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Sri Lanka

Discover Colombo, the beating heart and commercial capital of Sri Lanka, located on the west coast of the country. Due to its large harbour located at mouth of Kelani River, Colombo is known to merchants and traders 2,000 years ago.

Steeped in history, culture and multi ethnicity, Colombo is a mixture of old and new, featuring colonial-era buildings, luxurious hotels and high-rise office buildings, stunning Buddha temples and bustling street markets. Gain insight into the city’s diverse culture with a walking tour of the historic Fort and Pettah districts. Visit Gangaramaya Temple, one of the most notable temples of Colombo, featuring a mix of Sri Lankan, Thai and Chinese architecture. Discover Sri Lanka’s history at the National Museum. Enjoy an exciting tuk tuk ride around the city. After a long day, treat yourself with a kevum, an oil cake made with rice flour and deep-fried or aluwa, a pastry made from rice flour or potatoes with treacle, cashew nuts and cardamom, paired with some Ceylon tea.

Places to Visit

  • Fort – The central business and financial district of Colombo. It is also home to numerous offices, banks, government offices, historical buildings and hotels. Notable landmarks include the President’s House, Presidential Secretariat, Bank of Ceylon, World Trade Centre of Colombo, Colombo Stock Exchange, Old Colombo Lighthouse, Colombo Lighthouse, St. Peter’s Church, Old Colombo Dutch Hospital and Grand Oriental Hotel.
  • Pettah – A neighbourhood known for its market. Experience the colourful and bustling Pettah Market, a series of open-air markets and bazaars. Sample some savoury street food, exotic spices and buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Other significant landmarks include the Wolvendaal Church, Jami Ul-Afar Mosque, Khan Clock Tower, Columbia Dutch Museum, St. Anthony’s Church, Sri Muthu Vinayagar Swamy Temple, Old Kathiresan Temple and New Kathiresan Temple.
  • Galle Face Green – Stroll along this scenic, 5-hectare urban park located in the heart of the city and overlooking the Indian Ocean. It was initially used for horse racing dating back to early 1820s and in 1879, British expatriates introduced golf to Sri Lankans playing on the Galle Face Green. Today, it a popular rendezvous spot and destination for vendors, children, kite flyers and merrymakers.
  • National Museum – Known as the Sri Lanka National Museum, it is the largest museum in Sri Lanka. It was established on 1877 by Sir William Henry Gregory, a former British governor of Ceylon. This historic museum features art, carvings from Sri Lanka’s history including artefacts from the colonial period. It also houses the throne and crown of the Kandyan monarchs.
  • Gangaramaya Temple – Discover one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Colombo. The temple features a mix of Sri Lankan, Indian, Thai and Chinese architecture. It serves as a place of Buddhist worship and centre of learning.
  • Dutch Period Museum – Step back in time and discover the history of the Dutch colonial rule in Sri Lanka. Located in Pettah, this museum was the formal residence of Thomas van Rhee, a Governor of Dutch Ceylon. It features artefacts such as ceramics, furniture and weaponry during the Dutch rule.
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When to visit

Sri Lanka is a tropical island nation dictated by two alternating monsoon seasons. Planning ahead is highly advisable so you know which part of the country is dry during your visit. Nevertheless, it can be seen as an all year-round holiday destination because clear blue skies and sunny days can be enjoyed even during the wet season.

High Season (December to March)

  • The Hill Country and the west & south coast beaches are busiest and driest.
  • The Maha monsoon season (October to January) keeps the East, North and ancient cities wet.

Shoulder (April and from September to November)

  • April and September offer the best odds for good weather countrywide.
  • A good time to wander without a set schedule.

Low Season (May to August)

  • The Yala monsoon season (May to August) brings rain to the south and west coasts plus the Hill Country.
  • The weather in the North and East is best.
Read more about Sri Lanka
Official language
Sinhala and Tamil
Currency
Sri Lanka Rupee (₨)
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