Money & Internet And Phone Access

Sri Lankan Rupee is the unit of exchange (Rs). The most recent exchange rates are available here.

When you arrive, you can exchange foreign currency at the airport, in banks, and at exchange bureaus in larger towns.

You can pay for goods and services in the local currency, while some larger hotels will accept payments in USD or EUR.


100 cents are equivalent to one rupee. Coins are available in 1, 2, 5, and 10 rupee denominations. It should be noted that each of these multiple denominations has a different size, which can be perplexing.

Rs. 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 notes are available. It’s challenging to use the larger denominations for anything than paying for your lodging.

When you get the chance, you should strive to shatter the larger bills (at hotels, paying larger restaurant bills, to drivers for longer trips). Another choice is to swap them in person at the bank, which is very simple to do.

You need a wide variety of denominations in your wallet because we discovered that shops and lodgings frequently have very little change.

Note that you must convert any remaining currency at the airport before you go since the Sri Lankan rupee cannot be traded outside of Sri Lanka.


ATMs are everywhere and easy to use. Note some bank ATMs charge a local fee for foreigners, which can start to add up when you are withdrawing cash regularly.

We found the Bank of Ceylon to be the most reliable and did not charge us fees.

Credit Card

Sri Lanka is very much a cash economy and we rarely used our credit cards.

They are accepted at high-end hotels and some restaurants, but we found most guest houses, all drivers, and most restaurants operate only in cash.

Internet And Phone Access

The cheapest option to access the internet and be reachable in Sri Lanka is to get a local sim with phone calls and data included if your mobile phone is unlocked.

At the international Bandaranaike Airport, we bought a SIM card. At the airport, there are a variety of businesses with booths, including Dialog.

The Dialog Tourist Sim is a fantastic choice for tourists. You may get 10 GB of data, local and long-distance calls, and SMS for 1300 reps (USD 7).

The data is good for 30 days, and filling it up is simple—just stop by one of the many local convenience stores.

Fast internet was generally available, and the mobile network was good. You would not want to rely on it for internet connection during your vacation given that it was frequently slow at guesthouses and hotels.

Consider buying or renting a Skyroam portable WiFi hub if your phone is locked and you are unable to use a local sim or if you require data connection on several devices (such as iPads for families traveling with children).

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