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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
Headline for Places to Visit in Colombo - Memorable Experiences Galore
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Places to Visit in Colombo - Memorable Experiences Galore

Colombo, Sri Lanka’s metropolitan hub is a beehive of activity and a tourist hotspot thanks to its many attractions. Here is a “tip of the iceberg” look at some of the key places to visit in Colombo:

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National Museum of Colombo

This is the country’s main museum and showcases some of the most important aspects of Sri Lanka’s rich history. Some of the key highlights here are a large statue of Lord Buddha from the 9th century, King Wimaladharma’s throne (1693), 9th-century Boddhisatva sandals, the bedroom setup of Sri Lanka’s first PM D. S. Senanayake and the skeleton of a gigantic whale. The museum also houses a large number of ancient arts and crafts, masks, carvings, household utensils, swords and guns. You will also be enthralled by the amazing display of intricate jewellery belonging to members of ancient royal families. As it provides a fascinating look at the country’s history, it is hands down, one of the most important things to see in Colombo.

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Dutch Hospital Precinct

One of Colombo’s premier shopping and dining destinations, Dutch Hospital once housed mentally ill patients. It is considered one of the oldest buildings in the city, dating back to the days of Dutch invaders. Today, with its original structure and artistic architecture intact, it houses a bevy of fascinating restaurants, bars and boutiques. Hotels such as Colombo Courtyard place you within minutes from Dutch Hospital and a series of other key attractions in the city.

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Independence Square

This iconic building stands as a monument commemorating Sri Lanka’s independence from British rule in 1948. Its design resembles the Magul Maduwa or Celebration Hall of the Kingdom of Kandy. There is also a museum located at the basement, which honours local heroes who played various pivotal roles in Sri Lanka’s struggle for independence.

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Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple

Dating back to the late 19th century, Gangaramaya is one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in Colombo. Its architecture reflects a fascinating mix of local, Indian, Thai and Chinese heritages. An interesting attraction here is the Simamalaka Shrine designed by the late Geoffrey Bawa.

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Wolvendaal Church

One of the oldest churches in Colombo, the Wolvendaal Church was constructed in 1749 during Dutch rule. The interior consists of Dutch furniture with the wooden carved pews, chairs, pulpit and lecterns. The church’s organ is a key attraction here and is still perfectly operational. History buffs will be thrilled to know that the church premises is home to the oldest Dutch tombstone in Sri Lanka and also that of five Dutch governors.

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Pettah

Mazes of interconnecting roads, hundreds of shops and thousands of shoppers and traders set the stage for a shopping experience like no other. Besides the noise and crowds, Pettah remains a “one stop venue” for almost anything you wish to buy; from clothing and souvenirs to electronic items and accessories. Polish up your bargaining skills and you’ll be surprised at the discounts you can get here! A big smile and the ability to walk away will help you reduce prices by over 50-60%.

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    A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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