People in Colombo and major cities often wish to spend their weekend away from the hustle-bustle of the city. We bring you 10 ideas to refresh your mind, body and the soul during weekend. Some of the top weekend travel tourist destinations that can be easily reached from the city and provide long lasting memories are listed here.
#1 – River Bathing
Sri Lanka has a network of rivers originating from central Hills. Many of these contain stunning waterfalls. Some of the bathing places are very crowded during weekends.
However, please be aware that Sri Lanka has high rates of drowning because of Swimming or bathing under the influence of liquor. Holidaymakers at the sea, tanks or rivers, should comply with the basic safety measures when swimming in the natural rivers and waterways.
#2 – Beach Holiday
Sri Lanka has best beaches around the country so you can have safe swimming at some of the beaches.
Mount Lavinia, Kalutara, Panadura are famous places to have a sea bath close to Colombo. However with the Highways you can reach Negombo, or south coast beaches such as Hikkaduwa, Mirissa, Unwatuna Jungle Beach and Matara Polhena beach also.
if you want to know more beach destinations in Sri Lanka then click here.
#3 – Shopping –
Colombo has modern, air conditioned shopping malls to the famously buzzing street markets where you can buy cloths, books or electronic items.
Large shopping malls with food stalls are Liberty Plaza, Majestic City, Arcade Independent square, Duch Market Shopping, Crescat Boulevard or Petta market.
Odel, House of Fashions, Glitz, No Limit and Thilakawardena Textiles are the most famous places to buy cloths.
Sri Lankan craftmenship has a long and vibrant history; hence you can buy Handicrafts here: mastks, elephant carvigns, bathiks. Wooden models, silverware and brass work. Sri Lanka has been famous for its Gems and Jewellery since antiquity. Laksala by Sri Lanka Handicrafts Board has its flagship store at 60, York Street in Colombo 1. Barefoot at Bambalapitya and Lakedura at Dharmapala Mawatha are also good places to buy handicrafts. Genuine gemstones are sold at Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Exchange, 310, Galle Road, Colombo 3.
#4 – Cultural sites and Temples –
Historical and culturally significant places located between three ancient Sinhala Capitals, Kandy, Anuradhapura and Plonnaruwa are now referred to as Cultural Triangle. Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Damublla, Polonnaruwa and Temple of Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) in Kandy are located in this region are very popular among locals as well as foreign visitors. This area also contain vast man made reservoirs or tanks (vewa).
Also you can visit local Buddhist temples, Hindu Kovilas, Christian Churches or Muslim mosques for religious observances.
#5 – Trekking and Wildlife adventure in a Forest –
Sri Lanka has fourteen National Parks administered by Department of Wildlife Conservation and Forest Reserves such as Sinhalara, Kithulgala, KDN managed by Forest Department. These forests and sanctuaries contain a rich collection of wildlife and birds, and are also of outstanding scenic beauty.
For the keen hiker and nature lovers, there are plenty of opportunities in Sri Lanka: Ritigala Kithulgala, Sinharaja, Yagirala Forest and Field Research Center, Muthurajawela Mangrove wetland, Wilpattu National Park.
Pinnawala elephant orphanage is also a great place to watch elephants.
#6 – Play Games –
You can play outdoor spots like Cricket, Football or beach volleyball or Play indoor games such as card games or board games. Chess, Draughts (Daam) and Carrom are very popular indoor games in Sri Lanka.
You can reserve a playground or play cricket in one of the local cricket playing grounds.
#7 – Eating Out in a Restaurant or Weekend Buffet
Colombo and suburbs offer fabulous and ever expanding choice of places to eat, from affordable family Restaurants in the city and along Marine Drive and Gale Face to fine-dining cafés in Posh Hotels.
Many large-scale hotels offer Special Buffet on Every Saturday, Sunday, Poya days and all other Public Holidays. These weekend buffet packages include Welcome Drink, Lunch Buffet, evening Tea and use of swimming pool.
#8 – Attractions around Colombo –
Colombo, Sri Lanka’s busy commercial Capital and surrounding areas also contain several tourist attractions: Independent Square, Galle Face Green, Viharamahadevi Park, Mount Lavinia beach, National Museum, the Seema Malakaya and Gangarama Temple, Diyatha Uyana and Dehiwala Zoological Gardens.
Colombo also has a bit of nightlife, though mainly kept going by a small community of westernized locals and the expat community. A lot of city’s nightlife is focused around bars, pubs, night clubs and casinos in Colombo city.
#9 – Cinema, Theater and Performing arts (Drama)
There are few Cinema Halls in Colombo: Majetic, Liberty Cinema etc. Some show recent Sinhala films, while others specialize in recent Hollywood Blockbusters in English, Tamil and Hindi films. You can reserve movie tickets though your mobile phone (Mobitlel, Dialog etc).
You can watch a stage drams in one of the Theatre Halls in Colombo: Lumbini, Lionel Wendt Theatre and Art Gallery, Tower Hall Theatre, Elphinstone Theatre, Namel Malani Punchi Theatre and Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre.
#10 – Travel to upcountry by Rail
Travelling by Train in Sri Lanka is both beautiful and affordable way to see the country. Originally constructed to transport tea and species from misty mountains to Colombo’s port, Sri Lanka’s historic railway line to Badulla runs through carpets of tea plantations, hidden waterfalls and hilly landscapes.
Intercity Train from Colombo to Badulla takes 10 hours, if possible sit on the right side of the special observation carriage which will give you the best scenery. The Train trip will take you through 56 manmade tunnels, places to look out for are Nawalapitiya – Hatton, and Haputale – Ella, grey stone cliffs and rivers will flash past your window with occasional views of enormous waterfalls cascading down the mountainside, while the Train keeps climbing steadily through to Hatton then Nanu Oya, Pattipola and Ohiya reaching its highest elevation of 1890 meters above sea level. Then the Train starts descending towards Ella and at the end of the line you will find the Badulla Train station sitting on top of the line, known as the “Demodara loop”, and the Trains passes underneath it before coming to rest on the platform.
Many tourists take train from Colombo to Ella or from Ella to Kandy.