For those who’re trying to work from a tropical paradise that isn’t Bali (or Thailand), then this information containing all the things it’s essential learn about residing in Sri Lanka as a digital nomad is for you.
Earlier this 12 months I spent 4 months residing in Sri Lanka and actually fell in love with the place. It’s a beautiful nation with a lot to see and do.
In addition to exploring as a lot of the nation as I may, I additionally hung out working from a number of of Sri Lanka’s finest coworking hotspots. I’m completely happy to be sharing my ideas and findings with you as we speak.
About Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka (previously often called Ceylon) is an island nation in South Asia, simply off the coast of southern India. It has a inhabitants of roughly 22 million individuals, the majority of whom are Sinhala Buddhists.
Regardless of its comparatively small dimension, Sri Lanka has an extremely various vary of landscapes. From white sandy seashores and palm timber on the coast to lush rain forests, tea plantations, rugged mountains, and rolling hills discovered inland.
Dwelling in Sri Lanka As a Digital Nomad
There are, nonetheless, a couple of coworking spaces right here, and I’ll focus on a number of the finest ones under. However don’t anticipate the identical vary of decisions or services as you’d see in additional popular remote working hotspots.
The truth that Sri Lanka continues to be considerably undiscovered as a distant working vacation spot is without doubt one of the causes I beloved being there. It’s a lot much less crowded than a number of the extra well-liked locations. And, regardless of its recognition with vacationers and holidaymakers, it’s straightforward to get off the overwhelmed path and away from generally visited spots.
The cost of living in Sri Lanka can also be very low, so long as you keep away from the most well-liked touristy areas. It’s an important place to base your self if you happen to’re trying to make your cash go additional than it could in locations like Europe or North America.
Is Sri Lanka Protected?
Total, Sri Lanka is a very safe nation. In my expertise, there are manner fewer scams and insecurities right here than in lots of different locations I’ve visited, and the individuals of Sri Lanka are welcoming and sort.
As with anyplace, petty crime might be a difficulty in some locations. Nevertheless, so long as you control your belongings always, and take the opposite regular precautions, you have to be completely tremendous. Violent crime towards foreigners could be very uncommon.
Throughout my 4 months in Sri Lanka, I didn’t really feel unsafe at any level. Aside from sometimes on the roads – Sri Lankan bus drivers have a (well-earned) repute for recklessness and harmful driving!
Greatest Locations to Dwell in Sri Lanka
In terms of the perfect locations to dwell in Sri Lanka, the 2 most essential issues to think about are whether or not you favor being primarily based in an enormous metropolis or a small city, and what time of 12 months you’ll be visiting (extra on this under). Listed below are my prime 5 really helpful locations to dwell in Sri Lanka for digital nomads:
Colombo is a contemporary metropolis on the west coast of the island. It’s residence to a number of the nation’s finest eating places, outlets, bars, cafes, and coworking areas.
As a result of Colombo isn’t actually a lot of a vacationer vacation spot, costs right here are usually significantly decrease than in lots of different coastal areas, making it a very good possibility for these on a decent finances.
I wouldn’t describe Colombo as lovely, and the air high quality isn’t superb. Nevertheless, in order for you all the facilities of an enormous metropolis whereas inside shut proximity to some nice seashores, Colombo is likely to be a very good possibility for you.
Greatest Areas to Dwell in Colombo
Kollupitiya, often known as Colpetty, is without doubt one of the finest areas to remain in Colombo for digital nomads. Its central location offers you quick access to a variety of wonderful eating places, bars, and outlets.
Cinnamon Gardens is an prosperous residential neighborhood with leafy streets, engaging colonial-era structure, and several other lovely parks. It’s a very good place to base your self if you happen to’re in search of a extra peaceable and serene surroundings inside the massive metropolis.
I stayed in Bambalapitiya throughout my time in Colombo. It’s positioned simply south of Kollupitiya and gives a very good steadiness between being comparatively peaceable and well-connected, and is conveniently near a variety of facilities.
Coworking Areas in Colombo
Issues To Do in Colombo
Weligama is without doubt one of the bigger cities within the south of Sri Lanka. Situated on an enormous sweeping bay, it’s a super mid-way compromise between the hustle and bustle of the large metropolis (Colombo) and the sleepier little cities and villages on the south coast (Hiriketiya, under).
Weligama has a great deal of wonderful eating places, outlets, cafes, and bars to take a look at. It’s additionally among the finest locations in Sri Lanka to learn to surf – its mild seashore break supplies a super spot for newbies studying easy methods to discover their toes on the water.
Greatest Areas to Dwell in Weligama
If you wish to be near the main surfing beach and as lots of the finest eating places, bars, cafes, and outlets as attainable, try to discover someplace as near the middle of town as you possibly can (search this space on Google Maps).
On the whole, you’ll get extra to your cash by being a few blocks again from the principle beachfront. There are many wonderful finances choices if you happen to don’t thoughts being additional out nonetheless, such as around here (Weligama doesn’t appear to have names for its completely different neighborhoods).
The neighboring city of Mirissa, on the jap fringe of the bay, is residence to many fancy accommodations and luxurious residences. This can be a good place to dwell if you happen to’re in search of someplace slightly smarter and extra upmarket.
Coworking Areas in Weligama
Issues To Do in Weligama
Ahangama is a small city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. Lengthy since well-liked with surfers, hippies, and seashore bums, in recent times it’s additionally began gaining one thing of a repute amongst digital nomads within the know.
Regardless of its dimension, there are many wonderful locations to eat, drink, and have enjoyable in Ahangama. It’s the form of place that’s straightforward to make associates, and also you’ll catch your self incessantly waving whats up to individuals you latterly met. There are a few wonderful coworking areas right here too.
Greatest Areas to Dwell in Ahangama
Ahangama actually isn’t very massive. It’s a city constructed alongside one primary road, and that is the place a lot of the motion occurs.
If attainable, I’d suggest looking for a spot on one of many facet streets off the principle highway. That manner, you’ll keep away from the worst of the site visitors noise, however will nonetheless be near all the things you want.
Coworking Areas in Ahangama
Issues To Do in Ahangama
Hiriketiya is a beautiful crescent-shaped bay on the central south coast of Sri Lanka. That is one in every of my absolute favourite locations within the nation and I beloved day by day of the month I spent residing right here.
It’s sleepy and chilled however nonetheless has a number of nice locations to eat and drink, common dwell music, and different occasions all through the week. Every thing is inside straightforward strolling distance, and folks acknowledge and say whats up to you on the road.
What’s extra, you possibly can swim with turtles each morning within the crystal clear, heat waters of the bay – it’s fairly superb.
Greatest Areas to Dwell in Hiriketiya
Essentially the most lovely space to dwell in Hiriketiya is alongside the principle Hiriketiya Bay itself. Unsurprisingly, that is additionally the costliest place to base your self however, if you happen to can afford it, that’s the place I’d suggest staying.
For those who’re in search of someplace cheaper, take a look at some locations both in, or nearer to, the neighboring city of Dikwella. You might additionally think about staying in Nilwella, which is far quieter and extra residential.
Coworking Areas in Hiriketiya
Issues To Do in Hiriketiya
5. Arugam Bay
Situated on the wild east coast, Arugam Bay is one in every of Asia’s most well-known browsing locations. That is primarily attributable to its Main Point, an epic 500-meter-long right-hand level break.
Nevertheless, even if you happen to’re not a surfer, Arugam Bay and its surrounding space are extremely lovely and properly value visiting.
It’s residence to a number of lovely seashores, framed by palm timber, dunes, and colourful fishing boats. There’s an important vary of lodging choices, a number of wonderful eating places, cafes, and a small however pleasant neighborhood of digital nomads.
Greatest Areas to Dwell in Arugam Bay
It doesn’t actually matter the place you select to dwell in Arugam Bay. It’s not an enormous place and, so long as you keep central, you’ll not often be greater than a 5-minute stroll from anyplace you wish to go.
Coworking Areas in Arugam Bay
- Nomads (at the moment the one coworking area on the town)
Issues To Do in Arugam Bay
- Browsing (in fact) – for intermediates and up, take a look at Main Point, Whiskey Point, and Pottuvil Point. Novices, head to Baby Point or Peanut Farm
- Take pleasure in a number of the finest espresso in Sri Lanka at Kaffi cafe
- Take an extended stroll on one of many many lovely seashores within the space
- Maintain a watch out for wild elephants on the sting of city (they’re in all places!)
- Have brunch at Karma Garden (which is owned by my buddy Matt – he’s a legend, say hello for me)
Methods to Discover Lodging in Sri Lanka
There are a couple of alternative ways to seek out lodging in Sri Lanka. Listed below are the strategies I like to recommend:
- Reserving.com: Though this platform is normally related to accommodations and short-term vacation leases, I discovered some actual gems when looking for locations to remain in Sri Lanka this fashion. Many additionally provide reductions for longer-term journeys. I’d all the time begin your search right here. Click here to view the website.
- Airbnb: Good outdated Airbnb. I’ve used it a number of instances in Sri Lanka and, though locations are usually dearer on right here than on Reserving.com, their customer support is first-rate. I had a difficulty with one of many locations I’d booked to remain at, however Airbnb Assist resolved it rapidly and effectively. High marks. Click here to browse.
- Google Maps: One factor I’ve began doing not too long ago is in search of lodging on Google Maps. You may filter by buyer opinions, and since there isn’t an intermediate reserving platform, you possibly can typically discover locations to remain which might be very low-cost. Click here to view maps.
- Ask locals: For those who’re trying to hire someplace long-term, attempt reserving the primary few nights upfront utilizing one of many strategies above. Then, when you’ve arrived and settled, go about asking as many locals as you possibly can whether or not they know of anyplace that you could hire long-term. There aren’t any ensures, however it can save you a ton of cash this fashion if it really works out.
Price of Dwelling in Sri Lanka
The price of residing in Sri Lanka could be very low general, corresponding to different Asian locations like India and the Philippines, making it an important place for nomads on a decent finances. For instance, see this comparability of the cost of living in Sri Lanka versus the US.
As you’d anticipate, costs are increased in touristy areas. You may simply spend a number of cash if you happen to solely ever eat in vacationer eating places, journey in all places by taxi, and keep in fancy accommodations, (though it should be mentioned, it is attainable to do all this for a lot much less in Sri Lanka than it could price in most different components of the world).
Nevertheless, it’s not troublesome to make your cash go a great distance right here, particularly if you happen to go for longer-term leases (see above), use public transport, and eat in native eating places. Right here’s a breakdown of a number of the residing prices in Sri Lanka:
Eating places and Groceries
On the whole, except you purchase elements in bulk, it’s truly more cost effective to eat out in low-cost native locations than to cook dinner for your self.
You will get an enormous plate of dal and vegetable rotis for $1–2 if you happen to keep away from the vacationer locations. In mid-range eating places that cater to vacationers, anticipate to pay $5–10 per head.
A big bottle of native Lion beer normally prices round $1.50, and you will get a bottle of premium arrack (a neighborhood rum-like spirit constructed from coconut) for about $10 in liquor shops.
I met an American lady who lives in Sri Lanka full-time and pays $80 USD monthly in hire. As a extra short-term customer, you’re unlikely to seek out something anyplace close to as low-cost as that, though there are undoubtedly offers available.
Costs are highest on the south and west coasts. In these areas, you possibly can anticipate to pay round $600 USD monthly for a room with a non-public lavatory and AC in a guesthouse with shared kitchen services.
Anticipate to pay extra like $400 USD if you happen to don’t want AC – though I’d say the additional $200 is certainly value spending…
In lots of locations inland and away from the touristy areas, it’s not troublesome to seek out guesthouses with a non-public lavatory and AC for as little as $200–$300 USD monthly.
As a common rule, you’ll pay slightly below double the price of a non-public room for a easy 1-bedroom condo. So, on the south and west coast, you’re taking a look at $800 USD -$900 USD monthly, and inland round $300 USD – $400 USD.
Transportation Prices in Sri Lanka
Public transport is extraordinarily low-cost in Sri Lanka. The prepare from Colombo all the way down to the south coast takes greater than 4 hours and prices slightly over $1 USD. Taking the general public bus is even cheaper nonetheless.
You will get nearly in all places in Sri Lanka by bus. Trains additionally join a number of of the nation’s main cities together with Colombo, Kandy, Anuradhapura, Trincomalee, Jaffna, and the south coast.
When you have a bigger finances, you too can rent taxis and/or tuk-tuks to get round. All the time agree on a worth upfront.
I’d additionally suggest asking a trusted native what a sure journey ought to price first too. This manner, you’ve gotten a imprecise thought of whether or not the value you’re quoted is cheap or not.
Renting a car is kind of costly and a little bit of an administrative headache. Though it’s normally low-cost and simple to hire mopeds out of your lodging host, you’ll moreover must get a temporary Sri Lankan driving permit with the intention to drive legally right here.
I rented my very own tuk-tuk from Tuk-Tuk Ceylon Ride for $13 USD per day. It was superior. For those who’re a assured driver, that is undoubtedly essentially the most enjoyable and versatile option to discover Sri Lanka, and the corporate types out all the short-term driving allow admin and forms for you.
SIM Playing cards and Knowledge
As famous under, WiFi in Sri Lanka generally is a bit patchy and unreliable in locations. So, I’d undoubtedly suggest choosing up a neighborhood SIM card to ensure an uninterrupted web connection whereas working remotely in Sri Lanka.
Dialog is the perfect firm to purchase a neighborhood Sri Lankan SIM card from. They’ve places of work in most main cities, they provide e-SIMs, and it prices lower than $10 for 50 GB of knowledge, legitimate for a month.
You’ll want to go to one in every of their branches in individual and convey your passport with you to get all the things arrange. Nevertheless, the entire course of could be very easy and solely takes round quarter-hour. There are various ways to get internet while traveling, native SIMs are nice for longer stays, however eSIMs are easier to sort out.
Cash Saving Suggestions for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a superb vacation spot for finances vacationers. Listed below are some tips about easy methods to make your cash go even additional:
- Go for longer stays: Most lodging suppliers provide reductions for month-to-month stays. It’s all the time value asking your host if it’s attainable to barter a long-term charge.
- Use public transport: Touring by bus or prepare is massively cheaper than taking taxis or tuk-tuks.
- Eat the place the locals eat: When consuming out, go for native eating places over touristy ones.
- Store round: Attempt to store round when reserving actions or excursions – they typically differ in worth relying on the supplier.
- Haggle: Don’t be afraid to barter on the value of things in markets, taxi fares, and even lodging.
Coworking Areas in Sri Lanka and WiFi Velocity
WiFi speeds differ all through the nation. It’s normally the quickest and most secure in Colombo and different massive cities.
In Colombo, I used to be averaging speeds of round 50 Mbps obtain and 30Mbps add. Exterior of main cities and cities, the velocity tends to be a lot slower and may go out and in at instances. Typically, the smaller the city, the more serious the web.
Nevertheless, on condition that native SIMs are so low-cost (see above), and that Sri Lanka’s 4G protection is mostly wonderful (and quick), you shouldn’t wrestle to seek out sufficient web in most locations.
Listed below are a couple of of my favourite coworking areas in Sri Lanka:
- Focus Hub, Ahangama: $6 USD/day, very pleasant workers, tasty meals, chilled vibes
- Hari Hari House, Ahangama: $9 USD/day, beachfront, floor-to-ceiling home windows with gorgeous views of the waves, roof terrace
- Dots Bay House, Hiriketiya: Free (simply purchase a drink or meals each few hours), nice music, superbly landscaped grounds, pool, pretty workers
- Outpost, Weligama: $13 USD /day, gorgeous roof terrace with a sea view, pool, a number of social occasions, wonderful smoothie bowls
Actions and Issues To Do in Sri Lanka
There are such a lot of unbelievable issues to do in Sri Lanka. Listed below are 5 of my favorites to get you began:
1. Study to Surf
I used to be first launched to browsing in Sri Lanka. It’s extensively thought-about to be among the finest browsing locations on the earth.
The water is heat (no wetsuits wanted) and there are waves for all talents. A number of the nation’s prime browsing hotspots embrace Arugam Bay, Hikkaduwa, Midigama, and Ahangama. Take a look at this highly-reviewed beginners surf lesson.
2. Climb Sigiriya
The towering Sigiriya (or Lion’s Rock) is one in every of Sri Lanka’s most iconic landmarks. This big Fifth-century palace fortress is perched on prime of an unlimited boulder and is without doubt one of the most spectacular historical websites I’ve ever visited.
Climb the 1,200 steps to the summit, the place you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views over the encompassing space. It’s value spending at the least a few hours exploring all the numerous terraces, ponds, caves, and water gardens. Take a look at this great day trip from Colombo.
3. Take the Scenic Mountain Prepare
The mountain prepare that runs between Kandy and Ella is certainly one of the crucial scenic on the earth, passing by lush tea plantations and exquisite forested valleys.
Most vacationers take the prepare from Kandy to Ella, however my primary tip is to take it the opposite manner (from Ella to Kandy). The trains are far much less crowded on this path, so that you don’t must compete with hordes of different vacationers taking photographs of themselves hanging out of the open doorways – they actually do!
4. Feast in Jaffna
Jaffna is the capital of the Tamil-majority Northern Province. It was extensively broken throughout the civil war that ran between 1983–2009 however is present process one thing of a revival these days.
In addition to being an interesting place to go to in its personal proper, the meals in Jaffna is purpose sufficient to go to. Jaffna delicacies is closely influenced by southern Indian cooking; it’s spicy, wealthy, and totally scrumptious.
My favourite restaurant in Jaffna is Lavin’s. Go right here, and order the cashew curry with the masala paneer dosa – I promise you received’t be disenchanted.
5. Go to Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura is an historical metropolis, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that’s residence to a lot of Sri Lanka’s most sacred Buddhist websites. These embrace a number of big stupas, historical temples, rock monasteries, and a sacred bodhi tree that supposedly derives from the unique tree which Buddha gained enlightenment below.
You should spend at the least a couple of full days in Anuradhapura to correctly expertise the place. I’d additionally suggest taking a guided tour to study in regards to the historical past and significance of the assorted websites.
Climate in Sri Lanka
Given its location close to the equator, Sri Lanka has a hot and humid tropical climate year-round. On the coast, the common temperature normally hovers round 30 levels throughout the day and infrequently falls under 26 at night time.
Within the mountains and upland areas within the middle of the island, temperatures are usually a number of levels cooler, and it’s normally a lot much less humid.
One uncommon factor about Sri Lanka is that it experiences two separate monsoon seasons.
The Northeast Monsoon normally begins in October and ends round late March or early April, bringing heavy rainfall to the northern and jap sides of the island. The Southwest Monsoon runs from Might till September and impacts the southern and western areas.
If you wish to keep away from the rains, the perfect time to be within the south and west of Sri Lanka is between November–April. And for the north and east, it’s April–September.
Execs and Cons of Dwelling in Sri Lanka
As with anyplace on the earth, there are each execs and cons of residing in Sri Lanka. I’ve listed some to think about under:
Execs of Dwelling in Sri Lanka
- Low-cost: The cost of living in Sri Lanka is far decrease than in Europe or North America.
- Protected: Total, Sri Lanka is a very safe country to go to and dwell in. See the above part on security for more information.
- Chilled vibes: I really like the slower tempo of life in Sri Lanka – it’s a real tropical paradise.
- Pleasant locals: Sri Lankans are rightfully identified for his or her heat hospitality and welcoming nature. I used to be all the time made to really feel accepted.
- Scrumptious meals: Sri Lankan delicacies is a scrumptious mix of flavors and spices. From comforting dal and pumpkin curries to coconut pancakes, contemporary tropical fruit, and grilled seafood, you possibly can eat extraordinarily properly right here.
- Stunning landscapes: Sri Lanka has greater than its justifiable share of gorgeous pure magnificence, from pristine white sand seashores to lush tea plantations, rugged mountains, and breathtaking nationwide parks.
- Heat and sunny year-round: See the above part on local weather and the 2 monsoon seasons.
- Lengthy visa: Sri Lanka doesn’t at the moment have a digital nomad visa. Nevertheless, many nationalities can get a 180-day tourist e-visa online earlier than arrival.
Cons of Dwelling in Sri Lanka
- Lack of meals selection: I really like Sri Lankan meals. However, after some time, I began craving different cuisines, which aren’t all the time straightforward to seek out outdoors of Colombo.
- Will be laborious to seek out imported merchandise/manufacturers: Sri Lanka has very restrictive import tariffs, which means that you could’t all the time pay money for imported merchandise and meals.
- Restricted coworking choices outdoors Colombo: Whereas Colombo has a wide selection of coworking areas, there aren’t many in different components of the nation.
- Energy outages: Sri Lanka experiences energy outages every now and then, particularly in rural areas. All the time maintain your laptop totally charged.
- Congested roads: That is solely actually an issue within the southwest nook of the island.
- Loopy bus drivers: They drive so aggressively, I used to be almost compelled off the highway a number of instances. Have your wits about you.
- Corrupt police: It’s not unusual for site visitors police to cease drivers on the highway and ask for a bribe. All the time say no, politely however firmly.
- It’s not a good suggestion to drink unfiltered faucet water: It’s not as dangerous as in locations like India, however I’d nonetheless suggest filtering water earlier than ingesting it if attainable. Don’t purchase single-use plastic if you happen to can assist it.
Digital Nomad Visa for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka doesn’t at the moment have a digital nomad visa. Nevertheless, residents of the USA, Canada, the UK, and plenty of different international locations, can apply for a 180-day vacationer e-visa on-line earlier than arrival. It’s referred to as an ETA and prices about $36 USD. Apply for one here.
Technically, you’re supposed to have the ability to present proof of an onward ticket (i.e. a return flight) once you arrive at immigration. I wasn’t requested for this, however I’d nonetheless suggest having one simply to keep away from pointless problems.
Digital Nomad in Sri Lanka: FAQs
Listed below are some solutions to incessantly requested questions on Digital Nomad life in Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka is an rising digital nomad vacation spot. It doesn’t have anyplace close to the identical vary of coworking areas and associated services as locations like Thailand or Bali. However, if you happen to’re in search of someplace slightly completely different, it’s undoubtedly value contemplating.
Colombo is town with the perfect coworking areas. Nevertheless, if you happen to’re in search of extra of a chilled-out seashore city vibe, I’d suggest both Ahangama, Hiriketiya, or Arugam Bay, relying on the time of 12 months you’ll be there.
The price of residing in Sri Lanka varies quite a bit relying on the place you base your self, what sort of lodging you need, the way you journey round, and the place you select to eat and drink. I’d say $1,000 USD monthly is a snug mid-range finances.
Chilled-out vibes, pleasant individuals, unbelievable surroundings, lush tropical landscapes, scrumptious meals, pounding surf, and epic Indian Ocean sunsets – Sri Lanka is a completely superb place.
For those who’re in search of someplace a bit completely different from the usual digital nomad hotspots, this lovely nation is certainly value contemplating. I hope this digital nomad information to Sri Lanka has been helpful. I completely beloved my time there and may’t wait to return.