Colombo, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka conjures up the exotic and the mysterious. Once known as Ceylon, the island boasts a fantastic landscape that ranges from primeval rain forest to the bustling modern streets of Colombo, the capital. A visitor to Sri Lanka has a wealth of options. Relax on some of the world's finest beaches. Explore the temples, halls and palaces of the last Sinhalese kingdom at Kandy. Or take a guided tour of an elephant orphanage. Colombo also offers an array of charms, from the Royal Botanic Gardens, once a royal pleasure garden, to the Pettah Bazaar, where vendors hawk everything under the sun.

Colombo and Sri Lanka were shaped by Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and European influences. Colombo also serves as a gateway for Overland Adventures to India.

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Points of Interest

  • Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
  • Colombo National Museum
  • Asokaramaya Buddist Temple
  • Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha
  • Pettah Market
  • Ingiriya Tea Plantation
  • Negombo
  • Royal Botanical Gardens
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More about Colombo, Sri Lanka Points of Interest

  • Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

    This 25-acre coconut grove has sheltered orphaned and endangered elephants since 1975. Visitors may watch and enjoy feedings and bathing sessions at this home to the greatest herd in captivity.

  • Colombo National Museum

    Thousands of antiquities as well as cultural and historical exhibits, paintings and manuscripts are on display in the galleries of this grand, Italian-architectural-style building opened in 1877.

  • Asokaramaya Buddist Temple

    Don't be fooled by the modest exterior of this temple, originally built in the 1870s. Step inside and behold some of the most exquisite and lavish murals depicting early 20th century Buddhist art.

  • Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha

    Believed to house the upper canine tooth of Lord Buddha, this 17thcentury red-roofed building attracts pilgrims bearing lotus flowers. Richly decorated, the inner shrine is guarded by two elephant tusks.

  • Pettah Market

    This colorful and lively open-air market in the heart of Colombo is anchored by the striped Red Mosque and is a wonderful place to stroll, sample local delicacies and purchase handmade souvenirs.

  • Ingiriya Tea Plantation

    See firsthand the intricate process of creating some of the world's most renowned gourmet tea products. Learn the steps from grading to packaging and bagging then sample some of the exotic blends.

  • Negombo

    Explore the unspoiled shores of this lagoon which was once a trading port, and visit attractions including a 1672 Dutch fort gate, quaint churches and an ancient temple believed to have been visited by Buddha.

  • Royal Botanical Gardens

    Originally reserved for royalty, the gardens were established by the British in 1821 and are renowned for their orchid collection, manicured grounds and over 300 species of exotic plants and blooms.

5 EXCURSIONS

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City Drive

2.5 hours | Colombo | CMB-290
  • Colombo National Museum
  • Asokaramaya Buddist Temple
  • Pettah Market

Perfect for those who prefer little walking, this leisurely driving tour of the capital city of Colombo includes two photo stops and an overview of the most popular sights. Board your motorcoach at the pier and travel through the older sections of town, past the century-old clock tower and through the colorful bazaar known as the Pettah Market. Meander through the Fort area, considered the heart of Colombo, now home to government offices, and keep an eye out for landmarks such as the President's House, Town Hall, the Red Muslim Mosque, and colonial buildings. Stop for pictures at the Colombo National Museum and the Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple, decorated with murals of early 20th century Buddhist art. The tour continues with Colombo's residential areas plus the University of Colombo, the Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall, Independence Square, and the sea port with a refreshment stop before returning to the pier.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$49.95

Tea Factory & Tea Plantation

6.5 hours | Colombo | CMB-230
  • Ingiriya Tea Plantation

Ever wonder how that tea got into your cup? Well, you'll learn the answer and much more when you visit the Ingiriya Tea Plantation OR Akuresa Tea Plantation and factory located in the western area of Sri Lanka for a fascinating insider's look at this important industry. Board your comfortable motorcoach for a scenic two-hour ride through the lush, colorful region. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted with special welcome garlands made from tea cultivated on the premises. Your tour includes the history of the tea, and you will observe the tea crop being graded, tasted, bagged and packed. Ceylon tea, produced in Sri Lanka since 1867, is considered some of the finest in the world. At the completion of your tour, you will enjoy a couple of samples of the teas produced on the premises. Enjoy the distinctive flavors with some light refreshments. A relaxing ride returns you to port and hopefully a greater appreciation for tea.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$54.95

Colombo City Highlights

4 hours | Colombo | CMB-200
  • Colombo National Museum
  • Asokaramaya Buddist Temple

Explore Sri Lanka's capital city on a driving tour that includes a stop at two popular attractions: Colombo's National Museum and the Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple. Board your motorcoach and drive past the city streets, century-old clock tower, the colorful Pettah Market, and the Fort area. The Colombo National Museum displays Sri Lankan cultural treasures, such as the throne and crown of the Kandyan monarchs, an extensive array of books and sculpture, and a collection of antique masks. Re-board your motorcoach and journey past ornate religious monuments. Then stop at the Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple to admire the early 20th century Buddhist art that adorns the temple walls. Refresh at a local venue before shopping stop at a local handicraft store and your return to port.

Note: Knees and shoulders must be covered while visiting sacred sights. As shoes must be removed prior to entering the temples, you may wish to bring thick socks. Photography is not permitted inside the temples and photography fees may apply at other sites.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$64.95

Beach Escape

4 hours | Colombo | CMB-590
  • Negombo

Imagine yourself lying on the golden sand on your reserved sun-bed, with palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze. A scenic motorcoach drive takes you to the west coast of Sri Lanka, where Negombo is home to some of Asia's most picturesque beaches and glamorous oceanfront hotel properties. Enjoy a welcome beverage upon your arrival at the luxurious Jetwing Hotel. You will have four hours in total on the beach, including lunch. Water sports are popular with visitors to the hotel, and the waves are perfect for windsurfing. Take a dip in the refreshing waters. When you've worked up an appetite, step inside the hotel for a lovely Oriental buffet lunch. Refreshed and rejuvenated, take a moment to peruse the colorful handicrafts and mementos that are sold along the beach. At the end of your sun-soaked day, relax on the pleasant ride back to port.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$79.95

The Elephants of Pinnawala

7.5 hours | Colombo | CMB-105

Go wild on an adventure-filled excursion that takes you into the heart of the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department, this 24-acre reserve was developed to care for abandoned baby animals that had been separated from their herd. Now the orphanage also serves as a breeding ground for elephants as well as a conservation and education center. As you tour the facility, you'll marvel at the beauty of these gentle giants, observing as they roam freely and behave just as they would in the wild. High points for any visitor are seeing and feeding of Elephants, and watching the animals bathe along the river's edge. Your day includes a buffet lunch with local delicacies served at a nearby restaurant with lovely views. A relaxing drive 2.25 hour drive returns you to port.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$139.95