Should you’re seeking to work from a tropical paradise that isn’t Bali (or Thailand), then this information containing the whole lot it’s good to find out about dwelling in Sri Lanka as a digital nomad is for you.
Earlier this yr 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 may, I additionally frolicked working from a number of of Sri Lanka’s finest coworking hotspots. I’m comfortable to be sharing my ideas and findings with you immediately.
About Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka (previously generally known as Ceylon) is an island nation in South Asia, simply off the coast of southern India. It has a inhabitants of roughly 22 million folks, the majority of whom are Sinhala Buddhists.
Regardless of its comparatively small measurement, Sri Lanka has an extremely numerous 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.
Dwelling in Sri Lanka As a Digital Nomad
There are, nonetheless, a couple of coworking areas right here, and I’ll talk about a number of the finest ones under. However don’t anticipate the identical vary of decisions or amenities as you’d see in additional standard distant working hotspots.
The truth that Sri Lanka remains to be considerably undiscovered as a distant working vacation spot is among the causes I liked being there. It’s a lot much less crowded than a number of the extra standard locations. And, regardless of its reputation with vacationers and holidaymakers, it’s simple 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 incredible place to base your self in case you’re seeking to make your cash go additional than it could in locations like Europe or North America.
Is Sri Lanka Protected?
General, Sri Lanka is a very secure nation. In my expertise, there are method fewer scams and insecurities right here than in lots of different locations I’ve visited, and the folks of Sri Lanka are welcoming and sort.
As with wherever, petty crime might be a problem in some locations. Nonetheless, so long as you control your belongings always, and take the opposite typical precautions, try to be completely nice. Violent crime in opposition to foreigners may 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!
Finest Locations to Dwell in Sri Lanka
In terms of the perfect locations to reside in Sri Lanka, the 2 most necessary issues to think about are whether or not you favor being based mostly in an enormous metropolis or a small city, and what time of yr you’ll be visiting (extra on this under). Listed here are my high 5 advisable locations to reside in Sri Lanka for digital nomads:
Colombo is a contemporary metropolis on the west coast of the island. It’s house to a number of the nation’s finest 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 a very good possibility for these on a decent price range.
I wouldn’t describe Colombo as lovely, and the air high quality isn’t wonderful. Nonetheless, if you need the entire facilities of an enormous metropolis whereas inside shut proximity to some nice seashores, Colombo is perhaps a very good possibility for you.
Finest Areas to Dwell in Colombo
Kollupitiya, also referred to as Colpetty, is among the finest areas to remain in Colombo for digital nomads. Its central location provides you quick access to a variety of fantastic eating places, bars, and retailers.
Cinnamon Gardens is an prosperous residential neighborhood with leafy streets, engaging colonial-era structure, and a number of other lovely parks. It’s a very good place to base your self in case you’re in search of 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 provides a very good 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 among the bigger cities within the south of Sri Lanka. Positioned on an enormous sweeping bay, it’s a great 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 glorious eating places, retailers, cafes, and bars to take a look at. It’s additionally among the finest locations in Sri Lanka to discover ways to surf – its light seashore break gives a great spot for rookies studying discover their toes on the water.
Finest Areas to Dwell in Weligama
If you wish to be near the primary browsing seashore and as most of the finest eating places, bars, cafes, and retailers as doable, attempt to discover someplace as near the middle of the town as you possibly can (search this space on Google Maps).
Basically, you’ll get extra to your cash by being a few blocks again from the primary beachfront. There are many glorious price range choices in case you don’t thoughts being additional out nonetheless, corresponding to round right 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 house to many fancy inns and luxurious residences. It is a good place to reside in case you’re in search of 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 standard 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 measurement, there are many glorious locations to eat, drink, and have enjoyable in Ahangama. It’s the type of place that’s simple to make pals, and also you’ll catch your self regularly waving whats up to folks you latterly met. There are a few glorious coworking areas right here too.
Finest Areas to Dwell 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 doable, I’d advocate looking for a spot on one of many aspect streets off the primary street. That method, you’ll keep away from the worst of the site visitors noise, however will nonetheless be near the whole lot 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 certainly 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 number of nice locations to eat and drink, common reside music, and different occasions all through the week. Every thing is inside simple strolling distance, and other people 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 wonderful.
Finest Areas to Dwell in Hiriketiya
Essentially the most lovely space to reside in Hiriketiya is alongside the primary Hiriketiya Bay itself. Unsurprisingly, that is additionally the most costly place to base your self however, in case you can afford it, that’s the place I’d advocate staying.
Should you’re in search of someplace cheaper, try some locations both in, or nearer to, the neighboring city of Dikwella. You possibly can additionally take into account staying in Nilwella, which is way quieter and extra residential.
Coworking Areas in Hiriketiya
Issues To Do in Hiriketiya
5. Arugam Bay
Positioned on the wild east coast, Arugam Bay is certainly one of Asia’s most well-known browsing locations. That is primarily because of its Essential Level, an epic 500-meter-long right-hand level break.
Nonetheless, even in case you’re not a surfer, Arugam Bay and its surrounding space are extremely lovely and effectively value visiting.
It’s house to a number of lovely seashores, framed by palm bushes, dunes, and colourful fishing boats. There’s an incredible vary of lodging choices, a number of glorious eating places, cafes, and a small however pleasant neighborhood of digital nomads.
Finest Areas to Dwell in Arugam Bay
It doesn’t actually matter the place you select to reside 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 wherever 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 (in fact) – for intermediates and up, try Essential Level, Whiskey Level, and Pottuvil Level. Newcomers, head to Child Level or Peanut Farm
- Take pleasure in a number of the finest espresso in Sri Lanka at Kaffi cafe
- Take a protracted stroll on one of many many lovely seashores within the space
- Hold an eye fixed out for wild elephants on the sting of city (they’re in every single place!)
- Have brunch at Karma Backyard (which is owned by my good friend Matt – he’s a legend, say hello for me)
How you can 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 looking for locations to remain in Sri Lanka this manner. Many additionally supply reductions for longer-term journeys. I’d at all times begin your search right here. Click on right here to view the web site.
- Airbnb: Good previous Airbnb. I’ve used it a number of instances in Sri Lanka and, though locations are usually costlier 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 Assist resolved it shortly and effectively. High marks. Click on right here to browse.
- Google Maps: One factor I’ve began doing just lately is in search of lodging on Google Maps. You possibly can filter by buyer evaluations, and since there isn’t an intermediate reserving platform, you possibly can typically discover locations to remain which can be very low-cost. Click on right here to view maps.
- Ask locals: Should you’re seeking to hire someplace long-term, attempt reserving the primary few nights prematurely 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 wherever you could hire long-term. There aren’t any ensures, however it can save you a ton of cash this manner if it really works out.
Value of Dwelling in Sri Lanka
The price of dwelling in Sri Lanka may be very low general, similar to different Asian locations like India and the Philippines, making it an incredible place for nomads on a decent price range. For instance, see this comparability of the price of dwelling in Sri Lanka versus the US.
As you’d anticipate, costs are greater in touristy areas. You possibly can simply spend a number of cash in case you solely ever eat in vacationer eating places, journey in every single place by taxi, and keep in fancy inns, (though it have to be mentioned, it is doable to do all this for a lot much less in Sri Lanka than it could price in most different elements of the world).
Nonetheless, it’s not troublesome to make your cash go a good 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 a number of the dwelling prices in Sri Lanka:
Eating places and Groceries
Basically, until you purchase components in bulk, it’s truly 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 may get a bottle of premium arrack (a neighborhood rum-like spirit produced from coconut) for about $10 in liquor shops.
I met an American girl who lives in Sri Lanka full-time and pays $80 USD per thirty days in hire. As a extra short-term customer, you’re unlikely to search out something wherever 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 per thirty days for a room with a non-public rest room and AC in a guesthouse with shared kitchen amenities.
Anticipate to pay extra like $400 USD in case you 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 search out guesthouses with a non-public rest room and AC for as little as $200–$300 USD per thirty days.
As a common rule, you’ll pay just a little below double the price of a non-public room for a easy 1-bedroom condo. So, on the south and west coast, you’re $800 USD -$900 USD per thirty days, 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 just a little over $1 USD. Taking the general public bus is even cheaper nonetheless.
You will get nearly in every single 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.
You probably have a bigger price range, you may also rent taxis and/or tuk-tuks to get round. All the time agree on a worth prematurely.
I’d additionally advocate asking a trusted native what a sure journey ought to price first too. This fashion, you may have a imprecise 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 momentary Sri Lankan driving allow with a purpose 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. Should you’re a assured driver, that is undoubtedly probably the most enjoyable and versatile option to discover Sri Lanka, and the corporate kinds out the entire momentary driving allow admin and paperwork for you.
SIM Playing cards and Information
As famous under, WiFi in Sri Lanka is usually a bit patchy and unreliable in locations. So, I’d undoubtedly advocate selecting 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 workplaces 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 certainly one of their branches in individual and convey your passport with you to get the whole lot arrange. Nonetheless, the entire course of may be very simple 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 Ideas for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a superb vacation spot for price range 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 at all times value asking your host if it’s doable to barter a long-term fee.
- 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 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 Pace
WiFi speeds fluctuate all through the nation. It’s normally the quickest and most steady in Colombo and different large 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 might go out and in at instances. Typically, the smaller the city, the more serious the web.
Nonetheless, on condition that native SIMs are so low-cost (see above), and that Sri Lanka’s 4G protection is usually 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 beautiful views of the waves, roof terrace
- Dots Bay Home, Hiriketiya: Free (simply purchase a drink or meals each few hours), nice music, fantastically landscaped grounds, pool, pretty workers
- Outpost, Weligama: $13 USD /day, beautiful roof terrace with a sea view, pool, a number 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 extensively thought of to be among the finest browsing locations on this planet.
The water is heat (no wetsuits wanted) and there are waves for all talents. Among the nation’s high browsing hotspots embrace Arugam Bay, Hikkaduwa, Midigama, and Ahangama. Take a look at this highly-reviewed rookies surf lesson.
2. Climb Sigiriya
The towering Sigiriya (or Lion’s Rock) is certainly one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic landmarks. This large Fifth-century palace fortress is perched on high of an infinite boulder and is among 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 encircling space. It’s value spending not less than a few hours exploring the entire varied terraces, ponds, caves, and water gardens. Take a look at this nice day journey from Colombo.
3. Take the Scenic Mountain Practice
The mountain prepare that runs between Kandy and Ella is indisputably one of the vital scenic on this planet, passing via lush tea plantations and delightful forested valleys.
Most vacationers take the prepare from Kandy to Ella, however my primary tip is to take it the opposite method (from Ella to Kandy). The trains are far much less crowded on this course, so that you don’t should compete with hordes of different vacationers taking images 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 struggle that ran between 1983–2009 however is present process one thing of a revival these days.
In addition to being an enchanting 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 completely 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 disillusioned.
5. Go to Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura is an historic metropolis, and a UNESCO World Heritage Website, that’s house to lots of Sri Lanka’s most sacred Buddhist websites. These embrace a number of big stupas, historic temples, rock monasteries, and a sacred bodhi tree that supposedly derives from the unique tree which Buddha gained enlightenment below.
It’s essential to spend not less than a couple of full days in Anuradhapura to correctly expertise the place. I’d additionally advocate taking a guided tour to be taught 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 sizzling and humid tropical local weather year-round. On the coast, the common temperature normally hovers round 30 levels throughout the day and barely falls under 26 at evening.
Within the mountains and upland areas within the heart 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 Could 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 wherever on this planet, there are each professionals and cons of dwelling in Sri Lanka. I’ve listed some to think about under:
Execs of Dwelling in Sri Lanka
- Low-cost: The price of dwelling in Sri Lanka is way decrease than in Europe or North America.
- Protected: General, Sri Lanka is a very secure nation to go to and reside 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 recognized for his or her heat hospitality and welcoming nature. I used to be at all times 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 possibly can eat extraordinarily effectively right here.
- Lovely landscapes: Sri Lanka has greater than its justifiable share of beautiful 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. Nonetheless, many nationalities can get a 180-day vacationer e-visa on-line earlier than arrival.
Cons of Dwelling in Sri Lanka
- Lack of meals selection: I like Sri Lankan meals. However, after some time, I began craving different cuisines, which aren’t at all times simple to search out outdoors of Colombo.
- Might be exhausting to search out imported merchandise/manufacturers: Sri Lanka has very restrictive import tariffs, which means you could’t at all times pay money for imported merchandise and meals.
- Restricted coworking choices outdoors Colombo: Whereas Colombo has a wide variety of coworking areas, there aren’t many in different elements of the nation.
- Energy outages: Sri Lanka experiences energy outages infrequently, particularly in rural areas. All the time maintain your laptop computer 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 practically compelled off the street a number of instances. Have your wits about you.
- Corrupt police: It’s not unusual for site visitors police to cease drivers on the street 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 advocate filtering water earlier than consuming it if doable. Don’t purchase single-use plastic in case you will help it.
Digital Nomad Visa for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka doesn’t presently have a digital nomad visa. Nonetheless, residents of the USA, Canada, the UK, and plenty of different nations, can apply for a 180-day vacationer e-visa on-line earlier than arrival. It’s known 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) while you arrive at immigration. I wasn’t requested for this, however I’d nonetheless advocate having one simply to keep away from pointless issues.
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 wherever close to the identical vary of coworking areas and associated amenities as locations like Thailand or Bali. However, in case you’re in search of someplace just a little completely different, it’s undoubtedly value contemplating.
Colombo is the town with the perfect coworking areas. Nonetheless, in case you’re in search of extra of a chilled-out seashore city vibe, I’d advocate both Ahangama, Hiriketiya, or Arugam Bay, relying on the time of yr you’ll be there.
The price of dwelling in Sri Lanka varies so much 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 per thirty days is a cushty mid-range price range.
Chilled-out vibes, pleasant folks, unbelievable surroundings, lush tropical landscapes, scrumptious meals, pounding surf, and epic Indian Ocean sunsets – Sri Lanka is a fully wonderful place.
Should you’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 liked my time there and might’t wait to return.