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Colombo

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Our most recommended Colombo Tours

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

1. Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

Depart Colombo and travel by a shared vehicle, in a small group, to the city of Sigiriya, and head directly to Sigiriya Rock on arrival. Gaze in awe at the massive column of rock that, according to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle The Culavamsa, was selected by King Kasyapa as the site of his new capital. Admire numerous paintings of historic queens, princesses, and maids inside the rock fortress before getting a break for lunch at your own expense. Then, explore some of the traditional crafts of the region, such as wood carving and batik textiles, with time to purchase souvenirs before departing. Start the journey back towards Colombo via Dambulla to explore the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Discover the magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and different shapes, painted from around the 2nd century B.C. up to the 18th-century Kandyan era.

The True Essence of Colombo:Private Highlights & Hidden Gems

2. The True Essence of Colombo:Private Highlights & Hidden Gems

Ayubowan! Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the heart of Sri Lanka’s capital: Colombo! Experience the sights, sounds, and smells of this vibrant city together with your private host. The very best must-sees, hidden gems, and local snacks await! So, hop on a colorful Tuk Tuk and let your private guide take you from one highlight to another. The Independence Square is a must visit and a great place to kick off your tour. Stroll through the spacious green lawns and marvel at one of the islands' longest standing colonial buildings. Your host can tell you all about Sri Lanka’s historic past and how the city has changed to the modern city of today. Do as the Sri Lankans do and grab some delicious hoppers and vegetable roti. Locals simply love to start the day with this tasty morning snack, especially when heading to Colombo’s biggest park! Filled with lush vegetation, 100-year-old trees and a replica of the White House, this park is a tranquil gem away from the city buzz. Tuk Tuk your way to the oldest Buddhist temples in Colombo with a beautiful lake. Check out an amazing collection of Buddha statues, take a look at a holy tree and admire a relic of Buddha’s hair. Feel free to ask your host any burning questions! Get immersed in real local life and visit one of the liveliest markets. See where locals buy and sell everything from vegetables to electronics. Wander through the labyrinth streets and follow your nose to a nearby cassava chip vendor. See how this yummy snack is made and make your taste buds dance! Head to the banana market and try as many different bananas as you fancy! Curious what else awaits? How about a visit to a mosque in the shape of a pomegranate, followed by a beautifully minimalist Hindu temple? A visit to Sri Lanka’s last King’s jail cell is also a unique gem! While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the stunning view from the lighthouse. What better way to top off your tour than at the relaxing ocean side of Galle Face? Unwind and relax with a cold drink, a delicious prawn cake and a marvelous sunset over the western coast of Sri Lanka!

Galle and Bentota Day-Tour From Colombo

3. Galle and Bentota Day-Tour From Colombo

After being picked up at your hotel, hop onboard your Madu Ganga Magrove boat safari and explore the Madu River. See the mangrove forests and marshlands that surround the river. Stop at a cinnamon garden, and try some of the area’s famous cinnamon. The Madu Ganga River region is home to some of the best quality cinnamon in the world as well as a flourishing cinnamon industry. Afterward, marvel at the fishermen who stoically sit atop large branches planted in the middle of the water waiting for their catch. Continue to a local Turtle Hatchery, where your guide will introduce you to the many local varieties of turtles. End your tour with a visit to the Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This fort illustrates the unique interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries. After discovering the fort, you will be returned to your hotel in Colombo.

2-Day Whale Watching & Southern Sri Lanka Tour

4. 2-Day Whale Watching & Southern Sri Lanka Tour

The sea off Mirissa between Galle and Matara is one of the best places in the world to see endangered blue whales. This two-day tour also gives you the opportunity to see some of the important places in the southern coastal belt such as Galle fort, Unawatuna beach, sea turtle hatchery and more. On day one, meet your tour representative and proceed to your hotel in Mirissa, En-route enjoy a Bentota and Galle sightseeing tour. Bentota beach is the most popular beach holiday destination in the island. Galle is one of the ancient sea ports of Sri Lanka and was an anchor point in the Silk Route. It was later discovered by the Portuguese where they built a fortress and the Dutch that succeeded them fortified it further. This fortress is today a World Heritage Site. During the Galle city tour, visit Galle Fort, Bentota Beach, Galle coastal area, Galle lighthouse, Kande Vihara, Cinnamon Island, a handicraft center and mask carving center. Visit a sea turtle hatchery project, spice garden at Matale where spices and herbs used for Sri Lankan cuisine and medication are grown. Then take a Madu Ganga boat ride to discover this Ramsar Wetland. Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary is the place where you can have a glimpse of the fascinating underwater world and see the creatures that inhabit the unfathomable depths of the sea. The famed coral gardens are located here. Just get hold of a glass bottomed boat or goggles and flippers and plunge into the ocean. Overnight stay in Mirissa  Day two is filled with whale-watching experiences. Miriissa off the southern Sri Lanka coast is one of the best-known places for the greatest wildlife spectacle on the planet – lunge-feeding humpback whales and blue whales. Groups of whales construct enormous circular fishing nets with bubbles to catch vast shoals of herring and then launch themselves high into the air with their mouths wide open. This activity is most prevalent from November to April, but can be observed throughout year. 

From Colombo: 4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

5. From Colombo: 4-Day Essence of Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

After pickup from your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia, drive to Dambulla. Visit the Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site then spend overnight in Sigiriya. On day two get an early start and drive to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Polonnaruwa. Take a cycling tour through the well-preserved ancient city to see the beautiful stupas or dagobas, moonstones, parks, buildings and stunning statues. In the afternoon, you will be taken to the 5th-century rock fortress of Sigiriya, regarded as one of the Wonders of World and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Spend overnight in Sigiriya.   On day three after leisurely breakfast, visit an archetypal Sri Lankan village. Experience a bullock cart ride, see traditional cultivation methods, enjoy a boat ride and an authentic Sri Lankan lunch at a village house. After lunch, continue to Kandy, stopping at a wood carving center and a spice garden in Matale. Upon arrival, take a city tour of Kandy including a visit to the temple of the sacred tooth relic, upper lake drive, the market square, and more. Spend overnight in Kandy.     After breakfast on the fourth day, you will depart from Kandy and be driven back to your hotel in Colombo, Negombo or Mount Lavinia, or dropped off at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.

Colombo: All-Inclusive Private City Tour

6. Colombo: All-Inclusive Private City Tour

Your 4-hour journey will begin as your chauffeur-guide collects you from your hotel in a private air-conditioned vehicle. From here you will start your tour with a visit to National Museum, the oldest and largest museum in the country, highly regarded for its antiques collection. Following the museum, you will visit the colorful and chaotic Petah Market, one of the largest in Colombo. Here you can find almost everything, from tropical fruit to freshly-caught seafood to jewelry. Following some shopping, you will explore the Gangarama Temple, positioned both on land and on a lake, including its small but impressive museum. You can then soak up the views of the Indian Ocean at the Galle Face Green, as well as the views of the abundance of beautiful parkland in this cosmopolitan city. Upon completion of your tour, you will be returned back to your hotel.

From Negombo: Bentota Full-Day Tour

7. From Negombo: Bentota Full-Day Tour

Begin your day at 8:00 AM at Madu River in Balapitiya for a boat safari. For one-hour, journey through the primitive depths of the mangrove marshes. Traverse the dark and dangerous caverns, formed by the thick mangrove forests, interspersed with stretches of bright open water.  The next destination is the Kothduwa Temple. This Buddhist temple is located on the island and is known as the Kothduwa Raja Maha Viharaya. The island is within the Madu Ganga Estuary. Madu Ganga is an archipelago of fifteen different islands and a lagoon. It is believed that a Relic of Lord Buddha was once sheltered in the Kothduwa temple circa 340CE.  Enjoy lunch then visit the Lunuganga Garden. Geoffrey Bawa was one of Asia's finest architects. He passed away in 2003. Lunuganga was Bawa’s country home. It sits in an enchanting atmosphere with glorious views. It is now managed by the Lunuganga Trust. Admire the home’s features and blissfulness. It is now run as a country hotel and the proceeds go to Negombo.

From Colombo: All Inclusive Sigiriya and Dambulla Tour

8. From Colombo: All Inclusive Sigiriya and Dambulla Tour

Begin your 14-hour tour with an early-morning drive to Sigiriya. When you arrive, climb the Sigiriya Rock fortress, considered to be the 8th Wonder of the World. In the 5th century, King Kashyapa built a palace atop the rock. Sigiriya commemorates some of the turbulence of Sri Lanka’s history. Stop to enjoy a restaurant lunch before heading to Dambulla. Visit the UNESCO-listed cave temple built by King Walagambahu in the 1st century B.C. It is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of 5 caves features more than 2,000 square meters of painted walls and ceilings. See 150 images of the Buddha, of which the largest is a 14-meter-high image carved out of the rock.

From Colombo: Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle 2-Day Tour

9. From Colombo: Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle 2-Day Tour

Begin the tour by meeting your tour leader in Colombo and set off for the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. After exploring the history museum of Polonnaruwa, discover the ruins of the ancient city. Later, check in to a 3-star hotel in Sigiriya for your overnight stay.  The next morning, enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Set off for the Dambulla golden cave temple which was the site where a king of Anuradhapura took refuge from the South Induan invasion in the 1st-century BC. Learn about how when the king recaptured the region 13 years later, he converted the caves into a monastery and gifted it to the Buddhist monks. After this, head over to the ancient Sigiriya Rock, where a 5th-century prince who had committed patricide made it his hideout. Also make a stop at the Pidurangala ancient cave temple. At the end of the tour you will be returned to Colombo and dropped off at the start point.

Colombo/Negombo: Galle, Bentota, and Hikkaduwa Day Trip

10. Colombo/Negombo: Galle, Bentota, and Hikkaduwa Day Trip

Your tour begins as you are picked up from your Colombo hotel to be transferred to Bentota. Once there you will enjoy some water sports, before taking a river safari down the beautiful Madu River. This river is a wetland estuary spreading over 900 hectares of which 770 hectares are covered with water and inhabited with 64 islands. This boat ride is a wonderful way to take a closer look at this complex wetland ecosystem, which is a UNESCO-listed site. The area is also protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands as one of the last wetlands in Sri Lanka to contain a pristine mangrove forest. Once having explored the wetlands, you will transfer to Kosgoda to visit a turtle hatchery where you will see various breeds of sea turtles. Lunch at a recommended restaurant will follow before you transfer to Meetiyagoda, where you will visit the Moonstone Mine and workshop. Following the mine, you'll head to Hikkaduwa Beach to visit the Galle Dutch fort, which was first built in 1588 by the Portuguese. It was later extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century, and in the modern age has become UNESCO-listed. At the conclusion of your cultural experience, you will transfer back to Colombo.

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What people are saying about Colombo

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 30 reviews

Really good experience! At one of the attractions we should have visited, there was a really long queue and too many people, so our guide was good at coming up with a lot of other options we could see if we wanted. All the experiences were quite exciting! Our guide also found some great eateries along the way with really nice views each time. He was good at assessing when he was needed as a guide and when it was better for us to be alone and she stayed close by (eg at the restaurants). On the slightly long drive, he was also good at explaining what we saw when we looked out the windows and in general what Sri Lanka was like.

I highly recommend using apple vacations agency when you visit Sri Lanka! They offer a wide range of tours and packages to fit a variety of budgets. Our guide Niraveen and driver were on time and accommodating. This full day tour was lovely and enjoyable! Loved visiting the turtle hatchery center, the boat ride through the mangrove, and the place they took us for lunch was superb! Really trustworthy company!

The guide showed up on time in the morning and he was very polite and informing. They took us to a very nice restaurant for lunch near the ocean and the food was delicious. Whole tour was satisfying with very nice views, herbal garden visit and boat tour on Madu River.

The driver (Kenneth) was very accommodative and managed our tight schedule very well. He even went the extra mile and helped us to see more than what we had initially agreed — with his help we were able to visit the Ranweli spice garden, which was the cherry on top.

I had a tour guide Muditha from Withlocals. A well educated and very nice young man with proper knowledge of English and international experience. Enjoyed talking to him and his company. From the downside - expected to see more for this money.