For those who’re trying to work from a tropical paradise that isn’t Bali (or Thailand), then this information containing every little thing it is advisable to learn about dwelling in Sri Lanka as a digital nomad is for you.
Earlier this 12 months I spent 4 months dwelling 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 might, I additionally frolicked working from a number of of Sri Lanka’s greatest coworking hotspots. I’m blissful to be sharing my ideas and findings with you at present.
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 bushes on the coast to lush rain forests, tea plantations, rugged mountains, and rolling hills discovered inland.
Residing in Sri Lanka As a Digital Nomad
There are, nonetheless, a couple of coworking areas right here, and I’ll talk about among the greatest ones beneath. However don’t anticipate the identical vary of decisions or services as you’d see in additional widespread distant working hotspots.
The truth that Sri Lanka continues to be considerably undiscovered as a distant working vacation spot is likely one of the causes I liked being there. It’s a lot much less crowded than among the extra widespread locations. And, regardless of its reputation with vacationers and holidaymakers, it’s straightforward to get off the crushed path and away from generally visited spots.
The price of dwelling in Sri Lanka can be very low, so long as you keep away from the preferred touristy areas. It’s an ideal place to base your self in case you’re trying to make your cash go additional than it could in locations like Europe or North America.
Is Sri Lanka Secure?
General, Sri Lanka is a very secure 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 type.
As with anyplace, petty crime could be a problem in some locations. Nevertheless, so long as you regulate your belongings always, and take the opposite common precautions, you ought to be completely nice. Violent crime in opposition to foreigners could be very uncommon.
Throughout my 4 months in Sri Lanka, I didn’t really feel unsafe at any level. Aside from often on the roads – Sri Lankan bus drivers have a (well-earned) fame for recklessness and harmful driving!
Finest Locations to Reside in Sri Lanka
On the subject of one of the best locations to dwell in Sri Lanka, the 2 most vital issues to contemplate are whether or not you favor being based mostly in a giant metropolis or a small city, and what time of 12 months you’ll be visiting (extra on this beneath). Listed here are my high 5 really useful locations to dwell in Sri Lanka for digital nomads:
Colombo is a contemporary metropolis on the west coast of the island. It’s house to among the nation’s greatest eating places, retailers, 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 an excellent choice for these on a good finances.
I wouldn’t describe Colombo as stunning, and the air high quality isn’t wonderful. Nevertheless, if you’d like all the facilities of a giant metropolis whereas inside shut proximity to some nice seashores, Colombo could be an excellent choice for you.
Finest Areas to Reside in Colombo
Kollupitiya, also called Colpetty, is likely one of the greatest areas to remain in Colombo for digital nomads. Its central location provides you quick access to a variety of wonderful eating places, bars, and retailers.
Cinnamon Gardens is an prosperous residential neighborhood with leafy streets, enticing colonial-era structure, and a number of other stunning parks. It’s an excellent place to base your self in case you’re searching for a extra peaceable and serene setting throughout the large metropolis.
I stayed in Bambalapitiya throughout my time in Colombo. It’s positioned simply south of Kollupitiya and gives an excellent stability 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 likely 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, beneath).
Weligama has a great deal of glorious eating places, retailers, cafes, and bars to take a look at. It’s additionally among the best locations in Sri Lanka to learn to surf – its mild seaside break gives a super spot for newbies studying discover their toes on the water.
Finest Areas to Reside in Weligama
If you wish to be near the primary browsing seaside and as most of the greatest eating places, bars, cafes, and retailers as potential, try to discover someplace as near the middle of town as you’ll be able to (search this space on Google Maps).
Generally, you’ll get extra in your cash by being a few blocks again from the principle beachfront. There are many glorious finances choices in case you don’t thoughts being additional out nonetheless, comparable to round right here (Weligama doesn’t appear to have names for its completely different neighborhoods).
The neighboring city of Mirissa, on the japanese fringe of the bay, is house to many fancy inns and luxurious flats. This can be a good place to dwell in case you’re searching for someplace just a little 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 widespread with surfers, hippies, and seaside bums, in recent times it’s additionally began gaining one thing of a fame amongst digital nomads within the know.
Regardless of its dimension, there are many glorious locations to eat, drink, and have enjoyable in Ahangama. It’s the form of place that’s straightforward to make buddies, and also you’ll catch your self regularly waving hey to individuals you latterly met. There are a few glorious coworking areas right here too.
Finest Areas to Reside in Ahangama
Ahangama actually isn’t very large. It’s a city constructed alongside one primary road, and that is the place many of the motion occurs.
If potential, I’d advocate looking for a spot on one of many facet streets off the principle street. That manner, you’ll keep away from the worst of the visitors noise, however will nonetheless be near every little thing 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 considered one of my absolute favourite locations within the nation and I liked day by day of the month I spent dwelling right here.
It’s sleepy and chilled however nonetheless has a lot 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 other people acknowledge and say hey to you on the road.
What’s extra, you’ll be able to swim with turtles each morning within the crystal clear, heat waters of the bay – it’s fairly wonderful.
Finest Areas to Reside in Hiriketiya
Probably the most stunning space to dwell in Hiriketiya is alongside the principle Hiriketiya Bay itself. Unsurprisingly, that is additionally the costliest place to base your self however, in case you can afford it, that’s the place I’d advocate staying.
For those who’re searching for someplace cheaper, try some locations both in, or nearer to, the neighboring city of Dikwella. You can additionally think about staying in Nilwella, which is way 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 considered one of Asia’s most well-known browsing locations. That is primarily as a result of its Fundamental Level, an epic 500-meter-long right-hand level break.
Nevertheless, even in case you’re not a surfer, Arugam Bay and its surrounding space are extremely stunning and nicely price visiting.
It’s house to a number of stunning seashores, framed by palm bushes, dunes, and colourful fishing boats. There’s an ideal vary of lodging choices, a number of glorious eating places, cafes, and a small however pleasant group of digital nomads.
Finest Areas to Reside in Arugam Bay
It doesn’t actually matter the place you select to dwell in Arugam Bay. It’s not a giant 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 (presently the one coworking area on the town)
Issues To Do in Arugam Bay
- Browsing (after all) – for intermediates and up, try Fundamental Level, Whiskey Level, and Pottuvil Level. Inexperienced persons, head to Child Level or Peanut Farm
- Take pleasure in among the greatest espresso in Sri Lanka at Kaffi cafe
- Take an extended stroll on one of many many stunning seashores within the space
- Maintain a watch out for wild elephants on the sting of city (they’re all over the place!)
- Have brunch at Karma Backyard (which is owned by my pal Matt – he’s a legend, say hello for me)
Learn how to Discover Lodging in Sri Lanka
There are a couple of other ways to search out lodging in Sri Lanka. Listed here are the strategies I like to recommend:
- Reserving.com: Though this platform is normally related to inns and short-term vacation leases, I discovered some actual gems when trying to find locations to remain in Sri Lanka this fashion. Many additionally supply reductions for longer-term journeys. I’d all the time begin your search right here. Click on right here to view the web site.
- 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 problem with one of many locations I’d booked to remain at, however Airbnb Help resolved it shortly and effectively. Prime marks. Click on right here to browse.
- Google Maps: One factor I’ve began doing just lately is searching for lodging on Google Maps. You may filter by buyer opinions, and since there isn’t an intermediate reserving platform, you’ll be able to usually discover locations to remain which are very low cost. Click on right 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’ll be able to whether or not they know of anyplace that you may 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 Residing in Sri Lanka
The price of dwelling in Sri Lanka could be very low total, akin to different Asian locations like India and the Philippines, making it an ideal place for nomads on a good finances. For instance, see this comparability of the price of dwelling in Sri Lanka versus the US.
As you’d anticipate, costs are increased in touristy areas. You may simply spend a lot of cash in case you solely ever eat in vacationer eating places, journey all over the place by taxi, and keep in fancy inns, (though it should be mentioned, it is potential 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 in case you go for longer-term leases (see above), use public transport, and eat in native eating places. Right here’s a breakdown of among the dwelling prices in Sri Lanka:
Eating places and Groceries
Generally, except you purchase components in bulk, it’s really cheaper to eat out in low cost native locations than to prepare dinner for your self.
You will get an enormous plate of dal and vegetable rotis for $1–2 in case you 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 (an area rum-like spirit produced 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 search 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’ll be able to anticipate to pay round $600 USD monthly for a room with a personal toilet and AC in a guesthouse with shared kitchen services.
Anticipate to pay extra like $400 USD in case you don’t want AC – though I’d say the additional $200 is unquestionably price spending…
In lots of locations inland and away from the touristy areas, it’s not troublesome to search out guesthouses with a personal toilet and AC for as little as $200–$300 USD monthly.
As a basic rule, you’ll pay just a little beneath double the price of a personal room for a easy 1-bedroom residence. 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 practice from Colombo right down to the south coast takes greater than 4 hours and prices just a little over $1 USD. Taking the general public bus is even cheaper nonetheless.
You will get nearly all over the place 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 can too rent taxis and/or tuk-tuks to get round. At all times agree on a worth upfront.
I’d additionally advocate asking a trusted native what a sure journey ought to price first too. This fashion, you’ve gotten a obscure thought of whether or not the value you’re quoted is affordable or not.
Renting a automobile is kind of costly and a little bit of an administrative headache. Though it’s normally low cost and straightforward to hire mopeds out of your lodging host, you’ll moreover have to get a short-term Sri Lankan driving allow to be able to drive legally right here.
I rented my very own tuk-tuk from Tuk-Tuk Ceylon Trip for $13 USD per day. It was superior. For those who’re a assured driver, that is undoubtedly essentially the most enjoyable and versatile solution to discover Sri Lanka, and the corporate kinds out all the short-term driving allow admin and forms for you.
SIM Playing cards and Information
As famous beneath, WiFi in Sri Lanka could be a bit patchy and unreliable in locations. So, I’d undoubtedly advocate choosing up an area SIM card to ensure an uninterrupted web connection whereas working remotely in Sri Lanka.
Dialog is one of the best firm to purchase an area 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 information, legitimate for a month.
You’ll want to go to considered one of their branches in particular person and produce your passport with you to get every little thing arrange. Nevertheless, the entire course of could be very easy and solely takes round quarter-hour. There are various methods to get web whereas touring, native SIMs are nice for longer stays, however eSIMs are simpler to type out.
Cash Saving Suggestions for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a superb vacation spot for finances vacationers. Listed here are some tips about make your cash go even additional:
- Go for longer stays: Most lodging suppliers supply reductions for month-to-month stays. It’s all the time price asking your host if it’s potential to barter a long-term fee.
- Use public transport: Touring by bus or practice 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 usually fluctuate 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 fluctuate all through the nation. It’s normally the quickest and most secure in Colombo and different large cities.
In Colombo, I used to be averaging speeds of round 50 Mbps obtain and 30Mbps add. Outdoors of main cities and cities, the pace tends to be a lot slower and might go out and in at instances. Usually, 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 glorious (and quick), you shouldn’t wrestle to search out sufficient web in most locations.
Listed here 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 Home, Ahangama: $9 USD/day, beachfront, floor-to-ceiling home windows with gorgeous views of the waves, roof terrace
- Dots Bay Home, 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 lot of social occasions, glorious smoothie bowls
Actions and Issues To Do in Sri Lanka
There are such a lot of unbelievable issues to do in Sri Lanka. Listed here are 5 of my favorites to get you began:
1. Be taught to Surf
I used to be first launched to browsing in Sri Lanka. It’s broadly thought-about to be among the best browsing locations on this planet.
The water is heat (no wetsuits wanted) and there are waves for all skills. A few of the nation’s high browsing hotspots embrace Arugam Bay, Hikkaduwa, Midigama, and Ahangama. Try this highly-reviewed newbies surf lesson.
2. Climb Sigiriya
The towering Sigiriya (or Lion’s Rock) is considered one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic landmarks. This big Fifth-century palace fortress is perched on high of an unlimited boulder and is likely one of the most spectacular historic 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 price spending a minimum of a few hours exploring all the numerous terraces, ponds, caves, and water gardens. Try this nice day journey from Colombo.
3. Take the Scenic Mountain Practice
The mountain practice that runs between Kandy and Ella is for sure one of the crucial scenic on this planet, passing by lush tea plantations and delightful forested valleys.
Most vacationers take the practice 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 route, so that you don’t must compete with hordes of different vacationers taking pictures 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 through the civil warfare that ran between 1983–2009 however is present process one thing of a revival these days.
In addition to being a captivating 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 gained’t be disenchanted.
5. Go to Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura is an historic metropolis, and a UNESCO World Heritage Web site, that’s house to a lot of Sri Lanka’s most sacred Buddhist websites. These embrace a number of large stupas, historic temples, rock monasteries, and a sacred bodhi tree that supposedly derives from the unique tree which Buddha gained enlightenment beneath.
It’s worthwhile to spend a minimum of a couple of full days in Anuradhapura to correctly expertise the place. I’d additionally advocate taking a guided tour to study in regards to the historical past and significance of the varied websites.
Climate in Sri Lanka
Given its location close to the equator, Sri Lanka has a sizzling and humid tropical local weather year-round. On the coast, the typical temperature normally hovers round 30 levels through the day and infrequently falls beneath 26 at evening.
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 japanese sides of the island. The Southwest Monsoon runs from Could till September and impacts the southern and western areas.
If you wish to keep away from the rains, one of the best 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 Residing in Sri Lanka
As with anyplace on this planet, there are each professionals and cons of dwelling in Sri Lanka. I’ve listed some to contemplate beneath:
Execs of Residing in Sri Lanka
- Low cost: The price of dwelling in Sri Lanka is way decrease than in Europe or North America.
- Secure: General, Sri Lanka is a very secure nation to go to and dwell in. See the above part on security for more information.
- Chilled vibes: I 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, recent tropical fruit, and grilled seafood, you’ll be able to eat extraordinarily nicely right here.
- Stunning landscapes: Sri Lanka has greater than its fair proportion 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 presently have a digital nomad visa. Nevertheless, many nationalities can get a 180-day vacationer e-visa on-line earlier than arrival.
Cons of Residing in Sri Lanka
- Lack of meals selection: I like Sri Lankan meals. However, after some time, I began craving different cuisines, which aren’t all the time straightforward to search out exterior of Colombo.
- May be onerous to search out imported merchandise/manufacturers: Sri Lanka has very restrictive import tariffs, that means that you may’t all the time pay money for imported merchandise and meals.
- Restricted coworking choices exterior Colombo: Whereas Colombo has a wide variety of coworking areas, there aren’t many in different components of the nation.
- Energy outages: Sri Lanka experiences energy outages infrequently, particularly in rural areas. At all times maintain your laptop computer absolutely 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 practically compelled off the street a number of instances. Have your wits about you.
- Corrupt police: It’s not unusual for visitors police to cease drivers on the street and ask for a bribe. At all times 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 advocate filtering water earlier than consuming it if potential. Don’t purchase single-use plastic in case you might help it.
Digital Nomad Visa for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka doesn’t presently 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 right 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 advocate having one simply to keep away from pointless problems.
Digital Nomad in Sri Lanka: FAQs
Listed here are some solutions to regularly 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, in case you’re searching for someplace just a little completely different, it’s undoubtedly price contemplating.
Colombo is town with one of the best coworking areas. Nevertheless, in case you’re searching for extra of a chilled-out seaside city vibe, I’d advocate both Ahangama, Hiriketiya, or Arugam Bay, relying on the time of 12 months you’ll be there.
The price of dwelling in Sri Lanka varies loads 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 wonderful place.
For those who’re searching for someplace a bit completely different from the usual digital nomad hotspots, this stunning nation is unquestionably price contemplating. I hope this digital nomad information to Sri Lanka has been helpful. I completely liked my time there and might’t wait to return.