Actual Coverage Time Of Womens World Cup Game Expat Life in Sri Lanka, Colombo

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Expat Life in Sri Lanka, Colombo

I recently visited the beautiful island of Sri Lanka and found a country full of surprises.

Sri Lanka is located south of India, in the Indian Ocean. Once known as the Dominion of Ceylon and often referred to as tea country, tea plantations thrive abundantly throughout the island, with spice gardens, banana and coconut palms growing haphazardly to create a jungle of natural resources.

Humans, animals and traffic seem to coexist side by side without mutual hostility. Dogs wonder aimlessly or bask in the sun by the roadsides, cows and goats roam everywhere, even on the beaches (which I found quite amusing) and people are everywhere, whether walking, cycling, riding a tuc-tuc, a motorcycle with 5 astride, in a taxi, bus, car or truck, each taking up space on a not very wide road. But they live next to each other, there is no anger at being stuck behind a truck, just a short honking of the horn to say I’m here and I’d like to pass, politeness abounds and expressions and sounds are friendly, within a country that since the tsunami desperately needs help rebuilding. People are poor and yet happiness is everywhere… Not only for the child on their side or the person by their side, but also for expats and tourists.

Tourists gravitate towards resorts and some take a chance on areas slightly outside these areas for a quieter and less harassed holiday. Small pockets of expats can be found all over the country. When you run into these people and chat about life on the island, there’s not much to complain about. Yes, sometimes the water or electricity goes out, yes, the internet is not as fast as they would like. This is not how most people in developed countries feel: The faster it goes, the faster we want it. In this little piece of paradise, expats don’t care too much that it takes a little longer here, people are prepared to wait, they don’t rush forward too fast. There has been a lot of talk and talk about the elections and security in the country and there are still roadblocks and police/army personnel with guns roaming around to keep the peace if needed. However, with 70% of the population being Buddhist, the lifestyle is peaceful and life-simplifying.

From an expat perspective, I couldn’t fault the lifestyle. As said above, yes there is definitely something missing, things are slower, it takes a good 4-6 hours to travel from Colombo to Galle and like everywhere around 200km apart. I can’t say the roads are in particularly good condition, but I haven’t had a single accident in the 10 days I’ve been visiting. Difficulties could include not being able to get quickly from one part of the island to another, lack of a fast internet connection, possibly human waste/garbage that allows an influx of flies, dirt that is lying around and finally a lack of funds to restore the land to the condition, in what it was like before the tsunami.

Having said that, I have to look at all the good things you can find there, the beauty of the natural resources, how the nationals and expats are trying to rebuild the country, the beaches, the reserves and the mountains. This is a truly beautiful part of the world.

Expat Cost of Living Summary

The currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee LKR

Exchange rate k On January 15, 2010, $1 was = 114,217 rupees

I will break down living expenses according to some basket items:

Alcohol and tobacco: Alcohol in the bar, beer, cigarettes, locally produced spirits, whiskey, wine

Cigarettes (20s) – $3.14 to $9

Domestic Beer (500 ml) – $2.50

Imported Beer (330 ml) – $5.80

Wine at the bar – $6 per glass

Wine in store – $15 (750ml bottle)

Hotels tend to raise alcohol prices because it’s the only way they can make a profit. There are many small hotels and restaurants that create a competitive advantage where you can stay.

Clothes: Work Suits, Casual Wear, Children’s Clothing & Shoes, Coats & Hats, Evening Wear, Shoe Repair, Underwear

Casual Long Sleeve Shirt (Men) – $12

Long Sleeve Casual Pants (Men) – $20

Shorts (Men) – $11

T-Shirt (Men’s) – $6

Casual Blouse (Women) – $7

Casual Skirts (Women’s) – $12

Children’s Jeans (Boys) – $5

Kids Jeans (Girls) – $3.50

Kids Shirt (Boys) – $5

Kids Shirt (Girls) – $4

Clothing is extremely cheap, in Colombo you can get most designer clothes at quite reasonable prices in the Factory stores.

Communication: Home phone rental and call charges, internet connection and service provider charges, mobile / cell phone contract and calls

Monthly phone rental – $4.36

Telephone call rate – $0.05 per local call

Internet connection fee – $104 (buy all equipment with installation)

ISP Fee – $17 (1 gig free after that)

Monthly Mobile Contract Fee – $2.18 (per year)

Mobile / mobile call rate – 90% of phones are prepaid,

Cell phone 100 minutes of talk time – $38

– SMS peak times $0.012 – $0.05

With so many nationals working overseas to send money home, communication costs are extremely low and there are often special offers or no cost to make an actual call.

Education: Nursery / Pre-school fees, Secondary / University fees, Primary school fees, Tertiary fees

Annual nursery fee – $4.36 per month

Annual fee for elementary school – $260 – $436 per month

Annual High School Fee – $260 – $436 per month

Annual fee for the first year of tertiary/university studies – US$260 to US$436 per month (depending on which

private school he attends)

Private schooling is the most expensive for foreign children on the island, but prices are reasonable compared to other countries. The expats I encountered praised the country’s education system and were satisfied with the private education their children received.

Furniture and appliances: DVD player, Fridge-freezer, Iron, Electric kettle, Toaster, Microwave, Light bulbs, Television, Vacuum cleaner, Washing machine

DVD Player – $87

Fridge / Freezer – $489 (LG / Whirlpool – 4 year warranty)

Iron – $12 cheap to $35 top deal

Pressure Cooker – $20 cheap to $37 top deal

Microwave – $191

21″ TV – $244 (2 year warranty)

LG washing machine – $570

Discounts can be negotiated with shops for all goods

Store-bought foods: Baby Products, Baked Goods, Baking, Canned Food, Cheese, Cleaning Products, Dairy Products, Fresh Fruit, Fresh Vegetables, Fruit Juice, Frozen, Meat, Oil and Vinegar, Pet Food, Prepared Meals, Sauces, Seafood, Snacks, Soft drinks, spices and herbs

Powdered Baby Food (400g) – $7

Plain Biscuits (100g) – $0.20

Loaf of white bread (200g) – $0.70

Cake flour (1kg) – $2.80

Baked Beans (415g) – $1.92

Tuna (185g) – $2.75

Cheese: Cheddar (250g) – $6.63

Crisps: Pringles (139g) – $2.50

Automatic Laundry Powder (750g) – $1.57

Dishwashing liquid (500g) – $0.87

Fabric softener (2L) – $5.40

Breakfast Cereal (250g) – $2.45

Butter (227g) – $2.18

Milk (1L) – $1.40

Eggs (12) – $1.80

Orange juice (1L) – $2.80

Frozen Mixed Vegetables (1kg) – $6.20

Cooking oil (1L) – $3.22

Olive Oil (500ml) – $8.28

Can of Coke (355 ml) – $1.00

Local Sparkling Soft Drink (1L) – $1.30

Local Natural Mineral Water (5L) – $1.08 USD

Tea bags (200g) – $1.85

Instant Coffee (100g) – $6.75

Local Ground Coffee (200g) – $3.66

Salt (400g) – $0.26

Pepper (400g) – $0.35

Prices were obtained from local grocery stores, there are no big department stores to shop at.

Health care: General practitioner consultation rates, daily private hospital department, rate, non-prescription drugs, private health insurance / medical aid contributions

Private GP appointment with medication – $3.50

Prices for a private ward of the hospital – 28 USD per day

Dentistry – Tooth Extraction – $4.35

Most expats use Bupa or the Sri Lankan equivalent

Household: House / flat mortgage, house / flat rent, household electricity consumption, household gas / fuel consumption, household water consumption, local rates / taxes / levies

City Center 2 bed apartment for rent – $700

Rent 2 bed apartment outside the city center – $600

Electricity, gas, water, garbage for – on average 80 to 90 USD per month

households, that’s expensive when buying a household

air conditioning considered

Gas/Fuel – 12 ½ kg bottle – $14

Local property prices – 8 to 10% of the property value

Expats cannot buy property directly, they must do so through the lawyer who owns the property. The mortgage for locals is 4/5%. This is where most expats find costs creeping in, air conditioners are extremely expensive to run, as are water costs.

Mixed: Household help, Dry cleaning, Laundry, Office supplies, Newspapers and magazines, Postage stamps

Domestic rates – full time per person – $80 average

1 Black Inkjet Cartridge – $14

1 Color Inkjet Cartridge – $21

500 sheets of printer paper – $5.23

Local Daily Newspaper – $0.17

International daily newspaper – $0.45

International Magazine – $20

International Airmail Stamps – $0.22

Domestic stamps – $0.12

Domestic help is cheap and most staff either live on or near the property. Office supplies are reasonable, CDs and DVDs are freely available on the street where most locals buy them.

Personal Care: Cosmetics, Hair Care, Moisturizer/Sunscreen, Diapers, Pain Relief Tablets, Toilet Paper, Toothpaste, Soap/Shampoo/Conditioner

Vaseline Intensive Car Body Lotion (400ml) – $4.53

Toilet paper 1 ply per roll – $0.50

Toothpaste (200g) – $1.92

Shampoo (200ml) – $2.40

Some of the items that can be purchased can be expensive, such as lotions, sunscreens, and beauty creams. Brand products are the most expensive.

Recreation and culture: Books, Camera Films, Movie Tickets, DVDs & CDs, Sporting Goods, Theater Tickets

Paper back of books – $10

Movie ticket – $0.50

Imported DVD/CD – $2

Cricket Ticket – $0.50 to $8

Theater ticket – Colombo only – 30 USD

Hardcover books are expensive in the country, but paperbacks are similar in price to the US and UK. Movie tickets are cheap due to the availability of cheap DVD replicas that can be bought on street corners. International cricket tickets are also cheap for locals.

Restaurants / Catering / Hotels: Business dinners, Restaurant dinners (other than fast food), Hotel rates, Drinks and snacks to go (fast food)

Business dinner without alcohol – USD 22 per person

Dinner / Lunch at a local restaurant – USD 8 per person

McDonalds Big Mac – $4.10

Hotel prices 3* – 8 to 50 USD per person per person

Prices of 4* hotels – 80 to 120 USD per person per person

5* hotel rates – USD 140 per person per person and more

Take away – Can of Coke x 1 – $0.70

Medium Pizza – $3.50

Hamburger – $2.00

Coffee – Pot x 3 cups – $1.40

As in most countries how much you pay for food depends on where you go, local restaurants have great local food as well as international flavours, we found a fabulous vegetarian restaurant in Galle worth a visit and all the prices were reasonably cheap. Some restaurants take advantage of the tourist population and serve substandard food. However, most restaurants were good with their portions and meal plans.

Transport: Purchase on installments / Vehicle leasing, Gasoline / Diesel, Public transport, Service maintenance, Tires, Vehicle insurance, Vehicle purchase

Car Rental / Rental – Toyota Corolla Sedan – $37.14 per day for 1 week

Car Rental / Rental – Toyota RAV4 – $46.71 per day for 1 week

Unleaded gasoline per liter – $1.23

Diesel per liter – 0.64 USD

Bus ticket (one way) – $1.00

Taxi ride – per km – $0.50

Tuc Tuc – 10 km ride – $6.00

2nd class train ticket – $1.57

If you are visiting I suggest you use the local taxis and tuc-tucs, driving can be a headache and an unpleasant experience if you are not used to the local norms. However, speeds do not exceed 80km on major roads and overall a safe place to drive.

The above details are some of the items that form the basis of the cost of living indices for each group of baskets in the Xpatulator calculators, these costs are then used with their indices and exchange rates to calculate the cost of living in different locations.

For more information about Sri Lanka, read more at www.xpatulator.com/outside.cfm.

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