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Colombo is the largest city in Sri Lanka, and is considered the island’s commercial, financial and cultural centre. Boasting a tropical climate, plenty of beaches surrounding it and a melting pot of cultural influences, it’s a holiday destination that’s quickly gaining popularity. Book a flight to Colombo with Qatar Airways to discover Sri Lanka’s jewel for yourself.
Sri Lanka has a rich history and culture that stems from multiple influxes of different ethnic groups and colonial influences, from the Sinhalese and Tamils to the Portuguese and Dutch colonial powers. You can learn more about these during your trip to Colombo at the National Museum of Colombo and the Dutch Period Museum.
Other ‘must sees’ in the city include the Buddhist temples of Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya, Gangaramaya and Seema Malaka, the latter of which is famed for its peaceful lakeside location. One of the quirkier attractions that you may want to explore during a trip to Colombo is the Traditional Puppet Art Museum, where you’ll see intricately crafted puppets and dioramas made by local artists.
Mount Lavinia beach is one of the most popular places to relax for both tourists and locals alike, and is lined with good quality restaurants. Viharamahadevi Park offers a large green expanse to enjoy, and is home to thousands of bats that hang from the trees by day, and take flight as the sun goes down. They’re perfectly harmless, and the locals are rather fond of their flying neighbours.
Birdwatchers and nature lovers should visit Talangama Wetland during their trip to Colombo, which offers a unique chance to get up close to the varied birdlife of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan cuisine is known for its diversity, owing mainly to its varied cultural influences. Indian inspirations mix with those from Europe, and are spiced by ingredients brought to the island by ancient sea traders. Rice and curry dishes are particularly popular and are widely available in Mount Lavinia, Kollupitiya and many other areas. The result is a fusion of flavours – all of them exotic and unique to the islands.
Colombo is also known for its street food, ranging from spicy egg rolls and fresh seafood to rotis and pittus. Pettah Market and Galle Face Green are good places to sample some local delicacies during your visit to Colombo.
There are plenty of independent shops and stalls in the city where you can buy mementos of your travels to Colombo. Galle Road is home to a variety of shops selling local crafts and fashions, as well as Crescat Boulevard, a small yet upmarket shopping centre.
If you feel like trying your hand at haggling, then head back to Pettah market to barter with local traders for everything from food to electrical goods and clothes.
Flights to Colombo arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport, and onward travel to the city by taxi generally takes between 30-60 minutes.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Colombo please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
Voltage: 230 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type D
Language: Sinhala / Tamil / English
International dialing code: +94