good number of travel guides in Sri Lanka, who are inspired through passion. Especially, if you are travelling in Sri Lanka, for the first time, having a travel guide is indeed preferable in a way. Moreover, there are several types of travel guides in Sri Lanka, waiting to serve at their best. So, if you are looking for one, there are plenty of things that you need to think about. Making the right choice at the right time would perfectly make your travel in Sri Lanka a lifetime memory beyond doubt. Therefore, make sure that you think twice when choosing your travel guide. Having that in mind, let us now get to know all about travel guides in Sri Lanka.

A Full Overview on Travel Guides in Sri Lanka

By now, you might certainly be wondering about how to choose the best travel guide that suits you. Take it easy! We are ready to share everything that you need to know about travel guides in Sri Lanka. What follows are simply essentials that you need to know with regard.

The Importance of Having a Travel Guide in Sri Lanka

As you might already know, Sri Lanka offers you a series of amusements. Of course, you can always visit any of these splendours yourself, and witness their delight yourself. Still, we would suggest that having a travel guide in Sri Lanka is quite essential, and important. Wondering why? The following points would help you get to know why we say so!

1. Travel Guides in Sri Lanka know about this island like the back of their hand!

Obviously, travel guides in Sri Lanka have travelled around this island several times, and it is through their experience that they guide you. Thus, they simply know where to go, what to do, and how to get ready. Moreover, they possess that amazing skill of getting to know your interests and wishes, just after a small chat with you. Accordingly, they will certainly choose the best places that suit your interests. Apart from that, they have a perfect idea about how to adapt to situations, and change the plans accordingly. After all, a tourist is a visitor in Sri Lanka. So, the language, culture, the atmosphere and everything about local life here on this island, is a bit different than they imagine. Hence, having a travel guide is indeed important in Sri Lanka, to make your travel wonderful beyond words.        

2. Travel Guides have the capability of enlightening you about each and every destination

Simply, Sri Lanka is a paradise of marvels. In an island like this, your travel would surely remain incomplete, if you do not get a chance of getting to know their significance. This is the point where the importance of a travel guide comes on stage. Specially, the cultural and religious attractions in Sri Lanka, hold with them amazing mysteries woven through their ancient grandeurs and legends. Getting to know their beauties, along with their rich cultural values, is something that should never be missed. In this case, travel guides are the best, since they know the art of sharing the in-depth knowledge simply in your mother tongue. They certainly make sure that you enjoy each destination, without the regret of missing out anything. Therefore, we believe that a travel guide is important to make your travel in Sri Lanka, a lifetime experience.  

3. Travel guides helps you enjoy the trip in Sri Lanka in a mind of peace 

Travelling in a foreign country is never an easy task. Obviously, you will have to face a number of challenges. But believe us, a travel guide certainly assists you to smooth the wrinkles and creases that are bound to occur, when travelling around this beautiful island. Most travel guides in Sri Lanka, take care of the planning, organizing and managing your trip. Simply, they leave nothing at your hand to be fulfilled. From accommodation to transportation to food, to everything else, they get them all covered. Further, they make sure that all the bookings and reservations, with regard to your travel, happen upon your approval. Also, they have the exact skills and knowledge to hunt for the best, that goes along with your budget. Hence, considering all these facts, we can prove to you, that travel guides are treasures that relieve you from all the stress about your trip.

4. Travel Guides in Sri Lanka are superiors in fulfilling your expectations

All of us in this era are spending our lives in a rat race. Thus, it is once in a while that you get a chance to enjoy a holiday. But, what if your vacation that comes in a while ends up without fulfilling your expectations? Of course, it would remain a regret for a long time. So, the best thing is to take precautions to plan your holiday, in a way that suits your demands. In this case, a travel guide is the ideal person to help you with it.

Specially, Sri Lanka being a wonderful charm with plenty of things to do, what you really aim should be chosen with care. It is important to consider the time you visit Sri Lanka, and the number of days you spend there in order to make these decisions wisely, since the change that someone looks for differs from one to another. Moreover, some sites in Sri Lanka offer you a wide range of attractions, which would make it simply impossible for you to explore on your own. Owing to the exposure and the connections that the travel guides in Sri Lanka have, it is undoubtable that they possess the talent of striking the balance in between your choices, and lining you up the best. Therefore, it is clear that a travel guide in Sri Lanka would do their best to offer you an amazing travel experience that fulfills your expectations.

5. A travel guide in Sri Lanka, is simply more than a guide

Of course, Sri Lankans are beautiful in and out. They are a group of humans who do their best with smiling hearts. Thus, they even befriend you throughout the holiday and remain friends for a lifetime. So, are the travel guides in Sri Lanka. As long as you get familiar with them, they would share their experiences with you, and also recommend places, and enjoy with you. At a moment, they will be your guide. At the next moment, they will be your photographer. Again a companion, and a friend. So, indeed, the travel guides in Sri Lanka will be a person you can trust, and they will be a group of people with pleasing personalities, who are striving to do their best to make your trip memorable. Therefore, having a travel guide in Sri Lanka seems to be an important, and a good choice that you make.

Tips to Choose the Best Tourist Guide for you in Sri Lanka

Preferences when choosing the travel guides in Sri Lanka may differ from one person to person. However, there are many essentials that you need to consider when choosing a travel guide that suits you the best. The following tips would indeed help you make the right decision.

1. Choose an authorized tourist guide

Sri Lanka, being a significant tourist attraction, the tourism industry holds a special place in its economy. Thus, the government of Sri Lanka pays special attention to providing the highest possible satisfaction to the tourists from every corner of the world. Accordingly, the Sri Lankan government conducts a programme through which they train individuals as professional travel guides, and authorize them. This programme is conducted by the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management (SLITHM). The travel guides that they authorize through this programme are competent in their profession and possess the accurate and updated knowledge about the field. Moreover, they are bound to have their customers in safe hands along with their authorization. Therefore, it is always best to hunt for authorized travel guides in Sri Lanka, for a better and safe travel experience. 

2. Choose a travel guide who matches your interest.

Indeed, a tourist guide might be competent in his profession. Still, it is obvious that none of the travel guides are confident in all aspects of tourism, especially in an island like Sri Lanka. Some of the guides might be perfect for hikes, while some might be ideal for guiding you through the cultural and religious attractions. Meanwhile, some travel guides in Sri Lanka, would be the best for exploring the amazing wildlife in Sri Lanka. Likewise, even the travel guides have their own kind of specialization. Therefore, in order to witness the best out of your journey, the best is to choose a travel guide that suits your interests. And why not? It will help you save your time and efforts for sure. 

3. Ask for referrals from your known ones who have travelled in Sri Lanka earlier.

Of course, you might feel more safe and confident, if you have the chance of having a travel guide that one of your known ones recommend. In this scenario, you have the opportunity of knowing about their strengths and weaknesses prior to your visit. Accordingly, you can get to know how you should deal with that specific travel guide, and also you will feel easier to get familiar with him. Moreover, this will surely help you to avoid lousy travel guides in Sri Lanka. Therefore, it is always better to ask for referrals from your known ones who have accompanied a travel guide when travelling in Sri Lanka. This will make sure that your experience on this island is going to be more amazing than ever. 

4. Do a simple research online about travel guides in Sri Lanka 

With the rapid development of technology, all you need is just at your fingertips in the present. So, why not do a simple research about travel guides in Sri Lanka, before you choose one? Of course, this is indeed helpful. There are several online databases, and service providers that offer you travel guides. Moreover, the ratings and reviews there surely help you make a better decision. Therefore, we suggest that it is a must to do a simple research online when choosing the best travel guide for you, here in Sri Lanka.

5. Figure out when you are visiting to Sri Lanka

Of course, there are several peak seasons in the Sri Lankan tourism industry including the winter season in the European countries, and the festival seasons in Sri Lanka. By chance, if you are planning to arrive on this island, in a time period as such, there is no doubt that choosing a travel guide happens to be a challenging task. Therefore, make sure that you figure out when you visit Sri Lanka a bit earlier, and seek a travel guide at least two weeks prior to your visit. Doing so, will certainly help you plan your journey in the best way, avoiding snags in the course.    

6. Consider the languages that the travel guide is competent at

Language is the main linkage between you and your travel guide. Moreover, choosing a common language that both parties are comfortable with, surely enhances the mutual understanding, and helps you understand better and express better. Thus, the language is an essential factor to consider when choosing a travel guide. 

As you might already know, Sinhalese happens to be the main language of Sri Lankans, while Tamil and Maley happens to be used by a minority. However, the majority of the Sri Lankans are competent in using English. Further,  each and every travel guide in Sri Lanka has the ability of communicating in English. Hence, there is certainly no issue if you are seeking a travel guide who is confident in the English language. By chance, if you are wishing to have a travel guide who is familiar with any other languages, make sure that you concern it with top priority, since guides who are competent with certain languages are rare. Even so, if you are an early bird, surely you are able to find a travel guide who satisfies your language requirements. So, nothing to worry! Just keep in mind to consider this factor when choosing your travel guide.

7. Compare the rates and choose the best

Of course, wherever you choose as your destination, the budget plays a major role when you are planning a holiday! Thus, it is essential to consider the rates of various travel guides when choosing the best. When it comes to Sri Lanka, different travel guides have varying rates owing to their expertise, the distance and the number of days of the travel, and the services that they provide. Moreover, certain travel guides in Sri Lanka have a set of packages, from which you can select the best. Whatever the method you follow, make sure that you compare the rates of similar services, and choose the best that suits your budget. Online platforms would surely help you with these comparisons, and so does reviews and ratings. 

8. Consider the types of travel guides in Sri Lanka

By now, you are surely aware of the authorized travel guides in Sri Lanka. Still, you might perhaps not know that there are several types of travel guides here in Sri Lanka. In order to go for a better choice, it is better to have a good idea about these types. Wondering what they are? Take it easy! The following section would reveal you all about these different types of travel guides in Sri Lanka. Here we go!

Types of Travel Guides in Sri Lanka

Simply, you can find three main types of travel guides in Sri Lanka, among which two types are associated with a license. They are as follows.

  1. Licensed Tour Guides
    • National Guides
    • Chauffeur Guides
  1. Site Guides
  2. Licensed Tourist Drivers

Let us now get to know about them in detail.

1. Licensed Travel Guides in Sri Lanka

By now, you already know that it is the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management (SLITHM) that trains the travel guides in Sri Lanka. After completion of their training programs, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority authorizes them as travel guides upon which they can practice their profession anywhere within the island of Sri Lanka.   Accordingly, there are two types of authorizations that they issue, namely the National Tourist Guide, and Chauffeur Tourist Guide.

a) National Tourist Guide

individuals get the authorization to act as a National Tourist Guide, only after the completion of a training program which is conducted by the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management (SLITHM). This training programme is 4 months long, and it covers all the skills that a tourist guide should possess. In brief, this training program helps the followers gain the necessary knowledge about almost all the significant tourist attractions on this island. Moreover, all aspects of the art of sharing knowledge, impersonal skills, language skills, legal knowledge associated with the profession, as well as presentation skills, are further enhanced during this training period. Upon completing the programme, those who reach the expected competency levels would receive the certification, and get the authorization as a ‘National Tourist Guide’ in Sri Lanka. 

Thus, a National Tourist Guide reaches that position through a methodical and a qualified learning process. Hence, they are trained to render a quality service. Owing to these reasons, a National Tourist Guide in Sri Lanka is highly accepted, and many service providers in the tourism industry try their best to make them join their services. Accordingly, National Tourist Guides in Sri Lanka, guide large groups of tourists, who travel in luxury coaches with a reserved driver.

Going beyond, National Tourist Guides also conduct private tours with the help of a driver, while offering a range of amazing travel packages to the customers. Considering their qualification with regard to their profession, many tourists are pleased to choose a National Tourist Guide, as their travel guide. Hence, they are a group of guides, with a high demand in the present. Besides, their rates may vary depending on various factors, and the packages they offer.          

b) Chauffeur Tourist Guide

In order to obtain the authorization as a Chauffeur Tourist Guide from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, a person should complete a 3 months training programme. Of course, the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management (SLITHM) conducts this specific training programme as well.

Generally, what both these travel guides, National Tourist Guides and the Chauffeur Tourist Guides do is quite similar. Indeed, they act as guiding lecturers for their customers. Still, how they perform their job is quite different. Unlike National Tourist Guides, Chauffeur Tourists Guides, generally take care of small parties up to 7 packs. Moreover, they guide their group, while driving the vehicle that the tourists travel. Thus, there are a few minor differences between the training programme of a National Tourist Guide, and a Chauffeur Tourist Guide as well.

However, even the Chauffeur Tourist Guides’ training programme covers all aspects of guiding, including the soft skills needed for escorting tourists and doing narrations. Owing to this fact, many join service providers island wide, while some others conduct private tours.

2. Site Guides

Of course, you guessed it right! As the name suggests they are guides that you can find at the tourist sites in Sri Lanka. Since they are only focused on a few sites, they do not possess a good knowledge of attractions that are all over the island. They simply are at the entrance of a site. Whoever wants their service can pay them and have them as their guide for that certain site. Indeed, they will have a good talent for appreciating that particular attraction highlighting its significance. Further, you can even find site guides who are capable of communicating in several languages. Still, not every site guide would provide you with a quality service with reliable information. 

Site guides do not obtain that position through a methodical learning process or following a qualification. Moreover, they are not registered anywhere to practice as travel guides in Sri Lanka. Hence their profession solely depends on their talent and practice. Yet, their rates are extremely low, and they are a good option for tourists who are not willing to accompany a travel guide throughout their journey. Thus, site guides also have a good demand in Sri Lanka, and they can be easily found around the cultural and religious attractions on this island. 

3. Licensed Tourist Drivers

Simply, as the name suggests, they are not a group of guides. In brief, they are absolute drivers. Still, it is important that you know about them since they too act as a guide at several instances, even though it is out of their job scope.

Indeed, the main task of a licensed tourist driver is to take his travelers to the requested destinations, and to help them get the assistance of an expert site guide in any of the sites that they visit. However, there is a special benefit of travelling with a Licenced Tourist Driver. They are licenced by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, even though they do not follow any training programme in the field of tourism. Thus, they are bound legally to act responsible when they are engaged in their job.

Moreover, travelers have the opportunity of taking legal actions against these drivers, if anything inappropriate happened during their travel. Owing to this fact, several tourists, who do not wish to accompany a tourist guide, prefer to travel with a Licenced Tourist Driver in Sri Lanka. Hence, they are well known as a group of responsible drivers, and they have a high demand in the Sri Lankan tourism industry.

Average service charges of Travel Guides in Sri Lanka

As we always mention, no exact rate can be presented for any of the travel guide types we discussed. Still, we have herewith shared with you an average rate range for your information.

The average rate of a Licenced Travel Guide in Sri Lanka might vary between 10 USD per day to 60 USD per day. The rate of an English speaking guide would be the lowest, and by chance, if you are aiming at a tourist guide fluent in some other foreign language, surely, it will cost you high. Moreover, make sure that you finalize any other additional payments that the guides would demand for meals, accommodation, or any other requirements, prior to your journey, in order to avoid unexpected surprises.  

Further, tipping for a good service of a driver or a travel guide is common in Sri Lanka. However, tipping might be awkward when compared with foreign cultures. So, you can generously tip a driver or travel guide wholeheartedly if you wish to. If not, you can simply ignore it and go ahead with the rates discussed.      

After all, please note that these rates can highly differ depending on various factors such as below.

  • If you choose an expert travel guide with an experience of a number of years they would charge high.   
  • The rates vary along with the number of days of your journey.
  • Packages and rates might vary with the number of tourists in a group.
  • The rates of travel guides might be high for travels that focus on hikes and camps.
  • A travel guide might charge additional charges for change of plans, and for additional services that you expect.


In a world where millions of tourists love to visit Sri Lanka, the demand for travel guides on this splendid island keeps increasing day by day. Still, you have the full freedom to choose to have a travel guide or not. However, we suggest that having a travel guide would make your Sri Lankan travel an experience to cherish throughout your lifetime.

By now you already know what a marvelous island Sri Lanka is. Visiting these charming sites to view their delight, is indeed an exciting experience. Still, that experience would be incomplete without the help of a travel guide, since they have the potential of making that site come alive. Moreover, a travel guide has the talent of completely transforming your trip into a journey of amusements. Thus, having a travel guide always sounds nice to experience a perfect holiday with much relief.

However, having a travel guide for your journey does not simply mean choosing whoever that comes across. Of course, every guide is different. Yet, simple research would drive you to the right choice at the right time. Wishing you a safe and joyful trip to Sri Lanka!