The former capital Colombo, the only gateway to the splendid island and the commercial and business centre is the city of happening in Sri Lanka. Colombo is dotted with many interesting and important tourist attractions including colonial era buildings.
National Museum Colombo
Established in 1877, this is the oldest museum in Sri Lanka. Include a collection of antiques, items displaying the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka and more than 4,000 ancient palm leaf manuscripts. The most important items include the throne of the last royal court. Visitors could gain a good understanding of 2500 year history of Sri Lanka. Open daily from 0900 hrs to 1700 hrs except on Friday. Address; Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7, Tel.694366
Also on site is the National Museum of Natural History. Open daily from 0900 hrs to 1700 hrs.
The Dutch Period Museum
The old `Dutch House’ on Prince Street, Pettah (Colombo 11) which houses this museum was built in the latter part of the 17th century and was initially the residence of Count August Carl Van Ranzow along with five other houses of the elite. Today, the sides of the street are choc-a-block with boutiques and stores of traders. Opened to the public since 1982 this building embodies the unique architectural features of a colonial Dutch town house. The museum while displaying the Dutch legacy with the artifacts viz. furniture, ceramics, coins, arms etc. portrays facets of contemporary life and culture. Open daily except Fridays from 0900 Hrs. to – 1700 Hrs. Tel: 448466
Restaurants and Bars
Many restaurants in Colombo offers manus from around the world and all major hotels have excellent restaurants. Chinese Sze Chuan style restaurants are the most popular among the locals.
Kelaniya temple about 7 kM to the north is the oldest attraction near Colombo. A site visited by Buddha is famous for it’s paintings in the image house.
Negombo. Beach resort of Negombo, once an important Dutch trading town is about 40km north of the city (close to the airport).
Mt Lavenia (8 kM), Wadduwa (40km) are popular beaches to the south of Colombo. The present day splendid Mt Lavenia Hotel is a former residence of a British Governor and popular for its architecture and the legendary location.
The main shopping center for the locals is Pettah where the markets are busy and bustling. The main branch of Laksala, Sri Lanka’s largest handicrafts shop is at Fort. More up market shopping destinations are towards the south of the city center along the Galle Road. Majestic City, Liberty Plaza and Crescat are popular among the locals where you could find handicrafts, tea and garments. Odel at Lipton Circus offers good quality items such as clothes, shoes, tea, books and leather goods in a fashionable setting. Sri Lanka is one of the largest producers of garments. There are many locations dotted around the city selling good export quality garments. Shoppers should be aware of cheap imports that has flooded some of these outlets recently
Colombo is dotted with many star class hotels, new service apartments and number of homestay providers. Choose from the left menu to find the service providers in the city.
Taxies are just a phone call away the whole day and Tuk Tuks ( they call them ‘Three Wheelers’ here) are easily available every where. (Too many if your consider their driving manners). Most of the car rentals companies are concentrated in Colombo. There are intercity busses to any part of the country from the main Pettah bus stand. Colonial day railway system is still operating with little improvement to the coaches.
About 35Km north of the city.