Exquisitely combining the vibrant colonial spirit with the rush of the urban life, Colombo despite its relatively small size of only 37 km2 represents not only the commercial capital of Sri Lanka but also its largest city. That’s why Colombo has become the place where the exciting journey through Sri Lanka should begin.
How to get to Colombo?
Four kilometers away from the Bandaranaike Airport, the city is easily reached by the E class highway. This highway is the connection between Colombo, the airport in Katunayake, and the city of Negombo. You won’t need more than half an hour to reach Colombo from the airport. If you don’t have your own car, you can either ask for an airport car (Rs 3000 – Rs 5000) or take a taxi, which will cost you from Rs 2600 to Rs 3200.
What to Do in Colombo?
1. Visit the largest park in the city!
The Viharamahadevi Park, also popular as Victoria Park, represents the oldest park of the city. It will welcome you with the large Buddha statue and intact green areas.
During the day, the park brags with its mini zoo, beautiful gorgeous fountains, and the vivid children zone. It is located in the middle of the most important buildings in the city. They are the Town Hall built in charming colonial style, Colombo Public Library, and the National Museum of Sri Lanka.
In the night it becomes the point of gathering of local people. It is the place of numerous public performances such as concerts, exhibitions, and different plays.
2. Explore the history of Sri Lanka by visiting the National Museum!
In the National Museum of Sri Lanka you’ll be able to admire numerous cultural and historical masterpieces. The stone Buddha statue dates from the 9th century and decorates the entrance. You’ll also see the stunning King Wimaladharma’s royal throne. The incredible ancient carvings, a mind-blowing collection of demon masks, and numerous interesting objects from the colonial era are other interesting features. Lovers of paintings will enjoy visiting the galleries which keep some of the English paintings of Sri Lanka.
3. Get inside the most important Dutch building in Sri Lanka!
Resembling the Greek cross, the incredible Wolvendaal building (Wolf’s Dale) Church was built in the middle of the 18th century. It represents a real treasury. The tombstones of the numerous Dutch colonists are covering its floor. It also keeps some of the most beautiful items of the Dutch furniture inside its 1.5-meter thick walls. Here you can admire some spectacular carvings and objects made of ebony and stone.
4. Enjoy the sea!
Lovers of the sea and the coastline view! One of the places you are going to love the most in Colombo is unmistakably Galle Face Green. It is one of the most popular pedestrian areas. There you can entertain yourself with various activities organized in the broad lawns. You can try out kite flying, jogging, and have a bite of the delicious food of Colombo. If you want to avoid the crowds, you should spend your Sunday evening at another location, which brings us to the fifth of the most popular places in Colombo!
5. Relax at Beira lake!
If you don’t want to go out of the city center but you’d still like some peaceful moments in nature, Beira Lake located in the heart of Colombo offers the nicest and the fastest rush getaway with the two lakes connected by a canal. Once upon a time the lake was the main means of goods transport from one side of the city to the other one, and nowadays it’s a tourist attraction not only because it represents an oasis in the city, but also because it is the habitat for a large number of different species of fish, pelicans, storks, monitor lizards, and many others.
Where and What to Eat in Colombo?
Even though people of Sri Lanka don’t really have the culture of everyday dining out and the locals mostly have their meals at home, Colombo makes an exception. Here you can find not only some pretty nice restaurants such as Ministry of Crab or Yaal Restaurant offering various delicious local seafood dishes but also a wide variety of street food that will make you instantly hungry. Once you get to streets of Colombo, you should not miss tasting:
- Kottu Roti – the perfect mixture of eggs, vegetables, Godhamba roti, and optionally, meat, enriched with different types of seasoning
- Woodapple – maybe it won’t seem as something you’d like to eat but once you taste it, this exotic sugary acidic fruit resembling coconut may easily become an addiction
- Samosas – the mouthwatering combination of vegetables and spices hidden inside the fried triangle-shaped bread dipped in a creamy curry is a real pleasure for the lovers of spicy meals
- String hoppers – breakfast in Sri Lanka is not complete without these spiral balls made of steamed rice noodles accompanied by sauces such as spicy curry and coconut sambal, and it goes perfectly with the black tea
When to Visit Colombo?
Most of the tourists will recommend visiting Colombo while the driest season lasts, so if you want to enjoy the daily temperature that averagely oscillates from 26 to 28 degrees and pleasantly fresh air in the evenings, you should travel to Colombo between December and March, when the season reaches its peak.
- Be sure to get the travel insurance before your journey.
- In case of illness, prefer treatments in private health institutions.
- Be skeptical if somebody in the street approaches you and asks for a donation – chances are it is a crook.
Colombo’s being the commercial capital of Sri Lanka should not be the only reason for visiting this vibrant city. It also offers plenty of great places where you can enjoy the nature of Sri Lanka, explore the culture and history of the country, and eat the best meals in this part of the world. The wide variety of incredible buildings – including museums, churches, and temples – will take your breath away.