Top 5 things to do in Colombo
- Gangaramaya Temple – This beautiful Buddhist temple is a mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian and Chinese influence coming together to create one of the most important temples in Colombo. The temple is located on the Beira Lake and is used today as a place of worship and a centre of learning. It will cost you $2 to enter the temple (the same ticket will get you into the temple across the road as well.) You will have to take off your shoes and be prepared on a hot day your feet will burn on the floor. If you are in shorts or an outfit that has your legs out you will have to cover up. They will give you a pillowcase to wrap around you.
- Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque ( known to the locals as the red mosque) – This is one of the most popular tourist spots in Colombo as the whole mosque is red and white striped and looks a little like a large peppermint. The mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Colombo and one of the most popular tourist streets and so you will find many stalls around it trying to sell you things. Be aware of people trying to charge you for photos. The mosque was built in 1908 and was designed to hold 1500 worshippers and since then they have been buying the surrounding buildings increasing its capacity to 10,000. The mosque’s candy-striped exterior became a well-known landmark for sailors to know that they were approaching the port.
- Galle Face Green – Galle Face is an urban park facing the ocean that stretches across 500 meters of coastline. The gardens were originally made in the Dutch era as a means to enable their cannons to be in the strategic line of fire against the Portuguese. In 1797 there was a one-mile promenade walkway added along the coastline by the Governor of British Ceylon in order for ladies and children to have a walk and take in air which was then finished in 1859. Over the years the area has been used for horseracing, Golf, Rugby and Cricket however now it used as big park space for holidaymakers and locals. You will often find people flying their kites or having picnics in the area. Many food vendors have set up along this space serving crabs and prawns and fruits for people to enjoy. There are also 2 big hotels along the area now bringing many holidaymakers to enjoy the space.
- Viharamahadevi Park (Formally Victoria Park) – The public park is located in cinnamon gardens, in front of the town hall. The park is the largest and oldest in Colombo. It was originally named Victoria Park after Queen Victoria but was later renamed to Viharamahadevi Park after Queen Virharamahadevi after the country gained independence. The park has a huge Buddha statue which replaced the statue of Queen Victoria which originally stood there. There is also a small zoo, a children’s play area, a lake and a duck pond.
- Independence Memorial Hall – This national monument was built to commemorate the independence of Sri Lanka from British rule in 1948. It is located in independence square within the cinnamon gardens. The monument is built on the official place where the ceremony took place to make the start of the countries self-rule and the opening of the first parliament. The memorial is very important to locals and you will often find different ceremonies and parades that happen in the area in celebration.