Top 10 Sights & Sites in Colombo.

The best part about a tiny city? How easy it is to be a tourist. Here are some of Colombo's must-see parks, structures, and gathering spots. All historic, all with their own beautiful stories of inception and re-birth, and mostly free!

For more details, in-depth history, and photos, click on each title below.

1. Gangaramaya Temple

Gangaramaya temple isn't just a temple – it's about 150 years old and most of its space is cluttered with museum artifacts and old and somewhat random donations like wrist watches, currency, and art.

First set up by Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala, it's gotten some flack for trying to be both a Buddhist temple and a tourist attraction, but we think that it's got a very quirky charm of its own.

Donations to enter cost about Rs. 300 for foreigners, and you have to ensure your shoulders and legs are covered. 

2. Seema Malaka

This temple raised on platforms on the Beira Lake is probably the most beautiful place in the neighborhood – it's a peaceful and unexpected piece of art that was designed by Geoffrey Bawa and funded by S. H. Moosajee in the 1970s. 

It's also just next to the Gangaramaya Temple, and you can enter here with the same "donation" price and ticket. Walk around it for some serene views and meditative vibes.

3. Dutch Hospital 

Dutch Hospital is literally a hospital from the Dutch colonial era that has been restored by the UDA and is now an upscale shopping and dining precinct. You'll find some of Colombo's best dining (Ministry of Crab), shopping (Barefoot), and spas (Spa Ceylon), and a lively crowd at night.

4. National Museum of Colombo

After over a year of refurbishment, Colombo's only proper museum (the Dutch Museum and the weird Old Town Hall one barely come on par) is up and running again. This Italianate colonial style building houses statues, artifacts and paintings that go way back in Sri Lanka's history.

While the main museum up front is your typical exhibit space, with good lighting, updated labels and organized sections, the museum premises also includes the Natural History Museum which is pretty old, weird and utterly fascinating (in a decrepit way).

The entrance fee for locals is Rs. 35 (adults) and Rs.20 (children). For foreigners it is Rs. 600 (adults) and Rs. 300 (children). 

5. Galle Face Green

Galle Face Green is the big city's main park. It started out as a place for the British to host games of golf and horseracing, but today it's where everybody rushes to, for some kite-flying, isso vade and ocean watching.

On a Sunday at 4PM it feels like literally everybody in Colombo has gathered here on cue, since it has no entrance free, and fringes the sea. Regardless of who you are, the wide view of the ocean, the sky changing colours at sunset and the harbour lit up at night have their undeniable charm. 

6. Independence Square & Memorial Hall

Independence Square remains one of the nicest places to relax in Colombo, especially in the evenings. In addition to the memorial hall itself, there's also the huge sprawling green lawn outside, the memorial museumthe Arcade next door, and even hoppers at The Canteen. Completed in 1953 to commemorate our independence from British rule, it's a historic monument, but also a great gathering place for dates, joggers, and protestors alike. 

7. Red Mosque 

Constructed in 1908 in the Indo-Saracenic style, the Red Mosque is a historical landmark and recognized as one of the oldest mosques in Colombo. It was apparently used as a landmark by sailors who came to Colombo from afar. It's a beautiful building, but they're a bit iffy about allowing women inside 

8. Old Post Office

An Edwardian monster with sections in the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian classical styles it was built for the British by the prolific Wapchi Marikar baas (the man behind the National Museum, and the New Town Hall). It served not only as a post office but also as the site of the country's fist telegraph and telephone exchanges.

This is one of Colombo's grandest public buildings, but it was closed to the public for years as part of a high security zone. After the war the street opened up, and 2016's Colomboscope re-introduced the location by holding art events there. We're not sure what the future holds for this gorgeous structure, but we're hoping it's a gallery!

9. Viharamahadevi Park

Viharamahadevi Park, known earlier as Victoria Park, is Colombo's only central park. It's been done-up for quite a while now and it looks great, especially in the evenings. It features a lot of little sights and sounds within itself, like the Buddha Statue, the Victoria Statue, the Rock Aquarium, pony rides, and loads of cheap snacks.

10. Sivan Kovil

The Sri Ponnambalawaneswaram Kovil (or the Sivan Kovil) is situated just a few metres away from the St. Anthony's Church. It's easy to find thanks to its white walls and the occasional sound of the brass bell piercing the air. It's been around since 1905, and it's a go-to place of worship for many practicing Tamils and Hindus alike. You'll see a plethora of different shrines and statues dedicated to different deities each with a different cause. It gets busy from 10AM – 12PM because of the Puja ceremony and dozens of people milling about.


If you want to know how to fit these into a weekend in the city, check out our blog! Happy exploring.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp

Highlights.

Latest.

KAMU.

Satisfy your Kottu cravings at KottuLabs

Located in Nawala down a little lane, Kottulabs is home to the widest and most

Highlights Kamu

A flavorful journey to the North East by Paadum Meen

An ecstatically beautiful place located down Frankfort place, Bambalapitiya has caught a significant eye for

Highlights Kamu

Hummus Festival 2022 – Graze Kitchen by Hilton

By Shamrina Carim The stunning atmosphere Walking into this masterpiece designed by an excellent interior

Kamu

A Luxury European Dining experience at 1864 Limited Edition

Ambience Intimate dining area for couples and friends Comfy lounge areas to sit and catch

Highlights Kamu

Pizza Hut – My Box Birizza Fever- review

By Sumaiya Jaleel Hurrah! Welcome back to your scrumptious feast. Pizza Hut has brought back

Highlights Kamu

The Hottest Food Fest of the Year: Eat Street Colombo

By Janani Vithanage After a 2 year (Covid induced break), Sri Lanka’s biggest, best food

Highlights Kamu

Trending.

‘Encounters’: The Second Exhibition by the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka

-  A walk through history that gives you a feel of déjà vu, especially when

Trending

Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo’s ColomBar moves to newly refurbished location

04 May2022, Colombo: Colombo’s iconic and stylish destination bar, ColomBar, has been re-located to its

Trending

Spreading Mother’s Day Love with Ramada Colombo

Treat your Mother to lavish lunch, and high tea buffets, sweet treats, and plush stays. 

Trending

Eid Staycation at Sheraton Kosgoda TurtleBeach Resort

By Janani Vithanage Heralded by the first sighting of the crescent moon, Eid-al-fitr, which translates

Trending

Eid Staycation at Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa

By Janani Vithanage Heralded by the first sighting of the crescent moon, Eid-al-fitr, which translates

Trending

Order your Ifthar Dinner via PickMe Food

By Hiruni Herath As Ramadan is a time of introspection and prayer, you can devote

Trending

Yamu Guide.

The Embazzy – a relaxing luncheon spot

By Hiruni Herath Service and Ambience Stepping into The Embazzy, it’s clear that the restaurant

Highlights Yamu Guide

What to expect at a Yala National Park Safari

Covering an extensive area of Southern and Uva Provinces, Yala is the second largest national

Yamu Guide

Everything you need at Online Kade

Located in the heart of Rajagiriya Online Kade also has a branch in Colombo 04

Yamu Guide

5 Co-working spaces in Colombo

By Tashia Ranasinghe Here are some more interesting places for all the digital nomads out

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 Buffets to Indulge In this Easter 2022

By Janani Vithanage As the youth of our nation make their voices heard, the birth

Yamu Guide

5 occasions to celebrate with Shirohana

By Rahma Rifkhar Okay, so, first question: Are you the colour-coordinated bullet journaling typa person

Highlights Yamu Guide