For those who’re trying to work from a tropical paradise that isn’t Bali (or Thailand), then this information containing all the pieces you have 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 stunning nation with a lot to see and do.
In addition to exploring as a lot of the nation as I might, I additionally hung out working from a number of of Sri Lanka’s greatest coworking hotspots. I’m pleased to be sharing my ideas and findings with you at this time.
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 folks, 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 number of coworking areas right here, and I’ll focus on a few of the greatest ones beneath. However don’t count on the identical vary of selections or services as you’d see in additional fashionable distant working hotspots.
The truth that Sri Lanka remains to be considerably undiscovered as a distant working vacation spot is likely one of the causes I cherished being there. It’s a lot much less crowded than a few of the extra fashionable locations. And, regardless of its recognition 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 most well-liked touristy areas. It’s an incredible place to base your self for those who’re trying to make your cash go additional than it might in locations like Europe or North America.
Is Sri Lanka Protected?
Total, Sri Lanka is a very protected 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 type.
As with anyplace, petty crime will be a problem in some locations. Nonetheless, so long as you control your belongings always, and take the opposite ordinary precautions, you have to be completely fantastic. 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 often on the roads – Sri Lankan bus drivers have a (well-earned) popularity for recklessness and harmful driving!
Finest Locations to Dwell in Sri Lanka
In terms of one of the best locations to stay 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 prime 5 beneficial locations to stay in Sri Lanka for digital nomads:
Colombo is a contemporary metropolis on the west coast of the island. It’s residence to a few of the nation’s greatest 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 good funds.
I wouldn’t describe Colombo as lovely, and the air high quality isn’t wonderful. Nonetheless, if you need all the facilities of a giant metropolis whereas inside shut proximity to some nice seashores, Colombo is likely to be a very good possibility for you.
Finest Areas to Dwell in Colombo
Kollupitiya, often known as Colpetty, is likely one of the greatest 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 for those who’re searching for a extra peaceable and serene setting inside the large metropolis.
I stayed in Bambalapitiya throughout my time in Colombo. It’s positioned simply south of Kollupitiya and gives 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 likely one of the bigger cities within the south of Sri Lanka. Situated on an enormous sweeping bay, it’s a really perfect 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, outlets, cafes, and bars to take a look at. It’s additionally among the best locations in Sri Lanka to discover ways to surf – its mild seashore break supplies a really perfect spot for newcomers studying easy methods to discover their toes on the water.
Finest Areas to Dwell in Weligama
If you wish to be near the foremost browsing seashore and as lots of the greatest eating places, bars, cafes, and outlets as attainable, try to discover someplace as near the middle of town as you may (search this space on Google Maps).
Typically, you’ll get extra on your cash by being a few blocks again from the primary beachfront. There are many glorious funds choices for those who don’t thoughts being additional out nonetheless, reminiscent of round right here (Weligama doesn’t appear to have names for its totally different neighborhoods).
The neighboring city of Mirissa, on the japanese fringe of the bay, is residence to many fancy accommodations and luxurious flats. It is a good place to stay for those who’re searching for 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 fashionable with surfers, hippies, and seashore bums, in recent times it’s additionally began gaining one thing of a popularity 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 sort of place that’s straightforward to make pals, and also you’ll catch your self continuously waving hiya 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 foremost road, and that is the place many of the motion occurs.
If attainable, I’d suggest looking for a spot on one of many facet streets off the primary highway. That method, you’ll keep away from the worst of the site visitors noise, however will nonetheless be near all the pieces 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 cherished day by day of the month I spent dwelling right here.
It’s sleepy and chilled however nonetheless has numerous nice locations to eat and drink, common stay music, and different occasions all through the week. All the pieces is inside straightforward strolling distance, and other people acknowledge and say hiya to you on the road.
What’s extra, you may swim with turtles each morning within the crystal clear, heat waters of the bay – it’s fairly wonderful.
Finest Areas to Dwell in Hiriketiya
Probably the most lovely space to stay in Hiriketiya is alongside the primary Hiriketiya Bay itself. Unsurprisingly, that is additionally the costliest place to base your self however, for those who can afford it, that’s the place I’d suggest 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 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
Situated on the wild east coast, Arugam Bay is certainly one of Asia’s most well-known browsing locations. That is primarily as a consequence of its Fundamental Level, an epic 500-meter-long right-hand level break.
Nonetheless, even for those who’re not a surfer, Arugam Bay and its surrounding space are extremely lovely and nicely price visiting.
It’s residence 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 group of digital nomads.
Finest Areas to Dwell in Arugam Bay
It doesn’t actually matter the place you select to stay 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 (at present the one coworking area on the town)
Issues To Do in Arugam Bay
- Browsing (in fact) – for intermediates and up, try Fundamental Level, Whiskey Level, and Pottuvil Level. Learners, head to Child Level or Peanut Farm
- Get pleasure from a few of the greatest espresso in Sri Lanka at Kaffi cafe
- Take a protracted stroll on one of many many lovely seashores within the space
- Preserve a watch out for wild elephants on the sting of city (they’re in all places!)
- Have brunch at Karma Backyard (which is owned by my good friend Matt – he’s a legend, say hello for me)
Find out how to Discover Lodging in Sri Lanka
There are a number of alternative 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 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 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 occasions 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. High marks. Click on right here to browse.
- Google Maps: One factor I’ve began doing lately is searching for lodging on Google Maps. You possibly can filter by buyer critiques, and since there isn’t an intermediate reserving platform, you may typically discover locations to remain which might be 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 may whether or not they know of anyplace which you can hire long-term. There are not 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 may be very low total, similar to different Asian locations like India and the Philippines, making it an incredible place for nomads on a good funds. For instance, see this comparability of the price of dwelling in Sri Lanka versus the US.
As you’d count on, costs are larger in touristy areas. You possibly can simply spend numerous cash for those who solely ever eat in vacationer eating places, journey in all places by taxi, and keep in fancy accommodations, (though it should be stated, it is attainable to do all this for a lot much less in Sri Lanka than it might price in most different components of the world).
Nonetheless, it’s not tough to make your cash go a good distance right here, particularly for those who go for longer-term leases (see above), use public transport, and eat in native eating places. Right here’s a breakdown of a few of the dwelling prices in Sri Lanka:
Eating places and Groceries
Typically, until you purchase elements in bulk, it’s truly less expensive 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 for those who keep away from the vacationer locations. In mid-range eating places that cater to vacationers, count on 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 constituted of 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 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 may count on to pay round $600 USD per thirty days for a room with a non-public lavatory and AC in a guesthouse with shared kitchen services.
Count on to pay extra like $400 USD for those who don’t want AC – though I’d say the additional $200 is certainly price spending…
In lots of locations inland and away from the touristy areas, it’s not tough to search out guesthouses with a non-public lavatory and AC for as little as $200–$300 USD per thirty days.
As a common rule, you’ll pay slightly beneath double the price of a non-public room for a easy 1-bedroom condominium. 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 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’ve got a bigger funds, you too can rent taxis and/or tuk-tuks to get round. All the time agree on a value upfront.
I’d additionally suggest asking a trusted native what a sure journey ought to price first too. This manner, you might have a obscure thought of whether or not the value you’re quoted is affordable or not.
Renting a automotive is sort 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 must get a short-term Sri Lankan driving allow as a way to drive legally right here.
I rented my very own tuk-tuk from Tuk-Tuk Ceylon Experience for $13 USD per day. It was superior. For those who’re a assured driver, that is undoubtedly probably the most enjoyable and versatile technique to discover Sri Lanka, and the corporate kinds out all the short-term driving allow admin and paperwork for you.
SIM Playing cards and Information
As famous beneath, WiFi in Sri Lanka is usually a bit patchy and unreliable in locations. So, I’d undoubtedly suggest selecting 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 certainly one of their branches in particular person and produce your passport with you to get all the pieces 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 kind out.
Cash Saving Suggestions for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a good vacation spot for funds vacationers. Listed here are some recommendations on 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 at all times price 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 fluctuate in value 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 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 pace tends to be a lot slower and might go out and in at occasions. Usually, the smaller the city, the more serious the web.
Nonetheless, provided 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 enough web in most locations.
Listed here are a number 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, fantastically landscaped grounds, pool, beautiful workers
- Outpost, Weligama: $13 USD /day, gorgeous roof terrace with a sea view, pool, numerous 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 of to be among the best browsing locations on this planet.
The water is heat (no wetsuits wanted) and there are waves for all skills. Among the nation’s prime browsing hotspots embody Arugam Bay, Hikkaduwa, Midigama, and Ahangama. Try this highly-reviewed newcomers surf lesson.
2. Climb Sigiriya
The towering Sigiriya (or Lion’s Rock) is certainly one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic landmarks. This big Fifth-century palace fortress is perched on prime 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 encircling space. It’s price spending not less than a few hours exploring all the varied terraces, ponds, caves, and water gardens. Try this nice day journey from Colombo.
3. Take the Scenic Mountain Practice
The mountain prepare that runs between Kandy and Ella is for sure some of the scenic on this planet, passing by 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 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 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 motive 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 historic metropolis, and a UNESCO World Heritage Web site, that’s residence to a lot of Sri Lanka’s most sacred Buddhist websites. These embody 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 beneath.
You might want to spend not less than a number of full days in Anuradhapura to correctly expertise the place. I’d additionally suggest taking a guided tour to be taught concerning the historical past and significance of the assorted websites.
Climate in Sri Lanka
Given its location close to the equator, Sri Lanka has a scorching 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 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 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.
Professionals and Cons of Residing in Sri Lanka
As with anyplace on this planet, there are each execs and cons of dwelling in Sri Lanka. I’ve listed some to contemplate beneath:
Professionals of Residing in Sri Lanka
- Low-cost: The price of dwelling in Sri Lanka is way decrease than in Europe or North America.
- Protected: Total, Sri Lanka is a very protected nation to go to and stay 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 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 may eat extraordinarily nicely right here.
- Lovely 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 present have a digital nomad visa. Nonetheless, 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 at all times straightforward to search out outdoors of Colombo.
- Will be arduous to search out imported merchandise/manufacturers: Sri Lanka has very restrictive import tariffs, that means which you can’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 components of the nation.
- Energy outages: Sri Lanka experiences energy outages now and again, particularly in rural areas. All the time 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 highway a number of occasions. 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 for those who might help it.
Digital Nomad Visa for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka doesn’t at present have a digital nomad visa. Nonetheless, residents of the USA, Canada, the UK, and lots 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) if 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 here are some solutions to continuously 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, for those who’re searching for someplace slightly totally different, it’s undoubtedly price contemplating.
Colombo is town with one of the best coworking areas. Nonetheless, for those who’re searching for 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 dwelling in Sri Lanka varies lots 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 snug mid-range funds.
Chilled-out vibes, pleasant folks, 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 totally different from the usual digital nomad hotspots, this lovely nation is certainly price contemplating. I hope this digital nomad information to Sri Lanka has been helpful. I completely cherished my time there and might’t wait to return.