This post has been updated on October 5th, 2020
There is no better way to end a fantastic trip to Sri Lanka than to enjoy the sunset on a beach in Negombo. Usually, people spend a night or two in Negombo only because it is one of the easiest ways to reach the airport. After spending some time around the city, we will show you that there are actually things to do in Negombo, Sri Lanka.
The people smile, the architecture, the smells, the relaxing palm beaches will remain imprinted in your mind forever. Why? Because of the experience, the sensations and the feeling that Sri Lanka will brighten in your heart and mind.
If you are ready to see all the places to visit in Negombo, come along with us and let’s explore together.
PLACES TO SEE IN NEGOMBO
Our trip to Sri Lanka was amazing. We never thought that we would love this country so much. As it was our first-time outside Europe, we were scared but ready to discover a new world. Negombo was our last stop of a fantastic 10 days in Sri Lanka and ending the trip on a beach while watching the sunset was the greatest thing ever.
But, let’s go back to when we first arrived in Negombo.
WHERE IS NEGOMBO?
Negombo is the 4th largest city in Sri Lanka and it’s situated on the west coast. This city is known for its long sandy beaches and old fishing industry. In fact, you will see that the Fish Market is one of the things to do in Negombo. One of the most amazing experiences to do in Sri Lanka.
The International Airport Bandaranaike is just 10 Km away, which makes it the perfect location once arrived in Sri Lanka, or before your departure.
This location is developing a lot, and so is well known among tourists, attracted here by the sandy beaches and galore of Hotels and accommodations with good deals.
8 THINGS TO SEE IN NEGOMBO
If you are ending or starting your trip to Sri Lanka in Negombo, there are a couple of places you can’t miss visiting. Sri Lanka is a country of hidden gems, we discovered while visiting that you never know which amazing spot is just behind the corner. This is perfectly the case of Negombo, which can seem like a flat seaside town, instead is a cool place where you relax and enjoy your holidays. These are our suggested Negombo must-see places.
- Negombo beach
- Fish Market
- Duwa Fishing Island
- Angurukaramulla Temple
- Saint Mary’s Church
- Negombo Lagoon
- Hamilton Canal
- Dutch Fort Ruins
THINGS TO DO IN NEGOMBO SRI LANKA
Having the entire beach almost for all yourself was amazing. We arrived in Negombo just in time to watch the sunset. It was a magical moment where we didn’t want to leave the beach. The Indian Ocean in front of us, the waves, the colours in the sky, made the perfect goodbye to this beautiful country.
If you are planning to stay one night or two in Negombo, the beach is something that you have to visit. So, please, don’t forget to pack your bikini as you will need it.
Are you ready to experience a real local adventure? Wake up early in the morning, 6 AM, and see all the little boats returning from fishing.
Every day, fishermen take their canoes and go out fishing, they all go to the local market to sell their products. Typical products you can find are lobsters, crabs and prawns.
It’s a really unique experience to see even if you are spending one day in Negombo. We know that it might be not easy to wake up early in the morning, but if you really want you can even combine the sunrise with the fish market. It will give you a good motivation to get out of the bed. Then you can always sleep on the beach under a palm tree.
This is a picturesque way to experience Sri Lanka, the bids are sometimes funny with people battling for the best products in the market. This Fish Market is renowned to be the one supplying the whole country.
DUWA FISHING ISLAND
The fishing island of Duwa is an island connected to Negombo by a causeway. If you are wondering why you should visit it, this is because Duwa is known for being the country’s oldest Passion Play.
This is a dramatic performance representing Christ’s Passion from the Last Supper to the Crucifixion. The procession is taking place during the Holy week, in Easter time.
When visiting Negombo, you might notice that the city is very Catholic and many villages preserve the traditions of Christianity. Differently to the rest of the country in Negombo, you will see a good presence of Catholic Churches.
YOU SHOULD KNOW…
LOCATION | Church of Our Lady of Good Voyage
WHEN | Holy Week – Easter
Why is it considered one of the places to visit in Negombo? Because Angurukaramulla Temple is known for its epic statue of Buddha and its dragon entrance.
If you wish to enter the temple you will need to walk through the dragon’s mouth, as the dragon is supposed to ward off evil spirits.
Once you reach the inside you will see many beautiful sculptures, murals and paintings on the ceiling representing Buddha’s chronicles.
YOU SHOULD KNOW…
LOCATION | Angurukaramulla Temple
READ ALSO | Things to do in Jaffna, the Northern Capital of Sri Lanka
TOP THINGS TO DO IN NEGOMBO
SAINT MARY’S CHURCH
As mentioned before, in Negombo the majority of the population are Christians. If you have been to Sri Lanka already or if it’s your first time, you will be impressed by all the beautiful temples around the country. But, one of the things to do in Negombo is visiting one of the largest cathedrals in Sri Lanka, which is Saint Mary’s Church.
Negombo is positioned looking on one side to the Indian Ocean and the other to the Negombo Lagoon. Landing in Negombo you will be so close to the water that seems to land on the sea.
The lagoon of Negombo is a beautiful place and it’s considered even better than the beaches.
It is located close to the seaside area of Negombo with a semi-enclosed coastal water body and it’s the ideal for an escape from the hectic city routine. Considered an exceptional lagoon for boating and perfect for enjoying nature, Negombo Lagoon is one of the places to see during your itinerary.
The Lagoon supports many district species of flora, fauna and other species of birds and a variety of animals. Negombo Lagoon is a major tourist attraction primarily for sightseeing and boating tours.
The Hamilton Canal (known as Dutch Canal) is connecting Puttalam to Colombo and passing through Negombo. The canal was constructed by the British where the purpose was to drain saltwater out the Muthurajawela wetlands.
This canal is 14.5 km and it is one of the top things to do in Negombo as the history behind is quite significant.
Where does the name come from? Hamilton Canal was named after Garvin Hamilton who was the British Agent of Revenue and Commerce.
YOU SHOULD KNOW…
LOCATION | Hamilton Canal
TOURS | Dutch Canal, Negombo Lagoon and Muthrajawela Boat Tour ALL IN ONE! – Negombo city Tour
READ | A 10-day itinerary in Sri Lanka
DUTCH FORT RUINS
We know that the time to talk about a Dutch Fort Ruins is coming. Like in many other cities and places in Sri Lanka, especially on the Coast side, it is easy to find remains of the Conquerors this land has seen arriving. Dutch, Portuguese and British have left a big mark in Sri Lanka.
If you are wondering what to do in Negombo, the ruins of the Dutch Fort should be one of these things to see. The Dutch Fort of Negombo it’s alike the Fort that is in Colombo. If you want to spend a couple of days in Colombo see all the things you can do if you have only 2 days.
The Dutch fort was used by locals to protect the city from attacks of the enemies during the Portuguese colonization, and then it was rebuilt as Dutch Fort.
YOU SHOULD KNOW…
LOCATION | Dutch Fort Negombo
ENTRANCE FEE | There is no entrance fee to this attraction, while just one building and the gate is still standing.
OUR NEGOMBO EXPERIENCE IS MEMORABLE
Our journey to Negombo came to an end, or it could be just your start.
We still can feel the music around us on our last day on the beach where we were eating and drinking with our friends and locals. But, all the beautiful things have to end at some point.
Saying goodbye or even better see you soon was a bit hard for us. Being for the first time in Sri Lanka and outside of Europe was amazing. The experience, the adventures, the food, the amazing people made our trip memorable.
In this itinerary, we shared with you all the things you can do in Negombo and we hope that while reading it you could see Negombo with our eyes. A calm, colourful, cultural and beautiful city.
SHOPPING IN NEGOMBO
Did someone say shopping? If you love shopping, Negombo is the right place to buy souvenirs or just something for yourself.
In our 10 days in Sri Lanka, in all the places we have been, we were looking for something to bring back home. Sadly we didn’t find that much. But, when we arrived in Negombo our tour guide told us that this was the ideal place for shopping.
Now you can guess Alessia’s face when he told us that we could go around the city to buy something. Thanks to the commercial attitude of Negombo, there are many shopping areas. While tourism is one of the main businesses, they are ready to welcome you with many traditional shops. You will find from the charming handmade pieces of jewellery to the typical Sahari dress which is the perfect souvenir from Sri Lanka.
Take a tuk tuk and head to Porutota Road, here you will see many shops.
WHERE TO STAY IN NEGOMBO
Wondering where to stay in Negombo, we hope you follow our advice and book your accommodation close to some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka.
Believe us, there is nothing better than wake up with the seaside in front of you. Once we arrived in Negombo we checked in, and to be honest, it wasn’t that great that we were going downstairs, in what seems to be the basement.
When everything seemed to be strange and really bad, we opened the door of our bedroom and there that we fell in love with Negombo.
STAY IN NEGOMBO ON A BUDGET
If you are travelling the world and you are looking for on-budget accommodation these options might be the right ones for you. We know how expensive a hotel could be, but be sure that Sri Lanka is cheap and allowing a bit more on your budget you could stay in a luxury hotel for cheap.
The Backpacker Hostel Negombo
Located only 5 minutes away from the beach and with a lovely terrace, the Backpacker Hostel in Negombo could be another alternative to your accommodation. What you need to do is think about what you want.
If you want to stay in Negombo on a budget these are the best options, you might end up with a travel buddy for your next experience, or to travel Sri Lanka together.
If you are a couple and it’s your first time staying in a hostel you might be interested to read our experience.
HOW TO GET TO THE AIRPORT
Believe it or not, the international airport is closer to Negombo than Colombo. To get to the airport from Negombo or vice versa, there are a couple of options that you can choose from.
TAXI | The ride from Katunayake Colombo Airport to Negombo will take around 20 minutes and costs about 1,500LKR – 10$. Once you exit from the airport you will see that there are so many local taxis waiting. Keep in mind that it is always better to explain where exactly you need to go and deal the price prior to boarding.
How far is Negombo from Colombo
Negombo is 38 Km away from Colombo, which means around 30 to 45 minutes on the crazy SriLankan Roads, which are busy every day.
With these two apps, you get a good rate and you can reach your destination without any problems. By car it will take around 45 minutes, it depends on the traffic so always allow at least an hour.
BEST TIME TO VISIT NEGOMBO
When is the best time to visit Negombo? From January to April, July until September and December. This when you will have a warm temperature and mediocre rainfall. The highest temperature can reach 32° and the lowest can be 29° in the month of July.
When you visit Sri Lanka you will feel a different kind of temperature while travelling around the country. When we reached Negombo, it was warm and humid, quite the opposite that we found in Nuwara Eliya or Kandy.
ESSENTIAL THINGS TO PACK FOR YOUR TRIP TO SRI LANKA
If you are packing your bags, there are a couple of things that you need to have with you.
COMFORTABLE SHOES | Those will save your life if you are looking to hike Pidurangala and Sigiriya Rock
REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE | Whenever you will be visiting Negombo or Sri Lanka your new best friend will be the water.
SUNCREAM | After living in Malaga for 6 months we already had our skin used to the hot weather. If you are not used to it, we suggest you bring sun cream.
TRIPOD | Everyone loves taking pictures and sometimes with a tripod it can be easier than asking someone else.
BIKINIS OR BATHING SUITS | Negombo has got a beach and for sure you will need a bikini but remember that the majority of the hotels across Sri Lanka have a swimming pool.
SANITISER WIPES OR HAND SANITISER | Spending your day always around you won’t be able to wash your hands frequently and this is why you should have a hand sanitiser.
LONG DRESS OR MAXI SKIRT | Alessia always had with her a backup plan in case we had to enter into a temple. As long you have something to cover your shoulders like a scarf you are more than okay.
POWER BANK | Your phone battery is very important especially if you love taking pictures with your phone. So, don’t forget to pack a power bank.
REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT NEGOMBO
Despite many thinks that in Negombo there is not that much to do, we hope that this post has given you more than one reason to visit Negombo. It might not be the most exciting place to visit in Sri Lanka, but for sure is one the most relaxing one.
We enjoyed our stay on the beach and while you think to visit Negombo at the beginning of your trip or at the end, this is the place to look out for.
You can use a visit to Negombo to start to settle in a new culture. This was our first trip to Asia, and if you read our post about our two days in Colombo, you will understand how it could be a culture shock.
While Negombo is close to the airport we suggest you evaluate it as the last place to visit. You can arrive at the departure in just half an hour. Even if you have an early flight as we had, you don’t have to rush.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT SRI LANKA? CHECK OUR GUIDES
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