I'm visiting Sri Lanka soon and wondered whether it is best to take the local currency or do they prefer US Dollars? Any advice would be great
Many thanks erik.
Can you please tell me if there is a limit to the amount of cash you can withdraw from an atm or if there is adaily limit?
We are planning to take our bank debit cards but don't want to be caught short if there is a limit.
Complex like all international cooperations ;-) Most banks ATMs, e.g. Sampath and Commercial Bank, for the newer ATMs have a technical limit of 80,000. But due to fraud prevention imposed by your own bank this might not be available. For e.g. our Dutch banks have a limit for Lanka of 40,000 per withdrawal per ATM and 80,000 per day - so we can get 80,000 but for that to happen we need to find a 2nd ATM (and need to pay the withdrawal fee per transaction twice :-)
All the best,
<Erik> & [Sandya]
I suggest you ask yor abn/card issuer if they have a limit per transaction/daily limit. I have a much higher limit on my MasterCard than Dutch banks have.
Thanks again for all your help and patience!!
Our tour operator has requested payment in USD 50% on arrival and 50% at the end of the tour. Happy with this arrangement, except we do have to carry a bit of USD around but all our hotel have safes. Also it means will will have some room to move if things go a not so well. Is this standard?
Tour includes all the usual cost re driver, his accom, car, fuel, insurance, our accom with breakfast, taxes etc but does not include entrance fees to parks and attractions. Tour operator has given me a break down of the cost of parks etc but that is also in USD. He tells me we can pay either in SLR or USD what do you recommend?
We are Australian so will change some AUD at the airport on you recommendation but I don't want to have the wrong currency when we arrive at parks or pay inflated prices because we are paying in USD.
Also our tour operator has suggested we bring USD instead of AUD to change why would that be do you think?
We are doing a 3 week tour Sigiryia, Kandy, Ella, Aragum Bay, Unawatuna, Galle, Colombo. Are there ATMs or banks in these areas where we could change AUD? Or is USD generally the easier foreign currency to get changed?
Thanks again you have been a great help.
You will be fine having AUD and exchanging them at any of the towns you mentioned.
When you exchange AUD to USD and again to LKR, you're just losing out on conversion rates plus it's double the hassle.
There are ATMs located throughout Sri Lanka but be mindful of ATM/withdrawal charges by your Australian bank.
Commonwealth bank charges 5$ per withdrawal plus another 3% for the conversion. Quite hefty in my opinion. ANZ too charges 5$ but has a lower % for the transaction fee. Maybe you're with a different bank that offers a different card service fee.
Most banks have "travel cards" where they lock in the exchange rate and has less fees, but I'm not sure if they offer LKR as a currency. Also the selling rate for LKR in Australia is less than the buying rate for AUD in Sri Lanka.
Many thanks for the quick reply.
We are with NAB $4 per transaction plus 2% however their PDS says that doesn't apply to out type of accounts so am trying to get clarification on that. Looked at travel cards but they are 4% no fee which works out more expensive as you are correct LKR are not an available currency on them.
Re paying park entrance fees do recommend LKR or USD?
Do all the Cultural Triangle sites and Yala Safari accept USD we do have some we had changed before?
I'm not too sure about individual sites as such, but the broad recommendation is to always pay in LKR.
High end hotels do accept dollars, but the exchange rate won't be too favourable. You just have the (possible) advantage of them charging your CC in your home currency, thus saving you conversion fees on your CC.
But as a general practice, pay for everything in LKR, and don't bother changing AUD to USD.
The advice from your tour operator is not very good. Tell him you will pay in AUD or LKR.