COLOMBO CITY TOUR, ITINERARY WITH COLOMBO WALKING TOUR

A one-day Colombo city tour and the Colombo walking tour are two popular short trips in Sri Lanka. During their short stay on the island, a large number of travelers, especially foreigners, book Colombo one-day tours. A foreign traveler may find it challenging to choose which of the spectacular sights in Colombo to include in their itinerary. This blog post gives you a clear picture of how to plan a memorable Colombo walking tour and a city tour.

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Colombo walking tour

Sure, you’re probably visiting Sri Lanka for its beaches, historical monuments, wildlife reserves and colonial tourist attractions. However, you cannot simply overlook Colombo, Sri Lanka’s economic hub and most populated city. Here is the blueprint for a one-day Colombo itinerary with a walking tour to explore the city’s tourist attractions.

One-day Colombo city tour itinerary with Colombo walking tour

A one-day Colombo itinerary and the Colombo walking tour are two popular short trips in Sri Lanka. During their short stay on the island, a large number of travelers, especially foreigners, book Colombo one-day outing trips. Foreign travelers who visit the island on short trips, as well as transit passengers, mostly book these tours.

Colombo walking tour as part of Sri Lanka trip

If you have planned a multi-day Sri Lanka trip such as a 7-day Sri Lanka tour and do not want to miss the exciting tourist hot spots in Colombo, taking part in a Colombo city tour is a pretty awesome way to start your Sri Lanka trip. You can also consider visiting Colombo at the tail end of your multi-day Sri Lanka trip.

Colombo city tour as a standalone activity

Colombo city tour can be booked as a standalone activity from your hotel in Colombo and many other beach resorts on the western province. Seerednipity tours offer this popular activity on daily basis. The Colombo city tour also starts from Colombo harbour for passengers who arrive on cruise ships. The Colombo city tour also starts from Colombo International Airport for passengers who disembark at Katunayake Airport.

How to book a Colombo city tour

For more information and to book the activity, the tourist can contact admin@seerendipitytours.com or WhatsApp at 0094774440977.

What are the Best places to visit in one day in the Colombo itinerary?

  1. Galle Face green
  2. Pettah
  3. Wolvendaal church
  4. Cinnamon garden
  5. Colombo Museum
  6. Viharamahadevi Pak
  7. Gangarama temple
  8. Independent memorial hall
  9. Lotus tower
  10. Galle Face park
  11. Racecourse precinct
  12. Floating market Colombo
  13. Red mosque
  14. Lotus Tower
  15. Hulftsdorp food street
  16. Dutch Hospital
  17. Manikka Winayagam Kovil
  18. Sima Malaka
  19. Colombo Lighthouse
  20. Green Path
  21. Beira Lake
  22. Dutch Period Museum
  23. National Museum
  24. OLd City Halla
  25. Simamalaka
  26. Geoffrey Bawa House

Map of Colombo Walking tour

Below is the map of the Colombo walking tour, which starts from Pettah and goes through Galle Face, Gangarama, Cinnamon Garden and Independent Square.

Map of Colombo Walking tour

What is the best time for one day in the Colombo itinerary?

Colombo is a year-round holiday destination with a tropical climate. The temperature of Sri Lanka hovers around 30 degrees Celcius throughout the year and humidity is measured to be between 85% to 90%. November to April is the best time to visit Sri Lanka’s west coast cities like Colombo. Visit Colombo from November to April and August for the best weather, During this period, the effects of the monsoon are minimal and there is very little rainfall, which means you get the best weather for sightseeing tours.

The day leading to Vesak full moon day (Full moon day of May), is always a good time to visit Colombo. During this period, various interesting activities are taking place in Colombo, and the city is filled with beautiful decorations in view of the celebration of the birth of Buddha.

A few facts about Colombo

The former capital of Sri Lanka is still playing a major role on the island, today, it is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, while the administrative capital is Jayawardenapura Kotte. Colombo is a cultural melting pot with Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and dozens of other ethnic and religious groups. The population of Sri Lanka is nearly 2 million people.

One-day in Colombo itinerary

The Colombo one-day itinerary includes a great deal of walking in Colombo and travelling in a luxury vehicle with your own driver guide. It is highly recommended to wear comfy shoes during the Colombo walking tour, during which you walk around 5 km. However, you can reduce the amount of time spent on walking and opt to drive. The adjustment can be made while talking to your guide, who is with you through the tour.

As always in Colombo, make sure to have plenty of fluid (drinking water) and a packet of wet wipes will never go amiss. Below is a comprehensive guide to a one day Colombo itinerary with a Colombo walking tour.

Sampling delicious Sri Lankan food on your Colombo one-day tour

Sampling indigenous food items in a foreign solid is always interesting and very tempting. That’s why we include Hulftsdorp food street in your Colombo walking tour. You will be visiting the Hulftsdorp food street towards the evening and it is the last activity of the Colombo walking tour. At the food street, you have the opportunity to taste a wide range of food varieties at a low cost. Your guide will help you find the best item for you.

What’s old is new again

Colombo was recently crowned the Ramsar wetland city in Asia, in fact, Colombo is the only city that has the prestigious status of being nature-friendly. The green cover of Colombo spreads far and wide and there is a healthy green cover even in the middle of the city.

Have Tea on your Colombo walking tour

Colombo is a great city to wake up in if you are a tea drinker. Sri Lanka is still one of the biggest producers of tea in the world. The world-renowned Ceylon tea is coming from this tropical nation, therefore, don’t fail to sip an unblended Ceylon tea if you like to know what it tastes like to have a freshly brewed cup of good tea.  

Head to a Restaurant such as “Tea Avenue” that serves the best Sri Lankan tea. They primarily serve Ceylon tea but you can also purchase Coffee. You can get a hold of tea in various flavours as per your choice, however, all are manufactured in Sri Lanka. They are not specialized in a single estate or tea coming from one particular region, therefore, you can order many different varieties of tea, such as BOPF, BOP, dark tea, Oolong tea, green tea, flavoring tea, silver tips, etc. As they collect tea from different island regions, the tea you order has a unique flavour, colour and aroma depending on the tea variety. Usually, the characteristics of tea vary depending on the elevations where they grow.

Your waiter can help you find the best tea variety that suits your taste, and at the same time, he will recommend that it be consumed with milk and sugar. Certain tea varieties, such as low-land dark tea, usually drink milk with a bit of sugar due to their bitter taste. Unlike the usual morning tea at home, most visitors spend here for a bit longer, perhaps they opt to have another additional cup of tea or a fresh-baked pastry from its kitchen.  

Must experience: sip a glass of arrack

Arrack cocktail! The classic Sri Lankan cocktail resembles many hard liquors around the world, such as rum, whiskey, and gin, and is consumed with orange juice, pineapple juice, Soda or any other soft drink. The description, as well as the taste, is truly delicious. It is purely a natural drink based on palm syrup, garnished with a piece of lemon, pineapple, apple and sometimes a lotus flower. Arrack is a drink for any occasion and is served at parties and all other important occasions. It is also a popular evening drink among working people of Sri Lanka and has become synonymous with Sri Lankan beaches and seafood. Not to be missed.

One day in Colombo, what to eat

Rice and curry are the staple diet of 90 per cent of Sri Lankans. Usually, the lunch and dinner of most people of Sri Lanka consist of rice and curry. The Sri Lankan kitchen has developed its own rice and curry culture over the past few centuries, which is popular among both locals and visitors from other countries. Despite being one of the fast-developing economies in the region, and a popular tourist destination, Sri Lanka attracts a large number of foreign visitors every year.

But Sri Lankans have been able to avert the internationalization of their culture, customs and traditions and maintain their own identity. Sri Lanka’s food habits may have changed a little bit in the cities, over the last few centuries, and some people have made a habit of depending on fast food such as burgers, fried chicken, potato wedges, etc, but still, a majority of people love to eat rice and curry.

Colombo is one of the busiest cities in Sri Lanka and provides plenty of opportunities for foodie travellers. Be it rice and curry, That food, Mongolian food, Chinese food or any other food variety you crave, Colombo is a city that gives you the opportunity to appease your tastebuds.

Pettah Bazaar area

Colombo walking tour, visiting Pettah for Shopping

Drop into Pettah market before you leave Colombo, and witness the largest open shopping complex on the island. The Pettah market spreads over a large area in central Colombo. Many hundreds of wholesale and retail shops, as well as street vendors, sell various items at affordable prices. Clothing, leather products, medicine, later items, electronic equipment, stationery, toys, foods, vegetables…the list goes on. Have a walk along the busy streets of Pettah with your guide; that’s the best way to explore this busy market. In fact, it will be a daunting task to travel through Pettah because the roads are very crowded.    

Colombo floating market, the newest addition to the shopping experience in the city, resides a few hundred meters from Pettah. As the name suggests, it floats on the nearby lake and is a place to buy various items such as gems and jewelry, textiles, souvenirs, food, leather items, etc.  

Where do I start my Colombo city tour?

Colombo is packed with spectacular sights and it might be hard for a foreign traveller to figure out which to include on their tour. The best place to start your Colombo city tour is Pettah, which is the centre of the city and it is easy to reach any tourist sight from Here. Pettah is dominated by the central market, which is the biggest market on the island, and spreads over many square kilometres. Apart from that, travelers can also witness numerous colonial buildings as well as modern high-rise buildings in Colombo. A few hundred meters away from the Central Market, along York Street, are the old colonial buildings used for various purposes during the British administration in Sri Lanka. One of the colonial buildings with a uniquely British style painted in red, named the “Cargills Building,” is still being used as a shopping complex.

Independence Square is a monument dedicated to remembering Sri Lanka’s independence from foreign rulers. In front of the monument is a statue of the first prime minister of Sri Lanka, D.S Senanayake. The indolence of Sri Lanka was a very big event and it was a relentless and very hard effort of many hundreds, of thousands of local people. Colombo was the capital of Sri Lanka during the British colonial era; however, none of the Sri Lankan kings chose it as their capital in the past. Gangarama temple. The Gangarama temple is centrally located in Colombo and it is easy to reach any other tourist sight from Gangarama temple.

What are the places to visit on a Colombo walking tour?

Even though there are dozens of interesting tourist places in Colombo, your walking tour includes the below-mentioned places as well as a few other minorly important tourist places due to time constraints. 

  • Pettah
  • Viharamahadevi gardens
  • Gangarama temple
  • Galle face
  • Independent square
  • Wolvendaal church
  • Colombo floating market
  • BMICH
  • Colombo National museum
  • Cinnamon garden

1. Visit Galle Face on a Colombo walking tour

Galle Face is one of the most popular parks in Colombo, located adjacent to the ocean. Usually, most tourists visit Galleface Green during their first day on the Sri Lanka itinerary. It is a place to embrace the refreshing sea breeze while enjoying calm and quietness within the city. Even though it is located amidst the busiest areas of Colombo, it is very calm and quiet here. The park spreads over 5 hectares, or 12 acres, which stretch about 500 meters, and it has about 100 meters. This ocean-side open park is located in the heart of Colombo.

Galle Face was a project initiated by Governor Sir Henry George Ward in 1859, and it was spreading over a much larger area than today.  The Galle Face Green was used for horse racing at the beginning and it was a multipurpose playground as well, used as the venue for tennis, cricket, golf, rugby and football play.

A large number of city dwellers gather here every day to engage in jogging and other sports, especially in the morning and evening. Galle Face Green is the largest open area in Colombo today. The best time to visit Galle face green is towards the late evening so that you can witness one of the most beautiful sunsets.

Galle Face is a popular spot among kids, teenagers, lovers, vendors, merrymakers, kite surfers, and all those who wish to engage in their pastime activities next to the sea under the open sky. On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays the Galle face green is busy with picnickers, day-trippers, and vendors selling various items such as peanuts, deep-fried potatoes, cooked crabs and prawns, and fruits with pepper and salt.

2. One day in Colobmo visiting Pettah

Pettah: This is the best place to start your Colombo city tour, and it is simple to reach any tourist attraction from here. The central market, spanning many square kilometers and serving as the island’s largest market, dominates Pettah. Apart from that, travelers can also witness numerous colonial buildings as well as modern high-rise buildings in Colombo. A few hundred meters away from the Central Market, along York Street, are the old colonial buildings used for various purposes during the British administration in Sri Lanka. The “Cargills Building,” a red-painted colonial building with a distinctive British style, continues to serve as a shopping complex.

Pettah is the busiest corner of Colombo and is located towards the western border of the city near the harbour and Fort. Pettah is most popular on the island for its market, which has a series of open-air bazaars and markets selling various items from gift items and toys to sovereign gold, Pettah is popular among the people of Sri Lanka as a market to buy good products in a lower cost.

A large number of wholesale and retail shops, restaurants, buildings, commercial institutions and other organizations are concentrated here. The Pettah market is huge and the main segment of the market looks like a gigantic crossword puzzle, where travellers can walk through the entire market from dawn to dusk, but not completely cover all parts of the market.

Pettah is the English name of the open bazaar derived from the Tamil word Pettai, which is an Anglo-Indian word indicating the suburb outside of the fort. The same place is named pita-kotuwa, which is a Sinhalese name that also means the area outside of the fort.

3. Visiting Wolvendaal church on a Colombo walking tour

Wolvendaal Church (Wolvendaalse Kerk) is one of the most popular monuments built by the Dutch East Indian Company of Sri Lanka in 1749. This historical monument is part of everyone’s day in the Colombo itinerary.

Wolvendaal church sits in Pettah at one of the highest points in the city overlooking the Indian Ocean. It is one of the oldest Dutch-built buildings on the island.

This protestant church is still in very good shape and few families are still gathering regularly at the church. The church is built after the Doric style of the period, and has the shape of a Greek cross (i.e. legs of equal length), with 1.5 meters (five feet) thick massive wall. Large Kabok stones (clay ironstone) had been used to make the structure while the outer layer of the wall is made of coral and lime plaster.

4. Visiting Cinnamon Garden on the Colombo walking tour

Colombo 7 better known as “cinnamon garden” is the most picturesque part of the city, where you find spacious gardens and mansions, ones occupied by wealthy British planters and government officers. Most of those spacious bungalows were built in the early 18s.

Admire the tropical neo-Victorian architecture here, those are still in very good shape and occupied by wealthy people. Some of the buildings have been converted into hotels, restaurants, shops and galleries where you can stop to purchase souvenirs, clothing, spices and many other things or grab a bite for lunch.

Colombo 7 is one of the oldest areas of Colombo with many interesting places to explore such as the town hall, BMICH, independent square, Gangarama temple, and Simamalaka. Here you get plenty of options for fine dining and shopping too.

5. One day in Colombo visiting the Museum

If you like to explore the rich historical past of Sri Lanka, make a visit to the historical museum of Colombo.

The museum is located in Colombo 7. The official residence of the British government has been converted into a museum and features a large collection of valuable artefacts from the pre-Christian era to modern times. The valuable artefacts are from Sri Lanka as well as many other countries around the world.

Most artefacts that are been displayed here are found in the historical cities of Sri Lanka such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya. Some of these artefacts date back to the 3rd century BC. The museum is demarcated into several parts depending on the artefacts that are being displayed such as historical artefacts, paintings, and artefacts from the colonial era.

Afterwards, head to the Laksala, which is managed by the government and offers a large collection of cloth, batik, souvenir, masks, lacquer works, gems and jewellery as well as many other things required by foreign travellers. All the pieces being displayed are from indigenous artists.  

6. Visiting Viharamahdevi – one day in Colombo itinerary

Viharamahadvi Park former Victoria Park of Colombo is an important attraction in the city and is the most popular and spacious public part of Colombo. Most Colombo city tours include Viharamahadevi Park and this walking tour also covers the beautiful Viharamahadevi Park.  Viharamahadevi Park is situated in the influential resents area Colombo 7 and next to Colombo Museum. The park was opened during the British colonial era in Sri Lanka and it is the oldest park in Colombo.

History of Viharamahadevi Park

In the beginning, the park was called Queen Victoria Park and was later renamed Viharamahadevi Park, the mother of King Dutugamunu. The land that occupies the garden was a gift to the municipal council during the British rule of Sri Lanka it was donated by Charles Henry de Soysa. It was occupied by the British army with the Australian 17th Brigade during world war ll. With the ending of world war ll, it was reopened to the general public in 1951.

It had also been used as a cricket gourd in the past (1927) and served as a venue for first-class cricket, the national team of Sri Lanka played against a touring English team at Viharamadevi ground in 1927 and against an Australian team in 1935.

Well maintained and landscaped garden features exquisite lawns, small lakes, fountains, play areas for kids and a jogging track. Viharamahdevi jogging track is very popular among the morning joggers, city dwellers and people, who come to Colombo from faraway destinations because it is a place to have leisure and rest while enjoying the company of thick tropical vegetation.

Viharamahadevi garden is very spacious; it has a large collection of tropical trees and plants and they are providing shelter for visitors. Viharamahadevi provides permanent residence to a variety of different bird species such as kingfishers, parakeets, mynah, Bats and Squirrels. Pay a visit to this fascinating garden on your walking tour in Colombo.

7. Visiting Gangarama temple on a Colombo walking tour

Gangarama Buddhist temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Colombo and is located near Viharamahadevi Park. The temple is a very important Buddhist religious site in Colombo and showcases modern architecture and cultural essence; the temple is visited by a large number of devotees every day. According to the historical notes, the temple was founded in the late 19th century by a scholarly monk, known as Hikkaduwe Sri Sumanagala Thera.

The beautiful temple has unique architecture demonstrating an eclectic mix of Indian, Chinese, Thai and Sri Lankan characters. The temple stands out from the other Buddhist religious sites in Sri Lanka mainly due to its large museum. The temple has a large collection of finely crafted Buddha statues and god figures. The precious items are housed in the temple’s museum, where the visitors can see thousands of valuable ancient artefacts, gem-studded Buddha statues, figures made of gold and various other items.  There is a large number of colourful Buddhist paintings in the temple and some of them are to be found in the image house and some other Buddhist paintings are painted into the selling of the shrine room next to the sacred bo-tree.

Gangarama temple is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Colombo. Located at the heart of Colombo the temple comprises 2 main parts, which are about 100 meters away from each other. The temple houses a large number of Buddha statues and many other Buddhist insignia from other Buddhist countries in the world. Don’t forget to visit the museum of the temple, which is one of the most popular parts of the temple with a large number of very valuable artefacts such as ivory Buddha statues, gold, gems and a rare collection of minerals, automobiles and many other antiques. As you enter the temple, it is the main image house of the temple with large seated Buddha statues, reclining Buddha statues and standing Buddha statues. Next to the image house is a shrine room with Hindu deities such as Vishnu, where people venerate those Hindu gods. Having shrines of 2 different religions next to each other is very rare and it symbolises the religious harmony among the people of Sri Lanka.  

The headquarter of the temple is only 100 meters away from Beira Lake; even today a part of the temple, which is known as Simamalaka is located on an island in the middle of the lake. Simamalaka is made of wood and designed by the veteran Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa.

 Even though the temple is located at the heart of Colombo, it spreads over a huge plot of land and has all the elements required by a Buddhist temple such as Stupa (dome-shaped reliquary), sacred Bo-tree (ficus relgiosa), Image house (Vihara ge) and assembly hall for monks. In addition to the above-mentioned building, a three-storied school for monks, educational halls, a museum, a library, and a residential hall can also be found on the premises.

All visitors to these sacred places are supposed to dress in a particular manner to uphold their religious values. There is a set of rules that every visitor to religious sites observes while visiting sacred places in Sri Lanka. If you are wondering what these rules are, check out this article “13 RULES TO OBSERVE WHILE VISITING SRI LANKA BUDDHIST TEMPLE, SRI LANKA TEMPLE DRESS CODE TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH DRES’ CODE“.

8. Visiting the independent memorial hall on a Colombo walking tour

Independent Square and the Independent Memorial Hall are included in most Colombo city tours such as the Colombo walking tour. It is one of the most popular landmarks in the city, which is a reminiscence of Sri Lanka’s independence from British rule. Next to the Independent memorial hall is the Independence Memorial Museum.

Towards the northern end of the building is the statue of Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake, who had been a key player in the independence struggle. Independent Square had been used as the venue for many independent day celebrations in the past. The building follows the architecture of the celebration hall of Kandy better known as “Magul maduwa”, which shows the characteristics of typical Sri Lankan architecture.  

Lotus tower

9. One day In Colombo visiting Lotus tower

Lotus Tower is the newest addition to the city, which opened its door to visitors in 2019. Lotus Tower, in Sinhalese “Nelum Kuluna”, is the tallest structure on the island. The lotus tower is consisting of two parts, a Highrise tower and on top of it is a structure built in the shape of a lotus flower. The main building takes the shape of a lotus flower because the lotus flower is special to the island since it is closely related to Buddhism.

Most importantly, the lotus tower is depicting a new chapter of Sri Lanka’s economic development, the massive structure is not only the highest building on the island but also in South Asia.     

The lotus tower occupies 3.6 hectares of land in the heart of Colombo and is located on the D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha. The tower rises up to 350 meters above the surrounding area. There is a 30,600 sqm of floor area in the tower, which is divided into 27 floors. The imposing structure is equipped with 8 elevators and 2 of them are high-speed elevators. These high-speed elevators can lift you up to 350 meters in 33 seconds.

There is 4 entrance to the tower and 2 of them are reserved for special occasions, which means only 2 doors are open to the general public. A special passing system is in operation in the tower to regulate and issue permits to visit the site. Visitors need to buy a separate entrance ticket to each floor. For instance, if you buy the entrance ticket to the revolving restaurant you can t enter the banquet hall with it.

One of the most striking features of the lotus tower is the revolving restaurant, which gives you the ability to have a panoramic view over the entire city, within 1 hour and 30 minutes, as the restaurant revolves 360 degrees in a clockwise direction.

The Lotus Tower is now open to travellers, however, only a few areas of the tower are open to travellers. The observation deck with a 360-degree view over Colombo and the Indian Ocean and the revolving restaurant are open for travellers. The ticket prices are Rs. 500 and Rs. 2000 for local tourists and US$20 for foreigners. Local tourists who purchase a ticket of Rs 2,000 can enter the premises without queuing. It is possible to go up the tower even more than once. A person who gets a ticket of Rs 500 can go up the tower only once. It is also planned to introduce a QR code instead of a ticket.

10. Galle Face Park on Colombo walking tour

Galle face park is the latest addition to the collection of exciting places in Colombo. This modern park was opened to the public in December 2020. As the name suggests it is located next to the Galle face green and the park spreads over 2 acres. The beautifully laid park is consisting of jogging areas, open cafeterias, and shops. A large extent of the park harbours various trees and plants and there is a large number of flowering plants among them. The park is ideal for a leisurely walk, jogging, having a delicious meal under the stars or just sitting on a bank and relaxing while enjoying the sea breeze.

11. One day in Colombo with Racecourse

The racecourse precinct is a plush dining and shopping complex, located at the heart of Colombo. It was established by British colonial rulers in 1893. The racecourse was later converted to an airfield during world war II.

The pavilion of the racecourse is one of the iconic colonial buildings in Colombo owned by the Ceylon Turf Club in the early 19s. It was frequented by wealthy British planters, politicians and businessmen, who enjoyed horse racing. However, horse races were not given a prominent place in society after the independence from the British in 1948, therefore racecourse was largely neglected by the local people. The mini pavilion was not used for commercial activities for many decades and was poorly maintained.

After many decades of the interval, it was given its former glory and turned into an upmarket shopping complex and sports complex. Which is a part of the program of government to improve the infrastructure of Colombo in order to improve Colombo’s attractiveness. The racecourse was opened to the public in 2012 after the refurbishment.

The racecourse was given a facelift by Sri Lankan forces making it one of the best places for shopping and dining in Colombo. Part of the racecourse is a sports complex with state-of-the-art facilities and it is capable of hosting international rugby matches. Today racecourse is the main venue for rugby matches and it harbours facilities confirming international standards.

The mini pavilion of the racecourse, which was existing since the beginning of the racecourse is fully restored and converted into a shopping complex and sports complex with restaurants, textile shops, and gift and craft shops.

12. Visiting Floating Market Colombo on a walking tour

Floating Market Colombo is a novel concept for the people of Sri Lanka and it was opened to the public in 2014. Colombo floating market is the first of its kind on the island. The floating market is a part of the ambitious program of the government of Sri Lanka to make Colombo a tourist hot spot in the future. Under the development program, many changes have been done in Colombo such as renovating the colonial building, building new parks, building walking paths, re-establishing busy government offices outside of Colombo, and protecting wetlands located writhing the borders of Colombo are some of them.

13. Red Mosque A must-visit place on Colombo one-day tour

JAMI-UL-ALFAR MAJID Popularly known as “the red mosque” or “Rathu Palliya” is a must-visited place for people, who are interested in foreign religions, foreign cultures and buildings with unique architecture. The red mosque is a very popular tourist attraction in Colombo and is visited by thousands of travellers every day. The red mosque is located overlooking the Colombo harbour, at the heart of Colombo, better known as Pettah.    

The red mosque is one of the Muslim mosques in Colombo with very unique architecture and colour of its own. There is no other mosque or building like this in Colombo or elsewhere. The mosque is called a red mosque due to the dominating colour of its walls, which is bright red and it has white strips from top to bottom. The architecture of this unique building is unique and known as Indo-sardonic architecture. Indo-sardonic architecture has a combination of Indian and Islam architectural features. The dorm of the building is coloured red and white and has the shape of a pomegranate.

The mosque was first constructed in 1908, more than 110 years ago. The building was funded by Muslim traders who came to Colombo from India, due to this fact the mosque is also called an Indian mosque. Sri Lanka was a popular trading centre among merchants for many thousands of years. CoMany thousands of foreign traders from nations like India, China, and the Arab world visited Colombo harbor.hese ancient Muslim merchants used the red mosque to engage in their religious observances. Today, the red mosque still plays a big role as a place for religious activities for Muslims and at the same time, it has become a popular tourist attraction.  

As in most Mosques, the females are not allowed to enter the red mosques, however, a special area is allocated for females.

14. One day in Colombo visiting Lotus Tower

Lotus Tower is located in the heart of Colombo and it rises up to 350 m (1,150 ft) from the ground making it one of the tallest structures in Southe Asia. Lotus Tower is the 11th tallest tower in Asia and the 19th tallest tower in the world. The newly built structure has been able to get the attention of travellers already and it has become an iconic tourist attraction in Colombo. The tower takes the shape of a lotus flower with a stem. It is planned to use the lotus tower for various projects such as telecommunication, TV broadcasting, seminars and conference, observation, leisure and recreation activities. The gigantic tower was constructed at a cost of USD 113 million.

15. One day in Colombo visiting Hulftsdorp food street

Hulftsdorp food street is one of the best spots to quench your thirst for delicious Sri Lankan fast food. You will feel the aroma of meat and the sound of sizzling pans as you enter the crowded street. The vibe of the Hulftsdorp food street is always very inviting for food lovers and it is packed with vendors, tuk-tuks, and stalls as well as food lovers.

Hulftsdorp food street is located at the heart of Colombo, next to the Supreme Court in Colombo 12. Hulftsdorp food street is one of the best places to expose yourself to the street food culture of Sri Lanka. The visitors can witness many dozens of stalls and street vendors selling large numbers of food varieties at affordable prices.

Whatever you crave, there is something for everyone in the Hulftsdorp food street, as it offers a large variety of food. Some of the popular food varieties in the Hulftsdorp food street are rice and cuddy, delicious kebab, biriyani, sandwich, barbeque meat items, deep-fried fish and meat, naan, roti, Wadey and many more.

16. Colombo walking tour-Dutch Hospital

This Dutch-era structure, which is terracotta-tiled, was constructed in the early 1600s. It has been meticulously restored and is now the location of a variety of trendy restaurants, cafes, and stores. The hospital in use, with patients arranged on mattresses beneath the stars, is a mere possibility in the central courtyard, which is currently populated with stone picnic benches and surrounded by low, tiled canopies.

e Old Dutch Hospital precinct is one of the oldest buildings in Colombo, and a Colombo city tour without a Dutch hospital is incomplete. The building was originally built by the Dutch East India Compa ny in the early 16s. The building functioned as a hospital for officers of the Dutch East Indian Company and Dutch soldiers. The area, where the Dutch hospital is to be found is Called Fort or Pettah in the local language, that’s because since the early 7th century Arabs started this area to use a fort and a trading port and later Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial rulers continued with it. Today the entire complex is turned into a shopping and dining complex offering a large number of great boutiques and restaurants.

History

The Portuguese, who arrived in Sri Lanka in the 16th century and gradually colonized the island, initially established Colombo Fort, which is now home to the hospital. The Dutch incorporated the hospital into the fort complex after they recaptured the city from the Portuguese after a seven-month siege in 1656.

The hospital was constructed to accommodate the Dutch East India Company’s personnel, including those who were stationed on land and those who arrived on extended maritime voyages. Consequently, the structure was situated in close proximity to the city’s port. It was the largest hospital in the nation upon its completion. The structure was once adjacent to a canal; however, British colonialists filled it in after they defeated the Dutch and invaded the city.

The hospital was utilized as a police station and apothecary following Sri Lanka’s independence from Britain in 1948. It was subsequently restored and reopened as a shopping complex, restaurant, and bar in 2011.

17. Colombo walking tour-Manikka Winayagam Kovil

This is quite unknown but a very beautiful Hindu temple in Colombo. The temple is located in Colombo 3 or better known as Bambalapitiya, a few kilometres south of the heart of Colombo. The main entrance to the temple is from The Colombo-Galle main road. Manikka Winayagam Kovil is one of the biggest Hindu temples in Colombo, therefore, it can provide space for a large number of devotees. The temple was undergoing a huge upgrade recently, and its Gopuram as well as the main building were enlarged. Statues, sculptures and colourful paintings are everywhere in the temple. The travellers can witness a large number of statues in the temple, which represent various Hindu gods and other important characters.

18. One day Colombo walking tour with Sima Malaka

Is part of the Gangarama temple and has a unique location in the Beira Lake. The temple is built on a raised platform and its height is just enough to poke out of the water surface of the Beira Lake. Geoffrey Bawa, a seasoned architect, designed Sima Malaka, which generous Muslim merchant S.H. Moosajee funded for construction. Sima Malaka houses a large number of Buddha statues and a small Sacred Bo tree. The visitors of Sima Malaka can enjoy beautiful scenery across Beira Lake and be exposed to the cool breeze.

19. Visiting Colombo Lighthouse on a Colombo walking tour

Colombo lighthouse is located a few hundred kilometres from the popular Galle face on the harbour road. The view from the platform on top of the lighthouse commands a nice aerial view over most parts of Colombo and the ocean. The site of the lighthouse is the perfect place to spend a little bit of time if you visit Colombo during midday. The cool sea breeze allows you to escape from the scorching heat of the city.

20. Green Pathing: Colombo walking tour

Another cosy corner of Colombo for relaxing and calm, the green path is sandwiched between the Viharamahadevi and Nelum Pokuna. The green path is also known as Ananda Kumaraswamy Mawatha, and it can be a bit of a busy road at a time. Green Path is the venue for many special events in Colombo. Art exhibitions and food festivals are organized here very often. During these special events, the road is closed to traffic so that the traffic will not disturb the visitors. Visiting the food festival is very worthwhile and the food festival offers a large variety of food items to try.  The green Path is very spacious and therefore it has space for a large number of Stalls along with a big car park. A large number of artists have set up their temporary stalls with their paintings along the tree-lined shady road and most of their canvas paintings are lovely. So if you are an art lover and like to buy a beautiful canvas of local scenery with a local touch, you better head on to the green path art exhibition.

21 Beira Lake

Numerous sizable city enterprises encircle the lake. It once covered about 165 hectares of land, but for a variety of reasons, that area has now been reduced to just 65 hectares. You can cross the bridge to the island of lovers, wander through the peaceful lanes shaded by the trees, go swan boating on the lake, visit the water temple, or just grab some juice or tea from the stores or restaurants around. For some time now, the walkways on the road level and the paths that encircle Lake Beira have been wonderfully maintained. It’s a pretty green place. It’s a lovely area to stroll. Swan boat excursion You can rent a swan-shaped boat and enjoy a half-hour cruise on the lake. During your boat ride, you may see giant-beaked birds or flocks of ducks. There is a huge bridge that leads to a little, stunning island. This island covered with an abundance of plants and flowers. Beira Lake’s most well-known location is the Seema Malaka (Water Temple). The temple is a great spot to decompress and offers a serene setting for Beira Lake.

The Beira Lake is in front of the Gangarama temple. You can take a bus or a Tuk Tuk to visit Beira Lake. Prices from Pettah to Beira Lake Taxi: Rs. 280; Tuk Tuk: Rs. 180 Visit the lake when it’s lit up for Vesak; the temple there will appear especially lovely.

22. Dutch Period Museum

This distinctive museum was initially the domicile of the Dutch governor in the 17th century. It has since been utilized as a Catholic seminary, a military hospital, a police station, and a post office. A lovely garden courtyard is situated within the mansion, which has maintained a charming, fading appearance since its 1977 restoration. Dutch colonial furniture and other artifacts are featured in the exhibits.

King Rajasinghe II of the Kingdom of Kandy here signed the treaty that allowed the Dutch access to Ceylon in 1638.

23. National Museum

This delightful Colombo museum, sprawling across a gleaming white, neo-Baroque structure constructed for the purpose by William Henry Gregory, Governor of Ceylon, in 1877, offers a captivating walk through Sri Lankan history. Rooms guide visitors through each of Sri Lanka’s historical kingdoms, with display boards that elucidate the significance of the mudras (gestures and poses) on the Buddha statues.

You will come across a variety of art, carvings, and statuary from Sri Lanka’s ancient past, as well as swords, firearms, and other Colonial-era paraphernalia. A collection of antique demon masks and 19th-century reproductions of English paintings of Sri Lanka are also present.

Before visiting the Ancient Cities and Kandy, it is imperative to witness the powerhouse displays in Rooms 2 through 5. Search for the majestic royal throne constructed for King Wimaladharmasuriya II in 1693, as well as the 9th-century Bodhisattva Sandals, which resemble two enormous bronze feet.

Sri Lankan arts, crafts, and culture are the focus of the galleries located upstairs. A decent café serving Sri Lankan food, a Laksala gift store, and a small Natural History Museum with an oddball collection of skeletons and stuffed animals are all located in the grounds under the shade of banyan trees.

24. Old City Hall

This municipal building from the British era, which dates back to 1865, is largely vacant today, with the exception of a few old trucks and municipal equipment that are on exhibit in the ground-floor galleries. But if you allow the attendants to guide you up the vintage mahogany staircase (and give them a tip of Rs 100), you will find waxwork in the old council chambers. Replicas of the town’s inaugural councillors from 1906 are situated there, their surfaces obscured by grime.

It is slightly ghoulish and comical, particularly in light of the green radiance emanating from the stained glass. The windows provide a view that elevates you above the bustling outside environment. Please take a look at the deteriorated firetrucks that Japan once donated.

25. Simamalaka

An island situated on the eastern side of the South Beira Lake is one of the most frequently photographed locations in Colombo. Gangaramaya Temple runs this tiny but captivating meditation center that Geoffrey Bawa designed in 1985. When illuminated at night, the pavilions are particularly impressive, with one containing Thai bronze Buddhas and the other centered on a bodhi tree and four Brahmanist images. The poetic original is less empathetically received by the new additions.

26. Geoffrey Bawa House

The residence where the renowned architect Bawa resided from 1960 to 1970 is located at the end of this tranquil little street. The house combines his typical fondness for traditional local forms with the pure white architectural palette he preferred. You have the opportunity to explore the interior, which features custom furnishings, as well as the small gardens. You may also reserve a portion of the residence by expressing your interest in residing there. Reserve visits in advance.

Why you should book a Colombo walking tour with Serendipity Tours

Seerendipity Tour is an entirely locally owned travel company with a head office in Colombo. The highly experienced local staff is a key strength of Seerendipity Tours, and they can plan your dream holiday to Sri Lanka.

The best price guaranteed for your Sri Lanka trip

When you book a tour with Seerendipity Tours, you directly book the tour with the local company, which means there are no middlemen and therefore you can guarantee the best price. Simply get in touch with us and let us know when you travel and what you like to see.

Plan your best Sri Lanka trip with-expert

Our staff makes a personalised programme for you, which you can change until you find the best Sri Lanka trip package for you. You can also browse our existing tour packages for inspiration (www.sirilaktours.com); all our ready-made tour packages are customizable and can be tailored to meet all your expectations. Write to us at admin@seerendipitytours.com, tel. 0094-77-440977, WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977

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