Colourful and Vibrant
Colombo Colombo, Sri Lanka's colourful and vibrant capital, attracts travellers with its striking contrasts of cosmopolitan flair and colonial heritage. A port city near the Indian Ocean, the bustling metropolis offers visitors an eclectic cultural diversity, as well as being the gateway to traditional and modern Sri Lanka.
Best time for climate and festivals
Sri Lanka's tropical year-round climate makes it an exceptional tourist destination. From January to March, visitors experience lower temperatures with less rain. The country's rainy seasons are from October to January and May till July. Many festivals occur throughout the year in Colombo. During July/ August, thousands of visitors come to the Esala Perahera Buddhist festival at the "Sri Dalada Maligawa" temple in Kandy during the full moon. The "Temple of the Tooth" houses the revered relic of Buddha's tooth. Ever year, an elephant parade and procession transports a replica of the structure around Kandy.
Planning your trip to Colombo - visas and vaccinations
British passport holders need a visa for a Sri Lankan visit. Passports must be valid at least six months from date of arrival. The recommended vaccines are Hepatitis A, typhus, tetanus, rabies and diphtheria.
Be sensitive and respectful of Sri Lankan customs, especially around temples and statues of Buddha. Never turn your back on Buddha statues (even when taking pictures). Prices in Sri Lanka are much lower than in Britain. Streetfood snacks costs start at about 100 LKR while lunch is priced from around 300 LKR and an evening meal in restaurants costs about 750 LKR. Local beer costs about 200 LKR.
Getting to the city centre and around
To travel from the airport to Colombo, the Intercity Bus 187 takes passengers to the main station. The journey on the motorway takes about 40-60 minutes, depending on traffic and costs about 110 LKR. The main station has connections to other destinations such as Kandy. During the low season, hostel accommodation costs about 1000 LKR per person in shared dormitories. More luxurious rooms start around 5000 LKR. Public buses are cheaper than taxis or tuk-tuks, but tuk-tuks are probably the most practical public transport method. Metered tuk-tuks are the best option with a starting price of about LKR50, 4-5km costs around LKR200; 6km around LKR250. Book train tickets to other Sri Lankan cities well in advance.