Since we will be arriving at 12:15 am, I would like to buy some Sri Lankan rupees before arrival.

Is this possible if coming from Australia (via Singapore)?

3 Answers 3


There are quite low limits on the amount of rupees you can bring in with you, or take out again, from Sri Lanka. There are also some restrictions on converting Sri Lankan rupees to foreign currency, which affect locals more than tourists.

There are a few upshots of this. Firstly, it tends to mean you get a poor exchange rate outside the country. Secondly, if you're happy to take your chances, you can get some great rates at unofficial currency changers in the country. Thirdly, a lot of tourist related things (tour guides etc) will give a large discount for payments in foreign currency (especially Euros, US Dollars and GB Pounds)

My advice would be to only get a small amount of currency in advance, likely at a very poor rate. Take a reasonable amount of foreign currency with you, but mind you don't exceed the limits. When there, you'll be able to use an ATM card in major cities to withdraw cash, your hotel will give you an exchange rate close to the official one (and much better than you can normally get outside the country) if you need to change some foreign cash, and some shops + tour guides will give you very good rates for the same!

  • The first link says LKR 5000 limit which at today's rates is AUD 43. So seems pointless and I'll use an ATM at the airport.
    – WW.
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 10:11
  • That ought to be enough for a taxi to the city centre to your hotel, assuming you don't just want to get your taxi driver to pause at an ATM on the way! You might also want a few rupees to tip baggage handlers, hotel porters etc, so you might still want to just get a handful
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 11:34

Yes, this is possible from Travelex. From their website listing currencies:

Travelex stores regularly stock the following currencies:

Canadian Dollar (CAD)
Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY)
Danish Kroner (DKK)
European Euro (EUR)2   
Fijian Dollar (FJD)
Hong Kong Dollar (HKD)
Indian Rupee (INR)
Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
Japanese Yen (JPY)
Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)
New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Norwegian Kroner (NOK)
Singaporean Dollar (SGD)
South African Rand (ZAR)
Swedish Krona (SEK)
Swiss Franc (CHF)
Thai Baht (THB)
UAE Dirham (AED)
UK Pound Sterling (GBP)
United States Dollar (USD)
Vietnamese Dong (VND)

In addition, the following currencies are usually available at our airport stores, and may be available at your nearest Travelex Store:

Bahamian Dollar (BSD)
Bahraini Dinar (BHD)
Barbadian Dollar (BBD)
Bermudan Dollar (BMD)
Brunei Dollar (BND)
Chilean Peso (CLP)
Czech Koruna (CZK)
Egyptian Pound (EGP)
Hungarian Forint (HUF)
Israeli Shekel (ILS)
Jordanian Dinar (JOD)
Mauritian Rupee (MUR)
Mexican Peso (MXN)
Omani Rial (OMR)
Pakistani Rupee (PKR)
Papua New Guinea Kina (PGK)
Philippine Peso (PHP)
Russian Ruble (RUB)
Qatari Rial (QAR)
Samoan Tala (WST)
Saudi Riyal (SAR)
South Korean Won (KRW)
**Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)** <================
Taiwanese Dollar (TWD)
Tongan Pa'anga (TOP)
Turkish Lira New (TRY)
Vanuatu Vatu (VUV)

Travelex is in most major Australian cities, and certainly in most of their airports.


Exchange counters at Sri Lankan airport are open 24hrs. Just carry money in some major currency -USD, EURO, AUD etc and exchange it when you arrive. Convert it back to your currency while leaving Sri Lanka. Most of the banks at Colombo offer a little better rate than the counters at airport, but it is not worth spending a day at Colombo just for this.

  • Please note there is a commission charge of LKR500 when you convert LKR to USD (or any other foreign currency).
    – rjose
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 8:26

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