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Gangarama Temple | ©Mayooresan/WikiCommons
Gangarama Temple | ©Mayooresan/WikiCommons

The Best Day Trips From Colombo, Sri Lanka

Picture of Jayani Senanayake
Updated: 7 May 2017

Sri Lanka is a land of many mysteries. The more you explore the more you feel there is more to discover. However, the wonderful thing about Sri Lanka is that you can travel the whole width and breadth of the island within one single day. There are many day trips that you can take from Colombo. Take a look at some examples here and make your own way around this magnificent country.

Cruise through the city

Hail a local tuk tuk and get onboard. The best way to explore Colombo is by tuk. Head on to the Dutch Hospital, an ancient Dutch colonial building converted into a shopping complex after which you can gaze at the old lighthouse just a kilometer away. See the ornate exterior of the old Parliament as you head towards the Gangarama, a scenic temple famous for its multitude of bronze Buddha statues overlooking a wondrous lake. Head towards the Colombo Museum housing some of the nation’s most treasured artifacts and afterwards, look forward to a flavorsome Sri Lankan meal from Upali’s. Finish your day with a leisurely stroll along the Galle Face Green mingling with the locals and enjoying the myriad street food choices available along the beach.

 

Explore the south

Take the southern expressway and head to Balapitiya just one hour’s drive away from Colombo to explore the scenic Madu River. This mangrove covered river spreads over 770 hectares and features 64 islands and abundant wildlife for you  to explore.

Next head on to Galle. Witness the turtle hatcheries and have a lovely seafood lunch by the beach. While in Galle you can also watch the stilt fishermen waiting for their daily catch or be lucky enough to see groups of fishermen hauling in the fishing nets cast during the previous night. Also explore the Galle Dutch Fort – a magnificent  17th century fortification that has been named as a UNESCO heritage site.

 

Head over to the last ancient Kingdom

Kandy, the last kingdom of Sri Lanka lies but 4 hours’ drive from Colombo. En route visit an aromatic Spice Garden in Mawanella where you will get to explore the depths of Sri Lankan spices and a Tea Factory in Giragama where you will be taken through the complex process of tea manufacturing.

Once in Kandy, explore Temple of the Tooth Relic, the very heart of Sri Lanka’s Buddhism. Return to Colombo after a leisurely stroll around the scenic Kandy Lake.