• Saniya

Top Things to Do in Colombo

Updated: May 22, 2018

Sri Lanka is an amazing place – it is a cute lil island nation just a little south of India in the Indian Ocean. It is about 4 hours straight flight from Dubai via Emirates. Its diverse landscapes range from rain-forest and arid plains to highlands and sandy beaches. It’s famed for its ancient Buddhist ruins. We spent four days in this beautiful country with most of the time spent in Colombo.

Activity #1 – Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple & Beira Lake

Gangaramaya Temple is, 120-years-old temple, situated nearby the scenic Beira Lake in the heart of Colombo. Temple’s architecture is an eclectic mix of various nations and cultures – Sri Lankan, Thai, Burmese, Indian and Chinese.

I fell in love with the vast collection of Buddha statues along with statues of numerous Hindu gods, collection of old watches, old coins and old jewelry.

The temple has a very old tree right in the middle. It must be a few hundred years old that now provides a shade to all the open areas of the temple. You’re bound to see many worshippers offering their prayers under the shade of the giant tree.

The place is scented with the aroma of fresh cut flowers in all the rooms/open spaces of the temple.

Opening Hours: 8:30 AM to 10 PM

Tickets: 200 Rs for Tourists

Activity #2 – Vihara Maha Devi Park

Vihamahadevi Park

Just a bit south of Beira Lake is Vihara Maha Devi Park, the only large-scale park in Colombo. It was formally known as the Victoria park and was built during the British rule of Sri Lanka.

The park is blessed with well landscaped gardens with a selection of trees, flowers, fountains, lotus pounds, golden image of Buddha and a statue of Queen Vihara Maha Devi. We had a lovely walk under the shade of the lush green trees and in the aroma of the lovely flowers. If you’re lucky, you may get a view of the elephants from the nearby temple.

It is the largest, oldest and most colorful park situated in the heart of Colombo (Cinnamon Gardens). It is situated in front of the colonial style Town Hall building and is next to Nelum Pokuna Art Street. Nelum Pokuna has beautiful paintings done by the highly talented local artists. You will see some stunning paintings of Buddhas, Elephants, Lotus Ponds and other Sri Lankan Treasures.

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Tickets: Free

Activity #3 – National Museum of Colombo

It is the largest museum in Sri Lanka and was established on 1st January 1877. The two-storied Italianate building and its lush, well-manicured lawn with banyan trees is an exhibit in itself. The museum is huge and you really need a couple of hours to see everything.

I liked that the museum has all interesting details about the evolution of mankind and lots of details of how the early generations moved across the continents. Huge collections of coins, pottery, religious items, Stone sculpture, and everyday items from across the ages was very well maintained.

Only downside is that sometimes it gets too hot inside the building that their pedestal fans are not able to create a bearable atmosphere. Best to avoid going on a super-hot day.

Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 6 PM

Tickets: 100 Rs for Locals & 1000 Rs for Tourists

Activity #4 – Galle Face Green Promenade

Galle Face Green - Right before Sunset

The Galle Face is a 12 acres ocean-side urban park, which stretches for 500 m along the coast, in the heart of Colombo, the financial and business capital of Sri Lanka.

Day or night, a walk along the Galle Face Green is always an enjoyable experience. With stunning views of the Indian Ocean, we sat there and watched the big ships sail by. It was a very relaxing and calming place with plenty of street food options to divulge into some authentic Sri Lankan snacks/finger-foods.

We enjoyed the soothing sound of the waves, the lovely chirping of the birds and the colors of the locals flying kites. It is best to enjoy the sunset or the sunrise views from here!

Galle Face Green - Right after Sunset

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Tickets: Free

Activity #5 – Mount Lavinia Beach

Mount Lavinia Beach is located just a little south of the Colombo City. It is a long beach strip with spectacular views of the open water with numerous coconut trees all along the beach strip. There are many restaurants, pubs as well as relaxing areas.

We had snacks and drinks at Rasa Malaysia by Berjaya. We then took a nap on the beach loungers and it was the most peaceful sleep with sounds of the open waters, leaves and birds. I really wishes I had my Yoga mat with me as it was a perfect spot to practice some asanas in the nature.

Warning: The beach is not really suited to wear your beachwear and go for a dip in the water as there are no showers provided in the area. Plus, it is a bit conservative there and I didn’t see girls in their bikinis.

Opening Hours: 24 hours

Tickets: Free

These are all the places that we covered during our trip to Colombo!

At Galle Face Green Promenade

I really hope you enjoy your trip to Colombo! Do share your experiences <3