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How to Spend 3 Days in Colombo

How to Spend 3 Days in Colombo

Colombo serves up temples, British colonial monuments, and great shopping, plus a friendly and colorful vibe all its own. Sri Lanka’s capital is also a base for day trips to experience the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kandy, wildlife safaris, and more. Here’s how to get the most from three days in the city.

Day 1: See the City Sights

Use today to get acquainted with Colombo’s sights, such as the Fort Clock Tower and bustling Pettah district, on a private tour, or hop on a pushbike, tuk-tuk, or World War II jeep and experience the city’s commotion full on. Alternatively, take a combined sightseeing and shopping trip, sample Sri Lanka’s fragrant teas at a tea factory, or choose a city tour that finishes with high tea—a throwback to British colonial times—at a luxury hotel. Later, explore Colombo’s vibrant food scene on foot or by tuk-tuk. Try specialities such as prawn-topped patties with roti (flatbread) and vegetable stir fries as you dip into markets, cafés, and food stands.

Day 2: Kandy, Galle, and Ancient Cities

Devote your second day to wider Sri Lanka. History buffs will love the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Anuradhapura, home to the remains of Sri Lanka’s earliest capital, and Polonnaruwa, whose temples map out a later royal city. Another option is Kandy, the island’s beautiful hill capital, which is home to a UNESCO-protected temple said to hold a tooth relic of Buddha. Alternatively, 2-day options include Kandy and the 5th-century summit ruins atop Sigiriya rock—another UNESCO gem—or Galle with its Portuguese-Dutch fort combined with Udawalawe National Park to look for wild elephants, leopards, deer, and buffalo.

Day 3: Wildlife and Other Wonders

Sri Lanka’s beaches and countryside are rich in wildlife, so devote your final day to experiencing their natural wonders. Journey to coastal Bentota to visit a turtle hatchery and spot exotic creatures on a mangrove boat trip, or head for Wilpattu, Sri Lanka’s biggest national park, for a game drive around its lakes to watch for leopards, sloth bears, elephants, and more. Otherwise, book a trip to Belilena: a huge cavern with evidence of human inhabitants from 16,000 years ago, or explore the caves at UNESCO-listed Dambulla—a 1st-century cave monastery crammed with Buddha statues and murals. An adventurous option is a white-water-rafting excursion on the River Kelani. Return to Colombo for a quiet final night out with dinner at a local restaurant.

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14 Tours and Activities | All Colombo Tours

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Colombo Tuk Tuk Safari

Colombo Tuk Tuk Safari

star-5
Combine food tastings with sightseeing on a private 4-hour evening tour of Colombo by tuk-tuk. Climb into a comfortable, customized tuk-tuk with a private driver-guide, and delve into Colombo’s bustling streets to enjoy the sights, culinary delights, and city lights. Ride by famous landmarks, explore the hottest entertainment spots, and make food stops to sample local staples and snacks. Enjoy the alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks stowed inside your tuk-tuk cooler as you explore.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$72.00
From
$72.00
Taking safety measures

Colombo City Tour by Tuk Tuk

Colombo City Tour by Tuk Tuk

star-4.5
Get an intimate look at the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo during this 3.5-hour sightseeing trip by tuk tuk with a small group. Travel like Sri Lankan locals do as you weave through traffic, stopping to check out city landmarks like Colombo Harbour, the Pettah neighborhood, Wolvendaal Church, Independence Square, Gangaramaya Temple, and much more.
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  • 4 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$56.00
From
$56.00
Taking safety measures

Colombo City Day Tour

Colombo City Day Tour

star-4.5
Enjoy a city sightseeing tour of Colombo, the bustling capital of Sri Lanka. An informative guide takes you to major highlights such as the ocean-facing urban park of Galle Face Green; the Buddhist temples of Kelaniya, Gangaramaya and Seema Malaka; and the War Memorial, Independence Square and more. End your tour with some bargain hunting on a shopping excursion.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$50.00
Price varies by group size
From
$50.00
Price varies by group size

White Water Rafting in Kitulgala From Colombo

White Water Rafting in Kitulgala From Colombo

Get out of the city and go on an adrenaline-filled white water rafting adventure on this full-day tour from Colombo. Depart from your hotel and travel in an air-conditioned car or van with a driver to Kelani River. After a safety briefing from the instructors, hop in your white water raft head out on the water. Pause in Kithulgala for a traditional Sri Lankan lunch.
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  • 6 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$78.00
Price varies by group size
From
$78.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Tour of Colombo in a World War II Jeep

Private Tour of Colombo in a World War II Jeep

star-5
See the sights of Colombo, the largest city in Sri Lanka, on this 3-hour private tour in a World War II–era Jeep. You'll explore both on- and off-road to check out top attractions such as Old Parliament Building and Viharamahadevi Park and visit a bird sanctuary just outside of the city. Hotel pickup, beverages, and a snack are included. Choice of morning or afternoon departure time.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$104.00
Price varies by group size
From
$104.00
Price varies by group size

Day Tour to Wilpattu National Park from Colombo

Day Tour to Wilpattu National Park from Colombo

star-5
Enjoy personalized attention from your guide on this private tour of Wilpattu National Park from Colombo. With convenient round-trip transportation, there's no need to rent a car and you can relax on the transfers to and from Colombo. Once in the park, take a jeep safari to see the local wildlife and learn about their biology and behavior through guided commentary. A private tour means you can move at your own pace and enjoy a flexible itinerary.
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  • 12 to 14 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$141.00
Price varies by group size
From
$141.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Day Excursion To Polonnaruwa City From Colombo

Day Excursion To Polonnaruwa City From Colombo

Make the most of a day trip from Colombo with this private guided tour to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Traveling with just your party and a guide ensures you receive undivided attention and can explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site at your own pace.
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  • 12 to 14 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$152.00
Price varies by group size
From
$152.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Colombo Walking Food Tour

Colombo Walking Food Tour

star-5
Understanding Colombo means not only sightseeing but tasting its food—both more revealing when done with a guide. Sample the city’s attractions and snacks on this small-group food walking tour: learning more than possible alone. See the Red Mosque, markets, and more; and stop to try popular foods such as egg hopper and 'achcharu' (pickle) to gain a true perspective on local life and cuisine that most visitors never get.
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  • 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$41.00
From
$41.00
Taking safety measures

2 Day Tour to Galle & Udawalawe from Colombo

2 Day Tour to Galle & Udawalawe from Colombo

Enjoy a two-day excursion from Colombo and leave all the planning to the experts. This private tour takes you to Galle, known for its UNESCO-listed fort; to Ahangama fishing village to see the stilt fishers, and to Udawalawe National Park, home to elephants, buffalo, boar, crocodile, and more.
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  • 2 days
  • Taking safety measures
From
$174.00
Price varies by group size
From
$174.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Kandy Day Tour from Colombo

Kandy Day Tour from Colombo

star-4
This day trip from Colombo to World Heritage-listed Kandy takes you to many popular attractions in the region. Learn about Ayurvedic medicine at the New Paradise Spice and Herbal Garden in Mawanella, see the Temple of Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), and visit a batik factory and the Gem Museum. Lunch and round-trip transportation from your hotel or cruise port are included.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$100.00
Price varies by group size
From
$100.00
Price varies by group size

Private Colombo City Tour With High Tea In Taj Samudra Hotel

Private Colombo City Tour With High Tea In Taj Samudra Hotel

See Colombo’s sights without negotiating public buses or cabs, and with afternoon tea as a final flourish, on this private tour. Cruise easily around the sights by air-conditioned car, visit the Seema Malakaya temple and other landmarks, and explore bustling streets, gardens, and craft emporiums, all as your guide shares insight into Colombo’s culture and history. Your tour is capped by a hotel high tea and convenient return hotel transfers.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$60.00
Price varies by group size
From
$60.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Day Tour to Anuradhapura from Colombo

Day Tour to Anuradhapura from Colombo

Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s first ancient kingdom, is tough to reach by public transportation. But on this comfortable day trip, you’ll travel there and back from Colombo in a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle, with round-trip hotel transfers included. Marvel at well-preserved temples and palaces from the one-time holy city. You’ll also pay a visit to a revered mountain peak and sacred fig tree.
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  • 10 to 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$109.00
Price varies by group size
From
$109.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Sigiriya Dambulla Full-Day Tour From Colombo

Sigiriya Dambulla Full-Day Tour From Colombo

star-5
If you cherish the freedom of independent travel but prefer to avoid left-side driving, check off Sri Lanka’s two biggest historical attractions on this private door-to-door tour. After visiting an Ayurvedic herb garden for a self-guided tour, a massage, tea, and cake, marvel at the gilded Buddhas in the Dambulla Cave Temple, scale the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, and explore a village by ox cart. Please note: tour excludes entrance fees.
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  • 14 hours
From
$5.34
Price varies by group size
From
$5.34
Price varies by group size

Explore Belilena Cave from Colombo

Explore Belilena Cave from Colombo

Enjoy personalized attention and flexible itinerary on this private, full-day tour of Belilena Caves. Follow your dedicated guide through the jungles of Kitulgala to see caves where skeletal remains and fossils reside, including the "Balangoda Man". Lunch, entrance fees, and round-trip hotel transportation are included.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$108.00
Price varies by group size
From
$108.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures