How Long to Spend in Colombo (First-Time Visitors)

This blog post features links and information which have been obtained on a press trip. However, as always, all opinions shared in this post are my own.

Colombo is the capital city of Sri Lanka. But, unlike other capitals, it’s not a place you’ll want to spend much time visiting. 

In fact, I recommend spending no more than two days in Colombo on a trip to Sri Lanka.

The most popular airport in Sri Lanka is Bandaranaike International. In fact, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a flight to any other airport. A 45-minute drive from the capital city means that most people visit Colombo at the start and end of their trip.

In my case, I spent two nights (one full day) in Colombo during my ten-night trip to Sri Lanka, and this was more than enough.

I arrived at the airport at around 9pm after an 18-hour journey from the UK. A taxi then took me to my hotel in the centre of Colombo. I checked in, showered, and slept until 9am the following morning. 

I then used the day to explore the city of Colombo. I took a guided tour of the city to maximise my day and saw famous sites, including:

  1. Lotus Tower
  2. National Museum of Colombo
  3. Viharamahadevi Park
  4. Mount Lavinia Beach
  5. Gangaramaya Temple

I then had dinner around 5pm and repacked my suitcase, ready to leave Colombo early the following day.

This dash around the city may lead you to believe there’s something terrible about Colombo. But that’s not the case. Colombo is a fantastic city. However, it isn’t as good as other Asian capital cities like Tokyo or Bangkok, nor is it as good as areas of Sri Lanka like Ella, Galle, and Kandy.

In my case, I spent just ten nights in Sri Lanka, and most visas only allow you to stay for up to 30 days. So spending more than two nights in Colombo is a waste when there are so many other great places to explore.


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