Things to do in
Colombo

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Our most recommended things to do in Colombo

Udawalawa National Park: Private Safari

1. Udawalawa National Park: Private Safari

Explore Udawalawe National Park, one of the most undisturbed and pristine natural ecosystems on the planet enriched with a wealth of Sri Lankan elephants. See huge herds of elephants, and enjoy glances of water buffalo, wild boar, spotted deer, jackal, and more. Discover an area of 30,821 hectares, which embodies the true essence of a tropical paradise. See a rich variety of exotic flora and fauna and enjoy the perfect getaway for bird-watchers. Enjoy ample opportunities for spotting endemic and migrated birds. This Udawalawe safari might even present you with the sighting of the Sri Lankan Jungle Fowl, Spur Fowl, and Green Pigeon.

Yala National Park All-Inclusive 2-Day Safari

2. Yala National Park All-Inclusive 2-Day Safari

Spend the night in a treehouse at the 2nd largest national park in Sri Lanka and look for wildlife on an evening and early morning nature trek. Benefit from the expertise of a game ranger as your personal guide. Day 1: Following pick-up at your hotel, journey towards Yala National Park in southeast Sri Lanka. Upon arrival at Tissamarama, head to the luxurious Leopard Nest campsite and check in to one of the treehouses. Enjoy lunch at the campsite's main restaurant or at one of the many outdoor locations before some time to relax. Get back to nature with an evening game drive and look for wildlife, such as leopards in their natural environment. Return to the campsite to freshen up before drinks and appetizers around the campfire. Dinner will be served at one of many locations throughout the camp. Day 2: Enjoy breakfast at a private location by a lake whilst listening to the singing of birds and feeling the fresh breeze. Start to trek through thick bushes with a pathway access to a wonderful lake which offers breath-taking views and bird watching opportunities.

From Colombo: Udawalawa National Park Wildlife Safari

3. From Colombo: Udawalawa National Park Wildlife Safari

Benefit from early morning pickup at your hotel in Colombo, and then relax on the 5-hour drive to Udawalawa National Park, created in the 1970s to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River. Upon arrival, go for a safari drive by jeep and look for the thriving elephant population in its natural habitat. Search for other indigenous wildlife, such as buffalo, wild boar, sambhur, and hare. Now the third most visited park in Sri Lanka, Udawalawe is also an important nature reserve for 50 species of butterflies and many species of birds. Enjoy an authentic lunch at a local hotel in Udawalawe, at your own expense. Then, journey back to Colombo and get dropped off at your hotel on arrival.

Colombo: CMB Airport to Anuradhapura City Private Transfer

4. Colombo: CMB Airport to Anuradhapura City Private Transfer

Enjoy a relaxing and comfortable private transfer between Sri Lanka's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) and your hotel in Anuradhapura. Your chauffeur will meet and greet you in the airport arrival lobby holding a paging board displaying your name for easier identification. They will escort you and your luggage to your vehicle. If you are unable to locate your chauffeur, a support team is on hand that you can contact 24/7. This journey takes approximately 4 hours depending on the traffic and weather conditions. You will take the safest and most comfortable route for the journey and your driver will use their expertise to limit the travel time. Feel free to let your chauffeur know in case you need to stop for refreshments or emergencies.

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

5. Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

Depart Colombo and travel by a shared vehicle, in a small group, to the city of Sigiriya, and head directly to Sigiriya Rock on arrival. Gaze in awe at the massive column of rock that, according to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle The Culavamsa, was selected by King Kasyapa as the site of his new capital. Admire numerous paintings of historic queens, princesses, and maids inside the rock fortress before getting a break for lunch at your own expense. Then, explore some of the traditional crafts of the region, such as wood carving and batik textiles, with time to purchase souvenirs before departing. Start the journey back towards Colombo via Dambulla to explore the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Discover the magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and different shapes, painted from around the 2nd century B.C. up to the 18th-century Kandyan era.

From Negombo: Full-Day UNESCO City of Anuradhapura Trip

6. From Negombo: Full-Day UNESCO City of Anuradhapura Trip

Declared by UNESCO as a world heritage city, Anuradhapura is regarded as Sri Lanka’s first known kingdom and the capital of the island for many centuries. Being well known for its cultural and religious value, the city attracts many local and foreign visitors who want to explore the ancient history of Sri Lanka.  See the remains of the Brazen Palace, which was once 9 stories high, and the Sri Maha Bodhi a Bo Tree, which is over 2000 years old and grew from the branch of the very tree beneath which the Buddha attained enlightenment. Visit the ruins of the Ruwanweliseya Dagaba and see the 2nd-century BC shrine, containing the Buddha’s collarbone relic. Explore the Abhayagiriya temple and the Jetawanaramaya dagobas.

Colombo: Colombo Airport (CMB) and Negombo City Transfer

7. Colombo: Colombo Airport (CMB) and Negombo City Transfer

Enjoy a relaxing and comfortable private transfer from Sri Lanka's Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) to your hotel in Negombo. After landing at the airport, head to the arrivals lobby to meet your driver who will be holding a board with your name on it. If you are unable to locate your driver, a support team is on hand 24/7. Your driver will escort you and your luggage in a comfortable and safe vehicle so all you have to do is sit back and relax during the 1-2 hour journey. Rely on your driver's expertise to travel the safest, most traffic-free route possible. Feel free to let your driver know in case you need to stop for refreshments or emergencies.

Colombo: All-Inclusive Private City Tour

8. Colombo: All-Inclusive Private City Tour

Your 4-hour journey will begin as your chauffeur-guide collects you from your hotel in a private air-conditioned vehicle. From here you will start your tour with a visit to National Museum, the oldest and largest museum in the country, highly regarded for its antiques collection. Following the museum, you will visit the colorful and chaotic Petah Market, one of the largest in Colombo. Here you can find almost everything, from tropical fruit to freshly-caught seafood to jewelry. Following some shopping, you will explore the Gangarama Temple, positioned both on land and on a lake, including its small but impressive museum. You can then soak up the views of the Indian Ocean at the Galle Face Green, as well as the views of the abundance of beautiful parkland in this cosmopolitan city. Upon completion of your tour, you will be returned back to your hotel.

From Colombo: Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle 2-Day Tour

9. From Colombo: Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle 2-Day Tour

Begin the tour by meeting your tour leader in Colombo and set off for the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. After exploring the history museum of Polonnaruwa, discover the ruins of the ancient city. Later, check in to a 3-star hotel in Sigiriya for your overnight stay.  The next morning, enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Set off for the Dambulla golden cave temple which was the site where a king of Anuradhapura took refuge from the South Induan invasion in the 1st-century BC. Learn about how when the king recaptured the region 13 years later, he converted the caves into a monastery and gifted it to the Buddhist monks. After this, head over to the ancient Sigiriya Rock, where a 5th-century prince who had committed patricide made it his hideout. Also make a stop at the Pidurangala ancient cave temple. At the end of the tour you will be returned to Colombo and dropped off at the start point.

2-Day Whale Watching & Southern Sri Lanka Tour

10. 2-Day Whale Watching & Southern Sri Lanka Tour

The sea off Mirissa between Galle and Matara is one of the best places in the world to see endangered blue whales. This two-day tour also gives you the opportunity to see some of the important places in the southern coastal belt such as Galle fort, Unawatuna beach, sea turtle hatchery and more. On day one, meet your tour representative and proceed to your hotel in Mirissa, En-route enjoy a Bentota and Galle sightseeing tour. Bentota beach is the most popular beach holiday destination in the island. Galle is one of the ancient sea ports of Sri Lanka and was an anchor point in the Silk Route. It was later discovered by the Portuguese where they built a fortress and the Dutch that succeeded them fortified it further. This fortress is today a World Heritage Site. During the Galle city tour, visit Galle Fort, Bentota Beach, Galle coastal area, Galle lighthouse, Kande Vihara, Cinnamon Island, a handicraft center and mask carving center. Visit a sea turtle hatchery project, spice garden at Matale where spices and herbs used for Sri Lankan cuisine and medication are grown. Then take a Madu Ganga boat ride to discover this Ramsar Wetland. Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary is the place where you can have a glimpse of the fascinating underwater world and see the creatures that inhabit the unfathomable depths of the sea. The famed coral gardens are located here. Just get hold of a glass bottomed boat or goggles and flippers and plunge into the ocean. Overnight stay in Mirissa  Day two is filled with whale-watching experiences. Miriissa off the southern Sri Lanka coast is one of the best-known places for the greatest wildlife spectacle on the planet – lunge-feeding humpback whales and blue whales. Groups of whales construct enormous circular fishing nets with bubbles to catch vast shoals of herring and then launch themselves high into the air with their mouths wide open. This activity is most prevalent from November to April, but can be observed throughout year. 

Other Sightseeing Options in Colombo

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What people are saying about Colombo

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 280 reviews

Really good experience! At one of the attractions we should have visited, there was a really long queue and too many people, so our guide was good at coming up with a lot of other options we could see if we wanted. All the experiences were quite exciting! Our guide also found some great eateries along the way with really nice views each time. He was good at assessing when he was needed as a guide and when it was better for us to be alone and she stayed close by (eg at the restaurants). On the slightly long drive, he was also good at explaining what we saw when we looked out the windows and in general what Sri Lanka was like.

I highly recommend using apple vacations agency when you visit Sri Lanka! They offer a wide range of tours and packages to fit a variety of budgets. Our guide Niraveen and driver were on time and accommodating. This full day tour was lovely and enjoyable! Loved visiting the turtle hatchery center, the boat ride through the mangrove, and the place they took us for lunch was superb! Really trustworthy company!

The guide showed up on time in the morning and he was very polite and informing. They took us to a very nice restaurant for lunch near the ocean and the food was delicious. Whole tour was satisfying with very nice views, herbal garden visit and boat tour on Madu River.

The driver (Kenneth) was very accommodative and managed our tight schedule very well. He even went the extra mile and helped us to see more than what we had initially agreed — with his help we were able to visit the Ranweli spice garden, which was the cherry on top.

I had a tour guide Muditha from Withlocals. A well educated and very nice young man with proper knowledge of English and international experience. Enjoyed talking to him and his company. From the downside - expected to see more for this money.