Revision as of 07:39, 6 July 2007
Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka.
Best time to visit is from April - November
There is air service to and from Colombo, provided by the national airline Sri Lankan Airlines. Flights are available from origins throughout Europe, United States, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan. Other airlines, often cheaper, include Qatar Airlines and Emirates.
Colombo's international airport is at Katunayake, close to Negombo, on the coast north of Colombo. The journey to Colombo will take about an hour by taxi.
Getting around by Tri-shaw (Three wheeler) is most convenient. You should always negotiate, bargain and agree on a price before you take a trip.For shorter trips inside Colombo you can skip the dealing and just pay Rs. 200 when you get off. If they argue, just tell them 200 is double of what locals would pay.
Taxi is also good. The cars often have meters starting on Rs. 40. You seldom pay more than Rs. 200 for a trip inside Colombo. Rs. 500 will get you to Mount Lavinia. Then you get more saftey than in a threewheeler. And you get A/C.
- The Colombo National Museum - Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo 7 - Tel : 2697467-8
- The Natural History Museum
- The Dutch Period Museum
- The Bandaranaike Museum
- The National Art Gallery
- The Sapumal Foundation
- The Lionel Wendt Center
- Galle Face at Sundown for a spectacular view
- Colombo Zoo is being renovated, and plan to have an open area for the elephants
- Barefoot handicraft store, 706 Galle Road, Colombo 3.  Is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to get good quality souvenirs and hand made clothes. Check out their fabrics!
- Odel No 5, Alexandra Place,Colombo - 7.  a stylish department store, with its very own Delifrance outlet, clothing, houseware, sporting goods, books and movies, as well as Delight – for sweet indulgences from chocolates to exotic nuts.
- The Wadiya is in Wellawatte next to the Beach: great for an evening meal.
- Saras is one of the best Indian Restaurants. It is on Duplication Road.
- Mango Tree, one of the finest restaurants in the city.
- The Lagoon - seafood restaurant.
- Spoons, located at the Colombo Hilton is promoting a 'fresh experience' and tend to server 5 course dinners. Expect a meal to cost around $50+
- Ginza Hosen, this is one of the Japanese restaurants in Colombo. They have a sushi bar, the tathami rooms and ever tappenyaki. Meals here can cost from $50-150+
- Chesa Swiss, representing the best of frech cuisine, located on Duplication Road, have all your favourites from fresh garden snails to Chateaubriand for two, and Fondue to steak Cafe de Paris style! Again, meals are in the $50+ bracket.
- The London Grill, as the name suggests this restaurant is very British. It probably has the best ambience ever, and the food is just great. Located at the Colombo Plaza (used to be called the Lanka Oberoi).
- Royal Thai, located at the TransAsia Hotel (Ramada), is an authentic Thai restaurant hosting the usual favourites such as Tom Yam and Chicken Pandan leaves.
- Thambili (Orange Coconut juice) is the safest, since they cut it open in front of you (uncontaminated).
- Spring water with SLS certification are safe to drink.
Sri Lanka has much to offer in terms of accommodation no matter what your budget is. Listed below are a number of hotels in and around Colombo.
- Hotel Galaxy
- Renuka Hotel, Tel:2573598
- Galle Face Hotel
- Hilton International, Tel:2544644. . Highly recommended.
- Trans Asia Hotel, Tel:2544200
- Hotel Inter Continental, Tel:2421221. 
- The Havelock Place Bungalow, Tel:2585191 . Colombo’s first boutique hotel, consisting of two restored colonial homes. Tastefully decorated using antique colonial furniture. Wireless Internet, pool, jacuzzi, restaurants.
- Hotel Galadari, Tel:2544544. 
- Jaic Hilton Tower 33 Storey apartment building, catering for business executives to families. Good restaurant in room service.Also at bottom a nice Japanese restaurant- Nihonbashi and the excellent Union Bar and Grill with a great menu. Also With wireless Internet, Pool, Tennis Court and classes such as Yoga & Karate.
- Colombo Plaza
- Holiday Inn
- Hotel Oberoi, 
- Taj Samudra, Tel:2446622. 
||WARNING: There is an insurgency problem going on right now in Sri Lanka. Colombo is getting very dangerous. There have been bombings of the airport and a rise in crime.
Colombo is like most south asian capitals. Although probably not as dangerous as you would think, tourists should be very viligant. Many first time travelers to Colombo find themselves falling victim to scams and touts. Be on guard for anybody trying to help you by giving you unsolicited directions or travel advice, and take any advice from taxi and auto drivers with a grain of salt, especially if they tell you the place you want to go to is closed, dangerous, etc. If you are unsure, check a map. If you have been told your hotel is closed or full, give them a call. If you are a first time visiter to Sri Lanka, don't admit it as it will make you a mark for the scam artists.
There is safety in numbers. This applies even more at night. However, one should not think that if you go to Colombo for an Afternoon shopping, your going to face problems.
Colombo is an increasingly unsafe place for women. It is not uncommon to hear reports of lewd remarks or in some cases, even physical touching. Try to avoid walking around alone or hiring cabs alone, dress conservatively and do not be afraid to shout. The police emergency number is 119 and can be called from all landline and international mobile phones used in Sri Lanka too.
- Cambridge Villa Resort,  Just a 3.5 hours scenic drive from Colombo (175 kms)