Sri Lanka 3G for tourist

I wasn’t planning to get 3G when I was in Sri Lanka. I assumed that wireless connection in my guest house would be enough for me.

However, it turned out that having Internet on my phone was very important as I kept getting lost in Anuradhapura.

If you are thinking about getting 3G in Sri Lanka while travelling, I don’t recommend buying the tourist prepaid SIM packages. For example, Dialog has prepaid SIM for tourists and the premium package is 1,300 rupees.

That’s rather expensive compared with getting a package targeted at locals. For example, Mobitel’s 1024MB data package is only 279 rupees and includes some free minutes and text messages for numbers on the same network.

Cheap 3G package from Mobitel. Hearts
Cheap 3G package from Mobitel. Hearts

I bought a normal SIM card at the airport but had to change it to a micro-SIM later. I was really kiasu and bought a back up 1024MB internet package which I didn’t need at all in the end.

I paid about 1,200 rupees in total for the normal SIM, changed micro-SIM and two internet packages.

I did a lot of Google Maps and Whatsapp with my plan. I was using data up fast at my first guesthouse where the Wi-Fi was wonky. I posted blog updates by tethering my phone’s 3G connection. Surfing on a hotspot was much faster than I expected.

When I switched to the hostel in Kandy, my data consumption dropped because I had stable Wi-Fi.

It might be worthwhile getting the tourist package for the IDD rates. But you don’t really need to make IDD calls if you are contacting others with VoIP apps or services.

I checked out a branch of HUTCH and they told me they didn’t have micro-SIM. I’m not sure if that’s the case for the whole country or just that branch in Anuradhapura.

How is your experience with 3G in Sri Lanka?

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