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13 Best Things to do in Colombo

 
  • Witnessing the colonial heritage can be one of the best things to do in Colombo. Hop on for a tuk-tuk ride and experience Colombo like a true local. Many tourists don’t like to miss the chance of visiting the pettah market or playing golf in the manicured green lawns of the Royal Colombo Golf Club.

    If you love to appreciate the finest things in life you can also spend some time in Colombo National Museum where you can witness some terrific paintings, sculptures and sketches. Many local aristis have also displayed their paintings in local galleries. For satiating your palate. Mt Lavinia can be the best option as the place hosts innumerable sea food restaurants.

    Best things to do in Colombo that you should experience:

  • 01Visit Casino

    Image Credit :  Miss Shari

    A visitor’s delight, Colombo is a place of many beautiful tourist attractions. When you are here, do not miss to visit the casinos of the place. These are perfect joints to keep you entertained with their world-class interiors and customised services. The four most attractive casinos in Colombo are Bally’s, Bellagio, MGM Colombo and Marina Colombo. Bally’s is located right in the heart of the city, Bellagio on the main Duplication Road, the highly-sought after MGM, in close vicinity to Majestic City Shopping Mall and Marina, a high-profile casino on the Marine Drive.


    Image Credits : Thomas Hawk



    Timings: The joints are opened 24/7 on all days of the week.

    Price: Approximate price starts from just LKR 100 onwards at joints like Bally’s. That’s not all! You get to taste some awesome dishes as well, while you try your luck at these places.

  • 02Open Deck City Sightseeing

    Colombo has 3 types of open deck tours. They are – Glimpse of Colombo, Heritage of Colombo and Colombo at night. As the name indicates, the first tour covers the top tourist attractions of the city. In the heritage tour, you will get to witness some ancient architectural wonders. Colombo at night takes viewers through the brilliant monuments of the city during the weekends.



    Location: Open decks are available all over the city.

    Highlights:
     Do not miss the Colombo at Night tour, as it takes you around illuminated temples and monuments. 

    Timings:
    Glimpse of Colombo is between 4:00 PM and 6.30 PM from Monday to Friday; Heritage of Colombo is between 8.30 AM and 12 noon on weekends and Colombo at Night is between 4.30PM and 7.30PM on weekends.

    Price: Approximate price starts from 3600 LKR and 1700 LKR for adults and kids respectively; Heritage of Colombo & Colombo at Night tour cost around 4300 LKR and 2200 LKR for adults and kids respectively.
  • 03National Museum

    Image Credit : rapidtravelchai
    If you are a history lover and have a keen eye for architecture, the National Museum is probably one of the first few places that you need to visit, when you come to Colombo. Established during 1877, this is the biggest museum in the island nation and is undoubtedly the pride of Sri Lanka. The place houses some of the best and personalised collections of the ancient Kandyan dynasty rulers.

    Image Credits : calamur



    Location:
     The museum built in Italian architecture style, is located right in the heart of the Colombo city. 

    Highlights:
     The museum’s library deserves special mention as it contains rich manuscripts in palm leaves in languages like Burmese, Sinhala, Telugu, Tamil and much more. 

    Timings:
    The museum is open on all days except national holidays from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

    Price:  Approximate price for local adults and kids are 35 LKR and 20 LKR respectively, whereas, for foreign adults and kids, the prices are 600 LKR and 300 LKR respectively.
  • 04Galle Face Green

    Image Credit : Scott Edmunds
    Situated in the middle of the busy stretch of Galle Road and the Indian Ocean, this open space, established during 1859 on 5 hectares, is a huge hit among tourists of all age groups. During weekends, the place is abuzz with vendors who attract kids with their bright toys and bubbles. This area is open all through the year. Entry into the park is free.

    While you are here, do not miss to taste the lip-smacking delicacies that are prepared by street vendors.

    Image Credits : Aswin Anand



    Location: This is located right next to the famous Galle Beach.

    Highlights:
     The magical and golden rays of sunset, fresh air and the positive ambience of the place make Galle Face Green one of the must-visit places in Colombo. The place is currently taken care of by the Sri Lanka’s Urban Development Authority. 

    Timings:
    This park is open 24/7 all through the day.

    Price: Entry into this park is free of cost.
  • 05Ride in a Tuk-Tuk

    Image Credit : Nigel Wilson
    That the beauty of a particular place is accentuated by the way one reaches to it, is definitely not an understatement. This is true for Colombo as well. When you come to this beautiful city, you just cannot afford to miss to travel in the tuk-tuks (similar to autos in India). If you are lucky enough to get friendly, patient and knowledgeable drivers, you can stop and click as many pictures as you want at awesome locales.


    Image Credits : Molly John



    Location: Tuk-Tuks are available all over Colombo city.

    Highlights:
     One of the most important tips that you should follow before taking a tuk-tuk, is to know the local metre rates to avoid being exploited. Getting a good tuk-tuk driver is indeed a challenge in Colombo; however, this mission is worth your effort, as you get to understand a lot from these local drivers. 

    Timings:
    These tuk-tuks can be taken anytime during the day.

    Price: The charges depend on the distance you travel.
  • 06Scuba Diving

    Image Credit : Offthebeatentrack
    Colombo is one of the top scuba diving spots in the world as it boasts of excellent aquatic species like turtles, parrot fish, whales, sharks etc. To cater to a large number of adventure enthusiasts coming here every year, there are lots of scuba diving packages available in Colombo to choose from.

    Image Credits : Offthebeatentrack



    Location:
     In Colombo, certain diving sites that cannot be missed are Medhufaru, Cargo-wreck, Car-wreck, Tug-wreck, Para Gala, Battery Barge, Taprobane east, SS Worcestershire, Barracuda Reef and much more. The average depth of these sites hovers around 30 to 57m. 

    Highlights:
     The waters of the city are replete with wrecks, reefs and lots of other interesting things that bring a wide grin to scuba divers. 

    Timings: Scuba diving can be done all through the year here.

    Price: Approximate price starts from $45 for few hours and the scuba diving course for adults, costs $100. 
  • 07Colombo Tea and Herb Tour

    Sri Lanka is known for its exclusive varieties of tea. The capital city of Colombo is covered with a green carpet of tea plantations that demands a separate tour in itself. The aroma of tea and herbs in these estates lend an incredible magic to this place. And for the tea lovers, this is like a heaven where you will get to taste after manufacturing directly from the factory.



    Location: Starts from the Bogawantalawa valley and other plantations that range at 1500m above sea level. 

    Highlights:
     You not only get to witness the process of manufacturing tea in the factories here, but you also get to taste the different brands of tea. Sounds interesting, isn’t it? You will find tea of different kinds of price ranges here and you will get to know the minute differences among each variety. 

    Timings:
    These tours are available all through the year from leading tour operators. 

    Price: Approximate prices starts from 5700 LKR and can vary based on the processes covered in the tour.
  • 08Viharamahadevi Park

    Image Credit : DennisSylvesterHurd
    Named after Queen Viharamahadevi, this park is the largest and probably the only public park in Colombo. It is one of those places that never cease to excite you irrespective of the number of times you come here.

    Highlights: There are lots of places to visit here like the aquarium, mini zoo, children’s play zone, war memorial, lake and the dangerous-yet-adventurous suspension bridge above it. When you and your kids are tired of running round the park, you can just relax on the cool resting places on the park, eating local delicacies like candy floss, corn and ice-creams from the sellers here. A canopy of green trees lends a beautiful ambience to this place.

    Image Credits : cat_collector



    Location: The Park is located right next to the famous National Museum in the heart of Colombo.

    Timings: This Park is open all through the year.

    Price: Entry into the park is free of cost.
  • 09Independence 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.

    Image Credits : Chamara Sumanapala



    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.
  • 10Gangaramaya Temple

    Image Credit : Nigel Swales
    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.

    Image Credits : Charaka Ranasinghe



    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.
  • 11Duck paddle boats Beira Lake

    Image Credit : President Mahinda Rajapaksa
    Paddle boat ride on Beira Lake is a must-do thing when you visit Colombo. Various duck paddle boats are available on rent on this lake, for you to enjoy the beauty of the waters. The sheer thrill that you get by paddling your way along these boats as you encounter some real ducks or swans on the waters is sure to evoke the child within you.

    Image Credits : Indi Samarajiva



    Highlights: One of the major highlights of the lake is the Simamalakha Shrine, located right in the middle of the lake in an island.

    Location: The Beira Lake is situated very close to the famous Gangaramaya temple.

    Timings: Boat rides are available all through the day, but evenings are better, because you get an excellent view of the illuminated Gangaramaya temple at the background.

    Price: Boating charges are around 100 Sri Lankan Rupees for 30 minutes in a two-seater boat. 
  • 12Golf at The Royal Colombo Golf Club

    Ever dreamt of playing golf at one of the world’s finest and high-profile golf clubs? Royal Colombo Golf Club is just what you are looking for!

    Highlights: Constructed 130 years ago, this is the second oldest golf club in the world. Tourists coming to this club can try their hand at the 96-acre golf court by submitting proper identity documents and paying the relevant fees as per their requirement.

    Image Credits : Wasif Malik



    Location: The club is located at the purely residential area of Model Farm Road in Colombo.

    Timings: The club is open from 6AM to 11PM on all days of the week.

    Price:
    Green Fees per day basis on week-days and public holidays/weekends costs LKR10000 and LKR12200 respectively.
    One week Green Fees charges come up to LKR40000.
    Caddy Fees comes up to LKR800, single club hire charge comes up to LKR500 and full club hire charge comes up to LKR4000.
  • 13Drink an Orange Coconut

    Image Credit : Emilio Labrador
    Sri Lanka is not only the place where you can find some scintillating locales, but also the place where you can experiment with exciting foods and drinks. The coastal island country has lots of unique drinks here that are natural sources of energy. 

    Highlights: Orange coconut, commonly known as King Coconut is one of them. This drink is more refreshing, tastier and sweeter than the water found inside the green tender coconuts that we find in other countries. Locals call King Coconut as Thambili. 

    Image Credits : Wendy



    Location: Street sellers all over Colombo sell King Coconuts as Sri Lanka is the biggest producer of these in the world. 

    Timings: King Coconuts can be drunk anytime during the day, as they provide great refreshment. 

    Price: The price range per king coconut comes up to LKR80 only.