Colombo Sri Lanka, the colorful, vibrant and commercial capital of Sri Lanka. It is a mixture of modern lifestyle and colonial ruins. The city of Colombo, being the largest city in Sri Lanka, is home to around one million people. Colombo Sri Lanka port is also here, which is one of the busiest ports in South Asia. With rich culture, UNESCO world heritage sites, so many clean beaches, warm weather and friendly people, Sri Lanka offers so much more than Ceylon tea for tourists.
Colombo Sri Lanka City Guide
Places To Visit In Colombo
Colombo’s historic center is the Fort, and this has become the main business district filled with shops, offices, foreign embassies and local government buildings. You will be able to see buildings from the Dutch, Portuguese and British colonial eras as they once ruled Sri Lanka. There are many places to visit in Colombo Sri Lanka other than than clean beaches. These includes the National Museum, Buddhist temples, churches, parks, night clubs, pubs and the famous Pettah bazaar for shopping. Basically the city starts off with friendly locals enjoying a game of cricket, dinning, flying kites, and ends with evening strolls sipping a cocktail or a beer watching the sunset. Where else would you rather be when you hear it like this, and it’s just the way it is!
- National Museum of Sri Lanka
- Colombo National Zoo – leopards, elephants, elephant shows, snakes are few interesting sights
- Excel World (bowling, laser runner, video games, pool boards, food parlor, boutique shops, rides and pub)
- Vihara Maha Devi park (in the heart of Colombo)
- Gangarama Buddhist temple (A temple build in the middle of the Beira lake)
- The Wolvendaal Church (the oldest Protestant Church in use in Sri Lanka)
- Cinemas – Majestic Cinema, Liberty Cinema, Savoy Cinema (Box office movies are usually released on the same day as US release)
- Shopping Malls – Majestic City, Liberty Plaza, Crescat Boulevard, Odel
- Pettah bazaar (a market where you can bargain for goods you buy)
Transportation In Colombo
Being the business city of Sri Lanka, Colombo has a hectic traffic most of the time. Sometimes it could take 30 minutes to travel a few blocks. That being said, what’s amazing is, people still manage. If you’re roaming around Colombo, you have quite a few transportation options. Rush hours to avoid are from 7:30am to 9:00am (school, office traffic), 12:30pm to 2:00pm (school end traffic) and 5:00pm to 7:00pm (office end traffic). If you want to get around quick and fast, the ‘trishaws’ or the ‘three wheelers’ are the best and most economical transportation method. You will see these small 3-wheeled vehicles (hence trishaw) the minute you are out on the road. Be sure to negotiate a price before you get in. No, don’t be shy to negotiate a price. Anything over 300 rupees (local currency) is too much, if you’re going a short distance.
Dining In Colombo
When it comes to food in Colombo Sri Lanka, you are sure to find from the corner stand of delicious food to gourmet food at fancy restaurants. Which ever your taste be, I can guarantee you will find the food to satisfy your taste buds. There are few places that I would recommend, which I have been to and enjoyed.
Colombo Restaurant: Lavinia Breeze
With a breathtaking sight of the infinite blue of the Indian Ocean, the Lavinia Breeze is the perfect place to dine and “wind down” with friends and family. Located in the beach town of Mount Lavinia, this Colombo restaurant offers good food and variety of beverages.
Just pure yummy donuts at Gonuts! You can even get it delivered to where you stay in Colombo. They also have savory donuts, if that’s what you like.
Colombo Restaurant: Jack Tree Thai Restaurant
Jack Tree is one of the best authentic Thai restaurants in Colombo Sri Lanka. Special menus are created to give you an authentic Thai experience on your every visit.
Colombo Restaurant: Chinese Dragon Cafe
Started in 1942 by a family of Chinese immigrants, Chinese Dragon Cafe offers authentic Chinese dishes from Foo Yung Hai to Hot Buttered Cuttlefish, Crab Claws to Caramel Pudding. They have several restaurants within Colombo and they deliver food as well.
Barista Lavazza Cafe
Dedicated to serve Sri anka with the finest brew of authentic Italian coffee, Barista offers a superb cup of coffee and sweets to go with it.
Colombo Restaurant: The Bavarian German Restaurant (GR)
You are in for a treat if you want German food while staying in Colombo Sri Lanka. Feel as if you’ve been warped through time straight to Germany at The Bavarian German Restaurant in Colombo.
The list does go on and on of the places you can go to have delicious food. So you will have no trouble finding one when in Colombo Sri Lanka. You can find more dinning options on the Restaurant Guide of Sri Lanka website.
Note: Alcohol is not sold on Poya holidays (day of the full moon). However in-house hotel guests can order drinks from the hotel.
Shopping In Colombo Sri Lanka
Like every tourist or even the locals, we all love shopping and good bargains. I was able to visit the local markets at Pettah and also some of the smaller shopping centers to experience the more elegant side of the city. The bazaar district Pettah or Fort sure present a real treat for all the shopaholics out there. You can walk through the hustle and bustle of the streets to find dedicated merchants selling particular types of merchandise. These include local handicrafts, fresh fruits, brand name clothing and accessories etc.
Other famous shopping malls are Majestic City, Odel Unlimited, NoLimit and Dillys. You can also find boutique shops at your Colombo city hotel to satisfy your shopping needs.
Night Life in Colombo
When the night falls, the city of Colombo lights up no matter what day of the week it is. You will see people enjoying the simplicity of good friends, lively music, exotic cocktails and delicious food. Some Colombo city hotels have super night clubs with music and dancing to keep you going all night. There are theaters and halls showing ballet and concerts as well.
Sri Lanka’s trendiest bar, packed over the weekend with Sri Lanka’s under 30’s party crowd. Though it is known for being lively you can still make conversation. Arrive early if you want a seat. Friendly staff and reasonable prices. Regular theme nights and happy hour from 6:00pm to 7:00pm
The Hut offers 70’s reggae, 80’s disco and the 90’s techno sounds. A live band sets the mood on Friday and Saturday nights from 9:00pm to 4:00am. DJ’s take the stage through Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 9:00pm to 2:00am. An entrance fee of LKR1,000 is charged per couple but it does include two drinks of your choice. There are cozy booths, if you just want to relax and enjoy.
Rhythm & Blues (R&B)
A classic style pub with a great bar and great menu, and of course live bands cranking out blues, rock and the occasional love ballads. Great place to end your busy day and by relaxing with an ice cold beer.
You will get a modern feel but the clientele remains young and lively. Inexpensive drinks and the excitement of a long night out. The place gets busy over the weekends when the crowd spill out onto the street. Quiet and moody during the week for a beer.
Next to the Colombo city hotel Ramada (formerly Holiday Inn) is one of Colombo’s newest bars. It has a great 21st century atmosphere and a well stocked bar. So you can be sure it will cater to whatever poison you might desire. There are live bands, international DJ’s and theme nights, making sure that every time you go there it will be a totally new experience.
Hotels In Colombo Sri Lanka
Most of the travelers who visit Colombo Sri Lanka long for the colonial style hotels. Why you might ask. One thing is Colombo city hotels are just indescribably beautiful on the outside and much more gorgeous on the inside with great hospitality. What’s more is the locals are known to be friendly people with a big smile on their faces. So as a guest you can always rely on a friendly face to greet you by your name when you arrive. Colombo city hotel guests reminisce about the uniformed bellboys.
Best Hotels In Colombo
- Hilton Colombo Sri Lanka
- Galle Face Hotel Colombo Sri Lanka
- Grand Oriental Hotel Colombo Sri Lanka
- Mount Lavinia Hotel Colombo Sri Lanka
- Cinnamon Grand Colombo Sri Lanka
- Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel Colombo Sri Lanka
- Taj Samudra Colombo Sri Lanka
- Galadari Hotel Colombo Sri Lanka
The capital Colombo will leave you with beautiful memories and await to welcome you back. It extend beyond your imagination from the sunny coasts to authentic atmosphere. The beautiful palm shaped beaches will make you feel warm on a breezy evening where you can watch the sun go down the horizon like a fireball immersing in the ocean. Pure pleasure to your eyes. The people will always greet you with a smile and make you feel right at home. So visit Colombo Sri Lanka experience it all.
Thanks for the wonderful insight.
Glad to hear that it was helpful :)