Sri Lanka, the beautiful island country, mesmerizes with its varied topography. And the capital of this country, Colombo is a leading destination here, even in terms of tourism; thanks to its easy access, myriad of accommodation options, activities and of course sightseeing landmarks. When here, you’ll get your mind boggled deciding where to go, especially if you’re on a short escape. However, since there will be many places you’ll come across in the internet when searching for places to visit in Colombo, here is a list of 11 places that have to be in your itinerary. You can either choose to visit all of these or shortlist the ones that best suit your travel style.
1. Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple
Bewitching the visitors with its marvelous architecture, Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, along with being an important spiritual shrine, the temple flaunts a beautiful blend of Chinese, Indian and Thai artistry. The temple also has a library and a museum, giving you an insight the Buddhism. Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple is open all days, from 8 am till 8 pm.
2. Dehiwala Zoo
Also known as National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka, Dehiwala Zoo has been around since 1936. This is home to a variety of animals and birds, the authorities work on conservation and welfare of the inhabitants. When here, you can attend a number of animal shows as well, such as Sea lion performances, Educational programme on chimps and Elephant performance. If you are a bird lover, expect to spot Egrets, ostrich, eagle, swan and more.
3. Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara
Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is the spot which was visited by Gautam Buddha on his third visit to Sri Lanka. The site has been demolished twice in the past, once by Indian invaders and once by Portuguese. The latest restoration of the site, as per archeologists, was done in 18th century by Dutch rulers. If you are a culture vulture, looking for an insight to the local heritage, put this place at the top of your list.
4. Beira Lake
Located in the heart of the city, Beira Lake was once a reservoir and trading source. Today, this is one of the best places to visit in Colombo. You have a number of activities to look forward to when visiting Beira Lake, such as bird watching and boating.
5. National Museum of Colombo
National Museum of Colombo was founded by the former British governor, Sir William Henry Gregory of Ceylon. The museum houses the finest works of art, created by some of the most famous artists. The exhibits reflect the cultural heritage of the country through the carvings, swords, masks of demons and a lot more.
6. The Independence Square
As the name suggests, the Independence Square is a site of historical importance where Sri Lankans gather to celebrate their freedom from British rulers. Also known as Independence Memorial Hall, this is a must-visit landmark for people visiting Colombo, as they get to know about the struggles and warriors back in the time.
7. Bally’s Casino
We couldn’t mention Colombo without naming a casino after all! This is undoubtedly among the best casinos in the city; in fact there is so much more offered on the platter – spa, fine dining, accommodation and more. The nights are made even more happening with live DJ performances and of course unstoppable gambling.
8. Beddagana Wetland Park
Introduced recently as a measure to protect the area from flooding and also improve the quality of life, Beddagana Wetland Park is an initiative of the Government of Sri Lanka. The grasslands, rich vegetation and a rich biodiversity make it a romantic escape for the couples living and or visiting Colombo.
9. Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya
Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya is a beautiful temple, known for its Bodhi-tree, which dates back to 3rd century BC. The tranquil environ of the temple make it a must visit, even if someone is an atheist. The carving and sculptures here are worth your while for sure.
10. Colombo Dutch Museum
When shopping in Pettah market, don’t miss out on Colombo Dutch Museum. This formerly served as the mansion of a Dutch ruler, back in 17th century. The museum is an ideal place to witness the brilliance of Dutch architecture, the history and a lot more.
11. Galle Face Green
Previously the line of fire for Dutch army, Galle Face Green spans over an area of 12 acres looking over an impressive coastline. This place will remind you of Marine Drive in Cochin and Mumbai. This is a lovely place to relax, enjoy the sunset, and savor Sri Lankan delights. So, if you need a little break from the sightseeing, head to Galle Face Green.
So, which of the mentioned attractions would you visit first? Have you been to Colombo? We’d love to know about your experiences. Share your story in the comment section below.