Colombo Things to Do
There are many things to do in Colombo because of its diversity, nice beaches, and its history. In the past, it was ruled by the Portuguese, then the Dutch, and then the British who all left their mark on the city, which now combines with the vibrant independence of the Sri Lankan people.
Mount Lavina Beach and other nice, white-sand beaches lie towards the south of Colombo. At Mount Lavina, the old Governor’s House that was built in 1805 was converted to the Mount Lavina Hotel. There are bathing cabins on the beach that you can rent for the day and plenty of nice restaurants in this area.
There are so many fine temples in Colombo you can spend weeks visiting them all.
Elephants Dance at the Zoo
While the Colombo Zoo does not get good reviews in general, there is the daily elephant dance show at 3:30 p.m. that is a crowd pleaser.
Ride in a “Tuk Tuk”
Take a ride in one of these three-wheeled vehicles. They are available fro hire just about everywhere. Hold on for dear life. It’s a wild ride.
Colombo has terrific shopping areas and malls. To buy local things go The Good Market or the outdoor Pettah market. For an upscale mall visit the Odel Mall. Havelock Town is a nice quiet suburb with plenty of arts and crafts sold in boutique shops. Jewelry and unset stones of semi-precious gems are excellent to buy in Sir Lanka because of the mines in this country.
Colombo has many fine museums which include the National Museum, the Gangaramiya Temple Museum, the Dutch Period Museum, the National History Museum and, the National Art Gallery.
Fort area was established in 1588 when the Portuguese landed in Sri Lanka. This area has always been important for those in control of the country. In 1656, the Dutch took over and in 1885 the British gained control. This used to be the capital of the country up until the 1980s, so many commercial buildings and government buildings can be found in this area. Some date back to colonial times. Landmarks to visit include the President’s House, the Clock Tower with the Lighthouse, the Bank of Ceylon building, the World Trade Centre, and the 40-stories tall Twin Towers of Colombo.
Cinnamon Gardens is the area with the finest luxury houses in Colombo. This place is most often chosen by the rich and powerful to build an enormous mansion on the beautiful tree-lined streets. There are many exclusive shops and fine restaurants in this area.
In the center of Cinnamon Gardens is the Viharamahdeevi Park, which is Colombo’s largest public space. In this park, you can see the huge statue of the Singhalese Queen Viharamahadevi. There are nice walking paths around a lake and over a bridge. There is an area for children to play while climbing on things and going down slides. There are pony rides available for them as well.
Galle Face Green
This is a nice green park in the middle of Colombo that lies beside the ocean. It is the perfect place to escape all the hustle and bustle of the city in order to take a peaceful stroll in the calmer and beautiful surroundings.
This island is located between the nearby cities of Matale and Kandy. It is a leisure park with a lake in the center, surrounded by nice picnic huts. There is a tea plantation to visit and a swimming pool to enjoy as well.
The Mission to Seafarers aka The Flying Angel Club
This is a well-maintained facility, which welcomes sailors, captains, seafaring persons, and even landlubbers who are travelers. It is a refuge from the busy streets of Colombo and a quiet nice place to have a drink for inexpensive prices. It is like a yacht club in the British tradition.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Colombo.