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Negombo is the fifth-largest city in the country and is known as a major fishing center. The Negombo fish market is famous throughout Sri Lanka. But the main attraction of Negombo is a beautiful sandy beach. Negombo is home to some of Sri Lanka's famous attractions. If you want to dedicate your time only to seeing iconic sights, Negombo is unlikely to have something interesting to offer you. However, the attractions of Negombo are numerous, and if you are interested in what to see in Negombo, you will find many attractive places here. Negombo is an ideal place to start or end your trip in Sri Lanka.
Let's see why!
Negombo is located on the coast of the Indian Ocean in a picturesque lagoon. In Negombo, you will find a strong trace of its history, customs, and commerce. It was a critical port center for the spice trade since the times of the ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka. On the other hand, it was also famous for the cultivation of cinnamon. Negombo is where tourists and travelers usually start and end their trip to Sri Lanka. Colombo International Airport, Sri Lanka's main airport is less than 10 km from Negombo. That is the main reason travelers look for accommodation in Negombo to rest after a long trip and gather strength to start their adventure in Sri Lanka. Negombo beach is not one of the best in Sri Lanka, but it is an excellent place to rest and relax. In addition to sunbathing and strolling a bit on the sand, the beach is a perfect place to see how the locals are and how they relate, from the fishers doing their business every morning to the children with their families flying kites at sunset. The Sri Lankans like to fly kites. We have seen it in other places on the island, such as the Galle Face Green in Colombo. Considering that your stay in Negombo will surely be one or two days, our recommendation is that you rest and gain strength for the rest of the trip. The rest of the time, you can take the opportunity to visit a church, Buddhist temple, mosque, or Hindu temple. Some of the most important is the Angurukaramulla Temple, the Church of Santa María, and the Church of San Sebastián, sadly remembered for the country's attacks on Easter Sunday 2019. Other places or things to do in Negombo are to visit the Dutch Canal by boat, visit the fish market or learn a little more about the city's history by watching the Dutch fort. Accommodation in Negombo is varied and has a wide range for all types of people and pockets, from large beachfront resorts to more modest hostels away from the hustle and bustle of Negombo Beach. Something that has impressed us is the kindness and smiles the hotel staff always offer you. It is something that is repeated throughout the island. Finally, Sri Lankan cuisine is not easy to find in Negombo. Due to its tourist attraction, the city has been modifying its menu of dishes, preparing more international dishes and less typical authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. Anyway, you have some places where that haven’t happened, and you can taste the local Sri Lankan delicacies.
You have probably heard that there is not much to see and do in Negombo, and everything will depend on your desire to know its culture, history, and nature. Whether for a one-day visit or to relax seral times in its hotels and resorts, in Negombo you can enjoy its urban center with the daily local rhythm and long beaches. One of the things to see and do in Negombo is to eat fish and seafood since fishing plays a fundamental role in commercial activity and the city's economy. And if nightlife is your thing, Negombo is one of the most developed destinations in entertainment in western Sri Lanka, where you will find a variety of pubs, discos, and clubs. In addition, certain water sports are popular; especially kite surfing, thanks to the strength of its winds. Negombo will be your first contact in Sri Lanka, and from here, you can continue your journey in different directions. You will find the capital, Colombo, less than an hour to the south.
Vacationers are attracted to the beaches. Located just 8 kilometers from Bandaranaike International Airport, the city of Negombo is the first destination you can visit on your trip to Sri Lanka. However, you can also leave it for last.
Negombo is a city of peaceful coexistence of many religions. One of the prominent examples is many Christian temples in the city and Buddhist and Hindu ones. Among the religious buildings of the last religion, the Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple, built in honor of the mother goddess, stands out as a bright spot. And although the temple looks extremely nondescript from the outside, inside, it opens in its entire splendor. Alas, only the temple servants can enter the main room, where the goddess statue is located. But let this not upset anyone, as the rest of the premises are worthy of attention.
This small reservoir with an area of ??about 35 sq. adds variety to your stay in Negombo and can be pretty interesting if you take a tour and swim around it. Traveling through the Laguna, you can see mangroves and many different waterfowl if you're lucky. You can also go fishing. Along the Laguna, residents live very modestly and poorly, whose primary source of income is fishing and agriculture.
Udappu is a small fishing village on the coast 65 km north of Negombo. Rare tourists sometimes visit it in passing while traveling to Negombo to the north, including Anuradhapura or Trincomalee. Therefore, be prepared to find yourself at the center of everyone's attention in the village. But, surprisingly, this attention will be limited only to the smiles of the residents or the local annoying kids. No one will obsessively offer you something to buy or ask for money. The village has earned the attention of the most curious travelers. In different parts of the village, several other small temples are open only in the morning or evening; in principle, they are nothing special. There is also a fish market in the village, but you need to visit it early in the morning, and there is nothing special to see there.
Although the Christian religion is the majority in the city, Buddhism is also very present in Negombo. Located on Temple Rd, Angurukaramulla Temple is one of the important places to visit in Negombo. Inside the Angurukaramulla Temple, we can see sculptures, murals, and paintings on the ceiling, representing Buddha's journey until his enlightenment. Stories of ancient rulers of the island of Sri Lanka are also depicted. To the temple's right is a large white stupa, which houses another stupa inside. In addition, we can also see carvings, murals, and more sculptures. We advise you to visit the temple in the morning since the lighting is not very good. Finally, there is also a small library within the same temple compound. Currently, its doors are closed, and it is impossible to access its interior, but from the windows, we can see a beautiful spiral staircase that seems still in good condition.
About 100 meters from the previous temple, there is another dedicated to another Hindu god, Ganesha, the god of wisdom and prosperity. This beautiful and bright temple with a low tower, decorated with bright statues and bas-reliefs. Inside Sri, Sitivinayagar is a central sanctuary with a statue of Ganesha and a tower crowning it. Along the temple's perimeter are several separate pedestals with figures of various deities.
Negombo is famous throughout the country for its anglers, and as a result, the city's fish markets are one of those places that tourists should visit. There are two of them in the city: Old and New. And if the New Market is more civilized and less interesting for tourists, you should go to the Old Market. It is on it that you can not only look at all the riches of the ocean but also see how boats with a catch arrive, how the unloading process goes, as well as drying fish right on the coastal sand. Negombo has lived from fishing for many centuries. Today, critical fishing activity still affects the region's economy. This can be seen in the boats that go out to sea daily and in the auction of fishery products at the Negombo fish market.
Negombo beach is another attractive attraction in the city. Despite many advantages, this beach is not very popular among travelers. Perhaps they are scared away by local merchants who persistently offer their goods to tourists. However, people who trade in this way contribute most of a particular flavor - and if you are not afraid of increased attention, feel free to go to the beach because there is something to see. Although Negombo is an exciting city, it hardly enjoys such popularity among tourists if it were not for its beautiful beach. Negombo beach is called the "Golden Mile." Once Negombo was a small fishing town that became Sri Lanka's first beach resort. The beautiful and untouched sandy beach of Negombo is mainly maintained and improved by neighboring hotels interested in offering their guests good conditions for a beach holiday in Sri Lanka. These beaches are quieter than the main Negombo beach and relatively close to the airport. Hotels on these beaches have an advantage over hotels in Hikkaduwa, Bentota, Unawatuna, and other resort areas in southwest Sri Lanka.
The city of Negombo has a very peculiar rhythm characterized by the unbridled hustle and bustle in the busiest squares and the traffic on its main avenues. This rhythm contrasts with the local life around the beaches and the tranquility after sunset. Stroll through its streets and if it is your first day in Sri Lanka, surprise your palate with the exotic flavors of local cuisine. Take the opportunity to get a SIM card and to change money. In Negombo, you have exchange houses with very competitive rates. Next, explore local life by getting lost in its streets and markets. The touristiest is located in the port near the Dutch Fort. This is Fish Market, one of the most crowded and characteristic of the city, given the dependence on the fishing industry. From the exact location, you will be able to see the catamarans arrive and unload the fish. In the area, they also work on dried fish, a popular snack in Sri Lanka, left in the sun for several days after cleaning and opening it. You will see the day-to-day trade with the fishers selling their catch from the location. Fish Market is undoubtedly one of the essential attractions to add to your list of things to see and do in Negombo.
A tour of the Dutch Canal, also known as the Hamilton Canal, is one of the most popular and distinctive attractions to see in Negombo. The city forms a system of canals that extends from Puttalam to Colombo. Hamilton canal at the end of Colombo and the Buddha of the Sri Gangathilaka Purana Viharaya temple. The first canals were built during the Kotte Kingdom and used for transporting spices and other products. Later they would be modified by the Dutch and British, the result being the channels you can see today. Dutch canal, rainforest landscape, and tour tourists in a boat complement your trip to Negombo by taking a tour of the canal's waters and learning about the history of this construction while discovering the region's interiors. You can book a tour of the Dutch Canal in advance with your travel agency, or else you will find operators in Negombo that offer you the activity.
Negombo has several temples, which will be a great introduction to the country's Buddhist and Hindu religions if you start your trip to Sri Lanka.
Already from the plane, as you approach the airport, you will see a large body of water corresponding to the Negombo lagoon. The south of the lagoon corresponds to the Muthurajawela Wetland Sanctuary, thus giving a category of protected space to this part of the lagoon due to the large number of animal species that make their habitat in the environment. From the characteristic monitor lizard to different species of monkeys and a great variety of birds. Do you feel like exploring the lake for a few hours? Then set aside a morning to go on a boat safari.
Negombo is touristic ally developed and has a vibrant atmosphere, especially during the high season. In Negombo, you will find a wide variety of restaurants that offer good quality and service, as well as grand hotels and resorts. Finally, in the area near Negombo beach, you will find several pubs and club-type establishments with good music, a wide variety of imported drinks, and, in short, an exceptional atmosphere. The south coast of Negombo is a popular place for lovers of fish and seafood. In the local bay, fishers catch an incredible amount of lobsters, crabs, and shrimp. There are many taverns on the beach where all the seafood is cooked on an open fire.
Negombo is a reasonably large tourist city, and shopping is not wrong there. However, in a good sense of the word, there are not many shops in Negombo. It's easier to say that everything in the city can be bought on the market. Many, for example, come there for "branded" polo shirts and others that are expensive but do not smell, and at least a couple of years will not lose shape and color and wear well.
Well, in general, the center of Negombo is, in fact, one large trading counter where you can find everything you need and want, from clothespins to natural sapphires. As for clothes, before trying on clothes, you should consider such a nuance as matching sizes, so at first, look around to understand how much smaller and thinner you are local and translate this value into clothing size.
Renting a bike in Negombo and going for a ride and seeing the city's surroundings can be enjoyable if you follow these essential tips. If not, it will happen to you like us: you will want to throw the bike around any corner and start to hate it as you have rarely hated anything before.
There are different ways to get to Negombo from Colombo. The most recommended for us is the bus. Depending on traffic, we can take a CTB bus covering the Colombo-Negombo route for between 1 and 2 hours. The bus frequency is every 20 minutes. If we want to reduce the journey time, we will have to opt for private or intercity buses that go by the highway. Another option to get to Negombo from Colombo is to use the train. Train ticket prices vary depending on the class chosen to travel. If, after visiting Negombo, we want to head to Kandy to continue our trip, we can do that too. The journey between the two cities takes between 3 and 4 hours.
As you can see, there is a lot to see and do in Negombo whenever you want to squeeze your visit. A travel guide will be an ideal companion that will allow you to learn more about the history and culture of this destination. Prepare your trip, and be sure to discover everything there is to see the attractions of Negombo!
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