Getting to Know LKR – Sri Lankan Currency – Part 1

One of the main reasons to travel in South Asia is the advantage you get from the value of their currency. You get higher value in most cases against the currencies like Indian Rupee, Pakistan Rupee or Sri Lankan rupee. However, my experience in this industry has shown me that most of the tourists who visit these countries do not get to enjoy this advantage due to lack of knowledge.

This article is a small guide about Sri Lankan Rupee – LKR for the people who are hoping to visit here.

Sri Lankan rupee is a closed currency, which means that there are restrictions to buy or sell the currency outside of Sri Lanka. It is almost impossible to buy the currency from a currency dealer in your country, or outside of Sri Lanka. Even if you find them, you will get it for a far lower rate than the International Money Exchange Rate, which takes away the currency rate advantage you get when you travel here.

Example:
Let’s consider that Today’s rate for USD to Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) is 1$ – LKR145
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$100 = LKR 14500.

However, if you buy if for a lower rate such as LKR 130, you will get only LKR 13000, which is LKR 1500 low. That equals to losing more than $10.

How to Get Best Rates for LKR

Avoid buying LKR from outside of Sri Lanka

First of all, unless you can get a really good rate, avoid buying LKR from outside of Sri Lanka.

If you are a regular traveler you are surely aware that buying currencies at the Airport is not the smartest thing to do since every currency bureau in Airport has ridiculously high profit margins. Do not rush and change all your currency directly from the Airport. Perhaps you can buy a small amount of LKR until you get a better rate.

Once you come outside the Sri Lankan Airport at Katunayaka, there are couple of currency bureaus in Negombo and many more in the Capital city Colombo-Fort.

Just keep in mind that if you are changing the currencies from the outlets in Colombo Fort, you need to always bargain for a better rate.

Tip: Get the support from your agent or the guide to find verified places – in order to avoid scams.

At FeelSL our dedicated team will guide you to buy LKR for best rates most importantly with a higher transparency from our side.

Selling your currency to local bank is a safer way to get much better rate than the Airport.

Note: You need to have your passport with you, and bear with the unorganized crowd handling by the staff. Be ready to stand in queues and waste some time in this case!

Government Banks: Bank of Ceylon, Peoples Bank and National Savings Bank
Private Banks: Commercial Bank, Hatton National Bank, Sampath Bank, Nations Trust Bank

Can you use any other currency other than LKR?

Sri Lanka’s only official currency is Sri Lankan Rupee.
Remember that 99.9%of the populations have not seen what even an Indian rupee is – we have met foreigners who are traveling in Indian subcontinent at the same period think that Indian rupee can be used in Sri Lanka as well.
The private companies who deal directly with foreigners such as Hotels, High-End shops, Tour Operators might accept some of the main currencies for a lower rate than the market rate.

We at FeelSL are happy to assist you about any issue related to your Sri Lankan visit, whether you travel with us or not. Therefore do not hesitate to comment here or email us!

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