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Written by Shrinivas on July 13, 2023 Share on

Currency Exchanges in Sri Lanka: Handling Money on your next vacation

Exploring a new place, meeting new people, and sampling numerous delectable dishes seems like a lot of fun. Yes, discovering the unknown is a thrilling way to see a new nation. But now comes the most difficult and vexing phase. When it comes to grasping the arithmetic of currency exchange operations, no matter how experienced a tourist is, it puts a dash of perspiration to the savviest and skilled travellers’ foreheads. The procedure of exchanging any international money, whether Euro, Baht, or Dong, is quite complex. Despite the fact that there are a lot of simple solutions accessible, it frequently confuses the crap out of us. Here a few tips regarding Currency Exchanges in Sri Lanka.

Banks in Sri Lanka
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Also read: The Do’s and Don’ts guide for your Srilanka vacation

Sri Lanka Official Currency LKR or Rs

Sri Lankan rupees are the island’s official currency. It is the money used at all of the outlets, businesses, and shopping malls that cater to the residents. However, large-scale hotels, tourism businesses, and a few tourist attractions that cater to visitors accept and deal in international currencies such as USD, EUR, JPY, INR, SAR, AED, QAR, and so on. Because the native money is extensively utilized across the country, having Sri Lankan Rupees in your hand is handier.

Currency in Sri lanka
Source: Pixabay

The Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR or Rs) is a floating currency, which means its value is decided by market forces. However, the Sri Lankan government occasionally intervenes to keep the currency rate from moving too much. One rupee (Rs1) consists of 100 cents. There are now six coins and eight banknotes in circulation.

Understand the currency exchange terminology

The global currency exchange system has its own set of jargons and phrases. Before you exchange your money, you should spend some time learning the vocabulary. By tossing these terms around, the local exchange offices frequently try to confuse you. The simplest approach to grasp how this system works is to remember some of the popular terminologies. 

Exchange Rate

The amount you receive in terms of local currency when you exchange your cash. When an Indian visitor visits Sri Lanka, for example, the native money is the Sri Lankan Rupees. So the unit of LKR you receive after converting INR 100 is the Sri Lankan exchange rate.

Bank to Bank rate

This is the wholesale exchange rate that banks utilize among themselves. It is also known as the bank rate. Typically, this rate is used when withdrawing cash from overseas ATMs. 


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Buy Rate

There’s a good possibility you won’t have spent your whole budget by the conclusion of your vacation. Good news for you: you may sell the excess currency in that nation and get your money back in your own nation. The buy rate is the amount you will receive after selling your local currency.

Best Banks in Sri Lanka

  • Bank of Ceylon
  • Sampath Bank PLC
  • Hatton National Bank
  • Peoples Bank
  • Seylan Bank PLC
  • Commercial Bank PLC
Beach in Sri lanka
Source: Unsplash

Cash Declaration Policy

The Sri Lankan Customs Department has a foreign currency disclosure limit of US$ 15,000 that a person can bring into the country without disclosing. It should also be noted that this restriction includes Traveler’s Cheques and Bank Drafts. Furthermore, if you wish to withdraw any cash from the notes you brought into the nation, you must disclose it at customs if it exceeds US$ 5,000, even if the total is less than US$ 15,000.

Currency Exchanges in Sri Lanka

There are several recognized and licensed currency exchange outlets around the nation. Because the Sri Lankan Rupee is not regarded as a currency with a high exchange rate, it is not recommended to exchange currency outside of Sri Lanka since it is exceedingly unlikely to obtain an acceptable rate.

The following would be the most convenient and favourable methods for Currency Exchanges in Sri Lanka

  1. Airport
  2. Authorized money changers and banks
  3. Hotels
  4. ATMs

1. Airport

The Bandaranayake International Airport in Katunayake features kiosks of prominent banks that offer currency exchange services in Sri Lanka. Bank of Ceylon, Hatton National Bank, People’s Bank, Sampath Bank, and Thomas Cook Lanka (Private) Limited are a few examples. In general, these are the locations that will provide you with the greatest rates.

2. Authorised money changers and banks

There are approved and regulated money exchange centres across the nation, particularly near tourist destinations, that will accomplish the necessary. This category includes licensed commercial banks, financing firms, specialist leasing businesses, and limited corporations. York Street in Colombo is the greatest choice, as it is lined with approved money exchangers.

3. Hotels

Most hotels also offer Currency Exchange Services in Sri Lanka. However the exchange rates are so low, It is advised to keep this option as a last resort. 

4. ATMs

Users of Master or Visa debit or credit cards can withdraw cash from any ATM of a reputable bank. However, the rates are quite modest when compared to changing money at a licensed money changer or a bank. There is a bank charge for each transaction, which varies per bank. In general, the daily cash withdrawal limit is LKR 40,000 or LKR 60,000.

Tips for Currency Exchange in Sri Lanka

  1. Avoid no-fee exchange offices at all costs.
  2. Avoid using credit and debit cards for direct transactions.
  3. On a regular basis, check the currency rate.
  4. Forex cards let you avoid paying excessive transaction fees.
  5. Avoid using worldwide currency exchange methods.

Best time to visit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, unlike many other Asian nations, can genuinely claim to be a year-round tourist destination. Like many South-East Asian destinations, the period from December to mid-April is considered the peak season for general weather and hence total tourist numbers. While there are real reasons for this, there are also benefits to going outside of this time period, with the shoulder season often delivering the best of both worlds.

Sri lanka
Source: Unsplash

Also read: Sri Lanka Tour on Budget – A friends trip which is Pocket Friendly

Plan your trip with Pickyourtrail

Are you currently travelling abroad or planning a vacation abroad in the near future? Pickyourtrail, a global travel firm, can help you plan your journey. You may browse their travel Sri Lanka guides, look at their pre-made Sri Lanka Tour Packages, or entirely customize your own holiday. For additional information, visit Pickyourtrail.

Also read: Perfect 5 days itinerary to Sri Lanka

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