Sri Lanka – known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, is a popular travel destination.
Which is understandable. The country has a lot to offer. A fascinating culture, stunning nature & fantastic weather.
You could visit the ancient city ruins of Sigiriya.
Perhaps the Yala National Park Safari may be before you.
And if you are into hiking, climbing Sri Pada (Adam's Peak) could be a thrilling challenge.
Whatever you do, do not just stay in Colombo in Sri Lanka – you will miss out on a lot.
Your friends and family do not want to miss out on your Sri Lankan adventures, so you will most likely share your experiences online.
What you should not do, in many cases, is roam internationally in Sri Lanka.
International roaming can be expensive, which is why using local and travel eSIMs is recommended to save money.
And if you get a travel eSIM, you do not have to deal with the SIM card registration bureaucracy and skip the queues in Sri Lanka.
How much will a local or travel eSIM for Sri Lanka cost you?
You can get an eSIM for Sri Lanka for as little as 7 USD, with 1 GB of data for 7 days, up to 99 USD, with unlimited data for 90 days, from Dialog Sri Lanka & SLTMobitel, Airalo (Miturā), Holafly & Nomad.
Those are some generous data allowances, right?
And you can even get unlimited data if you want.
See how much it would cost you to use 10 GB while roaming – much more than what Holafly would charge you for unlimited data for 90 days!
In this guide, I will go over the eSIM options offered by the Sri Lankan mobile operators (Dialog Sri Lanka & SLTMobitel), Airalo, Holafly & Nomad. Let's do this.
Original publication: 14th of September 2022. Last updated: 27th of January 2023.
Table of Contents
eSIMs offered by the Sri Lankan Mobile Operators
To get the best service available, in terms of reception and speeds, you want to go with the local mobile operators directly instead of with a travel eSIM.
That is because you will have a higher priority on the network in case of network congestion.
However, that does not mean travel eSIMs will always be slow.
In fact, some mobile operators throttle (prepaid) on select plans or all plans for “optimization” reasons (read: we cannot be bothered to invest in our network).
Anyway, which Sri Lankan mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers?
Currently, Dialog Sri Lanka & SLTMobitel offer eSIMs to prepaid customers.
You also have several other options for getting an eSIM for your trip to Sri Lanka: You can choose travel eSIMs from Airalo (with Miturā), Holafly & Nomad.
Not only can you set up these eSIMs before arriving in Sri Lanka and activate them upon landing, but you can also avoid Sri Lanka's SIM card registration scheme, which is mandatory for anyone using Sri Lankan SIM cards and eSIMs.
While mobile data is already affordable in Sri Lanka, getting a travel eSIM will not break the bank – not at all.
Plus, I have plenty of experience with Airalo, Holafly & Nomad, and I can assure you they work well – and other Phone Travel Wiz readers also had pleasant experiences with them.
So let's see what these travel eSIM providers have to offer in Sri Lanka, right?
Airalo eSIMs for Sri Lanka (Miturā)
If I could only get a travel eSIM during my trip because I do not have the time or opportunity to buy a local SIM card or eSIM, then I would always get an eSIM from Airalo.
Airalo has eSIMs for around 190 countries, offers eSIMs at the lowest prices (on average compared to the competition) & has good service.
Airalo usually partners with the local mobile operator with the best coverage, the fastest speeds, or both.
And if it needs to partner up with multiple mobile operators, it does so, allowing you to have the best reception at all times.
Anyway, you can get an Miturā eSIM for as low as 7 USD, with 1 GB of data, up to 15 USD, with 3 GB of data.
Those prices and data allowances are not too bad, right?
Especially knowing that the Miturā eSIM uses the Dialog Sri Lanka network – the best network in Sri Lanka with the best coverage and SLTMobitel network with the fastest speeds.
So you do not have to worry about reception and speeds with the Miturā eSIM, even in remote areas.
The following two Sri Lankan Miturā eSIM options are available:
- Sri Lanka/Miturā 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 7 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Sri Lanka/Miturā 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 15 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
What do I mean by most popular?
All Phone Travel Readers get the 3 GB Miturā eSIM.
That does not surprise me – 1 GB of data is basically nothing 🤪.
The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.
- Check out my Airalo eSIM reviews
Overall, the Miturā eSIM gives you fantastic value for your money.
Airalo Miturā eSIM Pros
Are there any other reasons why you should get the Miturā eSIM for your trip? For sure:
- You can activate your Miturā eSIM as soon as you land in Sri Lanka
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to Sri Lanka's best mobile operators in terms of coverage and speed – Dialog Sri Lanka & SLTMobitel
- Miturā eSIMs are affordable (especially compared to roaming) and have generous data allowances
- You do not have to worry about SIM card registration with the Miturā eSIM, saving you time
- Out of data? You can simply top up online on the Airalo website and not worry about language barriers when dealing with local agents
There are many other small pros, but these are the major ones.
It would be disingenuous not to mention some cons, so here we go.
Airalo Miturā eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get the Miturā eSIM?
- The Sri Lankan mobile operators, including Dialog Sri Lanka & SLTMobitel themselves, have much more generous data allowances
- While you get access to Dialog Sri Lanka & SLTMobitel itself network, the best in Sri Lanka, your speeds will not be as fast as going with Dialog Sri Lanka & SLTMobitel itself itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Miturā eSIM (yet)
- You cannot call or text with the Miturā eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Airalo Miturā eSIM Overall Thoughts
Honestly, the Miturā eSIM is fantastic.
The plans offered with Miturā eSIMs are generous and affordable.
You get fast speeds and access to Sri Lanka's best networks, Dialog Sri Lanka & SLTMobitel, without standing in queues or dealing with SIM card registration bureaucracy.
And everything, purchasing and topping up, can be done online on the Airalo website or Airalo app (downloading the app is recommended).
Unfortunately, you cannot call or text with the Miturā eSIM, as it is a data-only eSIM.
But if you do wish to make actual calls, so not through apps like Whatsapp, consider a Dialog Sri Lanka or SLTMobitel eSIM or a Sri Lankan SIM card (but you will have to deal with the SIM card registration laws).
Nomad eSIMs for Sri Lanka
Another travel eSIM provider I recommend is Nomad.
In fact, I have been in close contact with Nomad as soon as I partnered up with them.
For example, upon my recommendation, it started offering the Nordics regional eSIM – an eSIM that can be used in Denmark, Finland, Sweden & Norway.
Yes, I really try to get the best offers and deals for you 🥰.
Another thing I have been pushing Nomad for, and Airalo and Holafly (to be discussed next) for that matter, is lowering its prices or increasing its data allowances.
In June, Nomad started offering a 2 GB eSIM variant upon my request for Sri Lanka and various other Asian countries (because Phone Travel Wiz readers asked for such an eSIM) at competitive prices.
In August, Nomad dropped its prices again for its China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand & Vietnam eSIMs (which are even cheaper than Airalo – that is remarkable on its own!).
So yes, Nomad is looking out for you 👁👁.
Anyway, in Sri Lanka, it uses the Truphone network, which uses a combination of local networks (Dialog Sri Lanka, SLTMobitel, Hutch Sri Lanka & Airtel Sri Lanka), allowing your eSIM to switch to the network with the best reception automatically.
This way, you will always be connected!
You have the following eight options with Nomad for Sri Lanka:
- Sri Lanka 1 GB eSIM for 7 days (Hutch – new), costing 4 USD/4 EUR/3.50 GBP/5.50 CAD
- Sri Lanka 1 GB eSIM for 7 days (Truphone), costing 20 USD/19 EUR/17 GBP/27.50 CAD
- Sri Lanka 3 GB eSIM for 30 days (Hutch – new), costing 7 USD/7 EUR/6 GBP/10 CAD
- Sri Lanka 3 GB eSIM for 30 days (Truphone), costing 48 USD/45.50 EUR/40 GBP/65.50 CAD
- Sri Lanka 5 GB eSIM for 30 days (Hutch – new), costing 11 USD/10.50 EUR/9.50 GBP/15 CAD
- Sri Lanka 5 GB eSIM for 30 days (Truphone), costing 54 USD/51 EUR /45 GBP/73.50 CAD
- Sri Lanka 10 GB eSIM for 30 days (Hutch – new), costing 19 USD/18 EUR/16 GBP/26 CAD
- Sri Lanka 15 GB eSIM for 30 days (Hutch – new), costing 25 USD/24 EUR/21 GBP/34 CAD
Use code ADU123 for the best deals available when getting Nomad eSIMs (on the site or their apps) and get 3 USD/2.85 EUR/2.45 GBP/4.10 CAD off (even on top of current promotions)!
- Check out my Nomad eSIM reviews
Of course, going with Nomad has some pros and cons, so let's go over them.
Nomad Sri Lanka eSIM Pros
So, why should you get a Nomad eSIM? Because:
- You can activate your Nomad Sri Lanka eSIM as soon as you land in Sri Lanka
- You do not have to worry about SIM card registration, saving you time
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access on all Sri Lankan networks, allowing you to have the best reception at all times
- You can avoid expensive international roaming fees
- Out of data? You can simply top up online on the Nomad website and not worry about language barriers when dealing with local agents
But it is not all good news with Nomad though – there are some disadvantages.
Nomad Sri Lanka eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get the Nomad Sri Lanka eSIM?
- The Sri Lankan mobile operators have much more generous data allowances and cheaper plans
- While you get access to four networks, your speeds will not be as fast as going with the Sri Lankan mobile operators themselves because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Nomad Sri Lanka eSIM
- You cannot call or text with the Nomad Sri Lanka eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Nomad Sri Lanka eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Nomad Sri Lanka eSIM is a great premium eSIM offering.
You will always have the best reception because the Nomad Sri Lanka eSIM automatically switches to the best network at your location.
However, just like the other travel eSIMs mentioned in this guide, you do not get a (local) phone number with the Nomad Sri Lanka eSIM.
Moreover, you can only get up to 5 GB of data.
Luckily, you can top up your Nomad Sri Lanka eSIM with more data if you want.
Holafly eSIMs for Sri Lanka
The last travel eSIM provider I recommend is Holafly.
In June 2022, Holafly introduced something that no other travel eSIM provider had done by that time.
You can now get unlimited data plans for Sri Lanka, several other Asian countries, almost all European Union member states (except for Liechtenstein) & a few other countries, like Canada and the United States.
And that is super exciting!
Now, I have to say that the unlimited data plans offered by Holafly are more expensive than the Airalo Sri Lanka eSIM or the eSIMs sold by Nomad.
But if you do not want to worry about data allowances, Holafly is the one to go for.
The Holafly eSIMs use the Dialog Sri Lanka (best coverage) & SLTMobitel (fastest speeds) networks (as well).
You have the following seven Sri Lanka eSIM options with Holafly:
- Sri Lanka unlimited data eSIM for 5 days, costing 19 USD/19 EUR/19 GBP/27 AUD/24 CAD
- Sri Lanka unlimited data eSIM for 10 days, costing 34 USD/34 EUR/29 GBP/49 AUD/44 CAD
- Sri Lanka unlimited data eSIM for 15 days, costing 47 USD/47 EUR/44 GBP/67 AUD/55 CAD
- Sri Lanka unlimited data eSIM for 20 days, costing 54 USD/57 EUR/49 GBP/84 AUD/74 CAD
- Sri Lanka unlimited data eSIM for 30 days, costing 64 USD/69 EUR/59 GBP/99 AUD/89 CAD
- Sri Lanka unlimited data eSIM for 60 days, costing 84 USD/87 EUR/77 GBP/127 AUD/114 CAD
- Sri Lanka unlimited data eSIM for 90 days, costing 99 USD/99 EUR/87 GBP/144 AUD/129 CAD
Based on the emails I have received, the 20-, 30- & 60-day plans are popular because those who buy Holafly eSIMs tend to stay in Sri Lanka for a prolonged period to explore the country.
As I recently started my collaboration with Holafly, you can get 5% off each purchase whenever you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ – awesome, right?
- Check out my Holafly eSIM reviews
Of course, there are some pros and cons with going with Holafly, so let's go over them.
Holafly Sri Lanka eSIM Pros
So, why should you get the Holafly eSIMs? Well, because of the following:
- You can purchase and set up your Holafly Sri Lanka eSIM before arriving in Sri Lanka (and activate it upon landing)
- You do not have to worry about SIM card registration, saving you time
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access on the Dialog Sri Lanka & SLTMobitel networks
- You do not have to deal with data caps because you get unlimited data (78 GB – here I come!)
- You can avoid expensive international roaming fees
But it is not all good news with Holafly though – there are some disadvantages.
Holafly Sri Lanka eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get a Holafly Sri Lanka eSIM?
- While the Sri Lankan mobile operators do not offer unlimited data plans (yet), their plans are much cheaper than Holafly
- While you get access to the Dialog Sri Lanka & SLTMobitel networks, your speeds will not be as fast as going with Dialog Sri Lanka & SLTMobitel itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Holafly eSIM
- You cannot call or text with the Holafly eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
- Holafly is the most expensive travel eSIM provider in this guide
Holafly Sri Lanka eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Holafly Sri Lanka eSIM is an excellent eSIM for those who do not want to deal with data caps because you get unlimited data.
Even then, you will still get fast speeds and 4G/LTE reception.
However, Holafly is the most expensive option in this guide and may not be the best for budget travelers.
Best eSIMs for in Asia (not just Sri Lanka)
Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Sri Lanka, Holafly Sri Lanka, or Nomad Sri Lanka eSIMs in any country than Sri Lanka.
There are some eSIMs out there that allow you to use your allowance in several East Asian and Southeast Asian countries.
Sadly, Sri Lanka is not one of them, but I still want to introduce them to you because they will be much cheaper than buying multiple eSIMs, or SIM cards for that matter, per country.
I highly recommend these Asia/APAC eSIMs if you plan to visit multiple East- and Southeast Asian countries to save money!
Airalo recently heavily improved its Asia eSIM, which used to offer a meager 4 GB of high-speed data before allowing for unlimited data at snail speeds, following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries.
The Eurolink eSIM is the most popular eSIM for Phone Travel readers, and I have no doubt that the Asialink eSIM will be popular too.
Just like in Europe, many readers tend to visit multiple Asian countries, so they would rather have a travel eSIM covering multiple countries than just one (like Sri Lanka).
The Asialink eSIM can be used in the following 14 countries:
- Hong Kong
- Singapore 1
- South Korea
1 currently, newly bought Asialink eSIMs cannot be used in Singapore. Airalo is working on re-including Singapore in its Asialink offering
Below is an overview of how much each Asialink eSIM costs:
- Asia/Asialink 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD
- Asia/Asialink 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 50 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 100 USD
- Asia/Asialink 100 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 185 USD
Holafly & Nomad eSIMs for Sri Lanka
Because of Airalo's previous Asia eSIM, I used to recommend Nomad's APAC eSIMs instead (to be used in 8 countries).
This eSIM can be used in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore & Thailand (1 GB/7 days/15 USD – 20 GB/30 days/69 USD).
As you can see, this eSIM cannot be used in Sri Lanka, so it would be useless here but useful in the aforementioned countries.
The Holafly Asia eSIM has only one variant: 8 GB for 30 days, costing 47 USD/49 EUR/34 GBP.
This eSIM can be used in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand & Vietnam.
Basically, the same countries as the Airalo Asialink eSIM with just fewer options (1 variant (8 GB) vs. 6 variants (1 GB/3 GB/5 GB/10 GB/50 GB/100 GB) and much more expensive.
So yeah, the Asialink eSIM is superior, I would say.
Remember, the Airalo links above will automatically offer you the best deals.
Overview of the Best eSIMs for Sri Lanka (Airalo vs. Holafly vs. Nomad)
In this guide, I went over various eSIMs for Sri Lanka: Airalo (Miturā), Holafly & Nomad.
Below is an overview of my recommendation order:
- Airalo's Sri Lanka Miturā eSIM (best value for money)
- Airalo's Asia Asialink eSIM (best value for money when also visiting other East- and Southeast Asian countries)
- Nomad Sri Lanka eSIM (excellent performance)
- Holafly Sri Lanka eSIM (truly unlimited data plans at premium prices)
- Holafly Asia eSIM (to be used in 13 countries)
Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for Holafly eSIMs and code ADU123 for Nomad eSIMs – a code is not necessary for Airalo eSIM purchases.
Buying a SIM Card in Sri Lanka
Want to just use a SIM card but not your current one because roaming will be criminally expensive?
Consider getting a Sri Lankan SIM card instead – local SIM cards are the cheapest way to stay connected abroad.
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