Foreign Currency Regulations
Visitors to Sri Lanka bringing in more than US$10,000 should declare the amount to the Customs on arrival. All unspent rupees converted from foreign currencies can be re-converted to the original currency on departure as long as encashment receipts can be produced.
Banks are open from 0900 hrs to 1300 hours Monday to Friday. Some city banks close at 1500 hrs, while some are open on Saturday mornings. It’s easy to withdraw money across the island at ATMs using international credit cards or debit cards.
Banks in Sri Lanka
Amana Bank PLC
Axis Bank Ltd.
Bank of Ceylon
Cargills Bank Ltd.
Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC
Deutsche Bank AG
DFCC Bank PLC
Habib Bank Ltd.
Hatton National Bank PLC
ICICI Bank Ltd.
Indian Overseas Bank
MCB Bank Ltd.
National Development Bank PLC
Nations Trust Bank PLC
Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC
Public Bank Berhad
Sampath Bank PLC
Seylan Bank PLC
Standard Chartered Bank
State Bank of India
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. (HSBC)
Most hotels, restaurants and shopping centers accept credit cards. Some establishments may try to add a surcharge, which is illegal.
Tips for Money and costs
CURRENCY: Rupees (₨)
BUDGET (up to) Rs. 5500
Simple guesthouse: Rs 1500–4000
Local rice and curry: Rs 150–400
Bus fares: under Rs 300 per day
MIDRANGE Rs. 5500 – 20,000
Double room in a nice place: Rs 4500–12,000
Meals at hotel/restaurant: Rs 1500–2500
Hire bikes, ride trains and use a car and driver some days: average per day Rs 2500
TOP END (more than) Rs. 20,000
Top-end hotel: Rs 12,000 and up
Meals at top-end places: from Rs 3000
Daily use of car and driver: from Rs 5500
The Sri Lankan currency is the rupee (Rs), divided into 100 cents; pricing in cents is rare. Rupee coins come in denominations of one, two, five and 10 rupees. Notes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 rupees.
Although a 10% service charge is added to food and accommodation bills, this usually goes straight to the owner rather than the worker.
Restaurants & Bars Up to 10% in cash to servers beyond the ‘service charge’
Drivers 10% of total fee
Room cleaners Up to Rs 100 per day
Bag carriers/porters Rs 50 per bag
Shoe minders at temples Rs 20
Guides Varies greatly; agree to a fee in parks and religious sites before you set out