Sri Lanka is becoming pretty popular with the digital nomad crowd. More travel writers, bloggers, videographers and entrepreneurs are coming to the country to spend a few weeks or months with their laptops while also enjoying the life and culture of the island. Here are options for newbies traveling on a budget while building their project, and also high-class spots for those nomads who are already pretty successful in their endeavors.
Always have a USB router that works with a SIM card just in case internet is spotty where you are going. Load up the SIM card with data when you are in any of the cities or towns and that way you can almost always have internet if the Wi-Fi fails.
The capital city of Sri Lanka has plenty to offer digital nomads. From co-working spaces to coffee shops, there are plenty of places to settle down with a laptop. The internet is generally quite good, depending on where you settle down to work. For example at the Kumbuk Cafe, a healthy meal comes along with 90 minutes of great Wi-Fi and as long as you consume something every 90 minutes you could spend the whole day there. Other places like co-working spaces can be rented for days or weeks at a time.
The Galle Fort, a walled city south of Colombo is a favorite colonial hotspot for digital nomads. Hotels in the Galle Fort generally have very pleasant common areas or patios with pretty good connectivity. The Galle Fort is a lovely place to spend a few days and is very close to the beach in case the cobbled streets get tiresome. A couple favorites are the Mango House and The Church Street Social inside the Fort Bazaar Hotel.
Unawatuna is the beach town closest to Galle. If someone says they went to the beach in Galle, they meant Unawatuna. There are hotels and beach hotels all along the shore and some places on the other side of the road, just a block from the beach. All digital nomads know that working beach side for long periods of time is terrible on the electronic equipment but a few days (or weeks) will do no harm! A digital nomad fave in Unawatuna is Bedspace, a mix of hotel and coffee shop that is on the up and up for unbeatable Wi-Fi connection and rentable co-working spaces.
Hiriketiya is one of those hidden beach side spots in the country that is quickly becoming a hotspot for hardcore Sri Lankan fanatics. A lovely beach town that offers great waves for surfers, breezy shores for beach bums and a wonderful atmosphere of travelers, expats and nomads who are always coming and going. The area is becoming popular with digital nomads, and fast! Verse Collective is the favorite digital nomad hangout in Hiriketiya and out of all the other places mentioned, this one is by far the coolest.
Tangalle is a great place for the digital nomads that have got it going on and can spend a few hundred a night for luxury workspace and sleeping. The Taru Villa Manwella for example, has beautiful rooms and an unbeatable garden with pool. Getting work done in Tangalle is a perfect mix of productivity and holidaying with an idyllic ocean backdrop.
The mountain city of Kandy is a great place for digital nomads who prefer a cooler climate, lots of culture and nature walks between working hours. Options for places to stay vary from budget to almost luxury. There is plenty to see and do in the city of Kandy, from the Temple of the Tooth to the Botanical Gardens. The Natural Coffee shop is perfect for some Wi-Fi time and meeting other travelers and nomads. The rooftop bar and pool at the OZO is unbeatable when the sun is out. The Theva Residency is a favorite with the cool crowd.
Another option for mountain lovers is Nuwara Eliya. A old colonial town full of antique British tea bungalows and sprawling tea plantations. Nuwara Eliya is more for the digital nomad who needs to concentrate for days at a time. For example if they are writing a book or setting up a huge project and love the solitude that the mountains can provide. Spend a few days in a tea bungalow and get a lot of work done!
Ella is a backpacker hotspot and a fave with travel bloggers. Lots of coffee shops like the Chill Restaurant Bar or lodges like Waterfalls Homestay are well equipped with reliable internet and good company. Mix in the work hours with some hiking and waterfall visiting to make your Ella experience complete. Get there by train and see the sights.