Essential information for

Sri Lanka


20 million


Sri Lankan Rupee. ATMs are fairly prevalent in major towns and cities although some do not accept foreign cards. Exchange rates on travellers cheques are often better than for cash, and sterling or US dollars are the best currency to use for this. Banks are best for cash and cheque exchange and be sure to change our money back before you return home. Smaller vendors won't have change for larger notes so break them down when you can or ask for smaller bills when you change money.


Sinhala and Tamil are the two official languages but because of the ethnic diversity other languages such as derivations of Malay and Arabic are commonly spoken. English is widely used for commercial purposes and is generally well-known in towns and cities, although less so elsewhere.

Dialling codes:

+94 for Sri Lanka then 1 for Colombo Area, 8 for Kandy Area, 9 for Galle Area and 31 for Negombo Area


Currently British nationals can get a free 30-day visa upon arrival in Sri Lanka so long as they have a passport valid for six months after their leaving date. However in August 2010 the Sri Lankan government announced that this visa on arrival system will soon be suspended. As yet they have no dates and no details about what will replace it. It is likely that in the near future visitors to Sri Lanka will need to apply for their visa in advance. Check the Foreign Office advice below for the most up to date information.


Sri Lanka is a tumultuous place with a variety of dangers from both the weather and the local populace so it's always best to check out the Foreign Office travel advice below before you book as well as before you travel.

Current Foreign Office Advice for Sri Lanka

Our expert guide to Sri Lanka

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