Since Sri Lanka's currency is a closed currency, exchanging currencies in Sri Lanka can be tricky. You will undoubtedly have questions like: "How much cash should you bring?", "Do you need to withdraw money from an ATM?" or "Is it cheaper to change money in the bank?". So here is a detailed guide to everything currency related in Sri Lanka for your holiday in this beautiful island country.
Navigating the local currency can seem difficult, but here's everything you need to know.
Carrying cash in Sri Lanka
Buying Sri Lankan Rupees abroad is not an option. Exchange when you get here is your only refuge. You can exchange money in a bank, exchange office or through authorized local money changers. Another possible option would be to withdraw money from an ATM in Sri Lanka. The currency used in the country is the Sri Lankan Rupee, also known as Rs or LKR. The banknotes distributed are in denominations of 10, 20, 100, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 rupees.
Note that importing money from India and Pakistan is illegal and you cannot bring in or take out more than Rs 5000 in cash, so be sure to exchange the rest of your cash before you leave the country.
The currency of Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee
Exchange in Sri Lanka
If you are traveling to Sri Lanka, you must change money on the spot. Your first and most convenient option would be to exchange currency at the airport. At Bandaranaike International Airport, where most international flights land, exchange offices and banks are open 24 hours a day.
Exchanging money at the airport can be a little more expensive, but is recommended. Be sure to buy enough Sri Lankan Cash (LKR) to get you through your first day.
Exchanges are another viable option. Easy to reach popular tourist areas. They usually accept major currencies such as dollars, euros and pounds. Usually commission-free, their exchange rates can compete with banks. Popular hotels in tourist areas also offer currency exchange offices. Although they are convenient, the prices are usually much higher or there are additional charges. Unlicensed money changers are another common sight on the streets of urban cities. Although their courses are tempting, it is best to avoid them. Chances are they will scam you unless they are authorized money changers.
It is possible to exchange dollars or euros for Sri Lankan currency.
Card payment and cash withdrawal
Non-tourist towns, small shops, local restaurants and street markets lack card payment facilities and ATMs in Sri Lanka. Therefore, it is advisable to always have enough cash with you. Visa and Mastercard are the most accepted cards. Despite the travel benefits, Amex is not accepted everywhere. So if you're traveling from the UK, you can get cards like Monzo and Starling that allow you to roam freely in other countries. Several establishments in tourist areas list prices in USD. But still make sure that the transaction is done in local currency. Card transactions in foreign currency are illegal in Sri Lanka and exchange rates are very unfavorable.
ATMs are readily available in Sri Lanka unless you are in a remote village where it can be difficult to find. Find your nearest ATM using convenient online portals such as Visa ATM Locator or Amex ATM Locator. If you choose to pay in local currency, ATMs also offer better exchange rates than exchange offices and banks. The maximum amount you can withdraw is between 40,000 - 60,000 LKR, which is enough for a good 4-5 days.
Remark: Most banks charge a fee of 200-300 LKR per transaction for withdrawals/exchanges.
Card payment in Sri Lanka.
The most reputable and reliable banks to look for are:
Commercial Bank, Sampath Bank, Bank of Ceylon, Hatton National Bank (HNB), People's Bank, Seylan Bank i DFCC Bank.
International banks often have partnerships with local Sri Lankan banks. See if your bank is among them. Then you may be able to use the partner bank's ATMs for free or at a reduced price. Prominent international banks with partnerships in Sri Lanka include ICICI Bank, HSBC Bank, Habib Bank and Standard Chartered.
ATMs in Sri Lanka.
All in all, currency exchange in Sri Lanka is not as complicated as it is claimed to be. Since it has become quite a popular tourist destination in the recent past, there are several facilities for tourists to manage their currency. ATMs and exchange offices are available in most places, and carrying cash is not as unsafe as people think. Sri Lankan currency is easy to recognize due to the different colors on the different banknotes of different denominations. Making the necessary withdrawals in advance and carrying local currency is much more feasible than relying on card payments or last-minute withdrawals.
Apart from understanding the Sri Lankan currency, there are a few other important tips to keep in mind when traveling to Sri Lanka. Whether it's aboutthe best time to visit the countryor approximatetravel expensesto this island. Find all this and more in our Sri Lanka travel tips section. If you want to enjoy a smooth trip while respecting the itinerary, just contact us. We help you plan the ideal trip tailored to all your needs and interests.
The best currency to take to Sri Lanka is the local currency, the Sri Lankan rupee.How much cash can you travel with to Sri Lanka? ›
Visitors to Sri Lanka bringing in excess of US$ 10,000 should declare the amount to the Customs. All unspent monies, which were converted from foreign currencies declared on arrival, can be re-converted to original currency. You are required to produce encashment receipts or payment bills.
Generally speaking, you can travel around Sri Lanka on a budget of $25-$50 per day (per person). With a budget of $25 a day, you'll stay in budget hotels, travel with public transport, make the most of the (many) free activities Sri Lanka has to offer, and eat (delicious) local food.How much usd can be taken from Sri Lanka? ›
Persons in Sri Lanka may retain in his possession foreign currency notes up to USD 10,000 or its equivalent in other foreign currencies, for any period, by such foreign currency received as remuneration from a person resident outside Sri Lanka or purchase from an authorized entity to travel purpose or withdrawn from ...How much is a US dollar to a Sri Lankan Rupee? ›
|Conversion rates US Dollar / Sri Lankan Rupee|
|100 USD||30775.00000 LKR|
|250 USD||76937.50000 LKR|
|500 USD||153875.00000 LKR|
|1000 USD||307750.00000 LKR|
So how much cash can you fly with? You can fly with any amount of cash. No law prohibits you from bringing any amount of money on a flight. Likewise, TSA has no rules that limit how much money you can bring through security.How much cash are you allowed to travel with? ›
International travelers entering the United States must declare if they are carrying currency or monetary instruments in a combined amount over $10,000 on their Customs Declaration Form (CBP Form 6059B) and then file a FinCEN Form 105.How much cash can a tourist bring to the US? ›
You may bring large sums of money with you in the form of cash, money order, or traveler's checks. There is no maximum limit, however, any amount exceeding $10,000 USD must be declared upon arrival on both the Form 6059B and FinCEN 105. All forms must be filled in completely and truthfully.Can you tip in USD in Sri Lanka? ›
Local currency is Sri Lanka Rupees (LKR). You can bring Dollars, Pounds and Euros which are widely accepted but rates will vary across different cities and Banks for currency conversions.
Using credit and debit cards in Sri Lanka
Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in Sri Lanka, even in smaller towns. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted cards. AmEx is also accepted, but to a lesser extent. That said, it's still a good idea to carry some cash with you just in case.
Credit cards are widely accepted in Sri Lanka, particularly Visa and Mastercard. This is true for cities, most towns and other touristed areas. It's illegal in Sri Lanka to make card transactions in a foreign currency so be sure to choose Sri Lankan rupee if given the choice.Should I take cash to Sri Lanka? ›
ATMs are readily available in the larger towns and cities and accept most major western cards, but if you are heading to somewhere more remote please make sure that you take enough cash with you. Do bear in mind that most ATMs will charge around 3% for cash withdrawals.How much USD can I bring into the US? ›
You may bring into or take out of the country, including by mail, as much money as you wish. However, if it is more than $10,000, you will need to report it to CBP. Use the online Fincen 105 currency reporting site or ask a CBP officer for the paper copy of the Currency Reporting Form (FinCen 105).Do you need cash in Sri Lanka? ›
Take money to Sri Lanka and spend travel money for less on the ancient island. Sri Lanka is packed with beauty, adventure and history, and is overall affordable for US tourists. Cash, credit cards and debit cards are all accepted, and you can exchange 1 USD for around 156 Sri Lankan rupee (LKR).Is it OK to wear shorts in Sri Lanka? ›
2. Can you wear shorts in Sri Lanka? The answer to this question is pretty straightforward: yes, you can. Even the locals wear shorts to combat the heat, but please remember to steer clear of hotpants when you are packing for your trip.How much is a Coke in Sri Lanka? ›
|Sri Lanka - Coca-Cola - price, June 2023|
While meal prices in Sri Lanka can vary, the average cost of food in Sri Lanka is LKR1,871 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in Sri Lanka should cost around LKR748 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner.How much is 100 000 sri lankan rupees in dollars? ›
|Sri Lankan Rupee||USD dollar|
|100 000 LKR||272.80 USD|
|200 000 LKR||545.61 USD|
|1 000 000 LKR||2 728.03 USD|
|2 000 000 LKR||5 456.06 USD|
How much is 1000000 US Dollar in Sri Lankan Rupee? 1000000 US Dollar is 304619096 Sri Lankan Rupee.
Does Money Get Flagged During Scanning? Scanners at airports are operated in a way that they can detect thick wads of cash. This money is counted to determine how much it is, and the person carrying it might be questioned.Where do you put your money when flying? ›
Money belts and neck wallets — those flat, cloth pouches that fit under your clothes — are the traditional ways to carry money safely while you're traveling. They're meant to escape the notice of pickpockets and muggers, and some even have RFID blocking to keep your credit card and passport information safe.How much cash can you legally carry on a international flight? ›
Just know that anytime you travel internationally with money, you're required to declare any cash over $10,000. You'll have to fill out declaration Form FinCEN 105 and provide the exact amount of money on you. Having to declare more than $10,000 in cash might seem a bit odd.How do I declare money at the airport? ›
Travelers— Travelers carrying currency or other monetary instruments with them shall file FinCEN Form 105 at the time of entry into the United States or at the time of departure from the United States with the Customs officer in charge at any Customs port of entry or departure.What happens if you declare money at the airport? ›
U.S. Customs and Border Protection notes that consequences can include: Forfeiture of the money you're carrying—meaning they take the money at customs and you don't get it back. Civil penalties such as fines. Criminal penalties—including prison time—if you're convicted of a crime related to illegally transporting money.Do I need cash in Sri Lanka? ›
Take money to Sri Lanka and spend travel money for less on the ancient island. Sri Lanka is packed with beauty, adventure and history, and is overall affordable for US tourists. Cash, credit cards and debit cards are all accepted, and you can exchange 1 USD for around 156 Sri Lankan rupee (LKR).Are credit cards widely accepted in Sri Lanka? ›
Credit cards are widely accepted in Sri Lanka, particularly Visa and Mastercard. This is true for cities, most towns and other touristed areas. It's illegal in Sri Lanka to make card transactions in a foreign currency so be sure to choose Sri Lankan rupee if given the choice.How can I bring dollars to Sri Lanka? ›
- Bank Transfer. Bank transfers are usually the cheapest option when it comes to funding your international money transfer with Wise. ...
- Debit Card. Paying for your transfer with a debit card is easy and fast. ...
- Credit Card. ...
- PISP. ...
- Swift. ...
- Apple Pay. ...
- Google Pay.
Cash or card? If you're withdrawing cash in Sri Lanka, you're best bet is to use a card that offers no overseas ATM withdrawal fees, like the HSBC Everyday Global Account card or the Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard.
Acceptance. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Sri Lanka, so you should have no problem using this type of card while you're travelling. Rewards. Some credit cards are linked to a rewards or frequent flyer program, which could be a smart way to earn points on your holiday purchases.How much money can you withdraw from ATM in Sri Lanka? ›
Daily Usage Limits :
ATM cash withdrawals limit - LKR 200,000/- Point Of sales( POS) limit - LKR 300,000/-
ATMs are common in Sri Lanka, and most of them work with Visa (Plus), MasterCard (Cirrus and Maestro) and even AmEx. You can find the closest ATM by using these handy online ATM locators: Visa ATM locator. MasterCard ATM locator.Can I exchange money at Sri Lanka airport? ›
07 banks are located in each Departure Lobby and Arrival Lobby areas, providing currency exchange facilities. Another bank is located in the transit area for re-exchange. Automated Teller Machines are available in Departure porch and in Arrival lobby area.
It's legal to travel with more than $10,000 in the United States and abroad. You have the right to travel with as much money as you want. However, during international travel, you need to report currency and monetary instruments in excess of $10,000.How much money do I need for 2 weeks in Sri Lanka? ›
So, a trip to Sri Lanka for two people costs around LKR123,262 for one week. A trip for two weeks for two people costs LKR246,525 in Sri Lanka. If you're traveling as a family of three or four people, the price person often goes down because kid's tickets are cheaper and hotel rooms can be shared.What is the USD travel card in Sri Lanka? ›
The Nations Trust Bank Chip and PIN Travel Card is a prepaid Card, which comes pre-loaded with US Dollars or Euros which may be purchased from Nations Trust Bank. It is the first card in Sri Lanka to offer both Chip and PIN based security which is a pre-requisite amongst many overseas merchants.How to fill departure card Sri Lanka? ›
The air passengers can fill this card online three days prior to their travel, via the official web site www.immigration.gov.lk of the Department of Immigration and Emigration or through https://eservices.immigration.gov.lk/emb/eEmbarkation/'#/home-page web page.