the capital of Sri Lanka, is the gateway to Sri Lanka. Having served as the
Sri Lankan capital for a long time, the place has number of historically
important places. Nature has showered scenic beauty on the place and with
the modern times new means of entertainment have come in Colombo. All these
combined Columbo makes a good place for passing your vacations. So pack your
bags for the commercial and political heart of Sri Lanka is waiting for you.
Colombo has plethora of tourist attractions, both historical and modern.
Colombo has been the Lankan capital for centuries and its has several places
of interest associated with many rulers, both native and European. One of
these is Fort area which was a seemingly impregnable structure in colonial
times. However now only a clock tower and some colonial-era structures are
Other places of tourist interest in Colombo are:
Gangaramaya Temple: It is a prominent place of Buddhist worship.
Traditionally it has also been a centre of learning. The temple has the
features of a Vihara (temple), Cetiya (Pagada), Bodhitree, Vihara Mandiraya,
Simamalaka and Relic Chamber. The temple premises also have a museum and a
Mount Lavinia, located along the
southern coastline, has always been loved by the sailors, tourists and the
inhabitants of Colombo alike. It is considered to be one of the loveliest
beach areas close to any big town in the world. It is just few miles away
from the heart of Columbo.
It is first church made by the Dutch,
still in use. Tiles of the floor are made from tombstones from the Dutch
church in the Fort. These were brought here in 1813.
Dutch Period Museum:
It is an intriguing reminder of
colonial times. In past it has served as town hall, a hospital, an
orphanage, a police station, a post office, and a residence.
It is the biggest museum in Sri Lanka.
It has intriguing collection of antique porcelain, manuscripts, royal
regalia, antique furniture, masks and other pieces.
Located close to National Museum, this
is the largest park in Colombo. It is renowned for its flowering trees,
water channels and fountains.
Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara:
This is an important Buddhist
place of worship. Legend holds that Buddha preached 2000 years ago. It holds
an excellent carving of a reclining Buddha. Annual perahera (religious
procession) is taken out in January.
Located 10km from Fort, Dehiwal Zoo or the
Zoological Garden has good collection of beasts and birds. It has also got a
nice impressive aviary and aquarium. Young members of families like it very
Located 90km off Colombo on the road to Kandy in the hill country,
Pinnewela Elephant Orphanage is home of a herd of about 60 elephants. This
is a popular attraction, set up as a sanctuary covering 25 acres of lush
jungle by the Sri Lankan Government in 1975. Motive behind its establishment
is to nurture young elephants lost or abandoned by their groups. Baby
elephants getting fed from giant feeding bottles is an interesting sight.
Pachyderms are taken for their daily bath at noon.
The town has considerably good network of public transport. Buses and
trains connect the city to the suburbs. Train fares are slightly lower than
the bus. However getting a bus is much easier than to catch a train.
Apart from buses and trains, taxis and three-wheelers also can be hired.
But you have to shell out more money for these. Before you start the trip it
would be better to negotiate the hiring amount.
Colombo has plenty of places to eat, including all eating options from
roadside stalls to sleek upmarket specialty restaurants. Luxury hotels in
Colombo have good value-for-money buffets and coffee shops. All type of
cuisine can be eaten in the spcciality restaurants of these hotels including
indigenous, Indian, Italian, Chinese, French, Thai and American. Long array
of stand-alone restaurants dot Colombo, serving good western food, Chinese
dishes, and of course, the popular curry-and-rice Sri Lankan cuisine. Even
if you are on a budget travel you would have plenty of options. If you are
willing to sit out in the open on a wooden bench you would have wonderful
experience of dining. In Galle several food stalls sell cheap yet delicious
You can pass your nights around the discos, casinos and nightclubs in
hotels and other establishments. High-end hotels have regular cultural shows
featuring traditional artistes. Several events are organised concerts by
well-known groups or other entertainers. You can choose between theatre
(Sinhala language) or movies (Sinhala, English or Indian). You can entertain
yourself in lot of ways.
Don't visit to Colombo for mall style shopping. Colombo offers wide range
of handicrafts and other items on sale. Government-run 'Laksala' emporium is
one of the best places to buy handicrafts like batik, lacquerware, handloom
cloth, painted wooden masks etc. In addition, there are the Handloom
Emporium, the Sri Lanka Handloom Emporium and the Sri Lanka Gem &
Jewellery Exchange. Daily use chores -including some excellent spices, teas
and fruit flavoured teas, spices, ceramics and clothing can be purchased at
Liberty Plaza, Colombo's main shopping district. One can purchase plenty of
imported goods in Colombo for it is a free trade zone.
How do I get there?
Colombo has Sri Lanka's only international airport Kattunayake. Almost all
international tourists to Sri Lanka come via Colombo. From the airport,
regular buses are available to Colombo city (every 15 to 30 minutes, not in
night). The buses would carry you to one of the main stations of Colombo.
For picking a cab, try the'fixed-price' ticket system taxi counter at the
airport. That way you would not have to do bargaining.
Distance of Various Cities
Most important tourist office in Colombo is the Sri Lanka Tourist Board,
the SLTB located at 78, Stuart Place. Tourist Police have an office near the
main Post office in the Fort to assist tourists in distress. Railway Tourist
office at the Fort Station also helps out the tourists.
Colombo enjoys fairly temperate climate throughout the year. The weather
has no extreme variations here. However it is better to avoid monsoons while
visiting Sri Lanka. Rainy seasons fall in May-August or October-January.
Colombo has no dearth of places when it comes to accommodation. The town
has string of hotels, inns, resorts and guest houses. A person with any
budget can enjoy happily Colombo. Leading hotel chains have huge, glistening
properties offering ultimate luxury accomodation. They would also provide
wonderful beach fronts. Middle-end accommodation cater to more modest
budgets. Smaller hotels offer comfortable accommodation with affordable
What to Carry/Wear
Lightweight summer wear is the preferred form of clothig here. Women are
expected to be decently dressed. Scanitly clad ladies would not be welcome
in Sri Lankan society. If you are planning trekking or going up the hills
carry few warm clothes for the evenings can be chilled here. During the
monsoons you should never forget to take an umbrella or a raincoat.
Medicines are readily available. However if you are suffering from any
uncommon illness it would be better to bring your own supplies.