When Sri Lanka’s capital and largest port is on your cruise agenda, Colombo shore excursions offer a wealth of landmarks, attractions, history, and culture to entice you ashore. From beautiful beaches to historic temples, you’re sure to find an activity to keep you entertained during your stop from your cruise to India and beyond.
Colombo shore excursions present excellent opportunities to witness the port city’s fascinating mix of colonial influences from the British, Dutch, and Portuguese. On a leisurely motor coach tour, you’ll see the city’s most important sights, including the commercial district’s Pettah bazaar area, Town Hall, and Viharamahadevi Park, formerly Victoria Park, the city’s botanical gardens. You’ll pass by Cinnamon Gardens, once a thriving cinnamon plantation with 289 acres of cinnamon trees, now an upscale residential and government office center. You’ll also see the landmark red-and-white patterned Jami-ul-Alfar Mosque.
To see the city up close and learn about Sri Lankan culture, join Colombo shore excursions for a guided walk through Old Colombo. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and activities of the Pettah Floating Markets, where merchants offer everything from local produce to electronics. Hear about the market’s rejuvenation and the port’s importance as part of the East-West trade route. Tour the back streets and colorful alleys, and listen to tales of the city’s multicultural past and present. Stop for a drink at the Grand Oriental Hotel as a fitting conclusion to a lively tour.
For an excellent overview of Sri Lankan history and its rich cultural past, book shore excursions in Colombo to tour the impressive collections of the National Museum of Colombo, established in 1877 by the British Governor of Ceylon. See artwork from paintings to painted demon masks, plus guns, swords, antique furnishings, and the throne and crown of the last Kandyan monarch.
If you’re a sun worshipper at heart, take advantage of day trips to Negombo Beach, where you can sunbathe on the beach and swim in the cool, clear sea. From your Colombo cruise, visit the Negombo Beach Resort, where you can lounge poolside, enjoy a light lunch or afternoon tea, or stroll into town to do some souvenir shopping.
Join a tour guided by a Buddhist monk that offers a rare opportunity to visit one of the most sacred sites in Sri Lanka, Kelaniya Temple, believed to have been built around 543 B.C. and said to have been visited by Buddha. Admire the intact murals of the Kandyan Era and the modern murals depicting major events in Sri Lankan Buddhism. Observe sacred rituals, including the lighting of scented oils and the sprinkling of water on the Bodhi tree.