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Things to Do in Colombo

Activities to Do in Colombo

Colombo City Tour, Pray at Gangaramaya Temple, Explore Galle Face Green, Golf at the Royal Colombo Golf Club, Hike to Viharamahadevi Park, Try Your Luck at Casinos, Visit National Museum, Enjoy Thrilling Rides at Leisure World Water Park, Visit Beira Lake, Scenic Tour of Colombo in Air Plane, Worship at Sri Ponnambala Koneswaram Kovil, Scuba Diving and more.

There is literally a surfeit of things to do in Colombo, the bustling capital city of Sri Lanka with a characteristic cosmopolitan vibe that embraces you right away as you touch down its soil. Once a port city expediting trade and commerce with Asia, Colombo is the gateway to the picturesque tropical island nation. Whether for a family trip where you are accompanied by kids and elderly members or a solo trip, the city has something for everyone that makes them visit the place over and over again. Also, it is one of the sought-after tourist destinations where wildlife safaris, sightseeing, underwater voyages,s and nightlife activities- all can be experienced to the fullest even on a tight budget.

Despite being an idyllic holiday spot with coconut fringed sprawling beaches lulled by constant tropical sea breeze there is a wide range of activities to do in Colombo. Spending a laid-back evening on the Beira Lake or rambling through the massive chambers of the National Museum which houses the vestiges of the Anuradhapura Kingdom or shopping from the stalls of the bustling Pettah Market are some of the top attractions of the Colombo trip. 

Here are some of the best things to do in Colombo:

1. Pray at Gangaramaya Temple:

The temple is one of the most distinguished Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka and a specimen of historical importance which dates back to a century bygone. As you enter the main sanctorum, you will be spellbound to behold the colossal Buddha figure and the miniature paintings on the walls depicting various stories of Buddhism. 

The statue of Lord Buddha exudes characteristic brilliance and serenity that pervades the whole interior of the temple. Inside the temple premises, there is a museum where you can also see relics of architecture belonging to India, Myanmar, China and Thailand.

Location: Jinaratana Road, Colombo City

Timings:  5:30AM- 10PM

Also Checkout & Book: Sri Lanka Packages

2. Explore Galle Face Green:

Galle Face Green is a sprawling expanse of green settled between the Ceylon Intercontinental Hotel and Galle Face Green Hotel which is frequented by tourists and locals for fresh air walking sessions. The velvety green promenade of Galle Face Green was built in 1859 as to safeguard the place from Portuguese invasions.

Standing at the Galle Face Green beach, you can watch the stunning sunset across the vista and call it a day.

Location: 56, Colombo-Galle Main Road, Colombo

Timings: 9AM- 6PM

Must Book: Honeymoon Packages of Sri Lanka

3. Golf at the Royal Colombo Golf Club:

One of the lavish activities to do in Colombo is golfing at the Royal Colombo Golf Club which stands as a site of colonial heritage in Sri Lanka and a sporting establishment set up by the British for golf enthusiasts. 

Established in 1880, the Royal Golf Colombo Golf Club is the oldest golf club in Sri Lanka and a convivial place to unwind your weekend blues and breed new friendship. The open convivial ambiance of the golf club allures you to a sumptuous dinner or small gathering.

Location: Model Farm Road, Colombo

Timings: Club House remains open from 6AM-11PM and the admin office from 8AM-5PM

You May Also Like To Book: Sri Lanka Family Holiday Package

4. Try Your Luck At Casino:

Looking for some crazy fun-filled activities to do in Colombo trip if you are travelling with your chums? Try your luck at the adrenaline-charged casino games and enjoy live music performance by the Sri Lankan artists and DJs to buck up your energy level. 

Once you hit any of these casinos, don’t ever miss out the chance to pamper your taste buds with an array of gourmet seafood they serve. Some of the famous casinos at Colombo are Bally’s Casino, MGM Colombo, The Ritz Club and Stardust Casino. 

Location: Across the city

Timings: Most of the casinos remain open for 24x7 days.

5. Visit National Museum:

While preparing your itineraries for things to do in Colombo, a visit to the National Museum has to be in your bucket list for being one of the leading cultural institutions of the country. As soon as you enter the interior of the museum, you will be greeted by a smiling Buddha figurine which dates back to the 9th century. 

There are galleries that store relics, busts and artefacts, swords, palettes and other miscellanies belonging to the colonial era. You can enjoy your favourite cuppa in the cool and relaxing ambiance of the museum cafeteria once you have rambled through the different galleries of the museum.

Location: Albert Crescent, Colombo

Timings: 9 AM- 5 PM

6. Enjoy Thrilling Rides at Leisure World Water Park:

If you’re visiting Colombo with your family or friends and confused about what to do in Colombo, visiting this park is one of the best activities to do in Colombo. Leisure Water Park in Colombo has tons of water slides and amusement activities for you to have a blast with your friends and family.

The park also features many pools, rides and activities exclusively for kids and some exclusive for adults. The water rides here include Aqua Trail, Boomerang Slide, Kiddies Pool, Multi-Lane, Lazy River, Wave Pool, Thunder Cruise and much more- all absolutely safe to ride.

The amusement activities in the park include several thrill rides, family rides and kids rides for the entire family to have one hell of a time. 

Timings: 9 am to 5 pm

7. Visit Beira Lake:

If you are newly married and have not yet planned your honeymoon trip, Beira Lake can be your worthiest pick for an undisturbed honeymoon destination. It is the perfect destination where you can unwind yourself and feel the romantic vibe in tranquillity.

The lake covering an area of 65 hectares comprises of several islands housing villages and coconut plantations. The two most highlighted spots of the lake are the Seema Malaka Viharaya (a Buddhist temple) and Kaala Doowa (a gateway for romancing couples) that can be easily reached via boat.

Location: Colombo

Timings: 7AM -6PM

8. Scenic Tour of Colombo in Air Plane:

Sri Lanka the island nation is a perfect getaway for holidaymakers to explore its natural beauty to the fullest. Cinnamon Air Scenic Flights gives you the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the city and its adjoining areas in a 20 minutes’ flying session.

It is a blissful experience to watch the busy towns, emerald Indian Ocean, strips of flora, verdant hill ranges and historic buildings from a great height and create unforgettable memories of your trip. The flying trip starts from Water’s Edge at Colombo.

Timings: 1PM-5PM 

9. Stroll Independence Memorial Hall: 

The Independence Memorial Hall located in the Independence Square offers you an inspirational reprieve from the urban chaos of Colombo city. The hall which was built in 1948 as a commemoration of the country’s independence from British rule abounds relics and symbols testifying the island’s rich cultural and political history. 

The immaculate lawn of this historical building with its clean paved pathways is a great venue for unwinding your blues and take in a whiff of fresh breeze. You can rent a bicycle and take a stroll round the nook and corner of the Hall and behold its architectural marvels.

Location: Independence Avenue, Colombo 7

Timings: 10AM- 5PM

10. Stroll at Mount Lavinia Beach: 

The Mount Lavinia Beach is right at the southern outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The golden sand, turquoise blue waters and the scrumptious Tamil food available near the beach make visiting the beach one of the best activities to do in Colombo.

The beach also homes some of the most popular hotels and restaurants in the city. Being in close proximity to the city, the beach is crowded with locals during the weekends, but you can easily find it empty and quiet during the weekdays.

The beach is also known for the many vendors selling all sorts of things here like manioc chips, sour mangoes, swimsuits and much more. Spend a relaxing day under the sun at the beach and spend your evening indulging in the best seafood in town at the many restaurants at the shore

Timings: Open 24 hours

Read More
Suspension Bridge Colombo

The Suspension Bridge in Colombo, Sri Lanka, stands as an architectural marvel, gracefully spanning the Kelani River and offering a breathtaking experience for locals and visitors alike. Completed in recent years, this engineering masterpiece has become an iconic symbol of Colombo's modernity and progress.

Seema Malaka

Seema Malaka, a serene Buddhist temple floating on Beira Lake in Colombo, Sri Lanka, is a captivating spiritual haven. Renowned for its unique architecture and tranquil surroundings, Seema Malaka offers a peaceful escape for those on a Sri Lanka trip. This architectural marvel stands as a testament to the island's rich cultural heritage.

National Museum Of Colombo

The National Museum of Colombo, Sri Lanka, stands as a cultural treasure trove, showcasing the island nation's rich heritage. Established in 1877, the museum houses a diverse collection of artifacts, from ancient royal regalia to religious relics. Its exhibits span multiple eras, offering insight into the country's history, art, and archaeology. The museum's colonial-era architecture and meticulously curated displays make it a captivating destination for those eager to delve into the cultural tapestry of Sri Lanka trip.

Colombo Fort

Colombo Fort, the historic heart of Sri Lanka's capital, is a dynamic blend of colonial architecture and modern urban vibrancy. Originally established by the Portuguese in the 16th century and later developed by the Dutch and British, the area now houses government offices, financial institutions, and bustling markets. Amidst the contemporary hustle, remnants of the past, such as the Clock Tower and Old Parliament Building, provide glimpses into Colombo's multifaceted history, making it a compelling cultural and commercial hub.

Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara
Also known as the Kelaniya Temple, Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is a Buddhist temple which is situated seven miles from Colombo. This temple is well known for its magnificent sculptor’s art. Kelaniya Temple was built on the bank Kelaniya River which is believed to be one of the most sacred sites in Sri Lanka.

This temple was built in the era prior to the chronologically recorded history of Sir Lanka (since 543 B.C). The ancient temple was destroyed by a lot of invaders but was reconstructed again.

Highlights: The best feature of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is its amazing architecture which has grabbed the attention of lot of tourist around the world. There is a vaulted grill that opens upto the lower patio of the temple yard. The lower patios lead four sets of flights in four directions to the Upper patio where you can see the image of Hose, Dagaba and the Bo Tree (Peepal tree) with other buildings.

Location: The temple is located at Kelaniya, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Price: The entry is free of cost.
Gangaramaya Temple
Gangaramaya Temple is not only one of the most beautiful but also one of the most iconic Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. It is more than a century since this temple was constructed; however even today, the temple doesn’t stop to surprise tourists and devotees. The pathways and doors that lead into the main sanctum sanctorum contain intricately carved sculptures that are simply breath-taking.

Highlights: The ceilings and walls contain pictures and miniature paintings that explain stories from Buddhism religion. In the main sanctorum, a huge Buddha statue exudes a brilliant sense of calmness in the devotees. Built in a mix of various architectural styles including India, Burmese, Thai and Chinese, this temple also houses a museum.



Location: The temple is located right on the Jinaratana Road in the heart of Colombo city.

Timings: The temple is open from 5.30AM to 10PM.

Price: Entry fee is LKR200 per adult.
Sea Turtle Hatchery

A sea turtle hatchery is a vital conservation initiative aimed at protecting endangered sea turtles. These facilities provide a safe environment for turtle eggs to hatch, ensuring the survival of vulnerable hatchlings. Dedicated to preserving marine biodiversity, hatcheries often engage in educational efforts to raise awareness about sea turtles' threats and promote responsible conservation practices. Visitors can witness the marvel of newly hatched turtles and learn about ongoing conservation efforts.

Galle Face Green

Galle Face Green, a picturesque urban park in Colombo, Sri Lanka, stretches along the Indian Ocean, offering a serene escape amid the bustling city. The promenade, fringed by palm trees, invites locals and tourists alike to enjoy breathtaking sunset views, indulge in street food, or engage in recreational activities. This historic and vibrant green space serves as a popular social hub, reflecting the cultural vitality of Sri Lanka and providing a delightful waterfront experience. Explore the beauty and cultural richness of Sri Lanka with our curated Sri Lanka packages.

Viharamahadevi Park

Viharamahadevi Park, nestled in the heart of Colombo, Sri Lanka, is a verdant oasis known for its tranquility and lush landscapes. Named after Queen Viharamahadevi, the park offers a serene escape with its scenic ponds, vibrant flower beds, and towering trees. Popular among locals and tourists alike, it's an ideal spot for leisurely strolls, picnics, and relaxation. The park's central location adds to its allure, making it a cherished urban retreat in Colombo.

Colombo Lotus Tower

The Colombo Lotus Tower, a striking landmark in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, stands tall at 356 meters. This architectural marvel boasts a lotus-inspired design and serves as a multifunctional building, featuring observation decks, a shopping complex, and a hotel. It offers panoramic views of the city and symbolizes modernity and progress in Colombo.

Beira Lake

Sri Lanka, an island nation in South Asia, captivates with its diverse landscapes, from pristine beaches and lush tea plantations to ancient temples and vibrant cities. Rich in cultural heritage, the country showcases a blend of Buddhist traditions, colonial influences, and modern development. Known for its warm hospitality, flavorful cuisine, and wildlife sanctuaries, Sri Lanka offers a kaleidoscope of experiences, making it a compelling destination for travelers seeking a harmonious mix of history and natural beauty.

Dehiwala Zoo

The Dehiwala Zoo, located in Colombo, Sri Lanka, is a popular attraction showcasing a diverse array of wildlife in a picturesque setting. Established in 1936, the zoo spans 11 hectares and is home to a variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, and marine life. With educational programs and entertaining exhibits, the zoo offers a family-friendly environment for visitors to learn about and appreciate the rich biodiversity of Sri Lanka and beyond.

World Trade Building

The World Trade Building, commonly known as the World Trade Center (WTC), was a complex of iconic twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, tragically destroyed during the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Parliament Building, Colombo

The Parliament Building in Colombo, Sri Lanka, stands as an architectural marvel, symbolizing the nation's political significance. Completed in 1982, this iconic structure boasts a blend of classical and modern design elements, reflecting the country's rich history and contemporary aspirations.

Bally's Casino
Bally’s is one of the respected names in the casino business in Colombo. It has been around for quite a long time and it provides complete security to its guests, members and regular players.

Highlights: Biggest casino in Colombo.

Location: Right at the back of Colombo Fort station.

Special features: Bally’s treats its guests with complementary drinks and snacks. Its restaurant section provides international breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Members can choose from various packages (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond and Infinity) as per their budget constraints. In these packages, the minimum checking amount starts from $4000 and the maximum goes up to $100,000. Members can also get themselves rejuvenated at the spa at Bally’s. All members who opt for these packages get complementary air transfers, food, five-star hotel accommodation and free local commute from Bally’s to their hotels.

Timings: Bally’s is open 24/7 on all days except Poya (Full Moon day).

Colombo Lighthouse
Though it is located in close vicinity to the Galle Face Green, where thousands of adults and kids visit to view the beach, the Old Galle Buck Lighthouse is a comparatively less-visited destination. When you go further from Galle Face Green, you can climb up to the Lighthouse and enjoy a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. This is located within the premises of Sri Lankan Navy.

Highlights: You can get to the lighthouse after 5PM to enjoy the best view of sunset. This place is considered to be the best when it comes to viewing sunset. If you are a person who wants to have a quiet little time to yourself, this is the apt place for you.

Location: In close vicinity to the famous sea face of Colombo, the Galle Face Green.

Timings: The place is open all through the year.

Price: Entry is free of cost here.
Dutch Period Museum
During the period between 1656 and 1796, Dutch rulers ruled over Sri Lanka. The Dutch Museum which tourists get to watch today was once the official residing place of Thomas Van Rhee, the former Dutch Governor of Sri Lanka.

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Location
: The place is located at Prince Street in the city

Highlights
: The museum contains two floors and it houses around 3000 personal collections of Dutch rulers who reigned over the place. This place was converted into a public museum during 1977, thanks to the able support rendered by the Government of Netherlands.

Timings: The museum is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Tuesday to Saturday.
Old City Hall
This is definitely a place that will interest any architecture or history lover. Constructed over two centuries ago, the Old City Hall is one of the brilliant architectural marvels from the bygone British era. The months of January, February, March, November and December are the best when it comes to visiting Colombo. The entry price is free of cost.


 
Locati
on: The hall can be found on Main Street in Colombo amidst various famous tourist spots.

Highlights
: There are a few attendants working in the hall, who will gladly take you around the building, provided you tip them a reasonable amount of money. The hall is literally a treasure island that contains old government equipment, transport machinery and other council chambers that were present during the earlier times.

Timings: The place is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM ll days of the week except Sundays.
Independence Memorial Hall
Independence Memorial Hall in Colombo, as the name indicates, was constructed to commemorate the occasion of Sri Lankan Independence from British Rule. The construction of this memorial was completed during 1953.

Highlights: When you come here, you ought to visit the Independence Memorial Museum as well, which honours the people who fought for Sri Lankan Independence. Currently, this hall is the venue where Independence Day celebrations and other national events are being held. Prior to the construction of the Sri Lankan Parliament, this memorial Hall served as the ceremonial assembly as well. This place currently caters to the needs of fitness enthusiasts as the open spaces here are used for jogging, cycling, public gym, aerobic sessions and other relevant activities.



Location:
The hall is located in Cinnamon Gardens and was formerly known as Torrington Square.

Timings: This hall is open all through the year.

Price: Entry into the hall is free of cost.
Mount Lavinia Beach

Mount Lavinia is a heritage hotel, which was predominantly a huge place during 1806. There are various ocean view rooms up for taking here, provided you book early. During special festivals and peak tourist seasons, the heritage hotel offers great deals for the benefit of tourists.

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Colombo Things To Do FAQs

What are the best things to do in Colombo with family?

1. Take a Walkthrough of History at the National Museum: Stroll through the 18th century National Museum and check out brilliant artworks crafted by renowned artists and sculptures of the country.

2. Spend some Time at Viharamahadevi Park: Paying a visit to Viharamahadevi Park is one of the family-friendly things to do in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Here, you can enjoy picnicking, leisure walking, and trying fun rides.

3. Pay Homage at Gangaramaya Temple: If you are a spiritual seeker, visiting Gangaramaya Temple can be one of the best things to do in Colombo for you. Here, you can seek the blessings of Buddha and admire the blend of Thai, Indian, and Chinese designs in the shrine’s architecture. 

4. Go Shopping at Pettah: Visit the Floating Market of Pettah, lying on a bridge above the Beira Lake. Shop for local souvenirs, including jewelry, bags, and footwear.

5. Pay a Visit to Mt Lavinia Beach: Spend a day at Mt. Lavinia Beach, enjoying sunbathing, relishing local seafood, and soaking in the stunning sunset views.

What are the best adventure things to do in Colombo?

1. Go Scuba Diving: One of the best things to do in Colombo for avid adrenaline junkies is scuba diving in the clear waters of the top dive sites of the city, including Medhufaru, Palagala, Cargo Wreck, and Nilgiri Drug.

2. Spot Wildlife at Dehiwala Zoological Garden: 
Go wildlife spotting at Dehiwala National Zoo, one of Asia’s oldest zoos. Here, you can enjoy spotting over 65 bird species and 72 mammals.

3. Experience Thrilling Rides at Leisure World Water Park: 
Pay a visit to Leisure World Water Park with your friends and family and enjoy fun water slides and exhilarating roller coaster rides.

4. Enjoy Blue Whale Sighting at Bentota and Koggala: 
Take a boat from Mirissa Harbor and head towards Bentota and Koggala to spot blue whales. 

5. Enjoy Boating at Beira Lake: 
If you’re seeking simple adventures, riding the swan pedal boat on the serene waters of the Beira Lake can be one of the most fascinating Colombo things to do.

What is the best time to visit Colombo?

The most ideal time for visiting Colombo is during the dry season, between the months of January and March. During this time of the year, the city experiences cool and salubrious weather, which is suitable for enjoying outdoor activities. The city is also in a festive mood during this period, celebrating New Year and Sri Lanka’s Independence Day.

How to reach Colombo?

Tourists can easily take connecting flights from the prime South Indian Cities like Bengaluru, Trivandrum, and Chennai and fly to Colombo. Sri Lankan Airlines also runs regular direct flights from India to Colombo. Connecting flights operated by Air India, Jet Airways, and Sri Lankan Airlines also run from the prime North Indian cities to Colombo.

What is famous in Colombo?

Colombo is famous for its beaches, Buddhist and Hindu Temples, Mosques and Churches. Other than visiting all the popular places in Colombo, you can also enjoy a plate of the famous Kottu. Some things you can buy from Colombo are handicrafts, batik, tea, gems, jewelry and ceramics.

How do I spend a day in Colombo?

Some of the most famous places to visit in Colombo are Gangaramaya Temple, Dawatagaha Jumma Mosque, Sri Kailasanathar Temple, Dutch Hospital, Fort, and Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque. You can either visit these places and marvel at their unique and beautiful architecture or if you want to spend your day relaxing, you can go to Mount Lavinia Beach or just take a walk around the city.

Is Colombo safe?

Colombo is an absolutely safe city to travel to and roam around in. Although, if you’re travelling solo, take care of yourself and practise all the necessary precautions you should do anyway.

Newly Added Colombo Experiences

Colombo Things To Do Reviews

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Mini Sethi
Reviewed: 17 Dec 2023
4.0/5
We had an amazing time in SriLanka. Loved the hotels and food👍
Mini Sethi
Mini Sethi
Mini Sethi
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Bhudeva Tagore
Reviewed: 08 Jul 2019
5.0/5
We are so glad to note we had a wonderful and memorable ride on board the Colombo City Tour..! It's great we 'captured' the real essence of Colombo in that short period of time... amidst the hustle and rush in the busy commercial capital.
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Rajinder Kaur
Reviewed: 27 Mar 2019
5.0/5
Well orangised tour. Thank you Thrillophilia. Recommended
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Sakina Hararwala
Reviewed: 10 May 2018
5.0/5
"Our tour guide was dimendu, a very helpful person"

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