What is the Legal Drinking Age in Sri Lanka?

by Sophia

What is the Legal Drinking Age in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is a beautiful island nation in the Indian Ocean, known for its diverse culture, stunning nature, and rich history. If you plan to visit Sri Lanka and enjoy its attractions, you might also want to have a drink or two to relax and have fun. But before you do, you should know the legal drinking age in Sri Lanka and how it affects you and your travel companions.

The legal drinking age in Sri Lanka is 18 years old, the same as the age of majority in this country. This means that anyone who is 18 or older can legally buy and drink alcohol in Sri Lanka without any restrictions or limitations. You can choose from various alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, liquor, or cocktails, and enjoy them in different settings, such as bars, restaurants, hotels, or clubs.

However, just because you can drink legally in Sri Lanka, it doesn’t mean that you should drink irresponsibly or excessively. You should always be aware of the risks and consequences of drinking alcohol, especially in a foreign country. It would be best if you also respected the laws and regulations that govern alcohol consumption in Sri Lanka and avoid getting into trouble with the authorities or the locals.

Can 16-Year-Olds Drink in Sri Lanka?

The short answer is no. As stated above, the legal drinking age in Sri Lanka is 18, and anyone who is under 18 is considered a minor and cannot legally drink alcohol in this country.

The reality is that many 16-year-olds do drink in Sri Lanka, either with their friends, their parents, or their older siblings. This is because the law is not very well enforced, and there is a lack of awareness and education about the harms of underage drinking.

Some parents in Sri Lanka may even allow or encourage their 16-year-old children to drink alcohol as a way of introducing them to the social and cultural aspects of drinking. They may think that drinking alcohol is a normal and harmless part of growing up and that it can help teenagers relax and have fun.

This is a dangerous misconception, as drinking alcohol at a young age can have serious adverse effects on the physical, mental, and emotional development of adolescents. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking alcohol can interfere with brain development, impair memory and learning, increase the risk of injuries and accidents, and lead to alcohol dependence and addiction.

If you are 16 years old and want to drink in Sri Lanka, you should think twice before doing so. You are not only breaking the law but also putting yourself and others at risk. If you are a parent of a 16-year-old who wants to drink in Sri Lanka, you should discourage them from doing so and educate them about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking.

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What are the Sri Lanka Alcohol Laws?

Besides the legal drinking age, some other laws and regulations govern alcohol consumption in Sri Lanka. Here are some of the most important ones that you should know:

  1. It is illegal to sell alcohol to minors, and anyone who does so can face a fine of up to 10 million rupees (about 50,000 USD) or imprisonment of up to six years.
  2. It is illegal for minors to consume alcohol in public places, such as streets, parks, beaches, or sidewalks. If caught, they can be fined up to 180,000 rupees (about 900 USD) or detained by the police.
  3. It is illegal to drink and drive in Sri Lanka, and anyone who exceeds the blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.05% can be fined, lose their license, or go to jail. The penalties vary depending on the level of intoxication and the severity of the offense.
  4. It is illegal to drink in public places during certain religious holidays, such as Poya days (the full moon days), Vesak (the Buddha’s birthday), or Christmas Eve. This is known as the “dry law,” and the local municipalities enforce it. The dates and hours of the dry law may vary depending on the location, so it is advisable to check before you travel.

These laws and regulations are designed to protect the people’s and the environment’s health and safety and preserve the country’s social and cultural values. Therefore, you should respect and follow them and avoid any actions that could cause harm or offense to yourself or others.

Can You Drink on Beaches in Sri Lanka?

One of the main attractions of Sri Lanka is its beautiful beaches, where you can relax, swim, surf, or enjoy the sun. But can you drink on the beaches of Sri Lanka?

Technically, no. According to the law, drinking alcohol on the beaches of Sri Lanka is prohibited, as they are considered public places. However, this law is rarely enforced, and many locals and tourists drink on the beaches without problems.

This does not mean you can drink on the beaches of Sri Lanka without care or respect. You should always be mindful of your surroundings and avoid drinking excessively, causing a disturbance, or littering. You should also be aware that consuming on the beach can expose you to the risk of dehydration, sunburn, or theft.

If you want to drink on the beaches of Sri Lanka, you should do so responsibly, moderately, and discreetly. You should also follow the local customs and norms and respect the authorities and the environment.

What Time Can I Buy Alcohol in Sri Lanka?

If you want to buy alcohol in Sri Lanka, you have plenty of options. You can purchase alcohol from liquor stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, or duty-free shops at the airport. You can also order alcohol from bars, restaurants, or delivery services.

You should also know the time restrictions for alcohol sales in Sri Lanka. Depending on the location and the type of establishment, there may be different hours and days when you can buy alcohol in Sri Lanka.

For example, in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, you can buy alcohol from liquor stores from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. You can buy alcohol from supermarkets and convenience stores from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. You can buy alcohol from bars and restaurants from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 11 a.m. to midnight Friday to Sunday.

These hours may vary depending on the municipality, the season, or the holiday. For example, some municipalities may extend or reduce the hours of alcohol sales during peak tourist seasons or special events. Some municipalities may also implement the dry law during certain religious holidays, such as Poya days or Christmas Eve, and ban the sale of alcohol altogether.

Therefore, if you want to buy alcohol in Sri Lanka, you should check the local regulations and schedules before you do so. You should also plan and stock up on alcohol if you want to avoid running out of it during the restricted hours or days.

How Do You Ask for a Beer in Sri Lanka?

If you want to order a beer in Sri Lanka, you should know some basic Sinhala phrases and words to help you communicate with the staff and the locals. Here are some of the most common and useful ones:

  1. Eka beerak, karunakarala. (One beer, please.)
  2. Deka beerak, karunakarala. (Two beers, please.)
  3. Beer eka kiyada? (How much is the beer?)
  4. Lion beerak/Three Coins beerak/Carlsberg beerak/Heineken beerak/Beck’s beerak/Guinness beerak denna puluwanda? (Can you give me a Lion beer/Three Coins beer/Carlsberg beer/Heineken beer/Beck’s beer/Guinness beer?)
  5. Beer eka sitinna puluwanda? (Can you make the beer cold?)
  6. Dehi denna puluwanda? (Can you give me a lime?)
  7. Ayubowan! (Hello!)
  8. Istuti! (Thank you!)

Of course, you can also use gestures and point to the menu or the bottle to indicate what beer you want. However, learning some Sinhala will make your experience more enjoyable and respectful, and you might even make some new friends along the way.

Conclusion

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country to visit, and drinking alcohol can be a fun and relaxing way to enjoy your vacation. However, you should also be aware of the legal drinking age and the other laws and regulations that govern alcohol consumption in Sri Lanka. You should also drink responsibly and respectfully and avoid any problems or conflicts that could ruin your trip. Doing so will give you a memorable and safe experience in Sri Lanka and allow you to appreciate its beauty and culture even more.

FAQ

Q: What is the legal drinking age in SL?

A: The legal drinking age in Sri Lanka is 18 years old, the same as the age of majority in this country.

Q: Can 16-year-olds drink in SL?

A: No, 16-year-olds cannot drink legally in Sri Lanka, as they are considered minors and are subject to the law that prohibits underage drinking.

Q: What are the penalties for underage drinking in SL?

A: The penalties for underage drinking in Sri Lanka may include fines, detention, or legal action, depending on the circumstances and the severity of the offense.

Q: What are the penalties for selling alcohol to minors in SL?

A: The penalties for selling alcohol to minors in Sri Lanka may include fines, imprisonment, or license suspension, depending on the circumstances and the severity of the offense.

Q: What are the penalties for drinking and driving in SL?

A: The penalties for drinking and driving in Sri Lanka may include fines, license suspension, or jail time, depending on the level of intoxication and the severity of the offense.

Q: What are the dry laws in SL?

A: The dry laws are the regulations that ban or limit the sale and consumption of alcohol in public places during certain religious holidays, such as Poya days (the full moon days), Vesak (the Buddha’s birthday), or Christmas Eve.

Q: When and where do the dry laws apply in SL?

A: The dry laws may vary depending on the location and the date, as the local municipalities enforce them. It is advisable to check the local regulations and schedules before traveling or buying alcohol in Sri Lanka.

Q: Can you drink on the beaches in SL?

A: Technically, no, as the beaches are considered public places, and drinking alcohol in public places is prohibited by law. However, this law is rarely enforced, and many locals and tourists drink on the beaches without problems.

Q: How do you buy alcohol in SL?

A: You can buy alcohol from liquor stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, or duty-free shops at the airport. You can also order alcohol from bars, restaurants, or delivery services.

Q: How do you order a beer in SL?

A: You can order a beer in Sri Lanka by using some basic Sinhala phrases and words, such as “una beerak, karunakarala” (one beer, please), or “lion beerak denna puluwanda” (can you give me a Lion beer). You can also use gestures and point to the menu or the bottle to indicate what beer you want.

Sophia

Sophia writes for Adam Magazine. She likes to learn and write about age. She tells stories about people, animals, and laws related to age. She wants to make the readers of Adam Magazine happy and interested.