Exotic Island Living on $1,300 a Month

Every year International Living Australia ranks and rates the world’s best destinations for a richer, better retirement overseas.

Some spots make the list year on year, some drop off… and some newcomers make quite the splash…

Enter Sri Lanka.

exotic island for 1300

This small but dynamic country is a newcomer to the International Living Australia Retirement Rankings but is deserving of its place for a whole host of reasons. Here’s just a taste…


For Aussies, gaining access to Sri Lanka is easy. You can apply for short-stay visas online and extensions are relatively straightforward. A range of long-stay visa options are available for those who can’t tear themselves away from this stunning part of the world. And if you wish to work, start a business or invest, there’s a range of visas to suit you here too.

Visas are split into two main categories: visitor visas and residence visas. The first category allows non-natives to visit for a short period. Residence visas enable non-natives to stay in the country for an extended period or on a permanent basis.


Sri Lanka’s climate varies considerably from one region to another. Whether you’re into hot, sunny days on the beach or cold, misty mountain air requiring warm winter gear, Sri Lanka has the perfect weather for everyone and provides an excellent place to live all year round.

Average temperatures across the island stay relatively stable throughout the year. Coastal areas usually average between 25 to 30 C and between 15 and 18 C in the highlands.

sri lanka forrest

Cost of Living

Sri Lanka achieved the fourth highest score for cost of living in our Retirement Rankings, making it a very attractive destination for retirees looking to make their dollar stretch further.

Expat Robert lives in Galle, an historic city on the country’s south coast, where he and his wife enjoy a comfortable lifestyle on much less than they paid back home.

“Our cost of living per month comes to about $1,300. We rent our new, two-bedroom home for $375. Power and water comes to $75 and our phone and internet bill is $28 a month,” says Robert. “Our weekly food shop averages $37.50 for groceries and $7 for vegetables and fruit… We eat out four times a week at a monthly expense of $235.”


Sri Lanka’s low cost of living extends to healthcare, too.

“We’re saving a lot on healthcare, compared to costs in Australia,” says Robert. “A visit to the doctor costs nothing and medication costs approximately 20% of Australian equivalents. Private hospitals will charge a visit fee of $9.40 via an e-channelling site. Yes, you can book an appointment for the doctor, dentist or specialist you want to see online and at a time that suits you!

“Dental care is affordable too. It cost us $46 each for a check-up and clean. My last dental visit in Australia for a clean was $115.”


While Sri Lanka definitely moves at a slower pace than some of the other, better-known retirement hotspots in the Retirement Rankings, you won’t be short on things to do or people to do them with.

“It’s easy to make friends here,” says Robert. “There’s an active expat community, with Facebook groups posting what’s happening for those interested. Book clubs, literary festivals, flea markets, animal shelters, volunteering…all are catered for. We have fitted in easily here in our adopted city, meeting up with our new friends for lunch, openings or exhibitions.

“Cricket is a very popular sport here. Everyone loves it! The city we live in is also a great place for biking and there’s also great surfing. And nature is in abundance. We have four fantastic parks within a three-hour drive from our house.”

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