Landing at the Bandaranaike International Airport, was a treat. For the festive year end holidays the airport has been nicely decorated. Musicians were playing music near the duty free shop welcoming the arriving tourists or people. The duty free shop looked luring with a huge collection starting from foreign liquor to home appliances. Our flight from Chennai was on a red eye time and landed at around 2.30 am after a travelling time of around 90 minutes. The first thing you would be doing at the airport is to pickup your checkin baggage if any. Then move to the immigration counter. Immigration formalities in Sri Lanka is very lucid. You have to fill up a form and then hand it over along with your passport at the immigration counter. For me they did not even ask me the ETA details. I think they can find that out using my passport number. Quickly they stamped my passport and I was on the way out. The airport is located in Negombo around 35 km from Colombo city. To travel to/from the airport bus, taxi and tuk tuk (Auto) service are available.
Bus # 187 connects colombo city and Negombo airport. We took a taxi from the airport to Colombo 04 and it cost us 2300 Sri Lankan rupees (LKR) ( 1 INR = 2.10 LKR). A tuk tuk would charge around 1500 LKR. To travel in Sri Lanka one need not exchange money before hand. You can withdraw money directly in LKR using any Visa/Mastercard/Maestro enabled card from almost any ATM. Most banks do not charge any conversion fees like People’s bank, Bank of Ceylon, Sampath bank, Commercial bank, National Savings Trust bank, NDB etc. However, do avoid Hatton National Bank (HNB) as they charge withdrawals using international cards. I would suggest before leaving the airport, withdraw money in local currency (LKR). ATMs are available on the right hands side from the main exit at a little distance’s walk.
Duty Free shop
Baggage claim area
Outside the terminal. ATMs are here.