Living in Anuradhapura as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your Anuradhapura Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is a city rich in history and culture, nestled amidst the lush greenery of Sri Lanka. It served as the capital city of Sri Lanka from the 4th century BC until the 11th century AD, leaving behind a captivating legacy that continues to intrigue visitors. The city is home to many ancient ruins, Buddhist temples, and historic monuments that are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Anuradhapura's economy is driven by key industries such as agriculture, textiles, and tourism, making it a bustling commercial hub.

Tips for expats in Anuradhapura

Visa requirements

Foreign nationals intending to work in Sri Lanka for more than three months should apply for an employment visa at the nearest Sri Lankan embassy or consulate. The visa process can take several weeks, so it's essential to apply well in advance.

Language resources

Anuradhapura's official language is Sinhala, with Tamil being recognized as a regional language. English is widely spoken in the city, making it convenient for expats to communicate with locals. *Language learning resources: Sri Lanka Language Service Center (SLLSC), Sierra College of Languages, Sabaragamu Language School.

Cost of living for expats in Anuradhapura


Accommodation costs can vary based on the type of housing preferred by the expat. A room in a shared house starts at around LKR 12,000 ($60) per month, while a one-bed apartment costs around LKR 20,000 ($100). A two-bedroom apartment can range from LKR 30,000 ($150) to LKR 55,000 ($280), depending on the location and amenities provided. The cost of a three-plus-bedroom house is around LKR 65,000 ($320).


The cost of groceries in Anuradhapura depends on the type and quantity of goods purchased. Fresh produce such as vegetables, fruits, and rice can be bought at the local markets, where the prices are reasonably cheap. A basic grocery basket can cost around LKR 3,000-4,000 ($15-20) per month for a single person.


Transportation expenses in Anuradhapura can vary depending on the mode of transportation chosen by the expat. A tuk-tuk ride costs approximately LKR 150 ($1) to LKR 250 ($1.25), while a train ticket costs around LKR 100 ($0.50) for a short distance. A monthly car rental starts at around LKR 30,000 ($150), while a monthly motorcycle rental can cost around LKR 15,000 ($75).

Climate in Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura lies in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka and has a tropical wet and dry climate. The hot season lasts from March to July, while the rainy season is from October to January. The city experiences high humidity levels throughout the year, making it ideal for growing rice, sugarcane, and other cash crops.

Job market in Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura's economy is an amalgamation of both traditional and modern industries. The agricultural sector is thriving, with many companies involved in cultivating rice, sugarcane, and other crops. The city is also home to textile factories, providing attractive employment opportunities to locals and expats alike. In recent years, the service industry has gained prominence, with many hotels, restaurants, and tourist facilities coming up in the city, creating a booming job market.

Healthcare in Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura has a well-organized healthcare system, with several government-run hospitals and private clinics providing medical services to patients. The government-run Vijitha Hospital is a popular healthcare center located in the heart of the city, offering specialist treatments such as cardiology, neurology, and pediatrics, among others. Expats can access private medical facilities such as Aldama Hospitals, which offer a wider range of services, including diagnostic centers for lab testing, radiology, and pathology.

Transport in Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura has an efficient public transportation system, making it easier for expats to commute around the city. The most commonly used mode of public transportation is the three-wheeler (tuk-tuk), a traditional Sri Lankan vehicle that is both affordable and convenient. The city is well-connected by train and road networks, with regular trains running between Anuradhapura and Colombo. Expats can easily rent a car or motorcycle for added flexibility.

Safety in Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is a relatively safe city, with low crime rates. However, expats are advised to exercise caution in certain areas, especially during the nighttime. It is recommended to stick to well-lit and crowded areas and avoid carrying cash or valuable items.

Neighborhoods in Anuradhapura

  1. Anuradhapura (city center)

    Anuradhapura city center is the heart of the town, located close to most major attractions and facilities. Houses in this area are usually traditional in design and can be affordable for solo expats. The area is well connected by public transportation and offers a lively atmosphere.

  2. Mihintale

    Mihintale is a tranquil neighborhood located about 4 miles southeast of Anuradhapura city. It is known for its ancient Buddhist temples and sacred sites. The houses in this area are generally spacious, and the neighborhood is well maintained, making it an attractive option for families.

Attractions in Anuradhapura

  1. Anuradhapura Ruined City

    Anuradhapura Ruined City is an extensive collection of ancient ruins and sacred sites, including monasteries, stupas, and palaces, dating back to the 4th century BC. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-visit attraction for history buffs and culture enthusiasts.

  2. Isurumuniya Temple

    Isurumuniya Temple is a sacred site located near the Anuradhapura Ruined City. It is famous for its intricate carvings depicting everyday life during ancient times, such as scenes from hunting, agriculture, and diplomacy.

International Schools in Anuradhapura

  1. Buddhist Academy

    15, Pangulutuwa Road, Polonnaruwa Road, Anuradhapura

    Established in 1973, the Buddhist Academy is a well-reputed private school in Anuradhapura, offering educational programs from kindergarten to grade 13. The school provides a comprehensive curriculum with a strong emphasis on Buddhist education and values.

  2. Minerva International School

    31, Samanthurai Road, Mahaweli Road, Anuradhapura

    Minerva International School is a modern, co-ed school that offers an all-rounded academic and extracurricular program for students between grades 1 and 13. The school has a well-equipped campus with state-of-the-art facilities for sports, music, and arts.

Expat destinations in Sri Lanka