Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Colombo
This stunning temple located in the heart of Colombo is one of the city’s most iconic religious structures. Travelers who venture to this top attraction will find colorful history, distinct architecture and deep religious roots. Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple borrows elements from Thai, Indian, Chinese and Sri Lankan architecture. Visitors who wander the grounds—either solo or with a guide—will find elements that are distinctive of each unique tradition throughout. The structure is situated near Beira Lake and is home to a temple, pagoda, assembly hall for monks, museum, library, residential hall and several other key structures. But travelers say it’s the rows of praying Buddhas and quiet reflecting pools and elaborate interiors that make Gangaramaya worth a visit.
Some of the galleries in this stunning white museum date as far back as the late 1800s, and as a result travelers who pass through what is undoubtedly the nation’s top cultural attraction may feel like they are actually traveling back in time.
Visitors will find iconic art, ancient history and deeply rooted traditions just beyond the stone Buddha that sits at the entry of Colombo National Museum. Whether it’s well-preserved swords, ornate masks or hand-carved furniture, Sri Lanka’s largest museum exhibits some of the most striking pieces of both its past and present.
This ocean-side urban park with coastal views once served as a straight shot for firing cannons against the Portuguese. But today, it is a Mecca for travelers in search of fresh air, local sports and Sri Lankan history. That’s because this popular attraction is home to a now defunct horse track, golf course, rugby and cricket fields.
Travelers can venture to the old horse track, which is now the Crystal Ballroom of the Taj Samudra Hotel and see where the local elite once placed their bets. And while the colonial golf course, which was built in 1879, has since moved to Borella, it’s still possible to see remnants of the once popular club. While the former athletics facilities have either been shut down or moved, this vast open space still attracts plenty of folks thanks to ideal kite flying conditions, perfect picnic areas, imposing hotels and picturesque views.
Colombo’s Independence Square is a top attraction for travelers looking for a taste of local life. That’s because this picturesque square is a gathering place for residents and visitors alike. With plenty of green, open space, historical buildings and quiet cafes, Independence Square is the ideal spot to spend a relaxing evening in Colombo.
Visitors can wander the newly added Arcade, which showcases some of the city’s best local handicrafts and designer goods, or take an up-close look at the monument dedicated to the very first prime minister. Visitors to Independence Square will find locals taking a stroll, jogging on pristine paths or riding bikes over well-paved roads most any time of day.
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