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traveltips

money, communication, internet

EC cards, credit cards, Travellers cheques

Travellers cheques can be cashed at all banks and currency exchange points; many hotels will also cash them for you. However, the exchange rates offered by the hotels are generally not very good.

You can also obtain cash in most banks upon presentation of a valid VISA or MasterCard credit card. American Express is taken by only a few banks. As a rule, all three cards are accepted in the larger hotels, at jewellers' stores and in the shopping arcades of Colombo and Kandy. Remember that if you pay by credit card the vendor should not be charging you a fee for this service.

Most tourist centres and all the larger towns and cities now have ATMs where you can withdraw cash with an EC card (with the Maestro symbol), a MasterCard or a VISA credit card.


Making phone calls

The mobile telephone network now covers almost the entire island, including the former civil war zones in the north and east.

Many mobile phone companies have roaming partners in Sri Lanka*, which also support sending and receiving text messages. Roaming fees are several euros per minute, depending on the time of day. Please note that you will be charged a hefty fee for all incoming calls.
(*most pay-as-you-go cards cannot be used.)

Many mobile phone companies and networks in Sri Lanka have clued up and now offer pre-paid cards which can be used in European mobile phones. This approach is a lot cheaper than using roaming partners.


Internet

You'll find internet cafes even in the smaller towns; while in the tourist centres and in larger towns there is almost a surfeit. Accordingly, the rates are fairly low: expect to pay up to 50 rupees per half hour.

However, if you take your notebook or tablet on holiday then you needn't bother with the internet cafes. All tourist hotels, including the Ranmal Beach Hotel, and most private guesthouses provide their guests with free Wi-Fi access.