Sri Lanka Rupee (LKR; symbol Rp) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of Rp2,000, 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of Rp10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. There are also large numbers of commemorative coins in circulation.
MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. American Express is also often accepted. The tourist board urges caution when paying by credit card due to the potential for fraud.
Major cities have ATMs, although not all will accept international cards, especially the national bank. It is advisable to try to have some cash at hand whilst travelling, particularly in rural areas.
Traveller's cheques are often not accepted. If you find somewhere that will exchange them, the rate of exchange for traveller's cheques can be better than the rate of exchange for cash but there are handling fees to consider and banks are more likely to give a favourable rate than hotels. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.
Mon-Sat 0900-1300. Some city banks close at 1500, some even have night-time banking facilities.
The import and export of local currency is limited to Rp5000. The import of notes from India and Pakistan is not allowed. Otherwise, the import of foreign currency is not restricted but all amounts over US$10,000 are subject to declaration at customs. Export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on import.
Foreign currency can be changed at authorised exchanges, banks and hotels.
Sri Lanka duty free
The following items may be imported into Sri Lanka by persons over 18 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 2 bottles of wine and 1.5L of spirits.
• A small quantity of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette.
• Souvenirs up to US$250 in value.
There is no duty-free allowance for tobacco products. You must declare valuable items such as cameras and laptops on arrival and must take these out of the country again when you leave.
Non-prescription drugs and pornography.
Wild animals and their parts, coral, shells and protected marine products. Over 450 plants can only be exported with a licence.
You may only export antiques (items over 50 years old) with a permit from the Director of National Archives and the Director General of the Department of Archaeology.