Colombo is the largest city in Sri Lanka and the commercial capital. The city is located on the west coast of the island and borders Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte (Kotte), the official capital of Sri Lanka. Often Colombo is seen as the capital, because Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo. About 650,000 people live in this busy and lively city that offers visitors a nice mix of modern life and colonial buildings and ruins.
Colombo used to have a reputation of being boring and dangerous. It is only in recent years, there have been some serious changes when it comes to safety. Also the city has become more appealing to visitors and it is often the starting point for exploring Sri Lanka.
SriLankan Airlines is the national airline of Sri Lanka and has its headquarters in the capital, Colombo. The airline, which is based at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, was established in 1979 and is a member of the airline alliance Oneworld, which also includes British Airways and Iberia. SriLankan Airlines operates flights to more than 42 destinations in 20 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Etihad, or also called Etihad Airways, is a national airline of the United Arab Emirates and is home to Abu Dhabi International Airport. The airline is the largest airline in the country after Emirates and flies to more than 90 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, America and Australia.
From New York, Colombo can be reached in 17 hours and 15 minutes. London has a flight time of 10 hour and 45 minutes. There are several airlines offering direct flights to these destinations. Most flights require a stopover in the Middle East.
The beating heart of Colombo is formed by Galle Road, the main artery of the city. During your stay in the city you will undoubtedly end up here, because here you will find numerous hotels, restaurants and cozy cafés. You come across backpackers, but there are also the necessary luxury hotels on this street. One of the most famous sights along Galle Road is the Vajira Pillayar Kovil temple, easily recognizable by its richly decorated tower.
If you need a dose of culture you should visit The National Museum of Colombo, the largest museum in the city. In this museum you can improve your knowledge about the history of Sri Lanka and admire a particularly extensive collection of artworks and historical relics. Different periods in history are discussed, including the Dutch interference in Sri Lanka.
Culture, beach, temples: in Colombo you have it all within reach. One of the most beautiful temples of the city is the Gangaramaya Temple, which is also regarded as one of the most important temples in all of Sri Lanka. The temple was built at the end of the 19th century and today it is a fascinating mix of old and new architecture.
Traveling in a sustainable way is making use of local services. Since tourism in Sri Lanka is relatively new, there is a wide range of foreign travel agencies. However if you want to travel in a responsible way, try book local tours.