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Things To Do In Colombo
Colombo is a city of contrasts, it is a city that can be enjoyed by budget travellers as well as luxury seekers; a place for solo back packers as well as families; a place for those who love all things old as well as those who want to relish in the pleasures of the modern world. Colombo becomes a hub for adventurers and a place for those who just want to relax in the lap of luxury. With such contrasts and delights, Colombo is bound to become a coveted tourist destination. From sightseeing to scuba diving, tea estate strolls to golf, this Sri Lankan city is paradise. Here is a detailed list of an exciting number of things to do while you are in Colombo.
City Tour by Open Deck Bus
Imagine being able to tour the city in a couple of hours? A recent venture by the tourism department has made this possible by introducing open deck buses that ride around the city, passing through important tourist places. There are three packages available. ‘A glimpse of Colombo’ is a day tour during the weekdays that passes through many sites of historic value. ‘Heritage of Colombo’ happens during the early hours of the weekends. A number of places on this list are a repetition of the weekday tour but this is a longer trip. Finally they have the ‘Colombo at Night’ tour, which takes place during the evening on weekends. While the route is almost the same, this trip includes a boat ride; and the sight of a lit up Colombo at night is rather spectacular.
Colombo is city that appeals to everyone. For history lovers there is the national museum, Independence Memorial Hall, The Dutch Period Museum, Old City Hall and so on. For those who are fascinated by architecture there are scores of buildings here to appreciate. The Arcade Independence Square, Colombo light house and the sea port and the British colonial buildings at York Street are some exceptional examples. Colombo also has religious sites like Gangaramaya Temple, the Hindu Kovil, Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque, Wolvendaal and St. Antony’s Church.
Colombo has some of the most exciting scuba diving sites in Sri Lanka. Cargo wreck is one among the more popular diving sites, its main attraction is a sunken ship that is mostly intact and is decked with beautiful corals. Other popular wreck sites include car wreck, tug wreck, Madhufaru and so on. Besides wrecks, there are many coral reefs that dot the coasts. Barracuda Reef is one such location. There are a number of PADI certified Diving centres that train new divers.
Colombo’s Viharamahadevi Park is a large park situated amidst important historic buildings like the National Museum, the Public Library, The town hall and the War Memorial. The park is a perfect place for a picnic or for a casual stroll. The park also includes a beautiful statue of Buddha, water fountains and a petting zoo. Galle Face Green is an ocean-side park that extends over 5 hectares of land. In the past it was used to place canons against incoming war ships. After this it became a race course. Today it is a picnic site and an excellent place for street food.
The Royal Colombo Golf Course is the oldest golf establishment in the country. While introducing other sports like horse racing and cricket, the British decided the island country needed a golf course. This century old course is a well maintained and a beautiful stretch of land. While playing at most golf courses is a luxurious enough experience, playing here will give the game a new meaning. Additionally, the course’s many forested areas, ponds and serene atmosphere attracts Sri Lanka’s beautiful avifauna, a collection of colourful birds both common and rare.
Tea Estate Tour
Every one travelling to Sri Lanka must have the famous Ceylon Tea at the back of their minds and what can be better than to take a hike in the estates that manufactures this esteemed tea. The tour starts from the tea estates at Bogawantalawa and includes a detailed tour of the tea making process and also includes tasting different varieties of brew including black tea, green tea, vintage black, Norwood emerald and so on.
Take Part in Festivals
Sri Lanka celebrates a number a Hindu and Sinhalese festivals. The most celebrated festival is Vesak Poya, commemorating Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. A very elaborate ceremony is held at Gangaramaya Temple. During the fest, food stalls give away free food and drinks to passers-by. Navam Perahera held in February is well known for its spectacular processions of performers and elephants. The procession is usually held around Viharamahadevi Park. This is a great time to experience the culture of Sri Lankan people. Other festivals worthy of mention are Adi Vel, Duruthu Perahera and Diwali.
Paddle Boating in Beira Lake
Paddle boating at the beautiful Beira Lake has its charm. The lake in itself is a sight to sea, with its gentle green waters and its fishes and ducks swimming around gracefully. But the greatest attraction is the Simamalakha Shrine that stands serenely on an island in the middle of the lake, watching over the many life forms around it. Since the lake is situated at the very heart of the city, the view of the city from the lake is truly awe-inspiring.