Things to do in Colombo

Our most recommended things to do in Colombo

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

1. 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 Colombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Full-Day Private Tour

2. From Colombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Full-Day Private Tour

Explore two of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO-listed highlights on a privately guided day trip to Dambulla and the Sigiriya Rock from Colombo. Start with an early morning pickup from your hotel in Colombo. Make your first stop at the Dambulla Cave Temple. View Sri Lanka’s countryside and villages as you journey to the atmospheric Dambulla Cave Temple, a Cliffside cave complex packed with Buddha images and frescoes. Enter the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, dating back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Gautama Buddha. Look at the hundreds of figurines of Buddha and other deities scattered throughout the five main caves. Visit the Cave of the Divine King, Cave of the Great King, and the Great New Monastery. See the giant golden Buddha Statue just a little distance outside the cave complex. Go to Sigiriya to visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Climb the 5th century AD rock fortress, Sigiriya, where King Kassapa ruled. Walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion that is quite appropriate for its name, the Lion Rock. View the beautiful unfading murals that brought Sigiriya its fame. Climb the steep staircase to see the terraced gardens and still-working cisterns. Go through the tunnels leading to the palace as you get a feel for times long past.

Udawalawa National Park: Private Safari

3. 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.

Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour

4. Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour

Explore the best of Sri Lanka with this tour to the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, rolling tea tea plantations in Ella, the chance to see wild elephants in the Udawalawa National park. Have your hotels, dinners, and breakfasts arranged for you in this fantastic tour package. Day 1 - Be welcomed by your guide at the Colombo International Airport where your guide will take you to your hotel in Colombo. Day 2 - Journey from Colombo to Sigiriya after eating a filling breakfast. Visit the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Relax before heading to the ancient rock fortress Sigiriya before having dinner and staying at a 4star hotel in Sigiriya. Day 3 - Travel to Kandy after a hearty breakfast to visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which holds the most important Buddhist relic in Sri Lanka. Take some time to unwind in your hotel before proceeding to see the amazing flora at the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens. Eat dinner and stay overnight at a four star hotel in Kandy. Day 4 - Next, have a full breakfast before heading to Ella to walk among the lush tea plantations. Learn more about the colonial history of Sri Lanka and take in the stunning landscape views. Return to your hotel in Ella for dinner and to rest. Day 5 - After breakfast, drive to Udawalawa National park where you can spot elephants in their natural habitat.

Yala National Park All-Inclusive 2-Day Safari

5. 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.

The True Essence of Colombo:Private Highlights & Hidden Gems

6. The True Essence of Colombo:Private Highlights & Hidden Gems

Ayubowan! Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the heart of Sri Lanka’s capital: Colombo! Experience the sights, sounds, and smells of this vibrant city together with your private host. The very best must-sees, hidden gems, and local snacks await! So, hop on a colorful Tuk Tuk and let your private guide take you from one highlight to another. The Independence Square is a must visit and a great place to kick off your tour. Stroll through the spacious green lawns and marvel at one of the islands' longest standing colonial buildings. Your host can tell you all about Sri Lanka’s historic past and how the city has changed to the modern city of today. Do as the Sri Lankans do and grab some delicious hoppers and vegetable roti. Locals simply love to start the day with this tasty morning snack, especially when heading to Colombo’s biggest park! Filled with lush vegetation, 100-year-old trees and a replica of the White House, this park is a tranquil gem away from the city buzz. Tuk Tuk your way to the oldest Buddhist temples in Colombo with a beautiful lake. Check out an amazing collection of Buddha statues, take a look at a holy tree and admire a relic of Buddha’s hair. Feel free to ask your host any burning questions! Get immersed in real local life and visit one of the liveliest markets. See where locals buy and sell everything from vegetables to electronics. Wander through the labyrinth streets and follow your nose to a nearby cassava chip vendor. See how this yummy snack is made and make your taste buds dance! Head to the banana market and try as many different bananas as you fancy! Curious what else awaits? How about a visit to a mosque in the shape of a pomegranate, followed by a beautifully minimalist Hindu temple? A visit to Sri Lanka’s last King’s jail cell is also a unique gem! While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the stunning view from the lighthouse. What better way to top off your tour than at the relaxing ocean side of Galle Face? Unwind and relax with a cold drink, a delicious prawn cake and a marvelous sunset over the western coast of Sri Lanka!

From Bentota: Elephant Transit Camp and Udawalawe Safari

7. From Bentota: Elephant Transit Camp and Udawalawe Safari

See many dozens of wild elephants at close proximate to your safari jeep on the Udawalawe safari. You will never get so close to wild elephant-like in Udawalawe. Udawalawe national park is a haven for wildlife lovers, and it is one of the best places for watching elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, buffaloes, deer, and many other creatures. On your return journey visit the Elephant transit camp, where dozens of orphan elephants gather for feeding. Take a walk along the cobbled stone alleys of Galle Fort and discover medieval-period Dutch-styled constructions. Most buildings in this medieval city are now converted into restaurants, galleries, museums, hotels, and shops. Later stroll along the south coast beach and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze while taking a glimpse of endangered sea turtles. Round out the day with a visit to one of the island’s most famous mask-making cities, and learn about exquisite Sri Lankan masks for an activity-filled, full-day tour. Be picked up from your hotel in Bentota or Kalutara in the early morning and drive for around 3.5-hours to Udawalawe National Park. Get up close to spectacular wildlife as you spend 3-hours on a 4x4 jeep safari tour spotting a large array of wild animals in this animal sanctuary. Sightings include wild elephants, crocodiles, jackals, deer, buffalo, and sloth bears. The next stop is Galle Fort, a Dutch fortification and UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the houses, palaces, galleries, restaurants, cafes, and shops in this historically rich town. Take some time to look at the local stores and find typical Sri Lankan handmade products and souvenirs. From here, head to Unawatuna Beach. Enjoy a swim in the warm water or relax on the beach. Discover the cultural heritage of the island at Ambalangoda, a coastal town famous for its mask-making. Visit a mask museum and learn about the meaning of these colorful works of art and their role in traditional dance rituals and festivals. Pass by local fishing villages, harbors, and fish markets and be dropped off at your hotel between 5:00 PM - 5:30 PM.

Colombo: Colombo Airport (CMB) and Negombo City Transfer

8. 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.

From Negombo: Full-Day Unesco City of Anuradhapura Trip

9. 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.

Sri Lanka hill country train trip, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya 2-day

10. Sri Lanka hill country train trip, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya 2-day

Two memorable days to cover major tourist attractions in Sri Lanka's hill country. The tour includes the two most important cities in the hill country, Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. The tour starts with Kandy city and walking tour to visit the tooth relic temple, Kandy market, handicraft center, Peradeniya botanical garden, and Kandyan cultural show. The tour also includes many other highlights of the ancient capital of Kandy and the English colonial hill station of Nuwara Eliya. Detailed Itinerary Day 1: Colombo – Kegalle – Kandy You’ll depart Colombo after breakfast and make a stop at a spice garden on the way to Kandy. You will be able to take part in a walking tour of the spice/herbal garden and learn about the spices and herbs that grow in Sri Lanka. Spices and herbs are being used in Sri Lankan kitchens as well as in Ayurveda medicine/indigenous medicine. However, a large part of the spices is exported. Kandy was the last kingdom of ancient Sri Lanka and is the most picturesque city on the island, nestled in the mountains and surrounded by tea plantations. Of Sri Lanka’s 3 botanical gardens, the gardens at Peradeniya are the largest, spread over 60 hectares and featuring more than 8,000 different species of trees and plants. After, visit the Temple of Tooth Relic in Kandy and enjoy dinner and a typical Sri Lankan Cultural Show of Drum Dancing music, and fire walking. Overnight in Kandy. Day 2: Kandy – Nuwara Eliya – Colombo After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll begin the journey back to Colombo via Nuwara Eliya. You’ll have a chance to appreciate the awe-inspiring scenery on the way to Nuwara Eliya, as you travel through valleys, into the mountains, and past beautiful patches of forest. Nuwara Eliya is the highest of Sri Lanka’s 3 hill stations, situated at over 6,000 feet above sea level. Known as Little England, it is where the British colonists built themselves a home away from home. Follow the winding road that leads to the hill country through tea plantations, beside the waterfalls that cascade down the hills, and into misty valleys. You’ll have the opportunity to visit a tea factory and sample a cup of unblended, fresh Ceylon tea, before continuing back to Colombo.

Frequently asked questions about Colombo

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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

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 307 reviews

We enjoyed our tour with Muditah a lot! He is an incredibly knowledgable guy, speaks flawless English due to his studies in the US, brought us to some fantastic places and shared some valuable tips with us. Now we feel even better prepared for our 4-week-trip through Sri Lanka! Thanks a lot, Muditah, and hopefully we see each other again at the end of our trip for your street food tour! :)

Very reliable tour pickup operator. No drama, I been contacted via WhatsApp 1 day before , driver was already at my hotel lobby 15 mnt before the pick up time. Good condition and nice car and the driver are polite and good at communication and everything are clear and reliable. Must book when you are in Colombo

A great tour! I was lucky enough to be there outside of mass tourism, as there is currently a travel warning. On site, however, the situation is completely relaxed. The tour was absolutely fantastic and was great fun!

Had excellent time, tour operators are second to none Driver Chris excellent fit for the job we are lucky to have him as driver and guide Me and my wife thanked Chris thousand times

It was a great tour and the guide explained and showed a lot. We have learned a lot from him gladly again