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15 Worthwhile Things to do in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Any go to to Sri Lanka will possible begin in Colombo. It’s the nations largest metropolis, and most flights function from Colombo-Bandaranayake Worldwide Airport. Even in case you are planning to journey round different elements of Sri Lanka the town is properly value at the very least a number of days of exploration as there are various issues to do in Colombo.

Issues to do in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Discover & store on the Pettah Market

Anybody notably fascinated with seeing markets on their travels will need to keep in mind this one. Of all of the issues to do in Colombo, this market is certainly a spotlight. Search for the Khan Clock Tower, which marks the doorway to the market. Vigorous, bursting with sounds and colours, and an exquisite place to actually really feel a part of the hustle and bustle of day-to-day Colombo life, Pettah Market is a must-visit.

This open market is situated within the suburb of Pettah, east of the town middle. Consisting of road after road of stalls, that is the place the locals of the town come for his or her grocery buying—the whole lot from bagged spices and salted fish to distinctive produce like bitter melon gourds and wooden apples. However except for fascinating meals retailers, when you’re looking for extra of a souvenir, you’ll discover a wealthy assortment of gold jewellery sellers on Sea Road—one of many largest gold markets round.

Things to do in Colombo

Go to the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple

This Buddhist temple is notable – not just for its mixture of Thai, Chinese language, Indian, and Sri Lankan design however for its notably eclectic design and vibrancy; lots of its partitions are painted in shiny colours. Gangaramaya is a type of locations to see in Colombo that’s good for everybody.

The temple is situated on a plot of land not removed from Beira Lake and includes most of the particular person parts which might be important to forming a spot of Buddhist worship. The temple’s stupa – a spot of meditation – sits behind an intricately carved stone mount, inside which is a white jade Buddha. Additional alongside is the Bodhiya – or the Bo Tree – the sacred fig tree underneath which Buddha achieved enlightenment. There’s even a whole mini duplicate of Borobudur in Central Java, Indonesia, the world’s largest Buddhist temple. Plus, don’t miss the relic chamber, the place a powerful assortment of artifacts is housed.

Whether or not you’re right here to wish, pay your respects, or simply discover one other tradition’s spectacular landmarks, you’re in for an interesting go to.

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Go to the Nationwide Museum of Colombo

As the most important museum in Sri Lanka, it’s just about a provided that a number of the most necessary historic artifacts are saved right here. The museum itself, established in 1877 by the British governor on the time, was constructed within the Italian architectural type, giving it a vaguely European Renaissance look.

The museum’s shows are organized throughout two flooring. The bottom flooring incorporates reveals from particular durations of Sri Lanka’s historical past, from the pre and protohistoric durations to the Kandy interval, which lasted from the 15th to the 19th centuries.

The museum’s most engaging function, nevertheless, is undoubtedly the nation’s regalia throughout its historical past – most notably, the crown and throne of Kandyan monarchs. For those who’re eager about Sri Lanka’s numerous historical past, the Nationwide Museum deserves a spot on the prime of your listing in the event you’re passing via Colombo.

See the Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque

This nook of the world is especially numerous in relation to spirituality, and Sri Lanka is far the identical. As such, visiting temples and locations of worship are amongst a number of the hottest issues to do in Colombo. Guests can discover many temples and different vital locations of worship necessary in Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and extra.

The Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque is among the oldest mosques within the metropolis and a well-liked place with vacationers. When Arabic individuals started settling in what’s now Colombo, being that it was situated alongside a well-liked commerce route, the Muslim inhabitants grew. However there was no mosque giant sufficient for the rising Islam presence till the development of Jami Ul-Alfar in 1908.

Particularly famous for its distinctive design and coloring, the surface of the mosque consists of many towers and minarets, and all the exterior of the mosque is painted in a candy-like sample of purple and white. It’s situated within the neighborhood of Pettah, which means you possibly can simply pencil this right into a day of purchasing on the Pettah market.

Spend a while at Beira Lake

Metropolis facilities are often chock full of outlets, eating places, theatres, and cafés, however not many cities boast a lake in the midst of their metropolis’s core. On the coronary heart of Colombo lies Beira Lake, surrounded by many giant companies. Providing a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the town middle makes Beira Lake a small oasis, and a very good place to recharge your batteries throughout a busy day of exploring the town.

Nevertheless, simply probably the most fascinating attributes of the city lake is what sits in its middle. The above talked about Gangaramaya Temple’s Seema Malaka rests calmly within the middle of the lake. It’s used primarily for meditative relaxation slightly than prayer, making it an escape from the crowds.

Go to Wolvendaal Church

As a rustic as soon as occupied by a robust Dutch presence, many vestiges of this affect stay – whether or not in delicacies, language, or structure. Regardless of its architectural simplicity, Wolvendaal Church stands out amongst its environment, being constructed in a basic Doric type – a easy Historic Greek type consisting of heavy columns with plain spherical tops.

As with many different fashionable spots value seeing in Colombo, the church is situated within the neighborhood of Pettah. It is likely one of the oldest Protestant church buildings within the nation, courting way back to 1757. Its historic partitions are lined with mural tablets and the flooring with engraved tombstones plaques representing these buried inside the church. The resting place of 5 Dutch Governors may also be discovered right here.

Although the church is especially a spot of quiet reflection and prayer, it’s a place of notable significance for Colombo’s historical past and a great way to press pause on a busy day.

Enjoyable reality: the church was thus named when European builders mistook the packs of jackals within the surrounding areas for wolves.

See the Temple of Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil

The Temple of Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil – typically referred to as Kapikaawatha Shivan Temple for brief – is a Hindu temple situated within the middle of Colombo. It’s the oldest Hindu temple within the metropolis and worships the Hindu deities Ganesha and Shiva. As with many non-native practices nonetheless present in Sri Lanka at the moment, the temple was constructed by Indian retailers who had settled within the area for commerce functions.

As a result of its peak, intricacy, and colour, it is among the most visually astounding buildings in Colombo. The temple itself was constructed by architects and sculptors from India. Although the primary sanctum stays devoted to goddess Shiva, there are a number of smaller shrines that worship many different deities.

Whereas this temple is open to the general public, heads up: you’ll want to return ready to scrub your ft, take away your footwear, and stow your cameras away as no pictures are permitted contained in the shrine.

Discover Galle Face Inexperienced

One in every of my all time favourite locations to go to in Colombo is Galle Face Inexperienced. For those who’ve been on the lookout for one thing that also counts as sightseeing while not having to do an excessive amount of shifting round, we’ve acquired you coated. Galle Face Inexperienced is an extended, 12-acre oceanside public park, forming a type of promenade that follows the shoreline within the middle of the town. Its measurement and site make it one of many extra favored issues to do in Colombo.

In its early days, it was used for a smorgasbord of outside spectator actions, like horse racing, cricket, golf, and rugby—all starting in round 1820 as soon as a British governor was appointed. At this time, the world is fashionable for leisure actions; you’ll find different like-minded individuals eager to take a seat underneath the solar and benefit from the climate: distributors, kite-fliers, pals, households, picnickers, and extra.

Particularly, meals distributors gained’t disappoint; you can find all types of snacks from cooked shellfish to peppered mango. For those who cross Nana’s, don’t hold strolling; this beachside arrange is taken into account a few of the best road meals within the metropolis.

what to do in Colombo

Take a day journey to the Sigiriya rock formation

It might be a disgrace to go to Sri Lanka and never go to this formidable, prehistoric gem. The Sigiriya Rock Fortress is a must-see whereas in Sri Lanka. Although it’s a little bit of a trek from Colombo (a few four-and-a-half hour drive, to be actual), it’s properly value a day journey to see this place, which is right now a registered UNESCO Heritage Website.

Courting again from the primary millennium, Sigiriya boasts an elaborate format superior for the time when it rose to prominence. It’s not simply ruins – what stays are largely preserved items of what as soon as was a spot of worship and a fortress-like construction that even right now is astounding. It was the location that an historic king selected to turn into the brand new capital, and stands over 650 ft tall. Which means “Lion Rock” in Sinhalese, it might come as no shock that its gateway – constructed into the aspect of the big rock – was carved within the form of a lion.

Together with its spectacular measurement are historic frescoes, a mirror wall as soon as polished brightly sufficient to point out the king’s reflection as he walked its size, and a few of the oldest landscaped gardens on the planet. You don’t have to be a historical past buff to take pleasure in what Sigiriya has to supply.

Sri Lanka Bucket List

Go to Mount Lavinia Seashore

Situated only a brief practice journey down the coast from Colombo (about 20 minutes), Mount Lavinia Seashore is a superb spot to get out of the town and chill out somewhat. The world is called a seashore retreat and is legendary for its nightlife, however within the morning and afternoon turns into a comparatively quiet spot to observe the dawn and sit back with the locals.

The sunsets are value seeing; earlier than the solar has sunk past the horizon, make sure you snag a desk at one of many eating places that line the shore, as this makes for an exquisite vantage level for watching the celebs come out at night time.

In case you’re in search of one thing slightly extra colourful, this can be a extremely liberal area and hosts the annual Homosexual Satisfaction Parade in addition to the Rainbow Kite Pageant.

Spend the day on the Good Market

The Good Market is a weekly market that takes place Saturdays from 10 am to eight pm and focuses on acutely aware choices. Organizers consider in eco-friendly and socially accountable sellers, so this market appeals far more to the fashionable traveler, making it a best choice for distinctive issues to do in Colombo.

Right here, you will discover every thing from natural produce to artisans that promote truthful commerce handicrafts and eco-conscious therapeutic and bodily merchandise – together with every thing in between. Nevertheless it’s not simply merchandise which might be provided out there; stay music, genuine delicacies, henna artists, and even portrait artists line the stalls to provide this weekly market a vibe all its personal.

For any vegan vacationers struggling to seek out locations according to their beliefs (though vegan meals can simply be present in Sri Lanka), this market has many choices. There are a number of well being meals counters supply gluten-free and vegan choices very similar to what you’d discover in Western cruelty-free cafés.

things to do in Colombo

Discover Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara

Situated about seven miles outdoors of Colombo, Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is a Buddhist temple constructed on the sting of the Kelaniya River. It’s notably sacred, and one of the essential Buddhist websites of worship in Sri Lanka, because of the religious perception that Buddha himself visited the situation, ensuing within the pacifying of an impending struggle.

The unique temple was partly destroyed numerous occasions all through historical past – whether or not from South Indian invaders or Portuguese forces throughout their occupancy – and the construction that stands right now was erected in 1927 and nonetheless incorporates elements of the unique constructing.

Filled with wealthy carvings and impressions, lovely structure, and historic and trendy murals depicting life tales of the Buddha and the development of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, this can be a fascinating perception into Buddhist worship within the nation.

Viharamahadevi Park

Public parks are an typically underrated class of issues to do when touring, however there’s one thing to be stated for a lush open area the place you’ll be able to take a while, sit, picnic, and have just a little me time.

Viharamahadevi Park is one such park. Situated subsequent to the Colombo Nationwide Museum, that is one thing you possibly can tack on to your museum go to for max. The park was constructed throughout British rule, throughout which era it was named Victoria Park. As such, it was the first place for first-class cricket matches till 1995.

Although missing in actions, there’s an amphitheater, fountains, and some spectacular Buddha statues, so it’s a great place to recharge your batteries earlier than heading again into the town middle.

Independence Memorial Corridor

Of the various issues to do in Colombo, it is sensible that lots of them are ultimately tied to Dutch, Portuguese, or British rule. For these within the historic and political previous of Sri Lanka, the Independence Memorial Corridor is a must-see.

Representing Sri Lanka’s independence from British rule, the corridor is a nationwide monument made from stone sitting upon a big stone basis. The various pillars give this an virtually temple-like really feel.

It additionally homes the Independence Memorial Museum, which, by way of paintings, superbly retells the story of Sri Lanka gaining its independence in 1948.

Watch a cricket match

Although Britain’s rule within the nation ended earlier than 1950, many influences of British tradition nonetheless stay. Particularly, the sport of cricket continues to be extensively performed; catching a match or two when you’re exploring the town is a good way to actually really feel like an area.

There’s an official web site the place you should purchase tickets, however in the event you actually need the complete expertise, you possibly can watch the match from a bar or café. Particularly, the Australian-owned Cricket Membership Café is devoted to offering the complete expertise; they even have a powerful assortment of vintage cricket gear.

Things to do in Colombo


Most guests to Sri Lanka will want a visa. Visas ought to be sorted earlier than arrival and could be accomplished on-line right here. The Digital Visa prices $35 which could be paid by way of bank card. It solely took us about an hour to obtain our visa by way of e mail as soon as we utilized.

The place to remain in Colombo

Cinnamon Grand Colombo

By far the perfect motels in all of Colombo. We stayed right here three nights and completely LOVED our stick with Cinnamon. Rooms have been spacious and cozy and the employees are completely pleasant. We particularly loved the complete service cafe within the foyer and the sushi on the buffet. Cinnamon Motels have properties throughout Sri Lanka so in case you are touring the nation they’re an amazing and reasonably priced choice!

Plan Your Travels to Colombo

We depend on a number of trusted web sites that assist save us time and cash when reserving resorts, flights, and automotive leases. Take a look at a few of our most popular companions under.

  • Want Transportation? See one of the best methods to get round Asia right here. 
  • Get to Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan Airways operates out of Colombo and is related everywhere in the world. We flew them from Colombo to The Maldives and had a incredible expertise.
  • Journey Insurance coverage: We by no means journey with out journey insurance coverage with World Nomads. Natasha is a little bit of a fear wart and would moderately keep protected than sorry. World Nomads presents unimaginable versatile and nice plans!
  • Water: The water in Sri Lanka isn’t drinkable.
  • Information Ebook: Typically it’s good simply to have an actual e-book in your palms when touring. We advocate the Lonely Planet Sri Lanka guidebook.
  • Adapter: Ensure you discover a good common adapter just like the one I’ve to maintain you charged. In any other case, chances are you’ll wrestle to seek out one when you land.

We have been invited to Sri Lanka as a part of #TBCAsia with Cinnamon Inns. All ideas and opinions stay our personal. We will’t wait to return to Sri Lanka!

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