Money: The currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan rupee (LKR). For the latest conversion rates, look at oanda.com. The rupee is made up of 100 cents. There are coins worth 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents, and 1, 2 and 5 rupees, and notes worth 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 rupees. The two most valuable notes contain a silver thread that is embossed on the paper.
Most banks are open on Monday from 9am to 1pm and on Tuesday to Friday half an hour longer. The bank at Colombo airport is open 24 hours. Do not forget that other banks are closed on the day of a full moon. The exchange rates differ very little between banks, but the rates of cashing traveller’s cheques can vary between 50 and 300 rupees. Exchange rates of traveller’s cheques tend to be slightly better than those for cash. There are other exchange points. Many hotels and department stores are officially licensed to change money, but the rates are less favourable than those in banks. In Negombo and Kandy, you can take out money from a cash machine at the Sampath Bank - that is, if they are working. Credit cards are accepted in nearly all hotels and in the more expensive restaurants and shops. It is a good idea to take a combination of traveller’s cheques in dollars and cash in dollars, and bring a credit card as backup. In Colombo airport you can change some pounds and use this cash for the first few days.
The pocket money we recommend is the minimum to pay for your meals, drinks, optional excursions, entry fees, local airport taxes and tips. Clearly, the amount that you spend depends on your personal purchasing behaviour, and for this reason expenditure on souvenirs is not included in the recommended pocket money. We suggest between € 200-250 per week.