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Useful information for shore excursions in Colombo
Below you can find all the information about the cruise port, the most beautiful sights as well as other tips for your shore excursions in Colombo.
The most beautiful attractions in Colombo
Colombo is a multiethnic, multicultural city located in western of Sri Lanka. Until its independence in 1948, the country was colonized for centuries by Portuguese, Dutch and British. During this time, the former small fishing village had become an important trading port, especially in spice trading like cinnamon.
Today Colombo is the capital and at the same time the largest city in the country. It also has many different facets to offer. Whether you’re exploring the Fort district near the harbor, strolling through bazaars in the Pettah district or visiting temples and mosques, you’ll still feel the modernity together with cultural influences of the past!
Other sights you should also visit are the Old parliament, whose style resembles a Greek temple or the city hall which resembles the Capitol in Washington D.C.
In addition to exploring Colombo on your own, it is worthwhile to explore the area with guided shore excursions.
A visit to the city Galle, a coastal city in the south of Sri Lanka is also remarkable. Just an under three-hour drive and you will reach the city from Colombo.
The landmark of the city is the so-called Fort, a fortress built by the Dutch during the colonial era. This fortress is 3 km/ 1.8 mi long, which encloses the Old Town and is today a World Heritage Site. Admire the well-preserved complex and the old town that have European influences in their architectural design.
An approximately four-hour drive will take you from Colombo to the city of Kandy in the interior of Sri Lanka. Admire Buddhist temple Sri Dalada Maligawa, the city’s main attraction, along with other impressive sites.
Its collection is intended to include the left canine of the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama. If you arrive at the right time in the morning, noon or evening, you will even witness the puja ceremony in which the tooth is worshiped. This unique tradition is accompanied by drums and should not be missed.
The elephant orphanage Pinnawala is also very interesting and is not far from Kandy. Elephants which are rejected by the mothers are reared. Especially worth-seeing are the feeding or the bathing of the elephants in the river. These take place several times a day.
An-hour drive north of Colombo is the town of Negombo. Worth seeing is a fortress, which was built in the times of the Dutch. Today, however, you can only look at them from the outside because now it is used as a prison.
You should also visit Negombo lagoon with its fishermen’s huts or the St. Mary’s church with its extraordinarily colorful religious ceiling paintings.
A very different side of the country that is not far from Negombo is on a boat safari in the Muthurajawela wetlands. Admire the untouched nature with its variety of exotic plants and animals such as waterfowl, herons and fish.
Map of cruise port in Colombo
The port of Colombo is designed primarily for container ships. However, there are also two possible moorings for cruise ships. Mostly the mooring near the quarter Colombo Fort is used for mooring. The harbor has several exits. If you choose the second exit, you will arrive directly in the district of Fort Colombo. From the ship, this exit is easy to reach on foot which is only about 700m/ 2,300 ft.
There are also numerous taxis for visitors who wish to explore Colombo on their own and a stands to buy souvenirs from.
If you book a shore excursion with us, you will of course be picked up as close as possible to the harbor area near your berth.
Things to know about shore excursions in Colombo
Shipping companies and routes
Colombo is called especially by cruise ships in the months between November and April.
Other ports apart from Colombo that are frequently visited on cruises through Asia are e.g. Cochin, Phuket, Hong Kong or Bangkok.
Immigration and visa
A visa is required upon entry in Sri Lanka. Visitors (from the US, UK and also other lands) can apply online for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization).
For cruise passengers, it is possible to apply for a transit visa (ETA, valid for 2 days), which is free of charge. This is best done online before the trip on the official website of Sri Lanka Immigration. This visa entitles you to enter Sri Lanka up to three months after issuance so you cannot apply for it too early.
Otherwise please contact your cruise operator for more specific valid entry requirements.
Sri Lanka’s currency is Sri Lanka Rupees (LKR) (1 EUR = 183 LKR; 1 USD = 164 LKR). At tourist places it is usually possible to pay with currencies like US dollars. Otherwise, it is advisable to exchange some money because usually in traditional shops no other currencies are accepted.
Taxi and other public transport
If you wish to explore Colombo on your own, there are always numerous taxis around the port area for you to choose from. You should always remember to ask for a certain price before the trip. If you hire a taxi for a whole day, it would probably cost you about 120 US-Dollar.
Tours with rikshas are also offered. Negotiate extensively with the driver for a good price, one hour should not cost you more than $ 10.
Alternatively, there are also trains that you can use to commute. However, these usually only depart a few times a day. Therefore, inform yourself in advance to get back to the ship in time.
The best travel time for cruises to Colombo is in the months of December to April. The climate of Sri Lanka is characterized by tropical monsoon climate, which is why it can rain very heavily in the remaining months. You should also be prepared for high humidity. However, this is slightly lower in the coastal areas.
The offered cruises from the shipping companies are adapted to this and take place mainly in the winter months. Temperatures are over 25 °C / 77 °F or warmer so that you can escape the cold weather for a short time.
Websites of the Port and Tourist organizations
- Port operator: Sri Lanka Ports Authority
- Official website : Sri Lanka Travel
- Online tour guide: Wikitravel
Video: Impressions of Colombo
Turn your cruise trip through Asia into an unforgettable experience with a shore excursion in Colombo from “My Cruise Excursion” in small groups at small price!
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