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Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo (Sinhala: කොළඹ, Tamil: கொழும்பு) is the largest city and commercial capital of Sri Lanka. A former capital of the nation, Colombo is still perceived as the capital of the nation by many and is located just beyond the suburb of Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the official capital.
Due to being on a strategic route in the Indian Ocean, Colombo host one of the busiest ports of South Asia and was known to ancient traders 2,000 years ago. Today the city is the central point of the country's activities and is home to a majority of country's restaurants and entertainment venues. Just like another typical South Asian biggest city, Colombo is a congested, noisy, busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings. It is the financial center of the island and a popular tourist destination.

Colombo is the commercial and financial... Read more

Colombo, Sri Lanka


Colombo (Sinhala: කොළඹ, Tamil: கொழும்பு) is the largest city and commercial capital of Sri Lanka. A former capital of the nation, Colombo is still perceived as the capital of the nation by many and is located just beyond the suburb of Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the official capital.
Due to being on a strategic route in the Indian Ocean, Colombo host one of the busiest ports of South Asia and was known to ancient traders 2,000 years ago. Today the city is the central point of the country's activities and is home to a majority of country's restaurants and entertainment venues. Just like another typical South Asian biggest city, Colombo is a congested, noisy, busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings. It is the financial center of the island and a popular tourist destination.

Colombo is the commercial and financial capital of Sri Lanka after the administrative capital was moved to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, a suburb east of the city. "Colombo" could refer to either the city proper or to Greater Colombo that includes the areas of Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte and Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia.
Weather-wise, the best time to visit is during the north-east monsoon season, which is November to April.

Due to its large harbor and its strategic position along the East-West sea trade routes, Colombo was known to ancient traders 2,000 years ago. It was made the capital of the island when Sri Lanka was ceded to the British Empire in 1815, and its status as capital was retained when the nation became independent in 1948. In 1978, when administrative functions were moved to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo was designated as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka.

Like many cities, Colombo's urban area extends well beyond the boundaries of a single local authority, encompassing other municipal and urban councils such as Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte Municipal Council, Dehiwala Mount Lavinia Municipal Council, Kolonnawa Urban Council, Kaduwela Municipal Council, and Kotikawatte Mulleriyawa Pradeshiya Sabha. The main city is home to a majority of Sri Lanka's corporate offices, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Famous landmarks in Colombo include Galle Face Green, Viharamahadevi Park, Beira Lake, Colombo Racecourse, Planetarium, University of Colombo, Mount Lavinia beach, Nelum Pokuna Theatre, Colombo Lotus Tower (under construction) as well as the National Museum.


The name "Colombo", first introduced by the Portuguese in 1505, is believed to be derived from the classical Sinhalese name කොලොන් තොට Kolon thota, meaning "port on the river Kelani".

Another belief is that the name is derived from the Sinhalese name කොල-අඹ-තොට Kola-amba-thota which means "Harbour with leafy mango trees".
The author of the oldest Sinhalese grammar, Sidatsangarava, written in the 13th century wrote about a category of words that exclusively belonged to early Sinhalese. It lists naramba (to see) and kolamba (ford or harbor) as belonging to an indigenous source. Kolamba may also be the source of the name of the commercial capital Colombo.

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Colombo, Sri Lanka: Port Information

Your cruise liner will dock at the pier called Queen Elizabeth. Taxis and shuttle buses are available, but it is just a 15-minute walk to the city center. So, if the weather is not too hot, we recommend you to enjoy walking and sightseeing.

Get around Colombo, Sri Lanka

Getting around by Tri-shaw (Three wheeler, tuk-tuk) is most convenient. Most three-wheelers do not have any meters fitted with them and so you have to always negotiate and agree on a price before you take a trip. But it's best to hail a meter taxi (identified by the words "Meter Taxi" on its windshield) that is traveling in the direction that you need to go instead of hiring one from the parking area or the tuk-tuk stand.

Colombo has an extensive network of buses going around the city/region. It's fairly easy to find the right one by asking locals or your accommodation. Fares depend on the type of bus and distance. Traveling by bus is an adventure itself!

The Sri Lankan Tourist Development Authority also operates its own fleet of 'tuk-tuks' around Colombo which are tourist friendly and metered to ensure that travelers are aware of the price being paid. Tourist board tuk tuks are distinguishable by their unique paintings. These three-wheelers can be booked 24 hours a day by calling 0712 500 800 or 0772 299 299.

Taxis are also a good mode of transportation. There are 'Tata Nano' cars in service nowadays with air-con and it is also a safe and convenient way to travel. Taxis are much safer than a three-wheeler. Do not forget to go for the ones with the "Metered Taxi" name board in front. Others may not have the meters running. Uber is available in Colombo with options for smaller cars (Go and Zip), as well as UberX, but XL is not available. A local ride-sharing app called Pick Me allows to order everything from a tuk tuk to a van, although there have been reports about the app not working for all users.

Car Rentals. It is also possible for travelers to hire a car with or without a driver. Many companies based in Colombo offer such services.

What to see in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Holy Places

  • Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka, Lankamatha Road, Ragama suburb of Colombo (From Ragama Railway Station 2km NE or bus to stop 'National Basilika Ave'). It is a Roman Catholic church with basilica status. The church is home to the venerated statue of Our Lady of Lanka.
  • St Luke's Anglican Church, Borella district of Colombo-8. The church plays an important role within the history of the Church Missionary Society on the island.
  • St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church, Polwatte (159, St. Michael’s Road, Colombo 3) (Cameron Pl corner. East 100m of Kollupitiya Jumma Mosque). It was dedicated on the 29th of September 1887 and is a landmark in Kollupitiya, a suburb of Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. A magnificent building of stone, mortar, and wood, it stands as a testimony to its rich history of prayer, worship, and mission.
  • St. Andrew's Scots Kirk church, No. 73, Galle Road, Colombo 3 (Close to High Commission of India, Colombo). It was founded in the late 19th century and prospered during the colonial and post-colonial periods, it was a center for the Scots element in Colombo, the capital city of what was then Ceylon.
  • St. Lucia's Cathedral, St Benedict's St and St. Lucia St, Kotahena (in the north east of Colombo. North 200m of Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium). It is the seat of the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Colombo in Sri Lanka.
  • St. Paul's Church (1853), Galle Rd, Milagiriya district (Dr Lester James Peries Mawatha St corner. Take bus to stop 'Milagiriya'). It is one of the oldest churches in Sri Lanka. - The church was first built by the Portuguese as a Roman Catholic place of worship and was known as Nossa Senhora dos Milagres.
  • Buddha Jayanthi Chaithya stupa, Colombo Harbour. A Buddhist shrine, built with reinforced concrete.
  • Gangaramaya Temple

    , 61, Sri Jinarathana Road, Colombo 2 (Hunupitiya Lake Rd corner), ☎ +94 11 2 435169. It is one of the most important temples in Colombo. The temple's architecture demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture.
  • Sri Bala Selva Vinayagar. Hindu temple- in Colombo 10. Devoted to Shiva and Ganesh.
  • Sri Muthumariamman. Hindu temple in Colombo 13.
  • Shiva Subramania Swami. Temple on Slave Island
  • Sri Ponnambalam-Vaneswaram temple. In Koch-chikade, three km north of Fort.
  • Kalani Raja Maha Viharaya. Located about 9 km away from Colombo, the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya is one of the most significant Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. The temple had been built more than 2000 years ago and contains images of reclining and preaching Buddha along with frescoes depicting incidents from his life.
  • Memm Harnafi. Mosque found at Dr C.W.W Kannangara Mawatha, grey color.
  • Church of St. Anthony. Situated beside the sea where Sea Street and St. Anthony’s Mawatha meet.
  • Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque

    , Second Cross Street in Pettah. It is a historic mosque. The mosque is a popular tourist site in the city. Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque was built in 1909 by the Pettah Muslim community to fulfill their required five-times-daily prayer and Jummah on Fridays. It is one of the oldest mosques in Colombo.
  • Victoria Masonic Temple, Galle Face, Colombo 03. It is the meeting place for the Masonic Lodges. It was built in 1901 during British rule. It was designed by E. Skinner, an associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and built by the Colombo Commercial Company. The building was built in neo-Georgian style mixed with elements of Eastern architecture.
  • Wolvendaal church

    , 363, Galle Road, Colombo 06. One of the oldest churches built during the Dutch era in 1749. The interior is decorated with Dutch furniture with the wooden carved pews, chairs, pulpit and lecterns.


  • The National Museum of Colombo, Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo 7, ☎ +94 11 2 695366, e-mail: Sat-Thu.: 09:00-17:00.. Department of National Museums. Also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum, it is the largest museum in Colombo. Among its exhibits, it contains regalia of the 17th century Kandyan Kings. 
  • The Natural History Museum, Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo 7, ☎ +94 11 269-1399. Closed Fridays and all public holidays. 09:00-17:00. This museum features Sri Lanka's flora and fauna in dioramas. 
  • The Dutch Period Museum, 95 Prince Street, Colombo 01, ☎ +94 11 244-8466. Sat-Thu.: 09:00-17:00. Nice but very small museum documenting Dutch colonial rule in Sri Lanka. Houses Dutch-inspired artifacts. 
  • Independence Memorial Hall ((also Independence Commemoration Hall)), Independence Square(formally Torrington Square) (Cinnamon Gardens). 09:00-17:00. is a national monument in Sri Lanka built for commemoration of the independence of Sri Lanka from the British rule with the establishment of Dominion of Ceylon on 4 February 1948. It also houses the Independence Memorial Museum
  • Central Bank Currency Museum, 58, Sri Jayawardhanapura Mawatha, Rajagiriya. from 08:30 to 16:00. Monday to Friday on all working days except public and bank holidays. Established on 20 April 1982 at the Central Bank Head Office in Colombo Fort. The museum is open to the general public. - The Central Bank Currency Museum traces the history of the usage of coins and notes in Sri Lanka from 3 BC to date and has on display a large number of ancient coins and notes which were used in the country dating back from 3 BC. Foreign coins and notes received from other Central Banks are also on display at the museum free.


  • The Sapumal Foundation, 32/4 Barnes Pl, ☎ +94 11 269-5731. Colombo 7. The Sapumal Foundation was once home to the late Harry Pieris. Visitors are able to see his studio and art materials that have been left undisturbed over the years. This gallery also contains 200 paintings that follow the development of Sri Lankan art. Special art classes are also available at the gallery.
  • The Lionel Wendt Memorial Art Centre, ☎ +94 11 269-5794. 18 Guilford Crescent, Colombo 7. M-F 09:00-13:00 and 14:00-16:00. The Art Centre has exhibitions, art shows, and stage events. Visitors also able to purchase various antiques as well as paintings and crafts by contemporary Sri Lankan artists.


  • Alfred House, Thurstan Rd.
  • Clare House.
  • India House. The official residence in Colombo for the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka. Built in 1926-27 for the Imperial Bank of India and taken over by the Government of India in 1956. It is a colonial style villa/bungalow, with large gardens located along Thurstan Road. It is guarded by personnel from the Border Security Force.
  • Jefferson House. The ambassadorial residence in Colombo for the Ambassador of the United States in Sri Lanka. It was built in 1914 in the Cinnamon Gardens a suburb of Colombo.
  • Lakshmigiri Mansion (Saifee Villa). A bungalow at 102, Thurstan Road in Colombo.
  • Modera House. A large bungalow. A 19th century stately home, located in Mutwal north of Colombo. Now it is part of the De La Salle College.
  • Morven Mansion.
  • Saravasti Mansion.
  • Storm Lodge, 142 Galle Rd, Colombo-03. A mansion, owned by the Colombo Swimming Club.
  • Rock House Colonial era Mansion.
  • Sirimathipaya Mansion.
  • The Lighthouse. A large bungalow. Owned by the Sri Lankan Government and houses the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies- located in the Cinnamon Gardens a suburb of Colombo, it was built by D. Peiris.
  • Whist Bungalow (Pradeepa Hall). A large bungalow. A 19th century stately home modeled on Neoclassical style, located in Mutwal north of Colombo on the cost where the Kelani River used to meet the Indian Ocean. It is now used as a reception hall for weddings.
  • Winyatts Mansion.

What to do in Colombo, Sri Lanka

  • Galle Face Green Promenade, Galle Road, Colombo 03. Visit at sundown for a spectacular view. The half-kilometer long promenade stretches 13 acres between Galle Road and the Indian Ocean; it tends to attract children, teenagers, vendors, lovers, kite flyers, merrymakers, and families. Usually, on Saturday and Sunday evenings, the land is filled with day-trippers, food vendors, and people picnicking which make it very crowded. The Galle Face Green Promenade was reopened to the public in May of 2001. It is also the only largest open space in the city. Free.
  • Colombo Zoological Gardens, Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha, Dehiwala (By Bus: From Colombo port, No. 101 stops at Dehiwala junction, and get the Bus No. 176 or 118. - By Train: get to Dehiwala station which near station to Colombo zoo and get Bus No. 176 or 118.), e-mail: 08:30–18:00 hrs, every day. Colombo's zoo has a wide variety of animals, birds, and reptiles from all over the world. Watch lion show, every day 16:00 – 16:15; elephant show, every day 16:30 – 16:55. 
  • Casa Serena Art Gallery, 122 Havelock Roa, Colombo 5, ☎ +94 11 2587440. Tue-Sat 10:00-18:00 and 12:00-13:00 to 18:00. The gallery is a purpose built space, designed to exhibit a diverse array of art, photography, sculpture, video installations, and craft. It focuses on contemporary and traditional arts and features the work of local and international artists.
  • Viharamahadevi Park or formally known as the Victoria Park, Cinnamon Gardens. It is the largest, oldest and most colorful park situated in the heart of Colombo, just opposite the colonial style Town Hall building.
  • Attidiya Bird Sanctuary (9km towards the south west of the city). A beautiful marshland. The wetland is rich with natural biodiversity and is a resting place for many types of birds. The vegetation of this wetland is dominated by sedge and grasses including Rhyuchospora rubra and Panicum repens. Around 43 species of waterfowls live in the area. Most common among them are Indian Shag (Phalaerocorox fuscicollis), the Blue-breasted Banded Rail ( Rallus striatus), etc. If you are an enthusiastic bird watcher or an eco-friend, then it is worthwhile to spend some time in the Attidiya bird sanctuary during one of your leisurely evenings during your stay in Colombo
  • Colombo Planetarium, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7. Established in 1965. English shows on the last Saturday of the month at 14:00.
  • Gordon Gardens. About 16,000 m2. The Gardens boast of an amazing variety of trees.
  • Colombo Racecourse, Cinnamon Gardens, Philip Gunewardena Mawatha, Colombo 07. In 2012 it was redeveloped as the Colombo Racecourse Sports Complex to become the first International Rugby Union ground in Sri Lanka to host all the national rugby union sides home matches.
  • Ceylonese Rugby & Football Club Grounds, Malalasekara Mawatha, Colombo 07.
  • Royal College Sports Complex, 10, Sri Lanka Foundation Mawatha, Off Independence Avenue, Colombo 07.
  • Royal Colombo Golf Club, 223, Model Farm Road, Colombo 08.
  • Sugathadasa Stadium, Arthur de Silva Mawatha or Prince of Wales Ave, Colombo 14.
  • Colombo Cricket Club Ground 
  • Nelum Pokuna Theatre, ☎ +94 11 2 669024. Performing Arts Theater

What to eat and drink in Colombo, Sri Lanka


  • Hansa Sri Lanka Speciality Coffee (Hansa coffee), 24 Fife Road, Colombo 5 (off Thimbirigasyaya Road,), ☎ +94 773116579. 09:00-20:00. An exceptional gourmet coffee, made from Sri Lanka coffee beans. The coffee can be purchased at several shops including supermarkets and is served in hotels and cafes throughout the island. Their retail outlet is at 24 Fife Road, Colombo 5, where they also serve several coffee drinks. Telephone: 0773116579.


  • Available everywhere are small bakeries selling rotis (either flat or folded into triangles filled with egg, vegetable or fish), hoppers (bowl-shaped pancakes made with coconut milk), and other "short eats" (bread based snacks or fried foods).
  • A cup of coffee and some goodies for lunch at D'Cafe at No. 15A, Cambridge Place, Colombo 7.
  • Buy a "lunch packet" from street stands practically anywhere in the city. Typically, it will be a filling meal of rice and vegetables.
  • The New Yarl Eat House is located in Station Road, Wellawatte, just off the Galle Road, on the seaside. It serves traditional Jaffna style rice and curries. 


  • The Cricket Club Cafe, 34 Queens Rd. Kollupitiya, Colombo 03. This cafe is a must for any cricket lover. The walls are covered in autographed memorabilia and photos with sports (usually cricket) being screened on all the TVs scattered throughout the rooms. They serve authentic Aussie cuisine and a wide variety of drinks The Bar is named after Donald Bradman.
  • The Gallery Cafe, 2 Alfred House Rd. Off Alfred House Gardens, Kollupitiya, Colombo 3. Wonderful atmosphere in a beautiful building - designed by famous Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. Large food menu featuring many international dishes, decadent desserts, and an extensive cocktail menu.
  • The Lagoon, The Cinnamon Grand Hotel, 77 Galle Road, Kollupitiya, Colombo 03, ☎ +94 11 243-7437. 12:00-14:30, 19:00-00:30. This restaurant focuses primarily on seafood with colorful Sri Lankan flavors. The friendly, professional staff create an enjoyable dining experience.
  • Mango Tree, 82 Dharmapala Mawatha, Kollupitiya, Colombo 03, ☎ +94 11 537-9790, +94 11 537-9791, e-mail: 12:00–15:00; 19:00–23:00, 7 days a week. One of the finest restaurants in the city. North Indian Cuisine, full of innovative dishes. Service is occasionally slow.
  • The Palmyrah Restaurant, 328 Galle Rd. Kollupitiya, Colombo 3. Serves excellent Sri Lankan dishes as well as having an "international" menu.
  • Roadhouse Cafe, 335 Galle Rd. Kollupitiya, Colombo 3. Serves Sri Lankan and Western food. The food is excellent, but the service is a little slow. Try the mango milkshakes or one of their specialty coffees.
  • 168 Seafood Palace. Just off Galle Road, near Hotel Renuka, Kollupitiya, Colombo 3. Serves excellent Chinese food and seafood dishes. The service is very good.
  • UK Urban Kitchen, 69 Hyde Park Corner, Union Place, Colombo 2 (Arpico Super Centre), ☎ +94 11 7219169. Serves Western, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines at relatively reasonable prices. Also specializes in wood-fired pizzas and coffee. Next to Arpico supermarket. Open M-Th 10:00-22:00, F-Su 10:00-13:00.


  • Nihonbashi Main Restaurant, 11 Galle Face Terrace, Kollupitiya, Colombo 3. There are three Nihonbashi outlets in Colombo. A Sushi Bar at ODEL and an outlet at the Hilton Colombo Residence are the other two. The main restaurant is an airy and spacious restaurant with a blend of modern and traditional in design consisting of 8 private dining rooms also a dine-in wine room. Nihonbashi is owned and run by Tokyo-born Dharshan Munidasa, a self-taught chef.
  • Spoons. Colombo Hilton, Echelon Square, Fort, Colombo 1. Is the flagship restaurant of the Hilton Hotel. It has a show kitchen and an impressive collection of wine and chocolates.
  • Ginza Hohsen. Colombo Hilton, Echelon Square, Fort, Colombo 1. This is one of the Japanese restaurants in Colombo. They have a sushi bar, the tatami rooms, and teppanyaki.
  • Chesa Swiss, 3 Deal Pl. Kollupitiya, Colombo 3. Representing the best of Swiss cuisine, this restaurant has all your favorites from fresh garden snails to Chateaubriand for two to steak Café de Paris style. The wine list is exclusively Swiss.
  • The London Grill. Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Galle Face, Colombo 3. As the name suggests this restaurant is very British. It probably has the best ambiance of all, and the food is just great.
  • California Grill. Galadari Hotel, Fort, Colombo 01. This is a fine dining restaurant on the rooftop level of the hotel. It offers panoramic views of the Galle Face marina. The food, mostly US-style grills and premium seafood, is excellent too.
  • Royal Thai, 115 Sir Chittampalam A. Gardiner Mawatha, Slave Island, Colombo 02. Located at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, is an authentic Thai restaurant hosting the usual favorites, such as Tom Yam and Chicken Pandan leaves.
  • The Ministry of Crab. Old Dutch Hospital, Colombo Fort. Located in the historic Dutch Hospital, The Ministry of Crab serves the best crabs in Sri Lanka. They also serve their house specialty sweet tea with soda. One of the most expensive restaurants in Colombo, but it is definitely worth it.


  • Thembili තැබිලි (Orange Coconut juice) is the safest since they cut it open in front of you (uncontaminated).
  • Spring water with SLS certification is safe to drink.

Mount Lavinia is a great place to be. The beach and friendly people always draw visitors there and keep them for a while. Unlike the South of the island, Mt.Lavinia is only about 20 minutes away from the city. Along the beach are a variety of restaurants that serve liquor (by restaurants along the beach I mean they are literally ON the beach, 50 feet away from the water and tables on the sand) have great food catered to suit every budget. The variety of the beach spots themselves are interesting, from nice little coves for a quiet chat a and a drink to well lit, busy places with dance floors, music courtesy of a live DJ and well-stocked bars. Try Jo Jo's, a quiet little place where they serve pretty decent food and drink and has a nice homey feel to it. The Owner Mr. Jo, Jo, (Mr. Nihal) better know, is a nice person. Buba, on the other side of the Mount Lavinia Hotel which divides the public beach, is also a cool hang out.
Mount Lavinia also serves as the gay district of Colombo. Although not home to any gay bars, it is a very gay-friendly town and always plays host to Colombo's Gay Pride week in June. Do not be surprised if some bars have the rainbow flag flying on the beach.
Popular watering holes include Whitehorse (Nawam Mawatha), Inn on the Green (Galle Face Hotel), Rize Bar (Dharmapala Mawatha), Seven Degrees North (Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel) and Cheers (Cinnamon Grand Hotel).

Shopping in Colombo, Sri Lanka

  • Barefoot. Handicraft shop, 706 Galle Road, Colombo 03, Kollupitiya. Has a wide range of good quality souvenirs and handmade items: clothes, bags and children toys, from some of the most beautifully-colored fabric you've ever seen.
  • Crescat Boulevard, 89 Galle Rd. Colombo 3, Kollupitiya. An up-market shopping mall. Though it is fairly small, it contains a food court on the basement floor.
  • Lakmedura, 113 Dharmapala Rd. Colombo 07, Cinnamon Gardens.
  • Lakpahana, 14 Reid Ave. Colombo 07, Cinnamon Gardens. A non-profit organization run by the craftsman association of Sri Lanka with assistance from the government. Offers all handicrafts and gemstone jewelry. Unique metalware, wood carvings, silver jewelry, batik, textile products, and other crafts.
  • Liberty Plaza, RA de Mel Mawatha, Colombo 3, Kollupitiya. Another shopping mall similar to Majestic City, however, it is smaller in size. You can find various items such as clothing, CDs and DVDs.
  • Majestic City. In Kollupitiya on Galle Road has a wide variety of clothing outlets- including a sub-branch of Odel - at very good prices, as well as various electrical goods and toy shops. It's pleasantly air-conditioned and includes a food court on the ground floor.
  • Odel, No 5, Alexandra Place, Colombo 7, Cinnamon Gardens. A stylish department store, with its very own Delifrance outlet, clothing, houseware, sporting goods, books and movies, as well as Delight – for sweet indulgences from chocolates to exotic nuts.
  • Paradise Road, 213, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 7, Cinnamon Gardens, ☎ +94 11 268 6043. 09:00-19:00. A shop with a small café in a British colonial style building where antiques, home décor items and art can be viewed or purchased.
  • The Pettah Market. This is the place to go for shopping for all kinds of things from fruits to clothes to electronics if you want to buy at wholesale prices. You have to bargain extensively and it is recommended that you take a local you trust along with you. Even if you don't buy anything, Pettah or Colombo 11 is an experience in itself being a very typical, loud and crowded oriental market place full of all sorts of odds, ends, and junk. Each street in the market has its own specialty, for example, in 1st Cross Street you can find electrical items, 2nd Cross Street has jewelry and so on. In the Pettah Market area, some street vendors actively ask passers-by, foreigners, and locals to view products they are selling though polite refusal is generally accepted.
  • Casa Serena boutique, 122 Havelock Road, Colombo 5, ☎ +94 11 2587440. Tue-Sat 10:00-18:00 and 12:00-13:00 to 18:00. The boutique showcases a wide range of traditional and modern creations to enhance the art of living. Some are practical, some are useful, and some are just beautiful souvenirs

Safety in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo is like most other South Asian capitals. Although it is not as dangerous as one would think, tourists should be very vigilant. Many first time visitors to Colombo find themselves falling victim to scams and touts, however, seasoned visitors to Sri Lanka are rarely scammed and it is very simple to avoid being a victim of scammers as long as you take precautions such as:

Being on guard for anybody trying to help you by giving you unsolicited directions or travel advice. Take any advice from taxi and auto drivers with a grain of salt, especially if they tell you the place you want to go to is closed, dangerous, non-existent, etc. If you are unsure, check a map.

Not engaging in business with people who have to actively approach you for business such as Tuk Tuk drivers, street vendors, etc. If people have to approach or make overtures to you for business without you seeking them on your own volition, then they shouldn't be considered for business dealings. Because, you will likely be overcharged, as you have been denied the option of shopping around for the best price.

If you are a first time visitor to Sri Lanka, don't admit it as it will make you a target for the scam artists.

Once you are past the scammers, Colombo is a far more welcoming destination than other South Asian cities. Certainly, single women, although not advised to explore every nook and cranny of the city on their own late at night, will not find the pestering attentions of leering men. Sri Lankan women are also very "western" in their dress sense, so it is very normal to wear skirts, tank tops, etc. You may get a few whistles and hellos from bored schoolboys, but they are more friendly and not meant to be threatening, so just ignore it and they will leave you alone.

The recent civil war in this country will not affect your journey as the warring area is mostly off limits to civilians and is hundreds of miles away from Colombo. Furthermore, there have also been some small bomb attacks on Colombo buses and trains in the past, so taxis or private hire cars should be used. Such attacks are noted for their avoidance of tourist spots, mainly due to the severe adverse publicity this would create.

Check with your government's travel advisory service to confirm the current situation. Avoid the peak seasons as this small country is now getting too overcrowded with tourists.

Language spoken in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sinhala, spoken by the majority Sinhalese, and Tamil, spoken by the minority Tamil and Muslim groups, are Sri Lanka's two official languages. English is commonly used in most cities. But while most of the people in Colombo can speak English, don't expect everyone, everywhere to be able to speak it fluently. In the beach and tourist areas, you will have no problem with English. 
  • Sinhala Language The greeting in Sinhala is Ayubowan, which means "May you live longer"; "Thank you" is Bohoma sthuthi and "How are you?" is Kohomada, pronounced "Ko homede""
  • Tamil Language: The greeting in Tamil is Vanakkam; 'Thank you' is Nandri.


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Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Average: 9.9 (10 votes)

Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Bellanwila, Colombo District, Sri Lanka. Located around 12 km south to the Colombo city, near Dehiwala - Maharagama road, the temple attracts hundreds of devotees daily and is famous for its annual Esala Perehera festival which usually takes place in the month of August or...
Beira Lake, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Average: 9.4 (10 votes)

Beira Lake is a lake in the center of the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The lake is surrounded by many large businesses in the city. It occupied approximately 165 hectares of land 100 years ago and has been reduced to mere 65 hectares today due to various reasons. During the colonial era of the Portuguese, and the English the lake was used to...
Gangaramaya Temple, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Average: 9.8 (10 votes)

Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo, Sri Lanka, being a mix of modern architecture and cultural essence.   Architecture The temple's architecture demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture. This Buddhist temple includes several imposing buildings and is...
St. Lucia's Cathedral, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Average: 9.3 (10 votes)

St. Lucia's Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Colombo in Sri Lanka. The Cathedral is located at Kotahena, in the north east of Colombo, on 18,240 sq. ft. of land, and is dedicated to Saint Lucy. It traces its origins to a small structure for worship built during Dutch occupation. Overview Named...
Galle Face Green, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Average: 9.7 (10 votes)

The Galle Face is a five hectare ocean-side urban park, which stretches for a half kilometre along the coast, in the heart of the financial and business district of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The promenade was initially laid out in 1859 by Governor Sir Henry George Ward, although the original Galle Face Green extended over a much larger area than is seen...
National Museum of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Average: 9.2 (10 votes)

National Museum of Colombo, also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum is one of two museums in Colombo. It is the largest museum in Sri Lanka. It is maintained by the Department of National Museum of the central government. The museum holds contains a collections of much importance to Sri Lanka such as the regalia of the country, including the...
Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Average: 9.6 (10 votes)

Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque (known colloquially as the 'Samman Kottu Palli', 'Rathu Palliya' or 'Red Masjid' or the 'Red Mosque') is a historic mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is located on Second Cross Street in Pettah. The mosque is a popular tourist site in the city. History Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque was built in 1909 by the Pettah Muslim community to...
Wolvendaal Church, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Average: 9.1 (10 votes)

Wolvendaal Church (Wolvendaalse Kerk) is located in Pettah, a neighbourhood of Colombo. It is one of the most important Dutch Colonial era buildings in Sri Lanka, and is one of the oldest Protestant churches still in use in the country.   History In 1736 Governor of Ceylon, Gustaaf Willem van Imhoff, sought approval from the Dutch...
Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Average: 9.5 (10 votes)

The Viharamahadevi Park (formerly Victoria Park) is a public park located in Colombo, next to the National Museum in Sri Lanka. It is the oldest and largest park of the Port of Colombo. Situated in front of the colonial-era Town Hall building, the park is named after Queen Viharamahadevi, the mother of King Dutugamunu. The park was built on land...
Arcade Independence Square, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Average: 9 (10 votes)

The Arcade Independence Square is a shopping complex housed in a group of renovated buildings including the former Jawatta Lunatic Asylum (later known as the Auditor General’s building) and the former Western Provincial Council Building. It was built as a part of the Independence Square Redevelopment programme initiated by the Sri Lankan...