what are the pros and cons in Sri Lanka ?

My name is Steve, my wife and I have recently returned from Sri Lanka. This was our second visit to Sri Lanka and will probably come back for a 3rd time in the next couple of years. We are seriously thinking about retiring out there and will have to start researching the country big time if we are to make the commitment. Apart from the obvious I was wondering if you could possibly give us what are the pros and cons in living there? Maybe you could answer some of my questions or point me in the right direction who could?

Are living there because of your work?
Health Care?
Renting or Bought Property?
Social LIfe?
Cost of Living?
Is it best to have a car shipped out or buy there?
Have you experienced any bad moves that you have made?

I hope you don't find any of these questions annoying but we have to start somewhere.

If you think of anyone who would be more helpful I would be very grateful.

Many Thanks


Hi Steve

More cons than pros.  I would seriously think about what you intend doing.  For instance (if you are a UK resident) your UK pension will not rise with inflation.  Health care is expensive and nowhere near the standard of the UK.  It is very difficult to purchase property without having a Sri Lankan partner owning the greater (freehold) share.  There is much corruption in Sri Lanka.  Deeds cane be fake.  Now property is only available leasehold, not freehold. The ex pat property purchase rules keep changing.  The situation to buy is long and complicated and very high risk, even with a good lawyer on the case. Land tax is high.

It is expensive to ship a car in and there are strict rules about its age and is taxed on same.  See the government web site for these rules.  To buy is very very expensive for something that wouldn't be worth anything in the UK.

Better to rent a place for six months during the UK winter, then re-access your needs once you have gained experience.

Social life is clique ex pat variety - depends on where you chose to live.

Over 30 years living in Sri Lanka, I no longer do since the war ended.  I had endless staff problems, theft, damage, renting out my place in my absence and running a laundry to boot !  Do not treat staff with kindness or generosity as it will kick you in the face.  Google ex pat murders in sri lanka.

Cost of living is relative.  Electricity and water is expensive.  Although prices are rising very fast as some basic food stuffs are being imported so this affects Sri Lankan people as well.

Hi Malabar

Thank you for replying to some of my questions.
We were led to believe that buying property was a lot easier now, ie you formed a company and I think the house deeds
were in the company name rather than yours, this saved you losing the house at the end of your lifetime. I knew about the pension. If we came we would have to take some kind of medical insurance.
But your right about coming out for 6 months and accessing the situation.

Your english is very good - are you english or Sri Lankan?

It sounds like you or you have heard of  some bad experiences out there ?

I will of course look at Uk websites ie Foreign Office to see what they say about SL.

Where about are you based?

best wishes


https://thecurionomist.wordpress.com/20 … -to-worry/

Hi Steve

I think you need to do a lot more research.  (Your understanding on home/land ownership) The above link may give you an insight.


And this way at your peril ...

http://www.lankarealestate.com/property … -sri-lanka

My dream home residents visa rules.

http://www.immigration.gov.lk/web/index … d=199&

Every country has its own ups and downs. Please dont come to Sri Lanka to find a heaven. It is yet a developing country due to war and political corruptions.
No one ever invite you to come and live here forcefully. If you can not concur with the actual form of the country you better stay in your own country and live a comfortable life.

Hello Steve,
I was interested in your post and the responses as we did what you are considering doing and retired here a few years ago. We came on the Dream Home Visa and in contrast to the opinions of the other people we have nothing but positive things to say about life in Sri Lanka.
Of course there are frustrations but on the whole we have been treated with the utmost friendliness and love our new life. It is true that cars are ridiculously expensive but public transport is ridiculously cheap. We find the day to day cost of living cheaper than UK unless you choose to buy imported goods; local fruit, veg, breads, meats are very reasonable and eating out is affordable, as you'll know from your holidays here.
We live in a rural location with very few expats around and our Sri Lankan neighbours  are fabulous. We are 10 minutes drive from a tourist destination so feel we have the best of both worlds; living in the peaceful "real" Sri Lanka but within reach of many western aimed facilities. We socialise with our local friends as well as other expats: meals, theatre trips, book club etc.
I hope this has given you a bit of a balance to your previous response and feel free to ask anything further. Best wishes, Nicola

Hello Steve

I have a few suggestions check out the rest of the World before thinking of retiring to Sri Lanka.

I have checked out Sri Lanka and I have found more cons than positives. Mix with the locals away from the tourists for long periods of time. Rent before buying anywhere.

I have found my retirement home to live in another part of the world by living with a local community for several months. This has removed most of the cons I have witnessed in Sri Lanka.

I will not say where I am retiring to but look and you will find your little bit of paradise. Do plenty of research before going anywhere. I wish you the best in your search. Regards John

Hello Nicola D

Thank you very much for your response as I was getting despondent in the replies I was getting.
Yes I have a lot more questions to ask would you rather I gave you my or my wifes email address,
I don't know if your happy using this website blog?

I'm a Graphic Designer by profession and have been working in Publishing for the last 40 years, my wife
has two shops in Sussex retailing in computers, as well as running alongside the company a section that specializes
in speech technology - teaching people how to use the computer via voice.  Not that we plan to be doing that if we come to SL and we still have parents which we cant leave.

We do a lot of travelling and Jan would have liked to have settled down in Borneo but I find it too hot there.
Where as the temperature in SL is doable!

Anyway let me know if you want to carry on with this site.

take care


Hi Steve

one swallow doesn't make a summer.    Try not to talk yourself into such a major decision.  Just remember you wont be able to work in Sri Lanka, so there is not point in mentioning you and your wife's c,v.'s.  Wishing you a good decision (rent !)


Hi, thanks for your message. I think it would be better to continue this communication privately so if you give me an email address to contact I can answer any further questions. Hope to hear from you,

Hi Nicola

My email address is


hope to hear from you


Moderated by Priscilla 4 years ago
Reason : do not post personal contact details here for your own security

As foreigners ourselves, very happily living in Sri Lanka, I was really shocked and surprised to read some of the extremely negative posts on this forum, and have really been trying to figure out the reason for it, because every single foreigner that we meet here has been nothing but positive about this beautiful island, and this has been consistent from the time we arrived almost 10 years ago, to date!

Finally, we have agreed that what has happened is that you, Steve, have unfortunately run into a couple of losers, who attempted to integrate into the wonderful Sri Lanka lifestyle and failed, for whatever reasons, and now they are back where they belong licking their wounds and spitting their venom on prospective happy foreigners who are considering moving to this wonderful island, and simply trying to dissuade them, for no reason other than their own failure.

There is really no other explanation for it, and as the old saying goes, if you cant say anything good about something, shut the f up.

I think these naysayers are perfectly aware of the thousands of foreigners very happily living here in Sri Lanka and are completely trying to overshadow them with their extremely negative views on this issue.

I think the best advice I have heard here is to just come and visit, live amongst the locals for a while, and then decide....  for us, it has been nothing but positive from the beginning, up to today!

Good Luck!

Agree with Samsrilanka.

As someone who is a srilankan but also working and living out of the country, I have so many different friends and contacts who have experienced Sri Lanka but am honestly yet to find anyone complaining about it. I even have a couple of friends living here for good but, yet to hear whining or regretting their decisions.

The decision to get a vehicle- it's tax levels, bribe and corruption, yes I am afraid that is yet to be taken care of fully. But its not on a ridiculous level though. A developing country this still is. Healthcare is not on the UK standard I have to agree on that.  So there are pros and cons  :|

Without risking anything or planning anything on the longer run, the best way to make a decision is to drop by , and rent out for a short term, travel a bit and have firsthand experience, then decide.

Hey SamSriLanka

That really told them. Good for you.

I also live in Negombo and I love it here. I was lucky enough to be able to buy a little house here in 1999 and I've been very happy here. It's a great place to live.

Hi Nikki, Interesting to read all these comments. We are 2 70 yr olds coming out in May for 5 weeks to suss out where we really want to live. We have always envisaged Nuwara Eliya because of the climate and the people but feel we need a few expats around, though we are very comfortable with the locals. When we came in December we changed our minds and thought maybe somewhere rural out of Weligama maybe. Where are you and can i contact you. We preently live in Cheshire UK. Regards Annie

Hi Nicole,

May I ask in which part of Sri Lanka you live?  I too am thinking about retiring to Sri Lanka.  I have visited 5 times and twice for an extended time.  I do want to know some expats, if only to be able to communicate and have real discussions.  But my experience of the people of Sri Lanka has been very positive and I have met wonderful hospitality.  However, in 1981 I lived for about 4 months north of Trincomalee and that turned out to be too isolated, at that time very few people spoke English in that area and I realized I needed to be able to communicate with people.  So it sounds that you found a great middle way, where you have both expat and Sri Lankan friends.  That is why I asked where you live. 

Thank you for any information you can give me,


Anke Brady

Hello Anke, Nicola hasn't visited this forum for long time, however according to her profile and posts she lives in Weligama here are some information about the place from wiki and also google maps..




Thank you Finnbo for answering my question.  Weligama is a nice area, I'll look aroun there.

Thanks again,

Anke Brady

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