Travel information about Colombo (Sri Lanka)
General information about Colombo
Colombo (Colombo) – the largest city, financial and cultural centre of Sri Lanka. Despite the fact that officially the country's capital was moved in 1982 to the neighboring city of Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte, Colombo is still considered the most important city of the country and is seen by many as the capital. Still, many sites can be found incorrect information (since 1982!), that Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka.
The population of the metro area of 5.6 million people, the city slightly more than 700 000. Actually the city with the suburbs is huge in size, and if you stay in the heart of the suburb of mount Lavinia to center by bus will be reached in around an hour. Is Colombo on the West coast, closer to the southern tip of the island (see Colombo map Sri Lanka).
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Historically, the development of the city had a hand in the Greeks, Persians, Romans, Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch and British. Almost all of these cultures are reflected in the architecture and attractions.
Like most Asian capitals, Colombo is a bustling city, partly built up with modern high-rise buildings, and at the same time preserving the identity and flavor, not turned yet completely in high-rise concrete jungle. Quite the contrary, most of the city consists of low-rise buildings, and sometimes just these shacks. But the situation is changing rapidly, and over the last four years the centre grew a large number of modern skyscrapers, and even though the foot is still crammed old houses, covered with mold, and the streets are filled with garbage. Moreover, from 2016 on an artificial island adjacent to the Central area of Colombo is the Fort, built Colombo International Financial City is a modern city and financial center, which promises to completely transform the look of the city and even the country.
Stay in Colombo
Tourists often stay in Colombo. It is usually used as a temporary shelter for travelers on arrival in the country through the Bandaranaike international airport, or before you decide to leave the country. Some tourists completely miss Colombo while travelling in Sri Lanka, as a transit point using the closest airport to the resort of Negombo, or even going directly to the main place of rest.
However, due to the large number of attractions and well developed tourist infrastructure in Colombo it is possible to spend two or three days, during which it will not be boring. There is even a conventional tourist area, where in the evening you can walk to bars and restaurants, night clubs, and fans of gambling will find in Colombo casinos that operate only specially for tourists. There in Colombo even the beach in the suburban area of Mt Lavinia, and you can actually stay in a hotel in Colombo , overlooking the ocean, and even swim at the beach. Read more about the beaches of Colombo here...
Another reason why you should visit in Colombo is the shopping. In fact, this is the only place in the country where you can do a clear shopping. This can be done in one of several big shopping centers: Majestic City, Liberty Plaza, Nolimit, House of Fashion, Odel. In General, large shopping centers and supermarkets are only in Colombo, anywhere else in the country you will not find them. If you need a very cheap consumer goods, counterfeit brand-name quality without brand labels, cheap electronics, and in General everything that is possible to sell and buy, go shopping in the Pettah district near the main railway station and bus stations. This area is a huge market where you can buy anything, but you need to be careful around here the thieves, all liars, and when you purchase you can easily slip the broken thing or different from the one you have chosen on the counter. Read more about shopping in Colombo can be read here...
To eat in Colombo no problems, but you need to consider the specifics of the local cuisine, which not everyone has taste (see about the Sri Lankan cuisine). Institutions in different categories of quality and prices at every step, a lot of Halal restaurants, there are, in particular, and the international network of McDonald's and Burger King. Very tasty and expensive meal in the restaurant in the old Dutch hospital, The Dutch Hospital. In the resort area of mount Lavinia there are several cafes and restaurants right on the beach with sea views. If you want to eat cheap but clean and delicious, suggest a visit to the Burger King in the area Colmbo Fort and order the local rice dishes. If you need inexpensive and with a sea view, then go to Galle face, where the evening start to work dozens of local cafes and stalls with authentic and modern kitchen, inexpensive seafood, and draught beer.
Currency exchange in Colombo
Colombo is one of the best places to change cash currency in Sri Lanka. But the good exchange rate still needs to find, because like everywhere else, tourists are trying to "cheat" in the exchange. In our experience it is best to change cash dollars or euros in other currencies less favorable rate. Dollars course the best, but if you're holding euros, meaning to change them for dollars at home, will lose more.
The best rate you can find exchange offices in the centre in Colombo Fort. If the area is unfamiliar, then go immediately to the York Street street and its perpendicular lanes, there the best. But change there should be no banks, and authorized items as pictured:
Go around some places like that to find the most profitable option. The rate between them is different only slightly, but for larger amounts it would greatly. Check availability of hidden fee. And one life hack: in exchange you can bargain, especially if changing large sums from a few hundred dollars.
The currency exchange rate (Sri Lankan rupee) today ()
* - If you enable the widget, the exchange rate of the selected currency will be displayed in the right sidebar on every page of the website until you unplug yourself.
Weather and tourist seasons in Colombo
In Colombo all year round hot, you can visit it in any season. The temperature rarely drops below 25 degrees. The humidity is very high.
High and low tourist seasons in Colombo are formed by rainfall and periods of holidays.
During the year there are two rainy season: April-June and September-November. It's not the most comfortable time to visit, as there may be heavy rains, but not a reason not to go to Colombo.
The driest time of year and peak season is December – March. In the summer months of July and August rainfall too little.
The tourist seasons in Colombo by months*
* best time to visit;
appropriate time to visit;
not a recommended time to visit
Current weather in Colombo and the forecast for the near future:
- 10 APR0:00+25°C2m/sRH. 84%
- 10 APR9:00+31°C4m/sRH. 60%
- 10 APR18:00+27°C1m/sRH. 79%
- 11 APR3:00+29°C1m/sRH. 71%
- 11 APR12:00+29°C4m/sRH. 71%
- 11 APR21:00+26°C1m/sRH. 81%
- 12 APR6:00+30°C3M/sRH. 64%
- 12 APR15:00+27°C1m/sRH. 79%
- 13 APR0:00+26°C1m/sRH. 84%
- 13 APR9:00+30°C4m/sRH. 67%
- 13 APR18:00+26°C1m/sRH. 84%
- April 143:00+29°C1m/sRH. 70%
* forecast is based on the local time. Data received https://openweathermap.org. If you see outdated of date, refresh the page with F5+Ctrl.
How to get to Colombo
Colombo is the main transport hub of the country. Next to it is the main international airport of the country, Bandaranaike and almost in the center is the main railway station and several bus stations. Besides the fact that it was through Colombo airport tourists arrive in the country, while moving around the country is here the most convenient way to transfer from train to train or bus when you move between different parts of the island.
The Bandaranaike international airport from Russia direct scheduled flights only run during the high season (winter) companies Aeroflot and SriLankan Airlines also have Charter flights. However, any time inexpensive and quick to get from Russia to Sri Lanka flights with a stopover. The flight takes 9-11 hours.
Colombo is connected with almost all cities of the country by bus. This is the main form of travel for locals, and a very convenient way for tourists. You can get anywhere, and very inexpensive.
In Sri Lanka there is an excellent and extensive network of Railways, and to most popular places and cities can be reached by train. The most important railway junction of the country is Colombo, namely railway station Colombo Fort. It is located in the city limits near the center.
Read more about all the ways how and what of Dobretsov Colombo here...
Transport Colombo, than to move on
Unfortunately, public transport in the city is not particularly developed. There are only buses, but to deal with them is not easy, so basically have to navigate by taxi, tuk-tuk or on foot. The size of the city is very large, and, for example, to get from the beaches of mount Lavinia in the center, it would take almost an hour. To get from the airport to the city is not very convenient and fast: a choice of either a local bus or taxi. The plans of the construction and launch of high-speed railway connecting the city with the airport, but its implementation has been postponed for many years. A good alternative to the city buses are Prigorodnye trains, which are frequent on the railway along the coast, but they can mainly be used for long pereezdom, for example, from mount Lavinia to the center or back.
Sights and activities in Colombo
Colombo is just Packed with all sorts of interesting historical, cultural and architectural attractions, and if you stay here for 2-3 days, you will definitely have enough to occupy all his time, and to view all need at least a week. And although they are scattered throughout a very large area of the city in different areas, the good thing is that most of them can be visited using local buses and even by foot. Only in some cases you will have to use the services of the ubiquitous tuk-tuks.
As for the tourist attractions in Colombo, their choice is not rich. In the afternoon you can go shopping, visit a SPA or massage parlor, or just walk around the city in search of interesting places. No theme parks, water parks, children's entertainment in Colombo no. The only place that you can visit with children is the zoo of Colombo Zoological Gardens.
In the evening in Colombo, you can sit in one of the bars in the center, and there are several cafes for tourists on the beach in mount Lavinia. Also a popular place to promenade Galle Face (Colombo), where the evening offers a variety of local, pedal, sold beer, events. Another place to visit in the evening – a relatively new floating market Pettah Floating Market. And late in the evening you can visit one of the dozen casinos in Colombo, they work around the clock. Sex tourism in Colombo is not developed and is strictly prohibited. If you want to find a girl or a boy, then of course you can, but it is fraught with problems.
- Currency exchange. If you arrive at Colombo airport and from there immediately travel down the country, it makes sense to change money at the airport, because in small towns of the country, the exchange rate may be disadvantageous, or even will be hard to find.
- Currency exchange. Exchanging money at the airport or in the city, you should ask for small bills (change), you will need them.
- Where to change currency in Colombo. To change money in Colombo can be everywhere, exchange offices and banks very much. The best rates are generally in the whole country, you can find exchange offices in the centre in Colombo Fort street York Street and perpendicular lanes. But change there is no need in banks and authorized offices.
- Hotels. If you are staying in Colombo, only to sleep and to go further, it makes sense to stay in a hotel near by the centre in Colombo Fort or Pettah close to the railway and bus stations.
- Transport. If you plan to continue the journey from Colombo around the country by bus, it is better to rise early (5 am) to 6 a.m. have to be at the bus station. Later start a serious vehicle and human traffic.
- Security. Beware of people on the street who approach you on the street and start talking about where you and your name. Usually these conversations end up trying to trick you.