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City Guide : ColomboColombo, the largest city of Sri Lanka, is the center of the country in terms of industry and culture. Every part of this enchanting island country located south of India, is filled with goodwill and joy which you can easily feel. On the other hand, the evident chaos and traffic of the city are the inescapable characteristics of a metropolitan city.
Colombo, which emerges as an old port city on the west coast of Sri Lanka, has become a crowded and mixed city with time, where the atmosphere of Asia dominates.
The historical settlement which starts from the center of the Fort and expands around it, makes itself known through structures from the colonial era. The appearance of an ordinary avenue or street in Colombo is completed with people, bicycles, three-wheeled rickshaws, and -although once in a while- stray cattle roaming absolutely freely. Skyscrapers arise east of the fortifications and this area is described as the “modern face” of Colombo. However; wherever you are in the city, you find yourself among history, culture, and smiling friendly faces.
A major part of the population in Sri Lanka, approximately seventy percent, is Buddhist. There are people of many different religions in Colombo. Mosques, churches, and -of course- Buddhist temples should be included in the list of places to visit.
Buildings that remain from the Portuguese, Dutch, and British can be seen to get a sense of the colonial era.
Culture & Entertainment
Museums, Public Squares, Historical Locations, Monuments
The National Museum of Colombo, located on Sir Marcus Fernando Mw, is the primary cultural spot to visit. The museum was opened on the first day of 1877 by Sir William Henry Gregory, who was the governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at the time. There are many works that are worth seeing in the collection, which encompasses a period starting from prehistoric times to the colonial era. Among items that are on display, scary masks that are believed to hold magical powers receive the most attention.
Seema Malaka Buddhist Temple was designed by Geoffrey Bawa, one of the prominent architects of Sri Lanka. The temple is also the place where the inauguration ceremonies of Buddhist priests take place. The duty of the temple's permanent priest is to explain the fundamental principles of Buddhism. The temple, which can be visited free of charge, accepts donations.
The National Art Gallery is another art location you can visit without paying an admissions fee. You can find works of Sri Lankan artists here. For the most part, local themes and scenes are portrayed in the works.
One of the places that you can visit to get a sight of the colonial era is the Colombo Dutch Museum. While climbing up the squeaky stairs and walking on the floors; at the same time, you can look over the collection that has on display what remains from the colonial era. The museum is located in the place that is known as Prince Street.
Parks, Games, Events, and Natural Areas
The Viharamahadevi Park is a natural area that is full of serenity. The best way of getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city, is to stop by this park. On this piece of nature adorned with tropical plants, mahogany and eucalyptus trees are in abundance. Songbirds and bats, that sleep all day long, are so remarkably many and their sounds resonate far and wide.
Galle Face Green is a promenade of 5 hectares. This area, located between the Galle Road and the Indian Ocean is the largest open space in the city of Colombo. This green area overlooking the ocean, is flooded with people flying kites, families taking strolls, and those playing impromptu cricket. Large and multi-star hotels are located in this area.
Lionel Wendt Theatre and the art gallery with the same name are the primary reputable art scenes of the city. It can be visited to watch performance arts and especially to listen to music. These theatre and gallery premises are located at Guildford Crescent in the district of Colombo 7. It is advisable to head to this address after obtaining information about the modern art and handicraft exhibitions from the tourism office.
The temples known as Kathiresan Kovils were dedicated to the god called Skanda. The adorned outer appearance of the temples add extraordinary color to the back streets of Colombo. If you head to these temples, the exterior surfaces of which have carvings of Hindu gods, in the evening; you can observe Hindu rituals and listen to the sound of drums.
COLOMBO IN ONE DAY
Colombo is a city that is filled with colonial era structures and museums, and adorned with temples and markets. Therefore, one day may not be sufficient. However, in order to quickly see all of the city in a limited time, you can take part in the city tours that are organized with open-topped buses.
In the one day you will spend in Colombo, you should definitely set some time aside for shopping. The most suitable place for this, is the central part of the city known by the name of Pettah or Fort.
CITY TOURS AND TRANSPORTATION
City tours are organized with open-topped double decker buses. These tours that are accompanied by live commentary make stops at all of the primary spots. Let us point out that there are three different tours in terms of direction and content.
Buses that operate between 05.00 in the morning to 10.00 at night are generally slow, as well as crowded. The most advisable way to roam the city or getting from one place to another is walking or using the three-wheeled rickshaws. However, do not forget to negotiate the destination and the fare before using these vehicles. Surely, there are other options such as using a taxicab and renting a private car.
Beruwala is a very beautiful beach that is located 60 km away from Colombo. The location you reach after traveling for about an hour by car, offers you an exquisite time at the sea. Beruwala is also described as the spot where the southern beaches begin.
Bentota Beach is located 62 kilometers away from the city. It is located within the boundaries of the Galle district. These beaches where all kinds of water sports are done, welcome the most number of visitors between the months of October and April.
Let us remind you that Hikkaduwa Beach, considered to be the best in Sri Lanka in terms of accomodation possibilities, is located approximately 100 km away from Colombo.
The city of Kandy that is located 115 km away from Colombo and is interesting for its temples, botanical gardens, and nature; can be visited.
Arugam Bay is located approximately 314 km east of Colombo, in the district of Ampara. It should be noted as an unparalleled location especially for underwater photography, as well as swimming and surfing.
Food & Drink
The dishes of Sri Lanka are heavily influenced by the Indian Cuisine as it is located nearby. However, there is still a place for its own foods and dishes. Rice is among foods that are consumed daily, and certainly spiced curries are among essentials.
Galle Face Green located by the ocean is definitely one of the places to head to for having something to eat or drink.
The city center known by the name of Pettah is filled with shops where almost every kind of product is available for sale. You can find a wide array of items ranging from electrical appliances to spices. It may be beneficial to get to the shopping area before the streets are filled with people and rickshaws.
Traditional masks, batiks, jewellery adorned with stones, other types of jewellery, and the famous Ceylon tea are available for you almost everywhere. You can also buy these touristic items from air-conditioned shopping centers, which resemble the global and familiar ones of its kind.
The place located on Paradise Road and known as Cinnamon Gardens is one of the places that stand out for shopping. You can find everything you can call “Sri Lankan” here. Let us point out that interesting items are for sale in numerous other stores in the Colombo 7 district.
Ticket Sales Offices : Colombo
|GSA AITKEN SPENCE|
|Address||Turkish Airlines Inc. Pership House ( TWO) 35 Edward Lane, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka|
|Phone||+94 11 590 05 00|
|Fax||+9411 255 98 84|
Weekdays GSA 08:30 -17:00
Saturday 08:30 – 13:00
|Address||Pership holidays (pvt) limited Pership House (TWO) /No: 35/Edward lane/Colombo 03 SRI LANKA|
|Phone||+94 112 598 184-6 / 94 777 871831|
|Fax||+94 112 598187|
Weekdays 08:30 -17:00
Saturday 08:30 – 13:00
Colombo : Airport Information
Bandaranayake Intl Airport
Address : Phone :
Colombo : Airport Map Information
- Fri 31°C
- Sat 31°C
- Sun 32°C
|Phone Code||:||In order to make a phone call to Colombo +94 and 11 must be entered.|