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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Joanna James Joanna James
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List of things to do in Colombo – A vibrant city with much to offer

Busy and vibrant, Colombo is a big cosmopolitan city with a population of 5.6 million calling it home. Read on to discover a list of fun things to do while on a visit.


Visit the National Museum

First built in 1876, the grand building housing the National Museum was founded by the British governor of the island at that time. The expansive museum houses historic artefacts including ancient weapons, utensils, coins jewellery, and more to take in. A key highlight to take in is the throne of the last king of Sri Lanka, The building is surrounded by a lush and peaceful park, ideal for a quaint picnic. The museum can easily be reached from the best hotels in Colombo including those the likes of Mandarina Colombo with ease. The best way to get to this attraction is by taxi or tuk-tuks, the preferred mode of transport in Colombo. The museum is open to the public from 9.00 am to 18.00 pm in the evening with the last entry being 17.00 pm.


Take in beautiful colonial buildings of Colombo

The city of Colombo is still home to grand colonial buildings, and a visit is a great way to immerse yourself in the colonial grandeur of yesteryear. All around downtown Colombo, more specifically the Fort Area, one can take in buildings from both the Dutch and British eras. Highlights of the Fort area include the Old Galle Buck Lighthouse built in 1954, the Clock Tower, St. Peter's Church, Cargills Main Store, Lloyd's Buildings, and Central Point.


Pay a visit to the Gangaramaya Temple

Consisting of several buildings and a bustling temple complex, the Buddhist temple of the Gangaramaya Vihara is a fascinating site to visit. The temple complex consists of a museum, library, and a display hall of gifts. Again the temple is best visited via a tuk-tuk and is open to the public from 05.30 am to 22.00 pm.


Stroll around the Beira Lake

Located almost a hop, step, and a skip away from the Gangaramya Temple complex, the Beira Lake in a sense is the heart of Colombo. In the middle of the lake, one can see a tiny shrine known as the Simamalaka Shrine. The lake connects with other water bodies via narrow canals and flows to the Indian Ocean. The name of the lake was given by the Portuguese, which means border in English. During colonial times, the lake and its connecting canals were used to transport goods in and around the city. It's a great place to while away a hot afternoon, as the promenade surrounding the lake is shaded by leafy trees. One can also take in animals such as pelicans and storks while here as well.


Dine at the Old Dutch Hospital

After a long day of wandering around the crowded and bustling streets of the city, the Dutch Hospital precinct is the ideal place to stop by to have lunch or dinner! Considered to be one of the oldest buildings in the Fort area, dating back to the 1600s, today, it has been beautifully restored and houses some fantastic cafes, bars, and restaurants.

  • 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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