APAN34 Travel Information

Air Travel

The Bandaranayaka International Airport (BIA), also known as the Colombo International Airport is located at Katunayake, about 35km from the Colombo City.

About 24 airlines including Air Asia, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Jet Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines and Thai Airways operate direct flights to most countries in the Asia Pacific region. For more information regarding the flights schedules at BIA, please visit the following links at the BIA Website.
Arrivals at BIA
Departures at BIA

Local Transport

There are a number of transport options available for travel from the airport to the Colombo City. The airport taxi service supervised by the Airport and Aviation Services offers economical transport to Colombo for about Rs. 3000. However, most taxis are passenger vans. If you prefer a more comfortable service, you may wish to use transport services provided by hotels and other travel operators. Most hotels maintain a travel desk at the Airport and the rates are 20% - 30% higher than the BIA taxi rates.

Time Difference

Sri Lanka Standard Time is +5:30 GMT.

Currency / Exchange Rate

The local currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). A Rupee is made up of 100 cents, but cents are not in common use. Currency notes are 5000, 2000, 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are available for Rs. 10, 5, 2 and 1.

The current exchange rate is 1 USD = 130 LKR. Exchange rate in other currencies can be found at the Central Bank Website.

For buying small items, paying for taxis etc, it is best to keep lower denomination notes (below Rs500). It may be difficult to change notes of large denominations (Rs. 1000 and above) in small shops and taxis etc.

Banks are usually open from 0900 hrs to 1500 hours Monday to Friday. Some city banks close at 1600 hrs, while some are open on Saturday mornings. However, ATMs are avaible everywhere and you can withdraw cash using international credit cards or debit cards.

Most hotels accept foreign currency, credit cards and debit cards. Most restaurants and shops accept credit cards and debit cards. Some shops will also accept foreign currency.


The electricity supply in Sri Lanka is 230 volts, 50 cycles AC. Two types of AC outlets are in common use - The 5A round-pin outlet (used India, Sri Lanka) and the 13A square-pin (used in UK, Singapore, Malaysia) outlet. Most hotels would p rovide an adapter for use during your stay.


Sri Lanka has two official languages. Sinhala and Tamil - with English as a link language. In Colombo, most people will speak and understand English. Signboards are often in English.

If you have any questions, please contact the APAN Secretariat team at sec AT apan.net
© Copyright 2009-2012 APAN | | Last updated: 22 Jun 2012