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Colombo Rainy-day activities

Our most recommended Colombo Rainy-day activities

Colombo: Sightseeing Day Trip with Gangaramaya Temple

1. Colombo: Sightseeing Day Trip with Gangaramaya Temple

Explore the top sights in Colombo on this day trip. Take a walk at Galle Face Green beach, Viharamahadevi park, and through the modern port. Admire religious sites like Kopanna Vidiya temple, Gangaramaya temple, and Wolvendaal Church. Enjoy the convenience of being picked up from your Colombo accommodation. Sit back and take in the scenery as you drive through the Cinnamon garden district where rich colonial rulers once lived. Stop at Gangaramaya temple on Beira Lake. See hundreds of Buddha statues at the temple and visit a museum with a large collection of valuable artifacts. Travel to the Independence Memorial Hall which is built in the Sri Lankan Kandyan style. Admire its gigantic pillars and elegant stone structure.  Continue to a Hindu temple in Kopanna Vidiya. View its large and ornate gate tower. Head to Galle Face Green beach and feel the sea breeze. Go to Viharamahadevi park which is in front of the colonial-era town hall. Walk in the newly built port, which is the biggest modern development project in Sri Lanka. Make a stop at the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct. Pass Pettah market, the railway station, and the Dutch Colonial Wolvendaal Church. Return to your accommodation in Colombo. 

Colombo Half-Day City Tour - Cruise terminal /Hotels

2. Colombo Half-Day City Tour - Cruise terminal /Hotels

Discover both the modern and traditional areas of Colombo and learn more about the city's colonial past on this tour, from a 100-year-old clock tower to British colonial-era buildings. During this tour, visit the Old Parliament, explore the affluent residential areas and admire the Bandaranaike memorial international conference hall, a gift to Sri Lanka from the people’s republic of China. Immerse yourself in a fascinating blend of cultures, religions, and socioeconomic classes and experience daily life for Sri Lankan residents. You will see attractions such as the Sambodhi Chaithya Buddhist Temple, the lighthouse, Red Mosque, the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, the Town Hall, and Independence Square. You may also choose to visit a handicrafts emporium for a spot of shopping if you wish. Get dropped off back at your hotel at the end of the tour.

Colombo: Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya Guided Day Tour with Lunch

3. Colombo: Polonnaruwa & Sigiriya Guided Day Tour with Lunch

Discover the magnificent remains of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s ancient capital city, and the striking rock fortress of Sigiriya on a guided tour from Colombo. Travel to the two UNESCO World Heritage sites directly from your hotel and break up the day with a tasty Sri Lankan lunch. Start your day early, when your guide will collect you from your hotel in Colombo or Negombo, and enjoy snacking on seasonal fruit as you drive out of the city. Your first stop will be the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, one of Sri Lanka’s most important archeological sites and its second capital city. Wander between the ruins of the fabulous garden-city with your guide, and admire colossal works of Hindu and Buddhist architecture. Hear how the city was, for two centuries, Sri Lanka’s thriving religious and commercial center. Stop for a fresh lunch before moving on to Sigiriya, an ancient fortress built on a gigantic column of rock. Sigiriya is believed to have been inhabited by Buddhist monks as far back as the 3rd century BC. It is home to colorful frescoes and some of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. To finish the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Colombo or Negombo.

From Negombo: Private Sightseeing Tour of Colombo City

4. From Negombo: Private Sightseeing Tour of Colombo City

View elegant colonial buildings rising in tandem with shiny new business in the sprawling metropolis of Colombo. Greet your guide at your accommodation in the morning at 8:30 AM or in the afternoon at 1:00 PM.  Learn more about the history of this city at sights like the prison cell of the last Sri Lankan King, or by visiting York Street with its charming remnants of old British colonial architecture. Wander through the over 100,000 exhibits in the National Museum.  Visit one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Colombo at Gangaramaya Temple. Spend some time by the water as you se see the Galle Face promenade, the Colombo light house, and the scenic Beira Lake. Venture through both the old and the new by seeing Colombo Town Hall, the war memorial, BMICH, Dewatagaha Mosque, and many more landmarks that comprise the interesting tapestry of the city. 

Colombo: Yapahuwa, Dambadeniya, & Panduwasnuwara Tour

5. Colombo: Yapahuwa, Dambadeniya, & Panduwasnuwara Tour

The tour begins with early morning pickup from your Colombo hotel at 6am, then travels the 2-hour journey to the first stop of the day, the Kingdom of Dambadeniya. Step back in time as you wander around the ruins of Dambadeniya, once a bustling mid-13th century hub reigned over by King Parakramabahu II. See the recently excavated remains of the Temple of the Tooth, as well as the fascinating royal palace complex with its gardens, walls, and moats. By 10:30am arrive at the next stop of the day, the former capital of Sri Lanka, Yapahuwa. Marvel at the city’s fortress which was built on a giant rock, boasting wide staircases, beautiful stone sculptures, and highly detailed pillar carvings. Climb to the top of the fortress to view the ruins of the stupa on the summit of the rock, which once would have been used as a center for meditation. Spend a few hours exploring ruins of Yapahuwa, then head to a local restaurant for a traditional lunch at your own expense. After lunch head to the final stop of the day, the ancient city of Panduwasnuwara, which was one of the first kingdoms in Sri Lanka. Once the capital city of the country during 5th century BC, the site was used up until the 12th century resulting in a vast array of architectural influences and styles. Once you’ve marvelled at the ruins, visit the onsite museum which houses fascinating archaeological finds from excavations in the area. After an hour and a half exploring Panduwasnuwara the tour comes to an end and you will be dropped off back to your hotel at around 7:30pm.

Bentota: Colombo Fishmarket and City Tour

6. Bentota: Colombo Fishmarket and City Tour

After getting picked up from your hotel in Kalutara or Bentota, head to Pettah, the oldest part of Colombo. Marvel at the thousands of stalls selling items from medicine to electronic equipment before beginning your driving tour of the city. Visit sites such as Beira Lake, Viharamahdevi Park, and Independence Square, where you can see one of the oldest examples of Sri Lankan architecture. The first stop of your visit is the Pettah fish market, which is the biggest fish market on the island featuring a concentration of hundreds of fish sellers. Enjoy a walking tour of the fish market. Afterward, head to the fort area and discover a mix of contemporary architecture and old-world charm with high-rise modern buildings built alongside medieval structures. Towards the end of the drive, visit the Colombo Historical Museum where you can see a large number of valuable exhibits. After your drive around the city, begin your walking tour. As you walk along the narrow and charming streets of the city center, learn more about Colombo's historical eras and their impact on the architectural ensemble of the city. Stroll past sights such as the Old Parliament, Gangrama Temple, and the Town Hall. Shop 'til you drop in the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct or head for lunch at one of the area's famed restaurants. Discover examples of British architecture and learn more about Colombo's history and its remarkable growth as you visit the BMICH, the Wolvendaal Church, and Colombo's most beautiful Hindu temple. Get dropped off back at your hotel in the evening.

Sri Lanka: 7-Day Culture and Heritage Tour

7. Sri Lanka: 7-Day Culture and Heritage Tour

Discover historic ruins and temples on this 7-day trip from Colombo, Mount Lavinia, Negombo, or Bandaranaike International airport. Stay overnight in 4-star hotels with complementary breakfast. Watch a cultural show and partake in a woodcarving experience. Day 1: Select to be picked up from at your accommodation in Colombo, Mount Lavina, or Negombo, or be picked up from Bandaranaike International airport. Be greeted by your driver and sit back and relax on the drive to Kandy. Check into your 4-star hotel and relax for the evening. Day 2: Enjoy breakfast the the hotel before embarking on a trip to the see the 500-year-old wood carvings at the temple of Embekke, the Buddhist temple of Lankathilaka, and the ancient temple of Gadaladeniya.  Stop at the temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha and view the large Buddha statue at Bahirawakanda Buddha. Make your way to Kandy lake for a scenic drive along the upper lake. Dive into a cultural show before returning to your hotel for the night. Day 3: Admire the Buddhist and Hindu architecture at the temple ruins of Nalanda Gedige. Travel to a factory in the village of Matale for a live wood carving experience. In the afternoon, visit the well-preserved Dambulla rock cave temple. Drive back to your hotel to rest for the evening. Day 4: Explore the ruins and monuments of the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa. Next, head to a UNESCO World Heritage 5th century fortress at Sigiriya. Climb up 1200 steps to the top where a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape awaits you. Go back to your hotel for the evening. Day 5: Journey to Anuradhapura to see an extensive complex of monasteries, temples, buildings, bathing pools, and a complex irrigation system. Uncover the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka at the Minintale mountain peak. Rest at your hotel for the remainder of the evening. Day 6: Make your way to the capital of medieval Sri Lanka in Yapahuwa where you can admire architecture from the 4th Kingdom of Sri Lanka. View an an enormous rock fortress which housed the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha for 11 Years. Afterwards, spend the night at a hotel in Negombo. Day 7: Let your driver take you back to your accommodation in Colombo, Mount Lavina, or Negombo, or be dropped off at the Bandaranaike International airport.

Frequently asked questions about Colombo

What top attractions are a must-see in Colombo?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Colombo?

The best day trips and excursions from Colombo are:

Kandy

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Other Sightseeing Options in Colombo

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What people are saying about Colombo

The guide and driver were very kind to drive us in heavy traffic to St Anthony's Church even though it was not on the itinerary but it should be as this is the most important site in Colombo for Christian westerners so that we could pay our respects after the atrocities by Islamic suicide bombers at Easter. The Christian worshippers are still very noticeably traumatised and our hearts went out to these tragic people. God bless them and may they be allowed to live in peace by these evil Islamic fanatics. Just totally heartbreaking but we were so glad that we got to visit this sacred church now protected by armed soldiers to show our support for them and Christianity. May these innocent souls rest in peace x

Guide was 30 min late but understandable with traffic. We were expecting a group tour but it turned out to be private. Driving around town in a small car with A/C was worth the cost. We drove past many attractions and stopped at a few. It only took 2 hrs to complete the tour but it’s because we chose not to spend a lot of time at each stop. The heat was too much for us. Definitely worth the cost. We had planned to take a tuktuk around town on our own to places we chose but glad we took the tour instead.

excellent tour takes you to the most important places in the city with a super guide that apart takes some amazing photos super recommended

Because of health problems, we did not walk much. The driver was very pleasant.