What Are The Things To See And Do On An 8-hour Layover In Colombo and Mattala Sri Lanka?

Why spend your transit in Colombo airport stuck in the duty-free area or food court when you have the opportunity to explore Colombo’s top attractions? Choose your best package depending on the availability of time. Walk through the Sri Lanka historical monuments, take a wildlife tour to see wild elephants and leopards, relax on the palm-fringed pristine beaches, taste a platter of seafood, and rejuvenate body and mind on an Ayurveda massage. Your hassle-free tour includes everything from arrival to departure. Even you can make a custom itinerary based on the things that interest you. Visit Gangarama temple in Colombo, eat traditional Sri Lanka rice&curry, stroll through wide sandy beaches, and more. Whatever you decide, your private guide is with you every step of the way to ensure an authentic Sri Lankan experience.

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Why do you love these layover tours in Colombo?

  • Ideal private tours for a personalized experience of many interesting places in Colombo
  • Airport pickup is included to save you the hassle of finding a meeting point
  • No waiting time at the airport regardless of the arrival and departure time
  • Benefit from the undivided attention of a private guide
  • Flexible starting times, which can be adjusted to your arrival time

Why spend your Colombo layover stuck in the airport duty-free area or food court when you have the opportunity to explore Colombo’s top attractions? Choose your best package depending on the availability of time. Walk through the Sri Lanka historical monuments in the cultural triangle, take a wildlife tour to see wild elephants and leopards, relax on the palm-fringed pristine beaches, taste a platter of seafood, and rejuvenate your body and mind on an Ayurveda massage. Your hassle-free tour includes everything from arrival to departure. Even you can make a custom itinerary based on the things that interest you. Whatever you decide, your private guide is with you every step of the way to ensure an authentic Sri Lankan experience.

What Are The Things To See And Do On An 8-hour Layover In Colombo Sri Lanka?

  • Colombo city tour: Duration 4-6 hours
  • Negombo city tour and beach tour: Duration 4 hours
  • Daycation: 5 hours
  • Ayurveda treatment: 3 hours
  • Bentota tour: Duration 8 hours
  • Southern Sri Lanka tour: Duration 8 hours
  • Day trip to Kitulgala: Duration 10 hours

8-hour Layover In Colombo Sri Lanka And Mattala Sri Lanka

Bandaranayke international airport, Mattala international airport, and Colombo international harbour are the 3 main gateways to Sri Lanka. We get emails from our readers very often with questions like “What are the things to do at Colombo airport?”, ” What are the things to do on an 8-hour layover in Colombo Sri Lanka?”, “What are the places to visit at Colombo airport?”. Due to the increasing inquiries for things to do at Colombo airport, I thought of crafting this blog post and hope it is going to serve a large number of travellers in the future. Because Sri Lanka is a popular transit hub in southern Asia and a large number of travellers visit Sri Lanka on their transit.

The layover in Colombo and Mattala offers you many affordable cultural experiences that act as escape routes from the overpriced tedium of standard airport and port venues. Colombo international airport is the main airport on the island and it handles more than 90 per cent of inbound and outbound flights.

After a long tedious flight, the descent into a new city can awaken the senses. The gradually magnifying aerial view dissolves into bright lights signifying vibrant life that can be felt even from your vantage point in the sky. If Colombo, Sri Lanka is not the wondrous new place you are heading to, thoughts of exploring this fascinating destination are likely to be stunted, because you will not feel like being in Sri Lanka since you are still on a layover. Like in any other airport and port in the world, the chain stores are bored with unnecessary offerings, the costly restaurants with daily menus you encounter everywhere and the intolerable waiting areas make it impossible to settle into even a few minute’s naps.     

How to find an escape route from the overpriced tedium of Sri Lankan airports and the harbour is definitely a worthy mission, though, and there are many places to explore on your layover in Colombo or Mattala. Layover on Colombo’s west coast or Mattala on the southern coast offers many cultural, wildlife, and beach holiday experiences at reasonable prices.

I have a layover of 10,12,15 hours what can I do?

The transit time for most travellers in Colombo, Sri Lanka is around 8 hours. But, there are many other travellers, who should wait more than 8 hours until their connecting flight. For travellers, who stay at the Colombo airport longer than 10, 12, or 15 hours or more we have planned a few other programs. Depending on the interest of the travellers they can choose many places to visit on these trips such as wildlife parks, Sri Lanka hill country, beaches, cultural and historical monuments etc. HowColombo layover package please get in touch with us at admin@seerendipitytours.com. WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977.

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How much time do I have for my activity in Colombo?

How much time can I dedicate to the activity at the Colombo airport? This is a very important question before planning any activity for your layover in Colombo. Because you should be back at the airport well in advance to get your departure flight. We at Seerendipity are seriously considering your arrival and departure flight timing and we carefully plan your trip so that you can enjoy the activity without any fear of getting late for your departure flight.

Usually, it takes between 30 minutes to 1 hour for a passenger to come to the arrival lounge after landing at the airport. Same time we advise the passengers to be at the airport minimum of 2 hours before the flight. Eg, Suppose your arrival flight is at 06.00 and your departure flight is at 18.00 hrs. Since you arrive at the Colombo airport at 06.00 hrs, you would come to the arrival lounge (after check-out and finishing all the formalities) and meet your guide at around 07.00 hrs. On your return flight, you should be at the departure lounge at least 2 hours before the flight, which means you should be at the airport for at least 16.00 hrs. In this case, you can dedicate about 9 hours to your activity at Colombo airport.

What time should start the trip?

The starting time of the trip is flexible and you can just is on par with your flight details. However, we recommend you start the trip early in the morning, thereby, you can guarantee the maximum time for your trip in Sri Lanka.

If you are on an 8-hour layover at Colombo airport, there are many activities that you can think of such as wildlife tours, cultural tours, beach vacations, visiting historical monuments, shopping etc. However, the Colombo city tour is the most popular among the things to do in Colombo. It is mainly due to the easy access to the city from the airport. We are mainly promoting below mentioned activities for your layover in Colombo airport due to the fact that you should strictly stick to the time allocated to the program. All activities mentioned below can be completed within the given time frame. Seerendipity tours allocate private transport based on luxury modern vehicles on your tour. Since you are guided by an experienced local guide you can look forward to having a very enjoyable and risk-free short trip.

  1. Colombo city tour
  2. Negombo city tour and beach tour
  3. Daycation
  4. Ayurveda treatment
  5. Bentota tour
  6. Southern Sri Lanka tour
  7. Day trip to Kitulgala

1. 8-hour layover in Colombo airport: Colombo city tour

Visit Gangarama temple in Colombo, eat traditional Sri Lanka rice&curry, stroll through wide sandy beaches, and on your Colombo city tour. With so many things to see and do in Colombo, you should not waste your precious time visiting sights that don’t interest you. Explore Sri Lanka’s buzzing city of Colombo at your own pace with your private driver/guide. Even you can craft your own Colombo city tour itinerary with help of our travel experts to suit your tastes. Most importantly, you’ll avoid the crush of Sri Lanka’s public transport by travelling in a private vehicle.

If you have an 8-hour layover in Colombo at the biggest international airport on the island you are well on your way to having a very enjoyable layover trip in Sri Lanka. The airport is tucked 35 km away from the commercial hub of Sri Lanka, Colombo. This vibrant city has a very colourful history and it is a cultural melting pot with a large number of ethnic as well as religious groups. Colombo offers many interesting places for its visitors making Colombo one of the best places for Sri Lanka day trips. Many dozens of temples, churches, forts, and many other ancient structures are ready to make the first impression of Sri Lanka’s rich historical past.  

Many local tour operators such as Seerendipity tour offers a half-day Colombo city tour, which can be a perfect match for your Layover in Colombo. The tour has a fascinating blend of exploring temples, churches, and historical monuments, sampling delicious Sri Lankan food as well as a bit of shopping.

Dining in Colombo

Colombo is not short of dining experiences, which also includes many food courts. Drop into a good court, which offers a large collection of restaurants serving local and international menus. The food courts not only offer a wide range of food varieties but also the customers can buy food at a very reasonable price. Every shopping complex in Colombo has a food court and these food courts are located either on the ground floor or in the basement. There are dozens of food outlets in the food courts that offer varied items. The customers need to choose the best menu and pay at the food outlet to get it cooked. The stalls serve tasty Sri Lankan dishes, halal food, Indian food, Chinese food, Mongolian food, Pizza, salad, soup, and many delicious food items.

What are the places to visit on the Colombo city tour?

What is the duration of the Colombo city tour?

The duration of the Colombo city tour from the airport is 6-8 hours.

What is the cost of the Colombo city tour from the airport?

US$ 75.00 per person based on 2 persons and US$ 100.00 based on a single person.

What includes the Colombo city tour?

  • Pick-up and drop-off from the airport
  • Meeting arrangements at the airport
  • Entire ground transportation in an air-conditioned modern vehicle with English speaking driver/guide
  • Below mentioned sites and activities
    • Old Parliament
    • Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall
    • Viharamahadevi park
    • Gangarama Buddhist temple
    • Simamalaka
    • Hindu Temple
    • Town Hall.
    • Devatagaha mosque (Red mosque)
    • Pettah area
    • Galle face green
    • Cinnamon garden
    • Lotus tower
    • Colombo Museum
    • Beira lake
    • Colombo Shopping at Odel, House of fashion, handicraft

How to book a Colombo city tour?

Contact us at admin@seerendipitytours.com, Tel 0094-77-440977, WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977

2. Convert your layover in Colombo to a Relaxing beach stay: Negombo city tour and beach tour

Negombo is a popular beach resort with palm-fringed, sandy beaches. The Negombo beach is just 20 minutes from the Colombo airport and therefore one of the ideal places to visit on your layover in Colombo. This is a perfect opportunity to convert your Layover in Colombo into a short beach vacation in Sri Lanka. If your layover in Colombo takes place during the night, you might be looking for a place to have sound sleep and a healthy dinner. Seerendipity tours offer special packages for guests, who need accommodation only to spend the night. The package also includes breakfast and dinner is optional. Most important is the price of the package because they charge only half of the daily room charge as you spend only the night in the hotel.

Negombo beach is located very close to the Colombo international airport, therefore, travellers can reach it within 20 minutes. Like most other beach resorts in Sri Lanka Negombo is one of the best beaches for short vacations. Negombo is a beach holiday destination for leisure travellers and Negombo is also a fishing village with a large population actively engaged in the fishing industry. Negombo offers many interesting activities for its visitors such as boating in the Negombo lagoon to see birds, crocodiles, and mangroves, visiting Buddhists and Hund temple, Visiting the fishing village and fish market, sampling delicious seafood, shopping and enjoying the sun, sea, and sand.

What are the places to visit on the Colombo layover trip to Negombo?

  • Negombo fish market
  • Hindu and Buddhist temple
  • Negombo lagoon
  • Downtown Negombo
  • Negombo beach

How much time do I need for the Negombo city tour?

The duration of the Negombo city tour from the airport is 5-7 hours.

What is the cost of the Negombo city tour from the airport?

US$ 45.00 per person based on 2 persons and US$ 65.00 based on a single person.

What includes the Negombo city tour?

  • Pick-up and drop-off from the airport
  • Meeting arrangements at the airport
  • Entire ground transportation in an air-conditioned modern vehicle with English speaking driver/guide
  • Below mentioned sites and activities
    • Hindu Temple
    • Buddhist temple
    • Catholic Church
    • Negombo Fish market guided walking tour
    • Negombo beach and leisure
    • Negombo market walking tour

How to book a Negombo city tour on the transit in Colombo?

Contact us at admin@seerendipitytours.com, Tel 0094-77-440977, WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977

3. Daycation on transit in Colombo airport

If your layover takes place during the day, you can also convert it to a daycation on the beach. This includes meals, changing rooms and all other basic facilities on a beach resort located a few minutes away from the airport. Seerendipity tours offer special rates for daycation packages from the airport and it cost a fraction of the money you pay for the day tour in Negombo.

How much time do I need for the Daycation?

The duration depends on the availability of time. The maximum duration of the daycation is 8 hours.

What is the cost of the Daycation?

US$ 75.00 per person based on 2 persons and US$ 100.00 based on a single person.

What includes the Daycation?

  • An air-conditioned room in a standard hotel
  • 1 meal (breakfast, lunch Dinner)
  • Pick-up and drop-off from the airport
  • Meeting arrangements at the airport
  • Entire ground transportation in an air-conditioned modern vehicle with English speaking driver/guide
  • Entrance and activity costs for below
    • Buddhist temple
    • Catholic Church
    • Negombo Fish market
    • Negombo beach and leisure
    • Negombo market walking tour

How to book a daycation on my transit in Colombo airport?

Contact us at admin@seerendipitytours.com, Tel 0094-77-440977, WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977

4. Things to do at Colombo layover: Ayurveda spa

If your layover in Colombo is less than 8 hours you might be a bit short of the Colombo city tour, then we would like to invite you to go for pampering yourself in an Ayurveda Spa and an authentic herbal massage, which is just 20 minutes away from Colombo international airport.

This inviting gem is located in the popular beach resort of Negombo, which means you can spend as much time as you need exploring one of the most beautiful beach resorts on the island.

Venturing into a Sri Lankan Ayurveda massage is one of the best ways of rejuvenating your mind and body and preparing yourself for the next chapter of your trip. You need to disrobe ahead of your oil massage and sauna and choose a massage room based on your gender segregation. The spa therapy consists of oils massage, dry saunas, and a hot water bath.

The oil massage and hot water loosens your muscles, enhances blood circulation and pumps endorphin and put you in a happy mood, and wash away the tensions of being in transit. The Spa is open 24 hours a day and offers sleeping rooms on demand for passengers, who have long layovers.

D I have enough time for the Ayurveda spa on my transit in Colombo airport?

The duration depends on the availability of time. The minimum time required is 3 hours.

What is the cost of the Ayurveda spa?

US$ 60.00 per person based on 2 persons and US$ 80.00 based on a single person.

What includes the Negombo city tour?

  • Soft drinks
  • Pick-up and drop-off from the airport
  • Meeting arrangements at the airport
  • Entire ground transportation in an air-conditioned modern vehicle with English speaking driver/guide
  • Full body Ayurveda massage (1 and half hours)

How to book an Ayurveda massage?

Contact us at admin@seerendipitytours.com, Tel 0094-77-440977, WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977

5. Trip to Bentota on a transit in Colombo airport

A trip to Bentota would be another good option for your transit in Colombo airport. The journey from Colombo airport to Bentot beach takes around 1 hour 30 minutes and via the southern expressway. Therefore, Bentota is a convent destination for your layover at Colombo airport. Bentota is not only easy to reach but also a very interesting destination for travellers. It offers a wide range of activities for travellers. Boating, swimming, beach hopping, visiting historical monuments, Visiting temples, and visiting museums are some of the popular activities in Bentota. One-day Bentota trip is a popular one-day tour in Colombo from Colombo and many other places on the west coast. Local tour operators such as Seerendipity tors organize this one-day tour on daily basis from Colombo and it can be customized to meet your landing and departure time in Sri Lanka.

What are the places to visit on the Colombo layover trip to Bentota?

  • Kande vihara ancient temple
  • Madur river safari
  • Moonstone mines
  • Mask Museum
  • Sea turtle conservation project
  • Spice/Herbal garden

How much time do I need for the trip to Bentota?

The duration of the Bentota trip is a minimum of 8 hours.

What is the cost of the trip to Bentota?

US$ 80.00 per person based on 2 persons and US$ 110.00 based on a single person.

What includes the Bentota tour?

  • Pick-up and drop-off from the airport
  • Meeting arrangements at the airport
  • Entire ground transportation in an air-conditioned modern vehicle with English speaking driver/guide
  • Entrance and activity costs for below
    • Buddhist temple Kande vihara
    • Sea turtle conservation project
    • Madu river safari
    • Bentota beach walking tour
    • Walking tour of Spice/Herbal garden

How to book a Bentota tour on transit in Colombo airport?

Contact us at admin@seerendipitytours.com, Tel 0094-77-440977, WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977

6. Visiting southern Sri Lanka on a layover in Colombo airport

A trip to southern Sri Lanka would be another option for you to consider on your transit in Colombo airport. You will be visiting many places on this short trip and Galle fort would be the main highlight of the trip. Galle city is an interesting and very picturesque cist and offers many interesting places to explore such as temples, forts, beaches, mangrove lagoons, museums, shopping areas, turtle conservation projects etc. However, you may not be able to see all the important tourist attractions on this short trip but you will be able to visit many important places.

What are the places to visit on the Colombo layover trip to southern Sri Lanka?

  • Galle Fort
  • Maritime Museum
  • Gem museum and handicraft centre
  • Sea turtle conservation centre
  • Wolvendaal church
  • Galle City
  • Bentota River
  • Spice/Herbal garden

How much time do I need for the trip to southern Sri Lanka from the airport?

The duration of the Bentota trip is a minimum of 8 hours.

What is the cost of the trip to southern Sri Lanka from the airport?

US$ 95.00 per person based on 2 persons and US$ 130.00 based on a single person.

What includes the Bentota tour from the airport?

  • Pick-up and drop-off from the airport
  • Meeting arrangements at the airport
  • Entire ground transportation in an air-conditioned modern vehicle with English speaking driver/guide
  • Entrance and activity costs for below
    • guided walking tour Galle Fort
    • Maritime Museum
    • Gem museum and handicraft centre
    • Sea turtle conservation centre
    • Wolvendaal church
    • Galle City tour
    • Bentota River Safari
    • Walking tour of spice/Herbal garden

How to book a trip to southern Sri Lanka with Galle?

Contact us at admin@seerendipitytours.com, Tel 0094-77-440977, WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977

7. Layover in Colombo airport: Trip to Kitulgala

If you are a lover of adventure activities, this is a wonderful opportunity to experience some adrenaline-pumping activities in Sri Lanka on your layover at Colombo airport. Kitulgala has tucked away about 80 km from Colombo airport and it would take about 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach Kitulgala from the airport. So if you can dedicate about 10 hours to your trips, you are well on your way to engaging in many interesting activities such as whitewater rafting, Jungle trekking, bird watching, swimming, canoeing etc.

What are the places to visit on the Colombo layover trip to Kitulgala?

  • Kelaniya river for whitewater rafting and swimming and canoeing
  • Makandawa rainforest
  • Kitulgala Bird watching

How much time do I need for the Colombo layover trip to Kitulgala?

The duration of the Bentota trip is a minimum of 8 hours.

What is the cost of the Colombo layover trip to Kitulgala?

US$ 90.00 per person based on 2 persons and US$ 140.00 based on a single person.

What includes the Bentota tour from the airport?

  • Pick-up and drop-off from the airport
  • Meeting arrangements at the airport
  • Entire ground transportation in an air-conditioned modern vehicle with English speaking driver/guide
  • Entrance and activity costs for below
    • White water rafting in Kelaniya
    • Guided rainforest walking tour of Makandewa forest
    • Bird watching in the village

How to book a tour of Kitulgala on transit in Colombo airport?

Contact us at admin@seerendipitytours.com, Tel 0094-77-440977, WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977

Layover at Colombo harbour

The Colombo international harbour receives hundreds of cruises every year. Most cruise ships call on to the harbour to change their crews, change the passengers as well as fill up the storage compartments. Usually, the Colombo layover based on the harbour is considerably longer than the stayover at the airport.  The layover at the Colombo harbour will last at least 24 hours and it can be extended to a week-long layover.

If you have a layover based on Colombo harbour, you get many dozens of optional activities such as exploring Colombo city and walking tour, visiting historical monuments, Colombo shopping, visiting casinos, playing golf, fine dining and visiting Colombo beach.

Colombo harbour is just 5 minutes from your cruise ship means you do not need to waste much time travelling. The location of Colombo port makes it possible to spend your time very sensibly while immersing in various Sri Lankan experiences.

If you have an 8-hour layover in Colombo or longer, then you can head on to one of the finest beaches in the country on the Southern and west coasts, where watersports, boating, snorkelling, diving, dining experiences, and interesting monuments await the visitors.  

If you are not in the mood to do much and travel 1 hour to visit the west coast take a Colombo city tour with a walking tour and explore some of the fascinating places in Colombo such as Gangarama temple, Wolvendaal Church, Galle face beach, Beira Lake, Dutch hospital, independent memorial hall, and museum.  

Buddhist temples are on the bucket list of every traveller that is venturing through Colombo, Gangarama temple is the most popular Buddhist temple in Colombo and it is one of the most historical temples in the city. The people are visiting the temples since the late 19’s, and have been worshipping the temple’s statue of the Buddhist for more than a century of years. The museum of Gangarama is the most attractive of the temple, which harbours hundreds of thousands of valuable artefacts.  

Suppose you have less than 3 hours, worthy shopping options available in Pettah, near the harbour. Head to the passenger deck and take a taxi to Pettah, where hundreds of shops line up along the narrow streets, selling textile gems and jewellery leather products Ayurveda medicines, and many other items.  

Places to visit on a stopover in Mattala Sri Lanka

  • Yala national park
  • Hambantota beach
  • Rekawa turtle beach
  • Yatalatissa temple
  • Kataragama temple

Everything is set to welcome visitors touching down at the Mattala international airport. The recently built Mattala international airport was neglected by the government, which was under the rule from 2015 to 2019. The multi-million-dollar project had not earned any considerable amount of money over the last several years for the island. However, the newly elected government (2019), had opted to use the Mattala international airport as one of the main airports on the island. Many leading airlines such as Emirates and Sri Lankan airlines have given their consent to fly to Mattala airport. If you are flying to Sri Lanka in the future, there is a good chance that you will be landing in Mattala.

Mattala international airport sits in the deep south of Sri Lanka, which is one of the most scenic parts of Sri Lanka. Southern Sri Lanka hosts a large number of interesting tourist places and is included in most Sri Lanka trips. Among the interesting places are historical temples, national parks, Buddhist temples, and palm-fringed pristine beaches.

Yala national park is just a few minutes away from the airport and is one of the best places for wildlife safari in Sri Lanka. In fact, Yala national park is the best wildlife reserve to spot leopards in the world.

Yala national park, Kataragama temple, Rekawa turtle beach, Hambantota beach, Kirinda temple, and Yatalatissa temple are some of the leading tourist places that you can explore during the layover. It is advisable to take a layover tour from Mattala airport because Mattala international airport does not offer many possibilities for in-house dining and shopping.   Visiting the Kataragama temple is mandatory for visitors that travel to southern Sri Lanka, which is the most sacred and most visited temple in south Sri Lanka. This sacred temple is visited by Buddhists and Hindus as well as Muslims.

Why should you choose Seerendipity for your trip during the 8-hour layover in Colombo?

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.

Best price for your Sri Lanka vacation packages

When you book a tour with us, 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 vacation packages with experts

Our staff makes a personalized program for you, which you can change until you find the best package for you. You can also browse our existing tour packages for inspiration; 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

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.

Best price for your Sri Lanka vacation packages

When you book a tour with us, 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 vacation packages with experts

Our staff makes a personalized program for you, which you can change until you find the best package for you. You can also browse our existing tour packages for inspiration; 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

1 thought on “What Are The Things To See And Do On An 8-hour Layover In Colombo and Mattala Sri Lanka?”

  1. I’m a regulare reader of your blog and your articles are very descriptive always. Good writing. This article on layover in Colobmo is very useful for most tarevllers, definitely. thanlk you.
    getting knowleedge all thhe time byy readung thhes pleasant content.

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