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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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05 Must Visit Places in Negombo – The 'Little Rome' of Sri Lanka

Negombo sits on the west coast of Sri Lanka and is the closest resort town to the international airport, besides, the place is just 38kms from the commercial capital Colombo. A sleepy fishing village, which boasts a modern town centre, this destination is also steeped in colonial history.


The Fish Market

The Fish Market

Negombo is popular for its seafood, and you will understand just how important the industry is to the town with a visit to the Negombo Fish Market. Each day, the fishermen of Negombo set off in their traditional wooden canoes called oruwas, to return by evening, flooding the huge Negombo lagoon in fleets. Once the fresh catch is in, impromptu auctions take place on the beach and the fish market located close to the Old Dutch Fort. The entire affair is rather smelly and well, fishy, but well worth the experience for a dose of local culture, traditions and how the locals interact with each other. Mind you the sea is not the only source of food; the vast Negombo Lagoon has a bounty of crabs and prawns which one can acquire at the 2nd fish market located across the bridge from the lagoon, provided you get there very early in the morning.


Hamilton Canal

Hamilton Canal

Negombo was blessed with a network of canals unparalleled to the rest of the country, as the Dutch found this location ideal for transporting the cinnamon logs they valued so much. The canal at one time, extended to the south all the way to Colombo and north towards Puttalam, totalling 120kms in all. Today a cruise along the existing length of the Hamilton Canal winding past quaint villages and verdant environs is very rewarding. Many Negombo hotels encourage guests to explore the length of the canal either via a boat ride or by hiring a bicycle and riding along the winding country lanes. Places like Jetwing Ayurveda Pavilions in Negombo Sri Lanka, encourage guests to interact with locals to understand their simple lifestyles; and really there is no better place than Negombo to look forward to long laidback days while at a Sri Lanka Ayurveda hotel.


The Dutch Fort

Located close to where lagoon meets sea, are ruins of an Old Dutch Fort. The place is identified by an elegant gateway marked with the year 1678; most of the fort is in ruins, but still retains a vintage charm which culture buffs will appreciate, from the outside, for the grounds are now home to the Negombo Prison, and no tourist has been that enthusiastic to get in. Close by is a green called Esplanade where local cricket matches often take place.


Angurukaramulla Temple

A place worth visiting for a taste of Buddhist culture, this temple is found on the eastern end of the Negombo town centre. There you will come across a 6-metre long statue of the reclining Buddha. Mind you dress modestly, and behave with utmost respect within the temple compound. Hopping in a tuk-tuk is the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to get there.


St Mary's Church

Negombo was greatly influenced by the colonists, and is home to a large Roman Catholic community, as well as a huge collection of churches; hence, the nickname 'Little Rome'. St Mary's located in the town centre is the largest and most popular, a charming pink complex the interiors of the shrine are decorated with vintage furniture while the ceiling and nave are covered in some very impressive religious paintings.