10 Best Things to do in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Experience the best things to do in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Explore these top tourist attractions in this popular tourist destination in Asia! Featured photo of Gangaramaya Temple via Adobe Stock.

Colombo is the largest city in Sri Lanka in terms of population. It also serves as the commercial capital of the country given that the city is a principal port of the Indian Ocean. Colombo also houses one of the largest artificial harbors in the whole world. 

Sri Lanka has been through a lot of conflicts throughout its history. It was once the capital city of British Ceylon from 1815 to 1948 and just recently, the Sri Lankan Civil War happened and ended in 2009. Despite all the conflicts, Sri Lanka continues to flourish and prosper its economy and tourism by being more open to the rest of the world. 

As the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo City is expected to escalate the country’s success. This is why over the past years, tons of infrastructure development has been ongoing in the city where towering skyscrapers and gigantic structures are being built. The city of Colombo is now as vibrant and busy as that of a widely developed Asian city like Manila, Singapore, and Jakarta. That being said, there is still a lot more to discover in the city whether it’s old or new, so join me as we dive deeper into the 10 Best Things to do in Colombo, Sri Lanka!

Learn More About Sri Lanka at the Colombo National Museum

Just like what I always say, the best way to start your journey in a new country is by learning more about its rich culture and history. This way, you’re gonna know how to appreciate and act accordingly on new territory. And by visiting the Colombo National Museum, not only will you learn a lot of things about Sri Lanka, but you would also enjoy their culture from a wider perspective! 

Visiting the Colombo National Museum is one of the best things to do in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Colombo National Museum | Photo by David Stanley under creative commons

The Colombo National Museum is the largest museum in Sri Lanka. It contains a huge collection of historical artifacts that perfectly depict the richness of ancient Sri Lanka’s culture and history. The museum also displays the iconic throne and crowns of the Kandyan Monarchs who once ruled over the country. 

Visit the Gangaramaya Temple 

Next up is one of the most important temples of Buddhism in Colombo, the Gangaramaya Temple. It is said that the temple was built during a time when cultural resurgence was much needed by the country. So you can imagine how important this temple is for the culture and people of Sri Lanka. 

Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka | Photo via Adobe Stock

Aside from its cultural importance, the Gangaramaya Temple itself is already an attraction thanks to its beautiful architecture. 

Connect with Nature at the Viharamahadevi Park  

Another thing you shouldn’t miss during your visit to Colombo City is dropping by the famous Viharamahadevi Park. This is the oldest and largest park in the city. It was built by the British Colonial Administration and was originally named Victoria Park. 

Viharamahadevi Park 
Viharamahadevi Park | Photo by Kondephy under creative commons

A lot of tourists and locals hang out at the park which features the iconic Buddha Statue in the middle, a mini zoom, and several water fountains. There are also a lot of trees at the park which makes it an ideal location for family picnics and gatherings. 

Tour Around the Gigantic Beira Lake 

The Beira Lake is a significant landmark for the city of Colombo and Sri Lanka as well. The lake is located at the very center of the city where countless business establishments are built around. Aside from the commercial significance of Beira Lake, which serves as the main venue of transportation of goods, it also became a tourist attraction where visitors and locals alike can relax and admire the beauty of the city. 

Beira Lake and Gangaramaya Temple | Photo by Adbar under creative commons

Just a simple walk around the lake can help you admire everything the city has to offer! 

Try Delicious Treats at the Old Dutch Hospital  

What was then built as a hospital during the Dutch Era, the Old Dutch Hospital has been used for several different purposes. Currently, it is a major shopping hub in the city of Colombo where visitors can enjoy the spectacular mix of the old and modern world. 

Sumptuous serving of crab at the Ministry of Crabs at the Old Dutch Hospital Complex
Sumptuous serving of crab at the Ministry of Crabs at the Old Dutch Hospital Complex

What was then considered to be the oldest building in Colombo is now a heritage building and shopping district where thousands of tourists visit every day. Aside from the hundreds of shops in the mall, the building itself is already a spectacular sight to see. 

Explore the Lively Streets of Pettah 

Another thing you shouldn’t miss is exploring the busy streets of Pettah! What a lot of tourists love to do during their visit to Colombo is scoring great deals on the markets and shops along the commercial district of Pettah. 

Pettah Floating Market Colombo, Sri Lanka
Pettah Floating Market Colombo, Sri Lanka | Photo by Shanka Anuranga under creative commons

It is said that the markets and shops of Pettah are so vast that even if you traverse the streets from dusk until dawn, you still wouldn’t be able to cover and visit all of them. Pretty cool, huh?

Experience the Famous Tuk-Tuk Ride! 

Oh, you definitely shouldn’t miss the chance of riding this iconic ride in Colombo. A Tuk Tuk is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi famous for being a cheap transportation option. In Colombo, it is a widely used form of transportation by locals and tourists. For tourists, there are tons of Tuk Tuk tours available with itineraries that will take you to several landmarks in the city.

Tuktuks in Colombo
Tuktuks in Colombo | Photo by McKay Savage under creative common

Sit Back and Relax at the Galle Face Green 

The famous urban park by the ocean known as the Galle Face Green is also a popular tourist destination in Colombo City. It is an iconic destination located along the coast and at the heart of the city where the 5-hectare park was used for many purposes such as horse racing, polo, football, tennis, and of course, cricket! 

Galle Face Green in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Galle Face Green in Colombo, Sri Lanka | Photo by whl.travel under creative commons

Currently, the Galle Face Green serves as the largest open area in the city of Colombo where locals and tourists can enjoy different activities and gatherings. Locals also like to spend time by the coast of the Indian ocean with a picnic with their friends and family. There are also tons of vendors and shops located in the area so be sure to check them out! 

Watch a Cricket Game!

 Ah, of course! Cricket in Sri Lanka is like football in Europe. Sri Lankans are crazy about cricket thanks to the influence of the British colony. It has become the most popular sport ever since and the country also became one of the only six (6) nations to ever win a cricket world cup. 

A young girl playing cricket | Photo via Adobe Stock

So while you’re at it, you should take the opportunity to watch a competitive cricket game in Colombo because it’s really entertaining and the crowd participation is awesome! 

Have a Cup of Tea

Finally, for everyone who wants to take their relaxation to another level, having a cup of tea in Colombo City is one of the best things to do! Historically, Sri Lanka is said to be the perfect location for growing tea leaves thanks to its suitable climate and varying elevations. 

A glass of Ceylon black tea
A glass of Ceylon black tea | Photo via Adobe Stock

The ever-famous Ceylon Tea which is known all over the world proudly comes from Sri Lanka. The lion logo of Ceylon Tea serves as a sign of the supreme quality of tea. So while you’re at it, go ahead and try dining in some tea shops in Colombo City and you will surely taste one of the best cups of tea in the world. 

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