Colombo is the commercial hub of Sri Lanka and most tourists start their travel plans from Colombo. It has some of the most luxurious hotels in the island and more are coming up because of the tourist boom. It has the best shopping malls, restaurants and night clubs. But very few are aware of unique sight seeing opportunities in Colombo. Mentioned below are some of the top places to visit in Colombo.
The Galle Face Green
This half kilometer stretch is definitely the most visited place in Colombo. Sandwiched between the Indian ocean and the Galle road this is a great place to catch the sunset. There are many carts and small shops that offer delicious food to satisfy your taste buds. Fried fish, crab and vada are the favorite among the locals. Tourists might find them a bit too spicy for their liking. There are many shops that offer regular meals like Kottu and rice. The place is frequented by lovers, children and teenagers. You can usually find kites any day but if you managed to visit during a kite flying competition you can find hundreds of beautiful kites around. There are many luxurious hotels around if you want a more western style meal. The nearby Galle Face hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Sri Lanka and having tea in the hotel garden by the sea is a magical experience.
The National Museum
This might not appeal to everybody but if you are interested about the history of Sri Lanka this is one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has a rich history that goes back more than two thousand years so you are sure to find some amazing artifacts. You can visit the museum anytime from 9AM to 6PM but it is much better if you can book in advance and arrange a guided tour. Visit the Museum website to get further details.
The National Zoological Gardens / Dehiwela Zoo
Situated about 10Km from Colombo the national zoological garden was once considered one of the finest zoos in Asia. Although it hasn’t quite managed to live up to that reputation it is still one of the best places to see various wild animals, birds, fish, butterflies etc. The trail is well marked so you wont miss anything. Covering the whole zoo in detail takes most of the day but it is a day well spent. The most popular items are the Elephant show and the sea lion show. They are in the evening so it is the perfect way to finish your tour of the zoo. The zoo opens at 8.30AM and closes at 6PM. Visit the Colombo zoo website for more information. Below is a video of the popular Elephant show.
Independence Square and the Commemoration Hall
Situated at Cinnamon gardens this is a monument build to commemorate Sri Lanka getting independence from the British. Although it is situated in the heart of Colombo the Independence square is a relatively calm place. It has some beautiful stone carvings and most tourists love taking a picture with the lions carved out of stone. There is a well maintained garden and in the evening you will find many people coming there for walks and exercises. If you are interested about learning about the history of the place there is a small museum nearby.
National Art Gallery
If you are an art fan this is the place to visit in Colombo. Some of the most famous painting in Sri Lanka are held here including winning entries of various art and photography contests. Exhibitions are held throughout the year so you are very likely to run into one. You can also check out the recently opened Nelum Pokuan theater which is just next to the art gallery.
Plenty more Places to see in Colombo
Colombo is a vibrant city occupied by three invaders so there are many old building for you to explore if you are interested about history. There are many other small art galleries that will appeal to tourists like woodcraft and other hand craft galleries. I hope I covered most interesting places in Colombo, if you have another place in mind feel free to mention in the comments section .