Foreign exchange guide to Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan rupee
What's in this Sri Lanka currency guide?
The official currency of Sri Lanka (country code: LK) is the Sri Lankan rupee, with symbol ₨ and currency code LKR.
The Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR) is the official currency of Sri Lanka, an island nation located in South Asia. It is abbreviated as LKR and is made up of 100 cents. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka is responsible for issuing the currency and managing the country's monetary policy.
The Sri Lankan Rupee comes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 rupees. The coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, and 10 rupees. The physical currency features images of notable figures and landmarks from Sri Lankan history and culture, as well as Sinhala and Tamil inscriptions.
The front side of the 10 rupee note features a portrait of Anagarika Dharmapala, a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk and writer who played a key role in the revival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The back of the note shows a view of the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. The 20 rupee note features a portrait of J.R. Jayawardene, the first executive President of Sri Lanka, on the front side and an image of the University of Colombo on the back. The 50 rupee note features a portrait of D.S. Senanayake, the first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, on the front and an image of the Parliament of Sri Lanka on the back. The 100 rupee note features a portrait of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, the world's first female prime minister and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1960 to 1965, on the front and an image of the Golden Temple of Dambulla on the back. The 200 rupee note features a portrait of C.W.W. Kannangara, a Sri Lankan educationist and politician who is known as the "Father of Free Education" in Sri Lanka, on the front and an image of the Jethawanaramaya Stupa in Anuradhapura on the back. The 500 rupee note features a portrait of Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1956 to 1959, on the front and an image of the Galle Face Green in Colombo on the back. The 1000 rupee note features a portrait of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President of Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2015, on the front and an image of the Mahaweli River on the back. The 2000 rupee note features a portrait of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the President of Sri Lanka since 2019, on the front and an image of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress on the back. The 5000 rupee note features a portrait of Sirimavo Bandaranaike on the front and an image of the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy on the back.
As mentioned above, the Sri Lankan rupee is a closed currency. Which means that you may find it difficult (or be permitted) to purchase the currency (LKR) before departure and will need to buy it upon arrival in .
For these types of destinations, using a pre-paid travel card is a good solution. As no travel cards support loading closed currencies like the LKR you will incur currency conversion or foreign transaction fees if you use a travel money card in .
However, using a pre-paid travel card is still a good idea as you can avoid ATM fees and also you can avoid using (and losing!) your main bank or debit/credit card.
Sri Lanka is very safe place to travel despite the 26 year civil war that finished in 2009. You might say Sri Lanka has been hiding in plain sight. Scores of travellers have passed overhead on their way to someplace else, but years of uncertainty kept Sri Lanka off many itineraries.Now, however, all that has changed. The country is moving forward quickly as more and more people discover its myriad charms. Lying between the more trodden parts of India and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka's history, culture and natural beauty are undeniably alluring.
Few places have as many Unesco World Heritage Sites (eight) packed into such a small area. Sri Lanka's 2000-plus years of culture can be discovered at ancient sites where legendary temples boast beautiful details even as they shelter in caves or perch on prominent peaks. Sri Lanka is spectacular, affordable and still often uncrowded. Now is the best time to discover it.
The currency of Sri Lanka is the rupee (LKR), and no other currencies will be accepted so be sure to exchange your dollars or get rupees from the ATM when you arrive at the airport. Exchange offices in other countries charge a higher commission compared to getting your money changed when you arrive in Sri Lanka so you'll should to go to an ATM or exchange cash on arrival. It is often possible to change your currency at hotels, but the rate is often not as good. In the cities ATMs are no problem to find and accept most cards and accepted by local establishments (even in small towns), however be sure to let your bank know you are travelling in Sri Lanka before you leave to avoid having your card blocked by your bank due to high fraud risk in this region.
Getting around in Sri Lanka can be quite time consuming so be sure to plan for that. Bus travel in Sri Lanka can be interesting and entertaining. Many locals speak some English, so you may have some enjoyable interactions. Vendors board to sell snacks and gifts on long-distance routes. Driving in Sri Lanka requires constant attention to the road. Country roads are often narrow and potholed, with constant pedestrian, bicycle and animal traffic to navigate. Note, however, that Sri Lanka’s massive road-building program is improving roads across the nation, especially in the North and East. An affordable and convenient way of getting around is hiring a 'car and driver'.
A car and a driver guarantee maximum flexibility in your travels, and while the driver deals with the chaotic roads, you can look out the window and – try to – relax. You can find taxi drivers who will happily become your chauffeur for a day or more in all the main tourist centres. Guesthouses and hotels can connect you with a driver, which may be the best method. Travel agencies also offer various car and driver schemes, although these can cost considerably more.
Sri Lanka Railways runs the nation's railways, and trains are a great way to cross the country. Although they are slow, there are few overnight or all-day ordeals to contend with. A train ride is almost always more relaxed than a bus ride.
While Colombo is commonly thought to be the capital, the technical capital is Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, which is the political capital of Sri Lanka. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (SJK) is however only 12 km from Colombo and is thought of by many to be a suburb of Colombo, which is the larger more industrial city of the two.
Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages in Sri Lanka. English is a ‘link’ language and generally understood by most people and is easy to get by. Off the beaten track knowledge of it thins. English is spoken at all hotels, major restaurants and shops.
No inoculations are compulsory unless you are coming from a yellow fever or cholera area. (Cholera is very occasionally reported in Sri Lanka, so is not considered a serious risk.) However, some vaccinations are recommended, particularly if you plan a long trip or intend visiting remote areas so check with your doctor if that is the case.
The domestic currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan rupee.
The three letter currency code for the Sri Lankan rupee is LKR — symbol is ₨.
It is the domestic currency in   Sri Lanka.
Yes the Sri Lankan rupee is a closed currency. Which means that you may find it difficult to purchase the currency (LKR) before departure and will probably need to buy it upon arrival. If you do manage to buy some of the currency or have some left over from a previous trip, make sure you are aware if you are allowed to bring this closed currency into the country.
For more information and a full list of closed currencies please refer to our guide: What is a closed currency?
|$ 1||₨ 329.08|
|$ 5||₨ 1,645|
|$ 10||₨ 3,291|
|$ 20||₨ 6,582|
|$ 50||₨ 16,454|
|$ 100||₨ 32,908|
|$ 250||₨ 82,270|
|$ 500||₨ 164,540|
|$ 1,000||₨ 329,080|
|$ 2,000||₨ 658,160|
|$ 5,000||₨ 1,645,400|
|$ 10,000||₨ 3,290,800|
|$ 20,000||₨ 6,581,600|
|$ 50,000||₨ 16,454,000|
|$ 100,000||₨ 32,908,000|
|$ 0.0030||₨ 1|
|$ 0.0152||₨ 5|
|$ 0.0304||₨ 10|
|$ 0.0608||₨ 20|
|$ 0.1520||₨ 50|
|$ 0.3039||₨ 100|
|$ 0.7598||₨ 250|
|$ 1.5195||₨ 500|
|$ 3.0390||₨ 1,000|
|$ 6.0780||₨ 2,000|
|$ 15.20||₨ 5,000|
|$ 30.39||₨ 10,000|
|$ 60.78||₨ 20,000|
|$ 151.95||₨ 50,000|
|$ 303.90||₨ 100,000|
To get a good (and fair) exchange rate when sending money to Sri Lanka you need to find and compare exchange rates for International Money Transfers (IMTs).
The available FX rates for sending money abroad can be very different to the mid-market (wholesale) rate which you see reported online and in the News.
You should especially compare your own bank's exchange rates to those available from Money Transfer specialists to see how much you can save - we make that calculation easy in the below table.
When sending money to Sri Lanka it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :
Use the above calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Sri Lankan rupee deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!