Uncover the hidden gems and must-see points of interest in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, from visiting iconic temples like Gangaramaya and Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam to exploring the historic Fort space and indulging in native road meals.
Though usually missed, there are literally extra issues to do in Colombo than you’d think about and in case you are visiting Sri Lanka, you must think about spending a day or two exploring its largest metropolis.
Often known as Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo really is simply its judicial and govt heart – the capital is certainly Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, of which most foreigners (together with myself, I need to admit) by no means even heard about. Most individuals would let you know that you must skip Colombo throughout your journey to Sri Lanka: there’s a lot of site visitors and – supposedly – not a lot to see.
I dissent! I spent a day in Colombo throughout my final journey to Sri Lanka and I used to be really positively shocked by all that it has to supply, and though I did discover it intense (site visitors, air pollution and plenty of development work occurring), I believe it is rather fascinating and that it deserves a go to.
On this submit, I spotlight among the issues to do in Colombo that you shouldn’t miss, and share a number of helpful suggestions that may provide help to plan your go to.
13 Issues To Do In Colombo That You Shouldn’t Miss
Go to Gangaramaya
One of many unmissable issues to do in Colombo is visiting the various temples. Gangaramaya is just a should.
Positioned on 61 Sri Jinarathana Rd, that is Colombo’s most vital Buddhist temple. It’s really a pretty big temple, with a number of buildings which embody a pagoda, a library, a small museum with a fairly random exhibit, a show of donations and items from devotees, and – apparently – even a relic of Buddha’s hair. There even is a stuffed elephant on show – a bit misplaced to be trustworthy, and also you form of really feel unhappy for the poor animal being there on show!
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: You may get in for simply 300 Rupees, which is about $3 USD. The temple is open from 5:30 am to 10:00 pm.
Admire the colours of the Temple of Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam
Positioned on 11/15, Captain’s Backyard Kovil Avenue, that is actually probably the most spectacular temple you will note in Colombo. It’s a Hindu temple, with very detailed and extremely colourful paintings, each inside and outdoors.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: You may get inside this temple without cost, however watch out for the opening hours, that are from 6:00 to 10:30 am and from 4:30 to six:00 or 7:00 pm.
Stroll across the Fort
The Fort space is total one of the vital fascinating locations to go to in Colombo. Many of the outdated buildings within the space belong to the Dutch and British colonial instances – when this a part of city actually was a fort. Subsequent to them, you’ll discover some very fashionable buildings – so the general feeling you get is that of a really eclectic place.
Locations of curiosity contained in the Fort embody Previous Galle Buck Lighthouse, which was inbuilt 1954 and from the place you’ll be able to get pleasure from good views of the ocean and the harbor; the Clock Tower, which really was once a lighthouse and was inbuilt 1857; Central Level, which dates again to 1914, is the most important constructing within the space and has been fantastically renovated; and Lloyd’s Constructing, which dates again to 1908.
Get pleasure from some downtime on the Previous Dutch Hospital
Among the many nicest issues to do in Colombo, there’s visiting the Previous Dutch Hospital. Contained in the Fort space, additionally, you will discover the Previous Dutch Hospital.
It dates again to the early seventeenth century and it’s regarded as the oldest constructing within the space. It has been fantastically restored and now’s a stunning place to take a seat for a drink or to buy – evidently, it’s not a hospital anymore!
Stroll round Beira Lake
Some of the native issues to do in Colombo goes for a stroll round Beira Lake. Near Gangaramaya Temple, this massive lake is of a vibrant inexperienced colour – I assume it’s as a result of it is rather polluted. In the midst of the lake, there’s a small island with the Simamalaka Shrine. It’s a pleasant place to relax for a bit. You may hire one of many pedal boats to go round a bit.
Climb up Lotus Tower
This is likely one of the most well-known landmarks in Colombo – the form of factor you’ll be able to see from a distance. I didn’t have the possibility to go up after I visited, however the views from there should be spectacular.
Hang around at Independence Memorial Corridor
That is in all probability considered one of my favourite issues to do in Colombo. It’s a pleasant place, ethereal, spacious, the place locals hang around and from the place the views are lovely. It’s excellent for images due to the gorgeous gentle and its structure.
The constructing commemorates Sri Lanka’s independence from Nice Britain, which occurred on 4 February 1948. It’s surrounded by a pleasant backyard and there’s a statue of Sri Lanka’s first president, Stephen Senanayake, proper in entrance of it.
Go to Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque
That is by far the most effective locations to go to in Colombo. It’s a beautiful constructing that dates again to 1909, and it seems to be like sweet.
TIP: Watch out for touts hanging exterior the mosque. You’re prone to discover individuals demanding cash to take images of the mosque, however they’re certainly not employees members!
Store at Pettah Markets
One of many nicest issues to do in Colombo is exploring Pettah Markets. There really are a number of – together with a floating one.
The fruit and vegetable markets are prone to be your favourite. It’s filled with colour, and with the scent of scrumptious recent fruit – in case you have an opportunity, positively strive the pineapples (they style nothing like they do in Europe or the US!) and mangoes. There are a number of sorts of mangos – that is one factor I discovered in Sri Lanka, really. One of the best one is Alphonso, with Karutha Colomban a detailed second.
Go to Colombo Nationwide Museum
Among the many unmissable issues to do in Colombo, there’s visiting the Nationwide Museum. That is the biggest museum within the nation and dates again to 1876 when Sri Lanka was nonetheless below British rule. It has an fascinating exhibit of artwork and crafts that may provide help to get a greater understanding of Sri Lanka’s historical past and tradition.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is situated in Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha. The doorway payment is 350 Rupees (round $2 USD) and the museum is open from 9:00 am to six:00 pm.
Discover Viharamahadevi Park
Previously referred to as Victoria Park, it’s situated close to the Nationwide Museum and it’s a pleasant place to go for a stroll. There’s a large golden Buddha Statue and a few good water fountains. Exploring this a part of city is likely one of the issues to do in Colombo.
Chill at Galle Face Inexperienced
Hanging out at this waterfront actually is likely one of the nicest issues to do in Colombo. That is the place the locals go for a stroll, swim within the ocean on the finish of a sizzling day at work, and luxuriate in native snacks and road meals. It’s a extremely nice place to stroll round, and also you’ll have loads of glorious picture alternatives.
Now – don’t image a large seashore and clear turquoise waters. You may see from my picture that the seashore could be very slim: you must go down the steps to get there. And the water is something however clear. It’s the ocean in any case. However it’s nonetheless a pleasant place to spend an hour or so.
For the nicest coastal spots within the nation, verify our information to the finest seashores in Sri Lanka.
Mirissa is considered one of them. Identified for browsing and whale watching, you’ll be able to simply get there from the airport with a personal switch.
Get pleasure from native road meals
Among the many tastiest issues to do in Colombo, there’s making an attempt the native road meals. If you find yourself in Galle Face Inexperienced, you can be tempted to strive among the native specialties. I say, go for it! You’ll see many small stalls, some promoting popcorn, potato or manioc chips, and different worldwide goodies. Go for the extra native ones and ensure to strive parippu wade – it’s a form of deep-fried lentils topped with fried shrimp. It’s not precisely gentle, however it’s oh-so-tasty.
Sensible Data To Arrange Your Journey To Colombo
Guided excursions of Colombo
If you wish to benefit from Colombo with out having to fret about getting round, it’s possible you’ll need to do a guided metropolis tour. Right here is an efficient possibility:
And in case you have extra time to spend there, take a look at this present day journey:
The place to remain in Colombo
There are a number of glorious lodges in Colombo, and because it often occurs in Sri Lanka, all of them have good on-site eating places.
This can be a collection of good lodging choices in Colombo:
- Cinnamon Lakeside has good, spacious rooms, a superb pool, and exquisite views of the lake and the Lotus Tower. There are a few on-site eating places (one serving Thai meals; one buffet type), a sports activities bar, and a cocktail bar.
- Marino Seashore Colombo has unbelievable rooms and even suites dealing with the ocean, a rooftop pool, eating places, a bar, and even a health heart.
- Star Anise Boutique Capsules is a superb price range–pleasant possibility and it’s situated within the coronary heart of the town.
Methods to get to Colombo
In Sri Lanka, Colombo is the best-connected metropolis and you’ll simply attain it from just about anyplace through the superb public transportation system.
Colombo is a few 30 to 45-minute drive from the airport (which is definitely nearer to Negombo), relying on site visitors. One of the simplest ways to get there’s a personal switch.
Methods to transfer round Colombo
Site visitors in Sri Lanka could be hectic, and it’s really insane in Colombo. You’ve got a number of choices to maneuver round city.
The excellent news is that public transportation works properly in Sri Lanka, even inside the metropolis. Buses are very budget-friendly, and also you’ll have loads of buses to maneuver round. The dangerous information is that buses are often very crowded, and in horrible site visitors, they transfer actually slowly.
Whereas site visitors in Colombo could be hectic, one solution to keep away from it and luxuriate in a scenic journey is by taking the practice. The practice community in Sri Lanka is well-connected and gives a singular expertise. You may attain completely different components of the town comfortably and escape the chaos on the roads.
By tuk tuk
Tuk-tuks are in every single place in Sri Lanka; they’re an environment friendly solution to go round Colombo and likelihood is that if you happen to stroll round they are going to spot you from a distance and ask if you happen to want a trip. All you must do is hail a tuk-tuk, verify if it has a meter, and – if it doesn’t – haggle the value. There even are some apps that permit you to ebook tuk-tuk rides!
Additionally learn: Sri Lanka on a price range
By taxi or Uber
The principle benefit of going round by taxi or Uber in Colombo is that you’re prone to discover an air-conditioned automobile – which turns out to be useful in a metropolis that suffers from horrible warmth. Taxis and Ubers are typically cheap. You employ Uber as you’d do anyplace else; you’ll be able to hail taxis on the street.
When to go to Colombo, Sri Lanka
All in all, it’s at all times a superb time to go to Colombo. Take into account that Sri Lanka has two monsoon seasons that hit completely different components of the nation at completely different instances, and despite the fact that it’s possible you’ll do your finest to keep away from them, you should still get some rain when visiting.
Nevertheless, it’s mentioned that December to March is an efficient time, with drier days. I went on the finish of October and located dry climate – however it was positively overcast and able to rain.
How lengthy to remain in Colombo
Regardless of being the biggest metropolis in Sri Lanka, Colombo could be visited in only a day. There are in all probability sufficient issues to maintain you busy if you happen to want to keep longer, however I actually suggest heading out to discover the remainder of the nation, which is definitely approach prettier.
See my suggestions beneath for additional readings on locations to go to in Sri Lanka.
Security in Colombo
Regardless of many media channels and governments warnings towards journey to Sri Lanka, each instances I visited I discovered the nation to be extremely welcoming and protected.
Security measures in Sri Lanka have been closely elevated for the reason that Easter bombings of April 2019, with common checks in lodges and locations of curiosity. Typically, I discover Sri Lanka one of the vital welcoming nations I’ve visited, with pretty, pleasant individuals.
My recommendation is to make use of your logic with regards to these warnings however needless to say terrorist assaults can happen anyplace, anytime, and that tourism is a much-needed income for the nation.
Additionally, in case you are a solo traveler – particularly a solo feminine traveler – you must take a look at this security information for solo feminine vacationers in Sri Lanka.
Different helpful info
Be sure that to take a look at whether or not you want a visa to get into Sri Lanka. Nationals of many nations – together with the US, Canada, and all EU nations – can now profit from a visa waiver and may get into the nation without cost. You’ll nonetheless have to use for the visa as a result of you can be requested for affirmation at customs.
I additionally suggest getting good journey insurance coverage.
In conclusion, Colombo, usually missed by vacationers, gives a wealth of fascinating experiences and points of interest that shouldn’t be missed throughout your go to to Sri Lanka. From exploring the gorgeous temples like Gangaramaya and Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam to immersing your self within the colonial historical past of the Fort space, and savoring the flavors of native road meals, this vibrant metropolis has one thing for everybody.
So, make certain so as to add Colombo to your itinerary and uncover the charming wonders it has to supply.
Authorized Disclaimer: The author was a visitor of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau throughout her journey to Sri Lanka, and she or he needs to thank them for the unbelievable journey and all of the helpful insights.