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Colombo

4.6 / 5 34 votes

Country rank: 5 out of 53 Places To Visit In Sri-lanka

Sub-Region: Western Province


Weather:

Ideal duration: 3 days

Best time: December to March (Read More)

Nearest Airport: Colombo (Check Flights)

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"The Heart of Sri Lanka"

Colombo Tourism

Colombo is Sri Lanka's prime city. The official capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is also within the urban area of Colombo, so Colombo is often called the capital of Sri Lanka as well. The city has a rich colonial heritage, and also some very scenic and popular attractions.

Colombo is arguably Sri Lanka's most popular tourist destination. The coastal city is a beautiful place to spend a couple of days just relaxing, indulging in the local food, and leisure activities. It has a good collection of attractions to serve just this purpose, like the Galle Face Green, the Beira lake, and the Viharamahadevi Park, which are popular places for picnics and also for you to spend some quality time with your loved one. The city still has many structures from the colonial period and early history. Most of the museums you see today were once used by the colonial masters. Take for example the Dutch Museum, which was actually the residence of the Dutch Governor of Ceylon when it was first built. Even the Maritime Museum was once a Dutch prison. In Colombo you'll also find plenty of Buddhist temples, the most famous of these being the Gangaramaya, and the Kelaniya Raj Maha Vihara. Not just that, Colombo is a great place for you to shop for local handlooms, and when you're done with that, indulge in a variety of sea foods and local cuisine. Colombo makes for a beautiful escape to a picturesque coastal city.

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The Sri Lankan Rupee is the only currency which is accepted in Colombo. All major cards like Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted.

There are several options to exchange currency in Colombo. Most of the banks are authorised currency changers, and usually give the best rate. Many finance companies are authorised as well, along with a few other limited liability companies. You can check the full list at 'ecd.lk'

The expenses in Colombo might sound very high at first but that's mostly because the LKR is a rather weak currency. You can expect to spend around LKR 3000 - 4000 per day at a low cost budget, LKR 5000 - 10000 on a mid range budget, and anything north of LKR 15000 for a high end budget.

Buddhism and Hinduism are the largest religions in Colombo.

Sri Lanka is not a very progressive country, so dressing too scantily while going out while definitely draw some stares. For the same reason, public displays of affection are also looked down upon. Be careful with whatês allowed to be photographed and what's not. It is considered extremely rude to face your back towards a statue by the Buddhists, so even if you click a picture, make sure you're facing the statue. Incomes in Sri Lanka are fairly low, so you should try and tip wherever you can. It will be very much appreciated, and in any case, food and services are generally cheap here.

Colombo has a natural harbour, and due to ease of trade has a rich colonial history. It was occupied by the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British. The Portuguese established themselves along the coast after a treaty with the King of Kotte, with the condition that they would defend that region from invaders. After several conflicts and failed attempts to take over the Kotte kingdom, they finally were able to conquer the region with the help of reinforcements from the main base in Goa in 1593. The Dutch entered the scene after signing a pact with the King of Kandy, King Rajasinha II, to fight off the Portuguese together in exchange for a large part of the trade and goods of the island in 1638. After repeated attempts, this was finally achieved in 1656 when the Dutch conquered Colombo. However, the Dutch did not hold true their word, and retained control over some regions, including Colombo. Major developments of the city took place when the British came in 1796. The British declared it as the British Ceylon in 1815 and started constructing houses and buildings for civilian use. The colonial British rule finally ended in 1948, and Colombo and Sri Lanka underwent huge changes. When the Sri Lankans formed the government again, several changes were made from top to bottom. The entire area around the old city, like Kotte and Dehiwala are also part of the city now.

Nightlife in Colombo will actually surprise you. Nightclubs and casinos are aplenty for you to have a good night out. Bally's is a famous casino in Colombo, and a favourite among the locals. The Loft Lounge Bar is a great place as well. Other places include Bellagio Casino, ZAZA Bar, and Rhythm and Bles Nightclub among many others.

Colombo is a great place to shop. The Arcade Independence Square was specially built to house stores and eateries. Stores like Odels, Kandgys, and Selyn Handlooms among a few other options are good for clothes and handlooms. For souvenir shopping, you can check out Paradise Road.

The fact that Colombo is a coastal city plays a huge role in the influence of sea food in the local cuisine. People here like eating a lot of rice with fish or prawns. Other forms of poultry such as chicken, beef and lamb are also popular. International fast food joints are all present in the city. Restaurants such as Curry Leaf, and Seafood's Cove are worth a try.


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Colombo Reviews

10 months ago by Tanvi Akhauri

Although Colombo is one of the more industrialised spaces in Sri Lanka, it is amazing to see how it assimilates natural beauty within the city design. I stayed at the Mirage Hotel, in a room overlooking the main road, beyond which lay the sea. It was the most wonderful dichotomy ever. Be sure to visit the House of Fashions and the famed Noritake store. You can make full use of the affordable value of the Sri Lankan Rupee here and hoard up on great clothes, crockery, local goods and mementos. At a conversion rate of 2.36 SLR, I picked up approximately 15 items of bags, shoes and clothes for just about 3000 INR. I visited the Bellagio casino too, which was one of the highlights of my trip. This is highly recommended for a night (or two) of endless merrymaking, if you're feeling lucky.

10 months ago by Tanvi Akhauri

Although Colombo is one of the more industrialised spaces in Sri Lanka, it is amazing to see how it assimilates natural beauty within the city design. I stayed at the Mirage Hotel, in a room overlooking the main road, beyond which lay the sea. It was the most wonderful dichotomy ever. Be sure to visit the House of Fashions and the famed Noritake store. You can make full use of the affordable value of the Sri Lankan Rupee here and hoard up on great clothes, crockery, local goods and mementos. At a conversion rate of 2.36 SLR, I picked up approximately 15 items of bags, shoes and clothes for just about 3000 INR. I visited the Bellagio casino too, which was one of the highlights of my trip. This is highly recommended for a night (or two) of endless merrymaking, if you're feeling lucky.

10 months ago by

Had a peaceful experience. Beautiful calm place to visit. The second temple in the water body is pleasant to be at.

Review for Gangaramaya Temple, Colombo

10 months ago by

It's good place to reach around 5 pm when the sun is setting. Nice wind and the green view over the bridge really nice to watch

Review for Galle Face Green, Colombo

10 months ago by

Me and my friend roamed around whole colombo searching this place. But didnt reached there. The way that google showed was closed and some construction is going there. We then circled all the way around. Saw the lake but no way to get in. Really terrible experience

Review for Beira Lake, Colombo



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Hotels in Colombo

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  • "27" Spathodea- Oasis in the City

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  • Rococo Residence

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  • Windsor Manor

    USD 30 /night onwards


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