We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?

Gloucestershire
Level Contributor
23 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?

We've been told that you can only buy rupees when you enter Sri Lanka, so can anyone advise the best place to buy them please? Or any other tips?

Thanks

129 replies to this topic
Ahungalla, Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
5,466 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?

Hi there...

You can get Rupees here in UK, but not worth it, two reasons, you can only get a very small amount and the exchange rate will be lousy..

Change some Sterling into Rupees at the airport, several banking desks just after the Customs Hall in arrivals, all open 24/7 and all give the same rates too..

After that, you can change at any bank in Sri Lanka, or even at your hotel, but rates given by hotels are not good, and in some towns/villages there are money changers, mostly where you find jewellers shops, and some Western Union outlets..

Where ever you change money, always get the slip that shows you have changed money officially, you will need to show one at airport if changing Rupees back to Sterling, and of course ALWAYS check what is given to you is the correct amount..

Regards

Dave

Gloucestershire
Level Contributor
23 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?

Thanks Dave

That's just the info we needed! Why did we think you couldn't take currency in then? Oh well, we will get it at the airport.

Thanks again

Whitley Bay, United...
Level Contributor
3 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?

Thanks for the information just thought you could take it with you will buy over there cheers x

Bellingham...
Level Contributor
708 posts
98 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?

Thanks for this information about getting money at the airport. I have one related question though. Although I am arriving by plane, I will be departing by cruise ship. If I get my rupees at the airport and keep that receipt, will I be able to exchange my rupees back at a bank in town before getting on the ship. Or is there an exchange place at the port that will allow me to exchange them back?

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
61,990 posts
221 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?

Hi there,

Banks in town cannot do. But yes, very likely that there is a bank in the cruise terminal that does inbound and outbound exchanges; and then with the receipt you can exchange back.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

London, United...
8 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?

hi

you can pay for things in us dollars in sri lanka as well.

Fredericia, Denmark
Level Contributor
37,532 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?

Not many shops/hotels/restaurants accept foreign currencies, and if they do it will be at a lousy exchange rate.

Hans

Queensland
Level Contributor
1,048 posts
207 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?

I agree with Hans. Although the exchange rate at the airport is only slightly lower than "official and non official" exchangers the difference is only slight, however when we enquired about changing money at the Mt Lavinia Hotel near Colombo the difference was quite staggering and not worth it and we looked elsewhere andI imagine most hotels will be the same. Some shops offered to give a better rate than the airport and most places we went to offered around the same. I use the XE Currency App for a guidline. I never expect that rate as it's the official trading rate but it gives an updated guideline as to which way the currency is going, good to know and handy to have. The best we found was in a gold shop/western union in Galle where it was clear to see that money of all currencies was being traded hastily as people were throwing money all over the place and the tellers trying to keep up with demand. We were given a receipt and all money was correct and no commission charged.

Just an example we experienced for AUD, XE Currency were quoting 134rps for the dollar. Never expect that, as with all currencies thats the official trading rate so with all currencies expect slightly lower.

Airport changers quoted 127rps.

Money changers/shops (official and not) in town gave us 129rps.

Hotel quoted 120rps, quite a difference.

The difference of a few rupees is fairly insignficant and not worth the trouble of shopping around.

Hope this helps a bit. We actually made sure we had no Rupees left on our departure, paying the hotel bill and transport in whatever cash we had leftover then the balance on credit card. Worked out perfectly.

Edited: 01 March 2013, 08:04
Barcelona, Spain
3 posts
1 review
Save Reply
9. Re: best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?

Hi there!

I was wondering if it is better to transfer sterling into rupees or euros into rupees in Sri Lanka for the best exchange rate? Or does it make no difference with the original currency?

Many thanks!

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
61,990 posts
221 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?

Hi Bethan,

Never found serious difference in this, or at least no advantage exceeding the disadvantage of the extra exchange cost into that 'better' currency. Just bring your own 'strong' currency and exchange locally - in your case euro.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Reply to: best place to buy Sri lankan rupees?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted