Colombo, the gateway to Sri Lanka, has a lot of amazing things. It is a city with an eye on the future and a foot planted in the past. Modern skyscrapers can fly at a breakneck pace in the Sri Lankan capital, but Colombo’s legacy as a center of trade is still evident in the melting pot of the city’s religions, cuisines and architectural styles. Before going to explore the country’s national parks, hill stations, surf breaks and UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites, explore Colombo’s markets, mosques and museums.
Best things to do in Colombo
What is this? A striking candy-striped mosque located in a busy commercial district.
Why go there? You find it difficult to walk this colorful mosque without repeating it. Decorated with a bold red and white striped color scheme, this place of worship has turned head-on since it was built in the early 1900s. While many visitors stop for Instagram to take a quick shot, it is possible to enter the mosque if you wear appropriate, respectful clothes. If you want to venture inside then plan ahead and wear long sleeves and pants.
Galle Face Green
What is this? A beachfront urban park is favored by local families.
Why go there? A walk along the promenade of Gail Face Green is the perfect way to turn off the air after a busy day of walks and shopping. Buy some spicy street food fare, watch the kids fly kites in the sea breeze and watch a memorable golden sunset before turning in for the night.
Eat, Eat and Repeat tour
What is this? A small group walking tour that eats the best road to Colombo.
Why go there? When you are in an unfamiliar city, delicious food can be hit and miss. Go directly to the source on this food tour led by a local guide who is happy to share tips on where to eat interiors and what dishes to try. Colombo’s Tamil, Sinhalese, Malay and Muslim cuisine are all included on this casual tour, which gives travelers a great base to continue the local culinary landscape at their own pace.
The Cricket Club Café
What is this? A cricket-themed bar and café, home to a nifty collection of cricket memorabilia.
Why go there? From well-manicured cricket pitches to backstreet gullies, it is hard not to find a corner of Sri Lanka impressed by the sound of leather on the willows. When in Colombo, cricket fans would love to visit the cricket club café, while a burger and beer would be surrounded as a cricket memorabilia. Additional runs on board to come during the World Cup or Ashes.
Thusare Talking Hands
What is this? A massage service operated by sight-impaired locals.
Why go there? Long plane rides, heavy backpacks and hotel mattresses can cause a strain in your muscles, so booking for massages motivates self-care travelers to keep themselves happy and healthy while on the road. When in Colombo, this center supports people living with disabilities by training and recruiting visually impaired locals who enjoy massages. There is a win-win situation for everyone involved!
What is this? A hip cafe that serves light dishes made with local and seasonal organic ingredients.
Why go there? Your health can take a hit when choosing to recharge your battery with fresh, healthy things in Cafe Kumbuk. Cold pressed juices, spice tea, espresso coffee, fruit smoothies, burrito bowls and salads can all be yours, served in a cool place that looks straight out of the home decor magazine.
Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple
What is this? A Buddhist holy place which is also home to a museum and gallery.
Why go there? Colombo can be a busy city, so when you need to find your center just for this moment in this temple for a moment of contemplation. Scatter hundreds of Buddha statues all over the complex and steal a moment of peace, admiring the sacred Bodhi tree – you won’t reach enlightenment after a one-time visit, but you’ll probably feel a little lighter.
Geoffrey Bawa Trust Number 11 Colombo Residence
What is this? Preserved house of one of the greatest architects of Asia.
Why go there? Fans of architecture and design would love to see the legacy of Sri Lanka’s most influential architect on a tour of his former residence. A fine example of the vision and brilliance of Geoffrey Bawa, this serene abode shows how heritage buildings can be transformed into modern, vibrant spaces. Home jealousy is guaranteed! Book an appointment in advance.
Temple of Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil
What is this? A Hindu temple equipped with ornate statues of Goddesses and Gods with a dome and roof.
Why go there? Even if you’re not the temple-hopping type, the distinctive colorful exterior of this one place of worship is worth seeing. Found below a nondescript street, the temple is of real origin. Take the time to snap a few pictures of several deities that cover the steep roof, then head inside to see the images found on the inside walls.
Nelum Pokuna Art Street
What is it? A hot spot for Colombo’s up-and-coming artists.
Why go there? Obtaining art is not just for trust fund travelers. Buying inexpensive art created by local artists is a great way to get in the house with a one-of-a-kind piece to support the local artistic community and to remember your journey. Instead of traveling to the city to visit galleries and workshops, go down this road to admire the work of many artists housed in one place. If you are in the market for a new piece to take home with you, then bring some cash.
The Verandah at Galle Face Hotel
What is this? A sophisticated hotel restaurant straight from the period-era film.
Why go there? Taking tea and scones on the historic, colonial era verandah of the Galle Face Hotel may not be on the radar of your Sri Lankan visit, but is worth seeing. An afternoon spent mixing all the good things in life (baked goods, cool winds and ocean views) is spent wandering on this mythical verandah, which is the perfect way to relax after a day’s walk.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Colombo
Q. What is Colombo known for?
A – Colombo is a busy and vibrant city with a mix of modern life, colonial buildings and monuments. Colombo was known to ancient merchants 2,000 years ago, due to its large port and its strategic position along the east-west maritime trade routes.
Q. Is Sri Lanka Rich or Poor?
A – Sri Lanka is a low-middle-income country with a GDP of USD 3,852 (2019) per capita and a total population of 21.9 million. With more than six decades of partnership with Sri Lanka, the World Bank Group continues to support Sri Lanka’s transition to a more competitive, inclusive and revivalist country.
Q. Is Colombo Dangerous?
A – Colombo is a very safe city by international standards. Violence against foreigners is uncommon, although you should take general security measures. Solo women should be careful when taking taxis and three wheelers at night; If, sometimes this happens, your taxi goes inside with two men, calling the other one.
Q. Is Sri Lanka a safe country?
A – Sri Lanka is large and safe, especially for travelers. The murder rate is low, around 2.3%. In comparison, the US is around 5%, while most European countries are less than 1%. Most homicides involve local gangs or domestic violence, so attacks against travelers are highly unusual.
Q. Is it okay to wear shorts in Sri Lanka?
A – But normal shorts, t-shirts, vest tops etc. are perfectly fine. This means covering your shoulders (sleeveless tops are fine in beach places or big cities, but not strappy tops) and wearing skirts / shorts that go up to your knees.
Q. Is it cheaper in Sri Lanka?
A – As you can see, Sri Lanka is very affordable – not cheap like India, but you can get an average of $ 30 per day, if you live in budget accommodation and don’t do expensive tours every day.
Q. Is Colombo expensive?
A – Summary about the cost of living in Colombo, Sri Lanka: The family with four estimated monthly costs is $ 1,427 (281,798Rs) without rent. A single person is estimated to have a monthly cost of $ 409 (80,731Rs) without rent. Colombo is 66.76% less expensive than New York (without rent).
Q. What is the best time to visit Colombo?
A – The best time to visit Colombo is the dry season between January and March. The best season to visit Colombo if one is planning to explore the west and south coasts and the mountain country is the northeast monsoon which is from November to February.
Q. Is colombo beautiful?
A – Cosmopolitan Colombo, the gateway to the wonder of Sri Lanka, boasts of a rich colonial heritage, with melting pots of races, religions and cultures. A city of contrasts, it is an eclectic mix of dazzling hotels and Swansea office blocks, neighboring beautiful red-tiled colonial-era buildings.
Q. How many casinos are there in Sri Lanka?
A – There are 1 gambling facilities in Sri Lanka with a total of 5 legal gambling facilities available. The types of gambling available in Sri Lanka are: Casinos. Sri Lanka’s largest gambling city is Colombo with 5 gambling facilities, 178 table games, 134 gaming, slots and video poker machines.
Q. What is Sri Lanka famous food?
A – 8 foods you should try in Sri Lanka
Fish ambul thiyal (sour fish curry)
Kottu (also, kottu roti)
Kukul mas curry (chicken curry)
Parippu (dhal curry)
Hoppers (appa or appam)
Polos (green jackfruit curry)
Wambatu moju (eggplant/brinjals pickle)