An aerial view of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Starts in Colombo

Cruise to Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's captivating capital is an eye-opening introduction to one of travel's best-kept secrets. From the golden sands of Galle Face Green to the bronze Buddhas of Gangaramaya Temple, and from the fragrant spice stalls in Pettah Market to the sour spiciness of fish curries in restaurants along the sea, exploring Colombo is a pan-sensory crash course in everything that makes Sri Lanka so unforgettable. Cap your day off with a craft cocktail inside a luxury heritage hotel or with a panorama view from the Lotus Tower, a bold new landmark that's as much a monument to Sri Lanka's rich history as it is a bet on the country's bright future.
National Language Sinhala
Currency Accepted Sri Lankan rupee

Things To Do in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka

See Colombo's Spiritual Side

Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka

See Colombo's Spiritual Side

Serenity might seem hard to find in calamitous Colombo, but it's hiding in plain sight. Stop at Gangaramaya Temple, and marvel at endless rows of Buddha images or thick, twisty Bodhisattva trees adorned with colourful sashes. Or step inside the vermilion facade of Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, whether to enjoy a moment of silence or look in on harmonious unison of the call to prayer. It's one of the best things to do in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Galle Face Green Beach in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Feel the Sand Between Your Toes

Galle Face Green Beach in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Galle Face Green Beach in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Feel the Sand Between Your Toes

Colombo's Galle Face Green beach park has something for everyone. Slip off your shoes and sink your toes into the golden sand, and enjoy the famously strong sea breeze rustling through your hair. Stop in at any of the countless snack shops or souvenir stalls, or take selfies with friendly locals who are always eager to welcome visiting tourists to their hometown.

The National Museum in Colombo, Sri Lanka
The National Museum in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Cool Off with a History Lesson

Step inside 19th-century Colombo National Museum but not just to admire its heritage architecture or enjoy a respite from the city's heat. Take your time digging into the various exhibitions, which chronicle Sri Lankan history before, during and after the British colonial period, and tackle topics ranging from history and culture to palaeontology and botany.

Sri Lankan Appam are perfect on their own, or filled with curried meats and vegetables.
Sri Lankan Appam are perfect on their own, or filled with curried meats and vegetables.

LOCAL CUISINE

Taste singular, spicy Sri Lankan cuisine during your stop in the country's capital. Sit down for a restaurant meal and savour the sour notes of ambul thiyal, a fish curry served with sour pickles, sweet chutneys and spicy chilli sambal. Or stop at a street food stall and order appam, a thin pancake made from fermented rice batter and coconut milk, shaped into a bowl and filled with eggs and spiced meat and veggies.

Colorful Raksha masks are one of countless treasures you can find in vibrant Pettah Market.
Colorful Raksha masks are one of countless treasures you can find in vibrant Pettah Market.

SHOPPING

Head to Pettah Market, near Colombo Railway Station, for the city's most authentic shopping experience. Browse colourful Sri Lankan Raksha masks, which are said to ward off evil, or sample some of the island's finest Ceylon tea. Buy handcrafted coconut-shell kitchenware or hand-carved elephant figurines, or simply enjoy watching locals shuffle through the stalls in search of spices, fresh produce and other sundries.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 Although Sri Lankans speak Sinhalese, Tamil and dozens of local dialects, almost everyone knows English as well – don't be shy of striking up a conversation!
2 Colombo is great for local experiences, but also offers luxury splurges, like classic and creative craft cocktails at Traveller's Bar in the Galle Face Hotel.
3 After you finish enjoying Colombo at ground level, gain a higher perspective atop the Lotus Tower, a landmark built in 2019.
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