Travel information about Colombo (Sri Lanka)

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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).

Current time in Colombo*
The time difference with the cities:
Moscow: +2.5 Samara: +1.5
Kazan: +2.5 Nizhny Novgorod: +2.5
Ekaterinburg: +0.5 Novosibirsk: -1.5
Irkutsk: -2.5 Vladivostok: -4.5
* - if time is incorrect, refresh the page Ctrl+F5:

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.

Коломбо, Шри-Ланка Colombo Fort

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...

Центр медитаций Seema Malakaya, Коломбо, Шри-Ланка The meditation center Seema Malakaya

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...

Продавец риса в районе Петтах, Коломбо, Шри-Ланка The seller of rice in the Pettah district

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.

Burger King в Коломбо, Шри-Ланка Burger King in Colombo

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:

Обмен валюты в Коломбо, Шри-Ланка Currency exchange in Colombo

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 ()

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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*

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
                       

* best time to visit;
appropriate time to visit;
not a recommended time to visit

The temperature in Colombo by months
Jan Feb Mar APR may Jun Jul Aug Saint Oct Noah Dec 26.6° 26.9° 27.7° 28.2° 28.3° 28.0° 27.6° 27.5° 27.5° 27.0° 26.7° 26.6°
Precipitation in Colombo by months
Jan Feb Mar APR may Jun Jul Aug Saint Oct Noah Dec 58.2 mm 72.7 mm 128.0 mm 245.6 mm 392.4 mm 185.0 mm 121.9 mm 119.5 mm 245.0 mm 365.4 mm 314.0 mm 175.3 mm

Current weather in Colombo and the forecast for the near future:

  • 10 APR
    0:00
    +25°C
    2m/s
    RH. 84%
  • 10 APR
    9:00
    +31°C
    4m/s
    RH. 60%
  • 10 APR
    18:00
    +27°C
    1m/s
    RH. 79%
  • 11 APR
    3:00
    +29°C
    1m/s
    RH. 71%
  • 11 APR
    12:00
    +29°C
    4m/s
    RH. 71%
  • 11 APR
    21:00
    +26°C
    1m/s
    RH. 81%
  • 12 APR
    6:00
    +30°C
    3M/s
    RH. 64%
  • 12 APR
    15:00
    +27°C
    1m/s
    RH. 79%
  • 13 APR
    0:00
    +26°C
    1m/s
    RH. 84%
  • 13 APR
    9:00
    +30°C
    4m/s
    RH. 67%
  • 13 APR
    18:00
    +26°C
    1m/s
    RH. 84%
  • April 14
    3:00
    +29°C
    1m/s
    RH. 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

Коломбо, Шри-Ланка Train 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

Коломбо, Шри-Ланка Tuk-tuk in Colombo

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.

Read more about transport in Colombo and than to move on here...

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.

Details about all sights of Colombo with an indication of their work time, cost, and ways to get here...

Храм Гангарамайя, Коломбо, Шри-Ланка Gangaramaya Temple

Helpful information

  • 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.
Comments / recent posts on the topic on the forum
vitalka787 December 9, 2016
Thank You So Much)) ...
Alexa 13 January, 2017
Good day! how are the flights in connection with the repair of the Colombo airport? There is a delay? Queue? Thank you. ...
Chita Vyacheslav 12 November, 2017
Hello, pliz tell me where to look for the bus with номер187 . Everywhere is different information , some people write after leaving the airport, turn left , turn right others write . How to look for bass . Thank you! ...
admin 12 November, 2017

Hello Sheri! All information is different, because at various times he apparently was sent from different places or simply different tourists caught it on the way. Three years ago he was left at the site, ogorojennaja fence from stacks, netting, car Park. If the situation has not changed, look for it there. But for reliability it is better to ask on the spot, not on the street, the taxi drivers, they immediately say that there is nothing, and inside the airport at the employees at the front Desk and tourist information for example. Make sure you double check/ask again information from several people. ...
ZNAdejda January 14, 2019
Input Board obsolete. Now many churches have tickets (they cost 300-400 rupees per person) plus the cost of photo/video shooting and helpers remuneration for additional services. And donations for the development of the temple a separate issue to the discretion of the individual, and for this purpose there are special boxes. ...
admin 15 January, 2019

Hello! Thanks for the info, we at the Colombo detour last time I did about four years ago. So if you have specific information at a cost to the temples, will share it here. ...
mirobell 18 October, 2019
Please tell me, as at Colombo airport is the situation with queues at the inspection and registration of PI flight?
The memories of Goa covers the horror of possible traffic jams and the need to arrive 5 hours to do everything ...
admin October 18, 2019

Everything is absolutely fine with it. This year I flew immediately after the attacks, while strong security measures are stepped up, a lot of the checks was starting in the street in front of the terminal. But all passed in a matter of minutes. The bigger issue was that due to inspections are not passed to the terminal of the machine, carefully inspect them, so there were huge traffic jams. In the end, simply let go of the taxi and walked the last half kilometer on foot. so quickly turned. But I think now everything has calmed down. ...
Ana 27 October, 2019
Tell me, please, how much time is spent on passing inspection on arrival?
What to take plenty of time from arrival to ordering a taxi? ...
admin October 31, 2019

Hello! Sorry for the delay in response, myself on the trip, do not always have time to answer. All very quickly, I always passed for about 15-20 minutes and in this time have Luggage on the ribbon, was waiting. But I on e-visa drove always, and now you can get free visa on arrival. So add another 30 minutes for a visa if suddenly the queue will be, and to change money, buy SIM card. I would 40 minutes in the end all planned. ...