Photo by Farhath Firows on Unsplash

A lush island nestled among the waters of the Indian Ocean and peppered in flora, fauna, and a myriad of cultures that differ from one part of the island to another; Sri Lanka was ranked No.2 in the Club Med’s ranking for the best country for digital nomads in the year 2021 and continues to climb the ranks as one of the most sought-after locations to visit by Digital Nomads from all over the world and with good reason!

Sri Lanka for Digital Nomads

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To get you started on your adventure to Sri Lanka, here are the reasons why Digital Nomads are now picking up Sri Lanka as their next destination and why YOU should be packing your bags for a getaway to the stunning islands of Sri Lanka. 

Stunning nature: beautiful beaches and mountains

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Sri Lanka, or formerly known as Ceylon, is an island filled with diverse cultures nestled in South Asia; the country features multinational cultures, languages, and unique ethnicities that differ from one part of the island to another. 

As the flora and fauna are mostly untouched by humans, the nature is indeed astounding and a sight to behold. Along with the beaches and mountains, there is always something for the visitors of Sri Lanka; from the cool mountains that one can hike, to the mesmerizing beaches where one can soak and swim, and lastly, the rainforests and habitats for the adventurous. 

Sri Lanka is a sight to behold and surely a location most, if not all digital nomads, put on their list of places to go and experience. 

Low cost of living

Sri Lanka has a relatively low cost of living. For tourists, the average per person is about $30 a day and can go lower if you are a budget traveler. 

On a monthly basis, it would take approximately $700 to $1000 in costs as a digital nomad in Sri Lanka; This would include transportation fees, food and lodging, along with internet or data fees, and if applicable, the fees for coworking spaces as well. 

Sticking with a budget and doing extensive research is the key to making your budget work, it also pays to be friendly with the locals as they offer insight on how to get around as a local and not as a tourist which is sure to help with the expenses. 

Overall, Sri Lanka is rather budget-friendly and cheap when it comes to cost of living and can even be considered low due to how much one can have with a small amount. 

Surfers Paradise

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First things first, Sri Lanka is home to numbers of lush beaches as it is indeed an island situated amid the Pacific Ocean. Sri Lanka sits as one of the top surfing destinations in the world. 

Koggala Beach is one such location that’s prime and ready for surfers both new and professional. It boasts of a wide area where everyone can have their share of the waves with the best time to surf being in the winter. 

Embed: https://www.thedigitalnomad.asia/lifestyle/asia/20-best-surfing-beaches-in-asia/

20 minutes away from Koggala is Ahangama Beach which is home to a few surf camps, some offers of snorkeling, and a long stretch of beach; The best months to surf run from December to March so keep an eye out for Ahangama if you happen to be in the area.

Lastly, we have Mirissa gracing our list. A commonplace for tourists and locals alike, it provides for the needs of both new and experienced surfers, one can hit the beach cafes and bars after a quick catch of the waves at the end of the day too! 

Emerging wellness center

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An honorary mention on this list would be the Ayurveda Hotel that offers spa and relaxation services. If you’re not particularly up to the task of hitting the beach or you find surfing too physical of a task, you can book Ayurveda for a day of pampering, yoga routines, and wellness programs for the day.

Things to note when traveling in Sri Lanka

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Internet connection

In Sri Lanka, internet connection and signals can sometimes be far and few in-between, especially in the rural areas. It is strongly recommended to grab a sim card at the airport when you arrive in Sri Lanka and look up internet data plans; if staying connected is vital for work, choose a good coworking space in cities like Colombo or Merissa. 

Monsoon seasons

Sri Lanka is a tropical country with the weather often hot and humid but also affected by two separate monsoons. It helps to look up the weather forecast and which part of Sri Lanka you’re going to catch the best weather.

The west and south coast of Sri Lanka is best during December to March. If you are traveling between April and September, the east and north coast are better choices. During October and November, the weather is unstable across the island with showers and thunderstorms. 

Be careful not to get your directions mixed up! 

Top Destinations for Digital Nomads in Sri Lanka

Next up is where to go in Sri Lanka and what to do. We’ll be going through the streets and spots of Sri Lanka so keep an eye out for any place you might want to visit. Though be advised; some parts of Sri Lanka lack internet connections or pick up poor signals so it does help to get a sim card upon your arrival in order to stay connected to the world. 

Colombo

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Starting off with the busy commercial capital of Sri Lanka, we have Colombo which is home to the financial district of the country. The city features a mix of modern and traditional buildings along with a myriad of cultures. There is always something for everyone in Colombo and it is recommended to visit in order to experience the hustle and bustle of Sri Lanka city life.

Galle

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Home to a world-famous heritage site, Galle Fort, Galle is a must see if you’re interested in seeing historical sights and fortresses on your day offs as a Digital Nomad. Galle is an old, fortified city and still holds a lot of old architecture that is sure to catch the eye of any new visitor to the city.

Mirissa & Weligama

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Next up is Mirissa, a small town off the coast of Southern Sri Lanka; Notable for their beaches, prime surfing areas, and most especially their whale watching, Mirissa is a sort of social center as it also offers stunning night life activities making it a popular location for both locals and travellers far and wide. 

Weligama, just 15 minutes’ drive away from Mirissa, is quickly becoming a lively beach town favored by surfers.

Dikwella & Hiriketiya Bay

We have Dikwella and Hirikiteya Bay, two beaches nestled right next to each other. These two neighboring beaches are peppered in exotic palm trees and rimmed in jungle-like sceneries, a perfect combination of the sea and fauna. Hirikiteya Bay forms a small crescent shape whilst Dikwella has a few cafes and restaurants strewn about which makes both locations popular among locals and tourists as there is no shortage of food, drink, and activities in the area. 

You can also walk between the two beaches so there is surely a lot to do in Dikwella and Hiriketaya Bay!

Arugam Bay

If you want to be away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds then Arugam Bay is the way to be headed. A hidden gem on the east coast of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay is tucked away from most tourists making it a safe and quiet haven for surfers who want to catch a few waves in peace. The best days to catch the waves are between May and September so 

Digital Nomad Visa to Sri Lanka

Tourists in Sri Lanka can stay up to an astounding 3 months in the country and depending on where you are planning to stay, you can easily apply for your Sri Lankan Tourist Visa online. This provides you with a 1-month entry visa and can be renewed at the immigration office in Colombo; Another option is also applying for your visa at your local Sri Lankan Embassy which guarantees a 3-month validity. Depending on where you’re coming from, the local visa renewal can come around as cheaper compared to the other Sri Lankan embassies, so it’s best to check around before anything else. 

Another thing to look out for by aspiring and existing Digital Nomads out there is that the Cabinet of Ministers of Sri Lanka had just introduced a new Digital Nomad Visa and a tourist visa with extended validity. (source: Daily FT)

Though the Digital Nomad visa and its application process is still in the works, it shows great promise as they are granted up to a year of visa validity as well as the privilege to perform work in a remote manner for their employers as needed without any repercussions. 

Meanwhile, the extended tourist visa applicants allow for an easier process which grants 6 months of visa validity; simply log in to the Sri Lanka Tourist Mobile App and go to the Online Electronic Tourist Visa Activation System. Once approved, holders of this visa must limit their work activities to an extent as they represent an overseas company but can continue promoting their services within the country through controlled means. 

Coworking spaces and Coliving in Sri Lanka

As far as co-working spaces are concerned, most of the best spaces and cafes are located in Colombo or Mirissa. These co-working spaces can fetch a base price of 750 rupees upwards to 2000 rupees per day depending on the amenities being offered and where the space is located. 

Most of these co-working spaces are located in high-rise buildings to give the feel of an office while some are designated on lower grounds surrounded by flora and fauna. If you want a change of scenery, it isn’t too hard to switch between higher and lower floors. Cafes are also an option if you want some hustle and bustle in an environment. 

If you are looking for more laid-back surroundings, head to Mirissa, or one of the beach areas that are popular among travelers and surfers, although the coworking facilities, especially the internet connection may not be reliable. However, we have got a great news that Outpost, the coliving and coworking space that are already loved by digital nomads in Bali – is opening its branch in Weligama, one of the surfers’ favorite destinations in Sri Lanka. 

Digital Nomad Videos about Sri Lanka

1. The Budgeteers

“Big travel adventures on a small budget.” The Budgeteers documented their 4-week stay in Sri Lanka as Digital Nomads noting their astounding $1000 budget; the video includes highlighting where they stayed, co-working spaces to watch out for, as well as great locations with sceneries. 

They have also noted on using a travel app named “Wandergo” which came as a great help during their stay as it provided them with a list of accommodations, co-working spaces, and cafes they could book with a single press of a button. Overall an informative and worthy video to check out if you want a quick feel on how it is to be a Digital Nomad in Sri Lanka.

Working as Digital Nomads in Sri Lanka | Behind the Scenes of a Documentary Series

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCckFCPnDSf9mMCkdEq7tTcQ

2. Beer For Breakfast

Would their Digital Nomad lifestyle work out? Beer by Breakfast features Justina and Micha’s adventures in Sri Lanka; their video focuses on checking out cafes and co-working spaces that cater to their work, as well as a handful of delectable meals here and there in the town of Mirissa, and the occasional beach trip on the side after a long day’s work.

An informative video if you’re situated in Mirissa as it does cover the most important aspect of food and work. 

BEING A DIGITAL NOMAD IN SRI LANKA – What to Expect?!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCezIfYz9YLACbp1gtbd1uQA

3. Portable Professional

An overall informative video created by the Portable Professional, Megan documents and elaborates more on her 3 week stay in Sri Lanka from her accommodations, food, activities, and her travel costs. 

It’s a great video for anyone seeking to travel Sri Lanka for the first time and wants to get an idea of what preparations to make as well as preparing a budget that can work for a set period of time. From needs to sceneries, Portable Professional has got you covered with their in-depth video of how to go around Sri Lanka and what to expect.

Cost of Travelling Sri Lanka 2022 (GUIDE + ALL EXPENSES)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5XIgzc2Qm7BhWl1vjyQoQQ

4. Johnny FD

“Digital Nomads travelling like a Boss.” Johnny FD shows us a piece of his daily life as a Digital Nomad in Sri Lanka during his stay at the stunning beaches of Kabalana. 

From his cozy hostel on the main road, Johnny FD simply crosses to see the beaches and cafes that pepper Kabalana, as well as the many work-friendly establishments that allow for him to get his groove on. Quaint and uncut, Johnny’s videos give a peek of his daily life and how one goes about as a Digital Nomad. 

Daily Life as a Digital Nomad in Sri Lanka!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNB_Oqy28vN6GZxq-ILVzBw

5. Chase for Adventure

Chase for Adventure puts a different spin on their video about Sri Lanka as they managed to feature the best parts of the island within only 24 hours of staying. From the roadside shops, beaches, and trails; not forgetting food of course! 

Daniel and Anette spent their 24 hours touring Mirissa; from Elephants to Curry Rice and viewing the Whales, Chase for Adventure gives you a fun rundown of what you can do in a day, what more a week, a month, or more?

The BEST of Sri Lanka – Mirissa in 24 Hours

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQL1-6vWiXw4iZjMdBZgCSQ

Facebook Groups and Guides for Digital Nomads in Sri Lanka

If you need further help or want to do some research on your own, here are a few social media groups to get you started on what you can expect when you visit Sri Lanka. 

Sri Lanka 🇱🇰 Foreigners | Expats | Digital Nomads

A private Facebook group made for expats, tourists, and foreigners going to Sri Lanka for the first time. This group answers queries, concerns, and substantial information to any question that hasn’t been asked or answered by members. Though one would need approval to join the group, I believe it’s highly worth the wait in exchange for some guidance with your travels.

Expats in Sri Lanka | Facebook 

A public Facebook group that people can freely view and join, this group is a mix of content, from local food photos and locations to advertising accommodations. It’s a good place to view possible activities from both expats and locals alike. I recommend joining the group and giving it a go!

South Sri Lanka Surf Community | Facebook

If you’re an avid surfer or beach lover, then this is the group for you. A public Facebook group for the local surf community of Sri Lanka, as well as offering travellers a quick tip or two to make your trips easier. From beach buddies to taxi sharing, this group is warm and welcome for both old and new travellers to magical Sri Lanka.

Hello Again Sri Lanka Tourism 2021/2022 | Facebook

A fairly new travel group created to provide information both old, new, and existing for tourists who plan to visit Sri Lanka. This Facebook group is rather open to inquiries and concerns, as well as constant updates on what there is to do in Sri Lanka. It is also dedicated to informing the people of any new guidelines and terms should there be changes in visitation and travel within the country. A pretty handy group if you ask me!

Sri Lanka Backpackers | Facebook

A dedicated group for professional backpackers who wish to see more than what meets the eye when it comes to Sri Lanka, this facebook group aims to provide professional services and information to tourists who are new to the country. It’s also a plus on how the team behind this group filters and reviews their list of services which makes things extra safe and sound!

Wrapping it up

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Sri Lanka is not your average getaway as it is a melting pot of cultures, one side of the island differs from the other and can catch any new visitor by surprise. The island holds the promise of sunny days with lush beaches, spice-tinged meals and delicacies, as well as a culture so deep one wouldn’t be able to resist being a part of it.

There are very few reasons on why one shouldn’t take a chance with Sri Lanka and you’ve just gotten all the reasons on why the country is a top choice for Digital Nomads and why you should be packing your bags for a professional getaway. 

There we have it! The how’s, why’s, and what’s when you’re preparing to make your trip to Sri Lanka. From visa requirements, accommodations, the best places to visit, and even co-working spaces. Sri Lanka is one for the map when it comes to your Digital Nomad adventures.

The Digital Nomad Asia is a web magazine for the people who love to travel and remote work in Asia.

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