This is a quick reference to commonly asked questions about expat life in Sri Lanka and also travelling around the island.

You can easily click on the tab for Expat Life for a list of blog posts on living in Sri Lanka as an foreign expat.

Or, the click on the tab for Travel for a list of blog posts on trips and places visited around Sri Lanka.

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I've posted a couple of Q&A blog posts answering reader questions:

Eva's Mailbox: Miscellaneous Correspondence from Near and Far #1 on moving to Sri Lanka, business start-up, expat employment, retirement


Eva's Mailbox: Miscellaneous Correspondence from Near and Far #2 on health insurance, vaccinations, shipping personal effects, accommodation options and search, personal banking, grocery shopping, suitable clothing and attire for work

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*** If you have found something in these posts useful, please consider making a donation to support the
Adventures in a Tuk-Tuk blog ***



Faith Fernando said...

Hello Eva,
We live in Los Angeles, CA and looking to retire in Sri Lanka, as much as Sri Lanka is a paradise to retire in, not very many blogs are written from the perspective of a non-Sri Lankan. I am married to a former Sri Lankan and he is very much an American than a Sri Lankan. The reason I say that, the first 20 years of his life he spent in Sri Lanka and the next 30 years he’s being living in the U.S. He just turned 50 (2016) and ready to let go of a great paying job to enjoy the retirement, as you know money is not everything. We are hoping to spend the retirement years in Sri Lanka, within the next two years, (2019). No one from his family migrated to U.S.A, his entire family still lives in Sri Lanka. I had the chance to visit Sri Lanka at least 8 times over the past 25 years. I was always the tourist and loved it, unfortunately never done the pre-retirement test drive. As much as I love to do a test drive, not sure if that’s possible. Reading your blog almost eliminates the need to do a test drive. My husband is saying your blog is so comprehensive and well written, he himself with all his relatives that lives in the country cannot provide such great detail and advise to non-Sri Lankans that are thinking about retiring in Sri Lanka. We had the opportunity to travel to over 35 countries and we know when we see good advice. Eva, thanks so much for providing this service for free and the Sri Lankan Government should pay you for your service. We don’t mean to insult, but like to donate a small contribution towards your great blog and let us know how. You should add a donate button. This is too valuable to read this information for free.


Eva Stone said...

Hi Faith,
Thank you so very much for your comments. I am humbled by your words and immensely grateful. I set up this blog as a way of sharing my experiences and a variety of perspectives as an foreign expat living in Sri Lanka. I'm pleased to hear that it has been of benefit.
My very best wishes to you and your husband and your plans to retire in Sri Lanka. Things are constantly changing and developing over here and 2019 is not that far off. Hopefully, the both of you have more confidence in taking that leap after reading the blog and weighing up the pros and cons.
Since writing this blog and sharing what I know with others via social media, emails and blog posts and comments, Sri Lanka has felt more like home and easeful. In this small way, it's wonderful to give the little that I know about this amazing place with all it's quirks and sometimes hard edges.
I'll have a think about the donation button. Thank you!
Best wishes,

Kip said...

Hi Eva,
I just wonder if you have an opinion on something. It seems strange to me that Sri Lanka is never mentioned on all these "Best Places to Retire" lists (geared to English speakers as the title implies) one finds online. Sri Lanka does offer a retirement visa, and seems superior in other qualities to many that do make these lists. In Asia Thailand and Malaysia are always mentioned. Even India makes it on some lists. Since the civil war ended in May 2009 I can't see that being the issue. I'm certainly not trying to start a farang stampede to Sri Lanka, but as someone who may well retire there this omission baffles me. What do you think?

Eva Stone said...

Hi Kip,
I have also wondered the same. I suspect it may have to do with politics, economic factors, and other related issues that has cast Sri Lanka in a less than positive light when it comes to "Best Places to Retire" lists. Also the previous government had quite a bit of legislation regarding land and property ownership that made it difficult for foreigners.
However, there are quite a few foreign retirees already living it up in Sri Lanka and some have done so for decades. They saw a good thing and jumped on the bandwagon, and were not deterred by the civil war, politics and all the other things. Some others have come for a sea change and semi-retirement and seem to be faring quite well.
I've written a couple of posts on retirement on this blog (which I haven't concluded yet) and I've found in the past few years that there is more and more interest and questions coming through.
At this stage I'm not that bothered that it doesn't make it to the "best" lists, as Sri Lanka is a bit of a hidden treasure. Plus, it still has a fair way to go in terms of infrastructure development etc.

chris said...

Hi Eva,

I currently live in France but could have the opportunity to come to Colombo for a few years thanks to my job (ie foreign affairs). First of all, thank you so much for this blog and all the valuable information. It is never easy to take the right decision about the next destination and it is always very helpful to read people who are set in the country :)
I might be wrong but I couldnt find any information about bringing a pet to Sri Lanka. Im not talking about import regulations but about the day to day life. Im the happy owner of 2 Maine Coon cats and if I can't think of leaving them behind, I'd also like to make sure they'll be happy and healthy in their new home. Theyre indoor cats and are happy to watch the birds from the balcony, so living in an appartment or a house with a closed garden would propably be the best option. If you dont mind, i have a few questions for you. Do landlords easily accept pets when renting a place? Ive seen there was a nice looking vet clinic in Colombo but do you easily find premium food for cats? Are Sri-Lankan comfortable around them, as I might need to find pet sitters during holidays? And on a more general point of view, would you recommend bringing cats in Colombo?
I apologize about all these questions but it's a lot harder to relocate my cats than myself ;) I hope you'll have a few answers for me!
Thanks for your help.

Eva Stone said...

Thanks for the questions Chris. Hope the email responses are helpful.
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Hello Eva,
Thank you for this really interesting blog ! We are a french couple with a 2 year old daughter, living in Paris. We have an opportunity to moove to Colombo for a couple of years and are really motivated by this project !! But we are a little worried by the dengue-fever, which seems to be an important issue in Colombo at the moment...do you have any feedback of friends or relatives living with small children in Colombo ? What would be your advice on the matter ? Is it a real problem in every-day life ?
Thanking you in advance for your answer !
Best wishes,
Ana, Nina and Fab

Eva Stone said...

Hi Ana, Nina and Fab,

Thank you for reading the blog. I am pleased to hear you have an opportunity that may being you to live and work in Sri Lanka.

Dengue has been an ongoing issue for Sri Lanka in some parts. If you've done some research then you'll have read that this year, in particular for Colombo, dengue has been on the rise. As a result, the municipal councils around Colombo have had to undertake a large-scale active prevention and clean up programme of households, business areas, schools and so on, in order to reduce the opportunities for dengue mosquitos to breed. There were many notices and fines issued as a result of this programme.

Dengue fever is definitely associated with hygiene and cleanliness so you’ll find some Colombo suburbs have more of an issue with this – particularly rubbish left out, stagnant water around gardens or outside areas etc.

Each municipal council is tasked with keeping their municipalities clean, rubbish cleared and so on. But it also depends on where you live. If you decide on an apartment versus a house with a garden, or if your area has more rubbish left out, and so on.

Also note, NOT all mosquitoes carry dengue, so you could be bitten (which we all regularly do) and it's just itchy and annoying.

Personally, I’ve yet to have issues with dengue and I do have my own medium-sized garden, but I’m careful with stagnant water build up etc. I also use mosquito guards on my windows and prior to this I slept with a mosquito net. If I'm out and about in certain places, particularly natural settings I'll bring it use citronella oil or eucalyptus to prevent getting bitten. I find the former very useful. Some of my local and expat friends apply citronella to their young kids when they go outside. Mosquitoes tend to be out early in the morning and from the late afternoons.

Mosquitoes are a part of life around these parts. I've not had any friends or colleagues that have come down with dengue in the time I've lived here. However, it is always good to be cautious and make decisions carefully.

Best wishes

Susan said...

Hi Eva,

I'm happy to have stumbled upon your blog. I will be on a 10 month work assignment in Kandy starting in September. I have travelled to Sri Lanka before (it's been 13 years), but I have never been to Kandy. I have lived abroad for many years in the UAE, Spain and Egypt, so I'm ok with change and some sacrifice of creature comforts from home. I guess I'm wondering what I can expect life to be like for a middle-aged western woman. I know the accommodation they provide will be furnished, but I'm sure there are things I'll need to buy (maybe even a nicer mattress). Are these household items easy to get in a town of 100,000 like Kandy? <<I'm sure that sounds like a ridiculous question. Can you share items that you always take back to Sri Lanka which are difficult/impossible to find there? Is Kandy a walkable city?

Thanks for tips! I'm sure I'll have more questions as the date grows near.

Eva Stone said...

Hi Susan,
Sounds like a wonderful opportunity. Kandy is a fairly compact town up in the hill country. If you're based in Kandy city then most things are within walking distance or a tuk-tuk ride. There is the beautiful Kandy Lake and plenty to see and do in and around Kandy. Traffic congestion and therefore fumes are an issue though. Kandy is set up in the hills so, depending on where you are staying, it may entail walking up and down hills. But the views are lovely...

Yes, you can get household items in Kandy (there are some stores within KCC http://www.kandycitycentre.lk/ like Singer and Abans), but if not then there are stores on Peradeniya Road heading out of Kandy. Stores like Arpico, Damro and Singer Mega to name a few.

Mmmm... yes there are things I bring back to Sri Lanka but they are more along the lines of personal preferences - my favourite foods ranging from nuts, seeds, cheeses, jams, sauces and things like that. I also bring back tampons as they don't seem to sell them over here (i.e. the locals don't use them), but they have sanitary napkins. I think the main things you''ll find is that the variety of products is great deal less than what we're used to living in the West. It's definitely better than a decade ago!

Hope this helps you. If you have some specific questions you can email me at eatingkotthu AT gmail DOT com


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