The first expense was $11.24 which was the cab fare to the airport. Ask anyone who has been to Sri Lanka and they’ll tell you this is the cheapest fare from the city to the airport or vice versa. How did I pull this off? Just two things. Call a budget cab. Secondly tell him to use the city route instead of the highway.
The second expense was the last thing I expected – money changer commission for converting the remaining Sri Lankan rupees into dollars. The rate was abysmal, Rs.131 for one dollar, but I had no choice but to convert at least 100 dollars since I had too much Sri Lankan rupees remaining with me. I wonder whether they charge commission on converting dollars into Sri Lankan rupees as well. Now this is the first time I’ve come across such a ludicrous system and I have changed money at quite a few airports around the world. In all instances all the commission and stuff was in-built into the currency rate. Based on that, we can safely conclude that the Sri Lankan currency changers at the airport are a big fraud, and that you should avoid them as much as possible. Change just enough currency at the airport to last you for a few essential purchases, rest get it changed in the city.
After this non-amusing episode, I moved to the Coffee Beans and Tea Leaf café for some more fleecing action.
This was the single most expensive snack I had in all of Sri Lanka– a whopping $11 for a mere latte and walnut banana muffin. In fact it cost me more in Sri Lankan rupees than if I had paid in dollars – Rs.1417. That’s a freakin’ Rs.135 to one 1 dollar – the worst rate in Sri Lanka if there ever was one. You can read about my experience at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf café in the review section.