As one of Sri Lanka’s most liberal towns, Negombo is home to a plethora of great beach resorts, shops, bars, pubs and clubs. Here you can spend your days chilling out by the pool, taking a dip in the big blue, stretched out on the sand or wandering through town, browsing, purchasing souvenirs and other bits and pieces. In the evening the hotels offer a great array of dining establishments or alternatively you can pop into town and dine with the locals on sumptuous local cuisine, the seafood often freshly caught that day by the very people cooking it.
Negombo is awash with fishermen; their boats scatter the horizon and their large sails billow in the sea breeze. You can watch them set out in their outrigger canoes or ‘oruwa’, before their freshly caught tuna, marlin, shark, barracuda, swordfish, prawns, crabs and lobster are sold at the town’s fantastic fish market, Lellama. Take a ride in one of the colourful tuk-tuks and get lost in the swirl or people all jostling to pick up the best of the fresh seafood.
There is also a collection of pretty Roman Catholic churches, which has earned Negombo the moniker ‘Little Rome’. You can see both Dutch and Portugese homes and administrative buildings scattered throughout the town as well as a selection of mosques and Buddhist and Hindu temples. This picturesque fishing town has a rich heritage – prized for its cinnamon, the Dutch transformed it into an important port in the 1600s and it still retains its colonial charm.
GMT +6 hours
Sri Lankan rupee
Sinhalese. Tamil and English are also widely spoken, and newspapers are printed in all three languages.
Many of our resorts have PADI centres. Sri Lanka’s waters are home to historic sunken shipwrecks and vibrant coral reef teeming with tropical fish.
Hit the azure ocean and try scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, waterskiing, jetskiing, banana boating, catamaran sailing and kayaking.
Most of our Sri Lanka beach resorts boast their own spas - book a blissful treatment and leave feeling rejuvenated.
• In Bentota, browse the colourful bazaar and pick up souvenirs, batik and brassware.
• Negombo is home to jewellers and gift shops selling local handicrafts.
• In Colombo you can barter at Pettah Bazaar, buy an exquisite sari and famous Ceylon tea, and admire local artists’ work. You’ll also find gem-studded jewellery (only buy from shops licensed by the National Gem & Jewellery Authority).
• Galle is famous for its antique shops selling colonial furniture and ornaments, porcelain and pottery.
• A short drive up from Galle is Ambalangoda, selling antiques and intricately carved ‘devil masks’ traditionally worn to banish demons.
• Further south in Koggala, purchase delicious cinnamon from the local plantation.
• You’ll find delicious fish and seafood, traditional Sri Lankan curries and international fare. In Kalutara, try the resort’s famous mangosteen – a juicy purple fruit.
• Try the local brew, arrack.
• Don’t drink the tap water. Most hotels offer boiled and bottled water, so stick to this instead.