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woman hand holding a group of Sri Lanka banknotes in her hand. Sri Lankan rupee is the currency of Sri Lanka

Beyond rupees: 5 fun Sri Lanka currency facts

Have you ever wondered about the currency used in the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka? 

Whether you’re planning a trip, interested in world currencies, or looking to exchange some cash, you’re in the right place! 

Today, we’re diving deep into the world of the currency in Sri Lanka. We’ve got it all covered, from its rich history to the colourful banknotes and useful coins. 

Plus, we’ll sprinkle in some fun and quirky facts to keep things interesting. So, let’s set off on this monetary journey together!

What is Sri Lanka’s currency called?

The currency of Sri Lanka is known as the Sri Lankan rupee, abbreviated as LKR. When you’re exploring this vibrant country, you’ll be spending in rupees, which play a crucial part in the daily lives of its people.

What is Sri Lanka’s currency symbol?

Spotting the Sri Lankan currency symbol is quite straightforward. It’s often represented by the letters ‘Rs’ or with the symbol ‘₨’, making it easy to identify when you’re checking prices or making transactions.

Is Sri Lanka a closed currency?

Yes, Sri Lanka has a closed currency, which means the Sri Lankan rupee (LKR) is generally not freely exchanged or available outside of Sri Lanka, except through specialist currency exchanges like us here at Manor FX.

Snag the best rates with Manor FX

When it comes to Sri Lankan currency, Manor FX is your go-to for the most competitive online exchange rates in the UK.

Excited for your Sri Lankan journey? Brace yourself for stunning beaches and delicious curries!

Before you set off, securing travel money is a must. Manor FX is here to supply you with Sri Lankan rupees, offering fantastic exchange rates so your money goes further.

Opt for home or office delivery convenience, or pick up your Sri Landan currency in-store.

Thanks to our swift delivery and straightforward online order process, arranging your Sri Lankan spending money is effortless. Cross one more task off your travel checklist with ease!

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A brief history of Sri Lankan currency

Sri Lanka’s currency story is as colourful as its history. Long ago, people bartered, but as Sri Lanka began trading widely, coins were made and influenced by various rulers and traders.

Colonial times saw significant changes. The Portuguese, Dutch, and British brought their own coins. The British set up the Ceylon rupee, starting the path to today’s Sri Lankan rupee (LKR), marked as Rs.

In 1972, when Ceylon turned into Sri Lanka, the currency was renamed too. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka took charge, updating the currency’s look, safety, and types over time.

Today, Sri Lanka’s money tells stories of its past, from ancient trades to colonial days and more. It’s a key part of Sri Lanka’s rich culture and history.

Sri Lankan Rupee banknotes

Sri Lankan banknotes

Sri Lankan banknotes are pretty special. They’re not just money; they’re like little pieces of art that show off the country’s amazing culture and nature. 

The Bank of Ceylon issues banknotes in different values, like Rs. 20, Rs. 50, Rs. 100, and even up to Rs. 5000. 

Each one has its own colourful design that tells a story about Sri Lanka, from its wildlife and landscapes to its famous places and important people.

These notes also have special features to keep them safe from being counterfeited. They have watermarks, special threads, and holograms. 

And for folks who have trouble seeing, there are features to help them tell the notes apart, too.

Sometimes, Sri Lanka brings out new designs for their banknotes. These new designs can be about the country’s past heroes or big achievements. 

So, these banknotes are more than just money. They remind people of Sri Lanka’s journey and what the country stands for.

Sri Lankan rupee coins

Sri Lankan coins 

Sri Lankan coins are little storytellers, each one packed with tales from the country’s past and present. 

They come in different values like 1, 2, 5, and 10 rupees and are made from stainless steel and copper to ensure they last a long time.

Sri Lanka once issued coins in denominations below 1 rupee, including 1, 2, 5, 10 and 50 cents, but they are seldom used in day-to-day transactions now.

What’s really neat about the coins is their designs. Each one shows off something special about Sri Lanka, from its wildlife and famous places to important cultural symbols. 

For example, you might find a coin with the Sri Lankan lion on it, showing off the country’s strength and history. Or there could be a coin with a traditional drum, linking today with old traditions.

Sri Lanka also makes commemorative coins to remember important times or celebrate big achievements. These aren’t your everyday coins; they’re made in small numbers, and coin collectors love them. They help us remember the important moments that make Sri Lanka what it is today.

So, these coins are more than just money. They’re a way to share and remember the stories, cultures, and natural wonders of Sri Lanka. 

Where else in the world uses Sri Lankan currency?

There might be a few exceptions, particularly in border areas or in countries with close economic ties to Sri Lanka, where the rupee might be accepted on a very limited basis and usually not in an official capacity. 

For instance, in some tourist establishments or local markets close to Sri Lanka, especially in neighbouring countries, you might find some willingness to accept LKR, but this is more of an exception than the rule.

A river full of elephants in Sri Lanka

5 Fun Sri Lankan currency facts

Sri Lankan currency is a treasure trove of stories, designs, and peculiarities. Here are five fun and unexpected facts about the Sri Lankan rupee that might surprise you:

1. Numismatic wonder 

Sri Lanka has a rich history of unique coinage, including the ancient ‘Lakshmi Plaque,’ a rectangular coin from the 1st to 4th century AD. These coins are thought to bring good luck and are unlike the typical round coins we’re familiar with today.

2. Colourful banknotes 

Sri Lankan banknotes are known for their vibrant colours and intricate designs. But did you know that the 5000 rupee note is one of the most colourful in the world? It’s a kaleidoscope of hues and patterns, reflecting the island’s rich tapestry of culture and nature.

3. World’s first vertical banknote

In 1998, Sri Lanka released the world’s first vertical banknote to commemorate the 50th anniversary of independence. This 200 rupee note broke the mould with its portrait orientation, setting a trend that several other countries have followed since.

4. Commemorative coins with a twist

Sri Lanka has minted coins that are not just round but come in various shapes for commemorative purposes. These include scalloped edges, multi-sided coins, and even a coin shaped like a traditional ‘Ravanahatha’ (a stringed musical instrument), celebrating the island’s musical heritage.

5. The rare and elusive

Among the rarest coins in Sri Lankan numismatics is the 10 rupee coin issued in 1998 to mark the South Asian Federation Games held in Colombo. These coins were minted in limited quantities and are now a prized possession for collectors.


Since the currency of Sri Lanka isn’t as globally recognised as the Euro or the US Dollar, it’s common for folks to be unsure about what they’re looking for when they need to purchase currency.

Many end up searching terms like “Sri Lanka currency”, “currency in Sri Lanka”, and “currency of Sri Lanka”. But what they’re really after is the Sri Lankan Rupee. Keep this in mind for the future!

Absolutely! If you’re planning to exchange your pounds for Sri Lankan rupees, you’re in the right place!

Order your Sri Lankan currency online easily, and here’s the best part – we ensure it gets to you safely via Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®. No worries, just a fast and secure delivery right to your home or office.

And if you happen to be near Heathrow, consider yourself fortunate! You can pop into our travel money shop and pick up your Sri Lankan rupees in person. 

We’re all about making your currency exchange as smooth as possible.

Yes! If you’ve returned with some Sri Lankan rupees from your trip, there’s no need to worry. We have an easy solution for you. 

Simply click the link to change your Sri Lankan currency back to pounds.

We’re committed to giving you excellent rates for your leftover rupees. We value your unused currency and aim to ensure you benefit as much as possible from it.

Convert your Sri Lankan currency to GBP with just a click. Your smooth currency exchange experience begins right here!

No, you cannot use Indian rupees for regular transactions in Sri Lanka. The official currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan rupee (LKR). Visitors need to exchange their foreign currency, including Indian rupees, for Sri Lankan rupees for use in local transactions.

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