The colourful city of Colombo is served by the Colombo Bandaranaike Airport (CMB). This airport is a major international hub for the city and the country. As a transiting passenger, you will have access to currency exchange services, a post office, ATMs, a first aid centre, duty-free outlets, and a decent food court that you can dine in pre or post-flight.
The airport sits roughly 32km from central Colombo, and you’ll find that buses and taxis are the primary modes of transport from the airport into the city. The taxis in Colombo are pretty reasonable, and if you jump in a cab the fare for the journey between the two should cost 2800LKR ($27).
Flying to Colombo from Australian cities can be booked through Sri Lankan Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Thai Airways, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates, and AirAsia.
Why visit Colombo?
The capital of Sri Lanka manages to be both languid and buzzing. With zippy motos, bustling marketplaces, calling hawkers and congested streets belying the palm-lined beaches, the warm serene waters of the Indian Ocean, and the laidback attitude of its friendly people. IF you fly to Colombo you’ll discover that this is a city of delightful contradictions.
Things to do in Colombo
Tour the cultural attractions of the city first, to gain an insight into the workings and history of Colombo. You will notice a lot of colonial architecture due to the influence of the Dutch, the Portuguese and the British.
Visit the National Museum, built in the late 19th century by the British, this is a lovely building that now houses some of the most treasured artefacts of Sri Lanka, including the crown and throne of the former ruling house of the nation. Then visit the Old Dutch Hospital; erected in the 17th century, this is one of the oldest colonial buildings in the country. Then to end your colonial tour, visit Independence Memorial Hall, erected in 1948 when Sri Lanka wrested its independence from the British. Today, it is often used for official events and important religious ceremonies.
For a little of that inner-city hustle and bustle, you must head to Pettah, it is one of the older quarters of the city, and filled to the brim with hawkers, food stalls, little boutiques, marketplaces, and people. Then after you have thrown yourself into Colomban daily life, go seek some of its serenity in the beautiful Gangaramaya Temple, and the nearby Beira Lake.
Of course it is the Galle Face Green Promenade that draws the most crowds, for its wonderful seaside location and the stretch of narrow golden sands that invite guests to sit on the beaches, or enjoy some of the street food on offer.
Best time to visit Colombo
· Colombo’s climate doesn’t tend to fluctuate too much in terms of temperature, as you’ll always find that the days hover around the mid twenties. However, the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from December through to March and sees averages of 27°C.
Arriving in Colombo
· There are no direct flights from Australia to Colombo, and you will have to layover in a city like Singapore (SIN) or Kuala Lumpur (KUL).
· Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR).
· Australians can apply for Sri Lanka’s Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system, which issues a 30-day stay electronically. For more information and instruction on how to go through the application process, please visit the official Sri Lankan ETA website.
Please note that information is correct as of September 2016
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