SRI LANKA - Travel Tips


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.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. American Express is also often accepted. Major cities have ATMs, although not all will accept international cards.The tourist board urges caution when paying by credit card due to the potential for fraud.

Traveller's Cheques

The rate of exchange for traveller’s cheques can be better than the rate of exchange for cash. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller’s cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

Social Conventions

Shaking hands is the normal form of greeting. It is customary to be offered tea when visiting and it is considered impolite to refuse. Punctuality is appreciated. A small token of appreciation, such as a souvenir from home or company, is always welcomed. Informal, Western dress is suitable, except when visiting Buddhist temples, where modest clothing should be worn (eg no bare legs and upper arms). Visitors should be decently clothed when visiting any place of worship, and shoes and hats must be removed. Jackets and ties are not required by men in the evenings except for formal functions when lightweight suits should be worn.


Sri Lanka has a number of modern shopping malls, and some 5-star hotels in Colombo also have shopping arcades. Special purchases include handicrafts and curios of silver, brass, bone, ceramics, wood and terracotta. Also cane baskets, straw hats, reed and coir mats, spices and the island’s excellent tea. Batik fabric, lace and lacquerware are also popular. Masks used in dance-dramas, processions and festivals can also be bought: they can depict kings, queens, demonic birds and snake spirits amongst other things.


Treatment is free at government hospitals and dispensaries; 24-hour treatment is available at Colombo National Hospital. Some hotels also have doctors.