Colombo, is the bustling capital of Sri Lanka, situated along its west coast. For a small city, Colombo has many things going on for it; from mouthwateringly succulent food, breathtaking views, architectural masterpieces to authentic culture and history. Colombo is Sri Lanka’s busiest and most densely populated city but there’s so much to see and do within the city limits of Colombo, so take a day or two here in Colombo and experience it to the fullest!
1. Colombo Lotus Tower
One of the most modern and unique structures of Colombo, the Colombo Lotus Tower stands tall at a height of almost 350m. The top of the structure closely resembles the namesake, Lotus Flower and it can be seen, standing tall, from all around Colombo. Built mainly to serve the purpose of a transmission hub, it also features observation decks, shopping centres, restaurants, and banquet halls. Although the structure is completely built some of the other amenities are not yet ready for visitors. So stay tuned!
Photo Credits: Tony B.
2. Gangaramaya Temple
One of the most visited temples in the city of Colombo; with its unique modern architecture combining Indian, Thai and Chinese architecture and vivid cultural essence, the temple is both of religious, cultural and historic importance. It homes everything ranging from magnificent historic artifacts to abstract trinkets. The temple includes a Museum of its own, a floating temple with a chaitya, and a series of Buddha statues which are elegant, delicate and that look magical under the sunlight.
3. Galle Face Green
Situated between the calm and azure waters of the Indian Ocean and the busy and bustling Galle Road in Colombo is the perfect sea promenade for an evening stroll with the beautiful sunset as your backdrop. The Galle Face Green is famous for its breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean, gloriously red sunsets and succulent and tantalizing Sri Lankan Street food among many others; these make the Galle Face Green an experience not to be missed in Colombo.
4. National Museum of Colombo
Built in 1876 and founded by the British governor of Sri Lanka at the time the Colombo National Museum is one of the best things to do in Colombo. The museum holds artifacts belonging to many eras and periods of Sri Lanka and its rich history, and some of these rarities date back to the 5th century. The majestic building that houses the National Museum is indeed an architectural masterpiece from the Colonial times.
5. Seema Malaka
Ever heard of an island temple? Or a floating temple? We’ve got one right here in Colombo, situated only 3.5km away from central Colombo. Perfect to spend a quiet evening, in peaceful and blissful silence. The fusion of Sri Lankan, Indian, Thai and Chinese architecture adds a uniqueness to the beauty of this place.
This too is open 24 hours a day with no entrance fee.
6. Dutch Period Museum
A mansion which was originally the residence of a Dutch Governor was converted into a museum with the help of the Government of Netherlands in 1977. Situated in the heart of Colombo, the unique architecture of the museum combined with the countless personal belongings of several Dutch rulers endears the place to the lovers of history and culture.
Visit the Dutch Period Museum to obtain a firsthand experience of what life was like in Sri Lanka under the Dutch rule from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM from Tuesday to Saturday.
7. Pettah Floating Market
The Floating Market is a fancy hangout spot located walking distance away from the Pettah bus stand. It was opened recently under the Government’s Urban Development plans, housing nearly 100 different shops. Here’s the place for all your shopping needs. You can walk in free daily from 08:00 AM to 10:30 PM.
Photo Credits: Trine Thorkildsen
8. Traditional Puppet Art Museum
Puppets have been a mode of entertainment for Sri Lankans throughout their history. This Museum is largely responsible for upholding the folk values and traditions of Sri Lanka by preserving and showcasing these artistic and creative puppets. Book your seat early to ensure that you’re able to witness the expertise with which artisans manage their multi-coloured and attractive puppets. You can enter for an approximate price of LKR 50 and its open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days of the week.
9. Colombo Port Maritime Museum
The Colombo Port Maritime Museum was built in the year 1676 and is situated next to the Colombo Port. This is the place to be for all the history and culture enthusiasts as it is home to a variety of important historical artefacts, items, and information associated with Sri Lanka’s ports.
Just a short drive away from central Colombo, you can visit the museum every day except a Sunday from 09:00 AM to 04:00 PM.
10. Geoffery Bawa’s Home
The home of Sri Lanka’s most coveted and famous architect Mr. Geoffrey Bawa, is an architectural masterpiece in itself. You can see for yourself by making an appointment and visiting the residence for an entrance fee of LKR 1000. The architecture is not the only wonder, several elegant art pieces and old artefacts from the personal collection of the Late Geoffrey Bawa adorn the interiors. Conveniently situated in Colombo 03, you can visit the residence between 10:00 AM and 03:30 PM.
Photo Credits: Grover Thomas
11. Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple
Yet another beautiful temple of Sri Lanka, with heightened religious and cultural importance. The temple interiors and passageways are adorned with beautiful paintings depicting the life of Buddha which are a sight to see. Don’t be misled by the seemingly uninteresting exterior of the temple, do visit the temple and witness the beauty hidden within.
12. Shri Ponnambalawaneswaram Kovil
Named after a brave patriot who was martyred in the national independence war of Sri Lanka, the Shri Ponnambalawaneswaram Kovil is one of the most popular places to see in Colombo. Be mesmerized by the vibrant colours of the temple, multitude of statues of hindu deities and the soothing fragrance of flowers. The Kovil is almost entirely built out of south granite and is an absolutely beautiful sight. You can enter free, every day from 05:00 AM to 08:00 PM.
13. St. Lucia’s Cathedral
This 200+ year old Cathedral is said to have been built by Oratorian missionaries, probably with Goan or Portugese links. The cathedral is massive and white, with gothic detail and thick columns that will instantly remind you of ancient Europe. You will see the large white dome of the Cathedral from quite far away and don’t forget to check out the massive cathedral bells from France. Open from 05:30 AM to 12:00 PM and 02:00 PM to 07:00 PM every day and you can enter free of charge.
Photo credits: zaurac voyages
14. Cinnamon Life
Of course we kept the best for last! Soon, Cinnamon Life will be Colombo’s iconic life capital which is an integrated resort located in the heart of Colombo. This architectural masterpiece is a design by the world renowned Cecil Balmond and it will feature a star class Cinnamon Hotel, luxury apartments, international standard high-end retail shopping and much more all in one place! Await our grand opening and do visit us when you’re in Colombo!
Now, let us get to the best part! All these destinations and more are conveniently situated only a short distance away from our city hotels. Cinnamon Grand Colombo, Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo and Cinnamon Red Colombo provide the perfect lodging space while you explore Colombo. Fret not, you can relax and unwind at our hotels, with some delicious food and plush rooms after a long day of Colombo Sightseeing.
Author: Shenella Fonseka