Colombo Is Overlooked No More
You never know what will greet you in Sri Lanka. (PHOTO courtesy Holland America Line)
As the largest city in Sri Lanka, Colombo has for a long time served as that nation’s commercial hub.
It was also a frequent stop both for ships traveling in the area and for people arriving there as a stopover on their way to other parts of the country.
But since Colombo didn’t put a big emphasis on tourism until recently, it was often overlooked as a great destination all of its own.
But with the country opening its arms to tourism, and Holland America Line making Colombo a port of call, this means you now have the chance to serve as a trailblazer, making your way as a sort of explorer discovering new and exciting finds in what was largely unchartered territory until now.
To give you a headstart, here are a few suggestions of things you will want to do as you make your way around Colombo:
Visit the National Museum. The largest museum in the country, this is where you can learn all about the history of Sri Lanka. Built in 1877, it houses a wide assortment of ancient artifacts, as well as interesting items previously owned by the country’s former royal family. The building itself is a terrific example of impressive architecture, and it is situated on beautiful grounds with a serene courtyard.
Check out the old buildings. Downtown Colombo is filled with stately old buildings dating back centuries. In addition to being architectural wonders, these structures also provide a glimpse into the evolution of the country and the city. One highlight of a walking tour is the Old Parliament Building. Centrally located, it immediately stands out in contrast to the larger, more modern buildings surrounding it.
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Tour the temples. Colombo is filled with an interesting variety of temples from different eras and of distinct architectural styles. Among the most popular for visitors are the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, Seema Malaka Temple, and the Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple. Another religious landmark you might want to visit is St Anthony s Church Kochikade.
Relax and recharge at Mount Lavinia Beach. This isn’t your typical tourist-filled beach. Part of the appeal is that it is usually quiet and not too crowded. That makes it the perfect place to relax in a serene environment. At the same time, it offers a great view—and a chance to cool off in the refreshing water.
Stroll around Independence Square. The leafy grounds of this square are perfect if you want a way to escape in the beauty and serenity of nature. It’s a great place to walk and people-watch, while surrounded by green and serenaded by the chirping of birds. The walkway and bike path also provide a way to get some exercise or burn off the lunch you can get nearby.
Join in on a tour. There are number of tours for just about any interest, including those focused on culture or nature. Whether you want a short excursion for an hour or two, or are seeking an all-day adventure, there will surely be one that provides exactly what you had in mind. The wildlife tours are particularly exciting, but you can also enjoy a sightseeing tour that sticks to the more populated parts of town.
Colombo is one of the ports served by Holland America Line.
More by Bobbi Dempsey
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