Posted 07 November 2022

Seventeen things you should definitely do when you travel to Colombo and get amazed on your trip

Renowned as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo has the largest population in the country. The city is a major tourist attraction, boasting a stunning landscape with skyscrapers and blue water.

It has a natural harbour that was used for trading with China, India, Rome, Greece, Persia, and the Arabs even 2000 years ago. The name of the city was introduced in 1505 by the Portuguese. According to local folklore, the name was derived from a classic Sinhala name which refers to the ‘port on the river Kelani’.

Major corporations in Sri Lanka have their headquarters in Colombo. It is home to leather goods, jewellery, textiles, cement, furniture, glass and other industries. It also features many performing arts centres where theatre and music enthusiasts visit.

List of things to do in Colombo

  1. Viharamahadevi Park: Boasting a zoo, public park, picnic spots, natural trails, waterfalls and many other things, Viharamahadevi Park is the best place to relax and enjoy some time with family. It is named after Queen Viharamahadevi and isone of the largest parks in Colombo. It offers peaceful vibes for couples and has adventurous rides for children and adults. Locals often come here to escape the bustling and hectic routine of life. It is open from 07:00 to 18:00. You can visit it at any time of the day and enjoy the green ambience. 
  2. Colombo Fort: Featuringan opulent red building, Colombo Fort hosts the World Trade Centre, a busy harbour and the stock exchange. It is popular for its cultural and political heritage. Many parts of the fort were shut down because of the mayhem during the Civil War. Its district has several restaurants, clubs and casinos where tourists and natives are involved in fun nightlife.
  3. SriPonnambala Koneswaram Kovil: Famous for its striking and intricate architecture. It is a Hindu temple. Constructed with South Indian granite, the temple boasts aesthetic interiors and experiences a footfall of devotees every year. Its ambience is tranquil, with the fragrance of flowers and incense sticks. If you are visiting Colombo in January, this temple is a must-visit to witness the fervour of Pongal.
  4. Dehiwala Zoo: It is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts and botany lovers. Tourists get to witness more than 2,500 animals, which are under the protection of the authorities. It is one of the oldest zoos in Asia. Surrounded by lush greenery, it attracts many people throughout the day and makes for one of the best picnic spots in the country. You can visit it with friends, family and kids.
  5. Peter’s College: Tourists looking to learn about the culture of Colombo must-visit St. Peter’s College. It is a crucial site for the education of youth in the city and isstill managing to complete its mission. Established by the French in the early 1800s, the college has not seen many renovations since its construction. Boasting old architecture, it is a popular tourist spot.
  6. Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple: Adorned with stunning paintings depicting the life of Lord Buddha, Asokaramaya Temple is another popular place in Colombo that tourists cannot miss. Many locals and travellers come here to pledge vows, meditate,or make donations. There is no entry fee, and it is open between 07:00 and 19:00.
  7. Galle Face Green: It is a striking beach park that spans over five hectares. Governor Sir Henry George Ward laid out the map of this area, and today, it is the most-visited place in Colombo. Those who are adventure junkies can engage in activities like football, kite flying, jogging, fishing, volleyball and other sports. You can also bask in the sun and enjoy the stunning view of the sunset and surroundings.
  8. Sri Lanka Planetarium: Built in 1965, theSri Lanka Planetarium is one of the best places to visit in Colombo with children. Those who are interested in astronomy would love to experience the tour of the universe via a 4D projector. It has the capacity to accommodate 570 people at once, and it is located on the campus of the University of Colombo. With architecture in the shape of a lotus, the planetarium allows people to watch free shows on Sundays. 
  9. National Art Gallery: If you are interested in exploring the art, culture,and history of Sri Lanka, the National Art Gallery is the best place to start. It exhibits thousands of contemporary and ancient artworks. It has statues and artwork by local artists. It is a two-storey building divided into three sections – cultural, natural science, and a gift shop. It also displays the crown and throne of the Kandyan monarchs and artefacts belonging to ancient cities like Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, and Kandy. You can also find items belonging to the Portuguese, Dutch, and British periods.
  10. World Trade Centre: The twin towers of the World Trade Center boast delightful architecture and are renownedas one of the most iconic skyscrapers in the country. It is the abode of many renowned corporations, both international and domestic. It has options for shopping, eating, banking and fun activities to undertake. It has a lobby area decorated with beautiful paintings. It was built between 1990 and 1996.
  11. Traditional Puppet Art Museum: Puppets are a popular part of the culture of Sri Lanka, and this museum is famous for showcasing the values, traditions,and cultural heritage of the island through puppet shows. Since it is famous; therefore, it is almost always booked. Hence, tourists are advised to book tickets in advance. It is an entertainment hub for adults as well as children. The multi-coloured puppets tell interesting tales and attract many people.
  12. Colombo Port Maritime Museum: Located near Colombo Port, the Maritime Museum was initially a prison during the reign of the Dutch. Built in 1676, the building has seen many renovations over the decades and centuries. It has preserved and showcases artefacts that talk about the maritime industry and trading through ports in Sri Lanka. One can also witness sculptures of renowned historical personalities and models of ships.
  13. Beira Lake: Engulfed by the serene beauty of nature, Beira Lake is the perfect place to plan a picnic with family and loved ones. It is famous for boat riding. It features a small island in the middle where couples often go to spend some quality time. The Portuguesecreated this lake in the 1500s to protect their base in the city. Later, the Dutch took over and created several islands, some of which were quite large to accommodate a large village. When the British took over, they removed the animals from the lake and developed the surrounding area.
  14. Crow Island Beach: Opened in 2016, it is one of the best spots in the city to witness the sunset. It spreads over 17 acres and is located on the shores of the Indian Ocean in Sri Lanka. There are small food stalls and restaurants nearby where you can try the street food and other delicacies of the country while admiringthe stunning landscape. Other fun activities that one can undertake here include kite flying, jogging, cycling, and relaxing.
  15. Pettah Market: This is an open floating market in the suburbs of the city. It is always bustling with shopaholics looking for items rangingfrom fashion accessories and handicrafts to electronics. Vendors here sell fresh vegetables, fruits, seafood and meat.
  16. Paradise Road: If you want to go on a shopping spree, this place is a perfect choice. Since it openedin 1987, it is most-visited in the evenings. The market is famous for handicraft items, home decor items, art pieces, and silverware.
  17. Laksala: It is a state-run souvenir shop with at least 13 outlets. One can find beautiful handmade baskets and other stunning souvenir items in Sri Lanka. Tourists often pick up traditional jewellery, art pieces and flavourful tea.

The list of other tourist places to visit in Sri Lanka includes Royal Colombo Golf Course, Khan Clock Tower, Wolvendaal Church, Sri Kailawasanthan Swami Devasthanam Kovil, Old Parliament Building, Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, Arugam Bay Beach, Casino Marina, Continental Club, etc.

Colombo travel tips

  • Try the local cuisine in Colombo
  • Relax at the beaches
  • Plan the trip between November and February
  • Make bookings for hotels and flights in advance
  • Explore the bustling markets and get souvenirs for home

How to reach Colombo ?

The best IndiGo flights to Colombo via India go through Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and other cities. There are direct and connecting flights available. For more information, visit goIndiGo.in Since Sri Lanka is an island, it is not connected to India via roadways or railways.

How to get around Colombo

Colombo has an extensive bus network that allows tourists and locals to get around the city without inconvenience. Private and public buses are available for quick transportation to various tourist places. You can also book a cab to travel fuss-free in the city.

  • Climate of Colombo: Colombo experiences a tropical monsoon climate. It remains hot throughout the year. However, between April and June, and September and November, it receives rainfall that makes the weather pleasant.
  • Best time to visit Colombo: From December to March, the weather remains pleasant and allows for convenient travel throughout the city. You can also visit Colombo between July and September. The rainy season can spoil the plans. Therefore, one must avoid planning travel in the monsoons.

Conclusion

With bustling streets, dazzling markets and stunning places to visit, Colombo has something to offer to every traveller. Plan an amazing trip now to enjoy your winter vacation.

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