Everything you need to know before moving to Sri Lanka (2023)

Everything you need to know before moving to Sri Lanka (1)

Foreigners who move to Sri Lanka will find that the lifestyle in this country is very different from what they are used to. However, living in Sri Lanka will open your eyes to the exotic and unusual beauty hidden in the ancient sites of this country. In general, expats need a residence visa if they plan to stay in the country for work.

Sri Lanka is an attractive pear-shaped country located just below the southern tip of India and goes by several names such as Taprobane, Serendib, Ceilao and Ceylon.

About 31 km from the south coast of India and southwest of the Bay of Bengal lies this exciting oasis of exotic beaches.

This South Asian mainland island has a tropical climate with a good share of cold months, usually from January to March. May is the hottest period because it precedes the summer monsoon rains that are typical for August and November to December.

Connecting Sri Lanka to the Indian mainland, the Rama Bridge is a very popular historical attraction that, according to Hindu mythology, was built by the vanara architect Nala during the reign of Rama. Today it is only a chain of limestone shoals that remain above sea level and is often called Adam's Bridge, which was finally swept away by a powerful storm in 1480.

In the city of Colombo, you will find the most beautiful hotels with numerous legends and history that are worth visiting. Colombo's biodiversity is the highlight of many of its attractions, including a zoo where expats stand in awe as they appreciate a fine collection of animals, birds and reptiles from around the world in a showcase of the island's beautiful, wide fauna. Sri Lankans are proud of the mega aquarium which is now home to more than 500 species of Asian aquatic animals. The walking aviary, reptile enclosure and butterfly park also bring great pride to Sri Lankans and delight expats who welcome the opportunity to experience nature so closely. The city's main attractions are, of course, the elephant shows that take place every afternoon.

Expats moving to Sri Lanka will have to get used to tipping as a service sector culture. For the natives of Sri Lanka, this is just a way of appreciating the services provided to them. Restaurants also often charge a 10% service charge. Taxi drivers no longer expect a tip.

Sri Lanka is another melting pot in Asia, and this is evident in the variety of religions practiced in the country today. The majority of Sri Lankans are Theravada Buddhists, followed by Hindus, while Muslims and Christians make up roughly the same percentage of the religious population. Most of the natives are very devoted to their religious beliefs and are actually considered the third most religious country in the world according to a 2008 Gallup survey.

The racial diversity of the nation is also responsible for the mix of languages ​​used. However, Sinhalese remains the national language, while Tamil and English are also mainly used in tourist facilities.

Sri Lanka is a country not too big in size, but expats who came there to look for a home saw the country expanding with its many diversities from natural to religious. The most precious discoveries are genuinely warm and kind people who won't think twice about hosting a stranger they treat as one of their own.

Essential information about movement

Everything you need to know before moving to Sri Lanka (2)

Before planning your stay in this Asian destination, familiarize yourself with the customs regulations. Moving to Sri Lanka can still be done without worry if you hire moving companiesoverseas shipment.

Keep in mind that Sri Lanka is a tropical country, so you will face either glorious sunshine or stormy rain. As for clothes, it is best to bring clothes made of light fabric.

A few light jackets and some rain gear such as umbrellas, raincoats and boots will also ensure you are ready for the rainy season. Monsoons start bringing rain sometime around May to October.

Don't forget to bring your favorite bathing suits, because you don't want to miss the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka. However, keep in mind not to wear anything too revealing, in relation to Sri Lankan culture. Sunglasses and sunscreen can also protect your skin from unwanted burns, especially during the summer months.

If you have a lot of gadgets, keep in mind that Sri Lanka operates on 230-240V. Round three-prong sockets are also widely used, so bring an adapter for your own convenience.

Be sure to limit the amount of alcohol and spirits you want to bring into the country, as customs regulations only allow two standard bottles of wine and 1 ½ liters of spirits. For perfumes and souvenirs, make sure that the corresponding amount does not exceed USD 250 and that it is not intended for commercial purposes.

As in any country, illegal drugs are strictly prohibited, and possession of heroin is punishable by death. Likewise, firearms, obscene literature and pornographic materials are strictly prohibited.

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How to live like a local

Everything you need to know before moving to Sri Lanka (3)

South Asian expat destination Sri Lanka is one of those tropical getaways that expats can call home. With its countless attractions, from ancient heritage sites to luxurious and heavenly beach resorts, Sri Lanka is definitely a destination that no one wants to miss.

Sri Lanka, once known as Ceylon, is a South Asian island surrounded by the beautiful Indian Ocean. The history of this country goes back more than 2,550 years and is considered one of the oldest democratic nations on the continent. Ranked 57theSri Lanka, the most populous country in the world, is home to more than 20.8 million people in its territory with a total area of ​​62,702 square kilometers. In addition to the three major religions, namely Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, this country also has two major cities: Colombo and Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte. Expats bound for this tropical paradise can expect more than sunny days, but also the opportunity to experience one of the most unique cultures in Asia.

No boring activities for kids

The next task for parents is to find activities that the children will enjoy. The beautiful geography and colorful culture of Sri Lanka will not disappoint either parents or children. A bustling city, Colombo offers the thrill of metropolitan life that most kids today are used to. Take the kids on a city tour and introduce them to Sri Lankan life with a visit to Galle Face Green, a popular destination where families can fly kites, picnic and even go horseback riding while staying in the city zone.

After you've had your fill of city activities, take them to the surf and sand, as this country has the most magnificent places to offer. Sri Lanka has a total of 1340 kilometers of beaches. From tourist spots on the South Coast to the South, North and East Coasts, your kids can find water activities to enjoy. Another aspect of your Sri Lanka adventure is the wildlife experienceDehiwala Zoo. Displaced families can also reconnect with Mother Nature by spending quality timeBosreservaat Sinharajawhich is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

A taste of Sri Lanka

One of the best ways to get to know a country is through its food and Sri Lanka, eating out is cheap, while even the most expensive restaurant in the main tourist areas barely charges above ten dollars for a full meal. When we say Sri Lankan cuisine, it means a burst of flavors of bitter melon, sweet caramelized seeni sambal (onion sauce), spicy coconut meat, palm sugar and curry.Authentic Sri Lankan foodthey are not for picky eaters because the locals are known for their palette accustomed to sweet but spicy dishes.

Some of the staple foods in this country include curry, rice and huge amounts of protein such as fish, pork, beef and goat meat. Expats in Sri Lanka should not miss the best local dishes, including kottu roti (fried vegetables and meat served with roti), lamprais (eggplant, boiled eggs and meat), dhal curry (red lentils cooked in coconut milk), wambata moja (fried pickled eggplants served with rice) and appa, the local version of pancakes.

Overcoming culture shock

With a rich and colorful history underpinning its exciting culture, it's inevitable that an expat in Sri Lanka will experience an initial culture shock. However, this does not mean that moving to Sri Lanka has to be scary. Reading about the customs and traditions of the country would certainly help in preparing for the big move.

Due to its many influences, an expat in Sri Lanka would notice that the people of that country observe many traditions in many aspects of their daily lives. These ceremonies are observed by families from birth. For example, the Sinhalese observe a practice called Nam Tebima or naming ceremony. Here, the astrologer gives the parents a choice of letters to name the child with, and those letters are based on the time of birth. Rituals continue when the child goes out for the first time. For example, there is a practice called Dorata, in which the child is first exposed to the rising morning sun.

An expat in Sri Lanka would find that village life also reveals some customs and traditions. Festive Gam Maduwa is something you could participate in. It is a village festival of special importance to farmers because they believe it invokes the blessings of the gods. Living in Sri Lanka also means getting used to their superstitions and omens. Do not be surprised if before going somewhere or on a trip you have to meet someone carrying a pot of water, milk or white flowers. This is considered a gesture for a safe and successful journey.


Can Americans move to Sri Lanka? ›

Any non-nationals of Sri Lanka will need a visa to enter the country. The type of visa required is subject to your proposed length of stay and the purpose of your visit.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Sri Lanka? ›

A family of four estimated monthly costs are 1,595.5$ (491,481.3Rs) without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are 448.2$ (138,054.5Rs) without rent. Cost of living in Sri Lanka is, on average, 54.5% lower than in United States. Rent in Sri Lanka is, on average, 86.0% lower than in United States.

How long can a US citizen stay in Sri Lanka? ›

Conditions of the Sri Lanka ETA for US citizens

US nationals with the Tourist ETA can enter Sri Lanka twice, whereas Americans traveling on business are allowed multiple entries. Both permits allow for a maximum stay of a month (30 days) for each visit.


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