Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, it offers a great variety of sites and things to do, encompassing a blend of historic architecture to see, an eclectic mix of Portuguese, Dutch and finally British Rule. Touring Colombo by Tuk-Tuk (3 wheeler) is an unexpected experience. You can also tour the city by bus or car.
Until 1505 the Singhalese name for Colombo was Kolon Thota, “the port on the Kelani river” which is one of Sri Lanka major river. It is further thought that the name Colombo derives from the honour bestowed on Christopher Columbus by Portuguese rulers.
There are many interesting places to visit when in Colombo. Some of the more appealing sights to discover are the Colombo Museum dedicated to Sri Lanka history, housed in a Italian styled mansion designed and built by the Colonial British.
The beautifully manicured Viharamahadevi Park and Colombo Town Hall face each other and are close to the Museum. From the old Parliament and Galle Face Green and promenade you can enjoy a delightful stroll into the city centre where most of the countries commerce is operated from. Within the city centre you will also come across the picturesque official Presidential Residence, the old Dutch Hospital that now include many branded and local cuisine eateries, a delightful place to rest, endulge and relax, have a coffee or something stronger and watch the world go by.
The 120 year old Gangarama Temple and picturesque Seema Malakaya is considered part of the Gangarama Temple that is used for rest and meditation, built circa 19th century, situated within the Beira Lake and close to the City Centre.
Further places of interest are the Independence Square to celebrate Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948 and the Memorial hall. Additionally, a number of wonderfully restored Colonial hotels (the Mount Laviania Hotel that offers a colourful history of this former British Governor’s mansion, the Galle Face Hotel, a classical venue known then as “Galle Face House” that entertained Gentlemen of the Colonial era) wherein you can today enjoy afternoon high tea and cakes in Colonial splendour.
A new addition to the Colombo skyline will be the Nelum Pokuna or Lotus Tower that rises to a height of 350 mtrs, when completed the tower will be the tallest tower in South Asia. It is expected to include tourist/leisure facilities such as a visitors’ gallery, exhibition, conference/auditorium hall, supermarkets, restaurants/food court, hotel rooms, shopping/commercial complex, telecommunication museum and support the countries telecommunication, TV broadcasting requirements. It is expected to open late 2017 or early 2018.
Additionally, for the shopaholics, the many shopping malls and star rated hotels with shopping arcades, all well stocked are awaiting you! There is just so much to see and do in Colombo.