Accessing Your Money In Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has a closed currency so that means you will have to either take your own currency and exchange it when you arrive or withdraw cash with a card when you arrive
It is becoming more common for places in Sri Lanka to accept card but you will certainly need cash to get around.
Its good to have a card that is free for cash withdrawals and purchases or one of each if you can’t find one that offers both.
If you have this sorted then nice one if not see my post on selecting the right card to travel with.
In a country where you can barter from the cost of a pair of sunglasses to a Tuna steak dinner its always good to have the right amount of cash on you to aid this process. After all you don’t want to spend five minutes bartering a stall owner down 100 rupees to then give him a 1000 rupees note.
Cash machines/ATM’s are common in most towns and will nearly always have a local charge of 200-400 rupees (£1-£2) per transaction. Therefore it pays to withdraw the max you can in one go.
Check the exchange rate before heading to the hole in the wall and you can get around 45-50,000 rupees in one go (Sept 2017). The machine will issue you your money in 5,000 rupees (£25) notes which can sometimes be hard to use.
Think of it in comparison to back home and you go and buy a chocolate bar and use a £20 note. They aren’t always best pleased.
Make the most of your card if it offers no fee for purchases. Pay for accommodation and meals if possible with plastic. This can save you money on withdrawal fees and time finding a cash machine.