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Colombo

Day Trips

Our most recommended Colombo Day Trips

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

1. Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

Depart Colombo and travel by a shared vehicle, in a small group, to the city of Sigiriya, and head directly to Sigiriya Rock on arrival. Gaze in awe at the massive column of rock that, according to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle The Culavamsa, was selected by King Kasyapa as the site of his new capital. Admire numerous paintings of historic queens, princesses, and maids inside the rock fortress before getting a break for lunch at your own expense. Then, explore some of the traditional crafts of the region, such as wood carving and batik textiles, with time to purchase souvenirs before departing. Start the journey back towards Colombo via Dambulla to explore the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Discover the magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and different shapes, painted from around the 2nd century B.C. up to the 18th-century Kandyan era.

Galle and Bentota Day-Tour From Colombo

2. Galle and Bentota Day-Tour From Colombo

After being picked up at your hotel, hop onboard your Madu Ganga Magrove boat safari and explore the Madu River. See the mangrove forests and marshlands that surround the river. Stop at a cinnamon garden, and try some of the area’s famous cinnamon. The Madu Ganga River region is home to some of the best quality cinnamon in the world as well as a flourishing cinnamon industry. Afterward, marvel at the fishermen who stoically sit atop large branches planted in the middle of the water waiting for their catch. Continue to a local Turtle Hatchery, where your guide will introduce you to the many local varieties of turtles. End your tour with a visit to the Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This fort illustrates the unique interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries. After discovering the fort, you will be returned to your hotel in Colombo.

From Colombo: Full-Day Pinnawala and Kandy Tour

3. From Colombo: Full-Day Pinnawala and Kandy Tour

Start your journey at 0600 hrs from Colombo and proceed to Kandy, pausing at Pinnawala for a visit to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. This is the home for young elephants who have been displaced from their natural habitat at Pinnawala village in the Sabaragamuwa province of Sri Lanka. Now housing 70 elephants, Pinnawala is home to the largest group of captive elephants in the world. Next, visit Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, renowned for its variety of ornamental, decorative & medicinal plants, more than 4000 species. This garden is best known for its collection of orchids, the largest in Asia. Thereafter, visit the Temple of the Tooth, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in the 16th century as the place of veneration and protection for Lord Buddha’s sacred tooth. Walk through the beautifully embellished passageways and elaborately painted halls. Lounge among delicately carved pillars and be amazed by the beautiful golden statues. Followed by a lunch break at a location of your choice. Cultural Dance Show - Be escorted to a performance of the traditional Kandyan dance, accompanied by tumultuous drumming. Dances include the cobra dance, mask dance, the Ginisisila, showing power over fire. This entire frenetic and colorful spectacle climaxes with the amazing fire-walking act. Finally, you will begin your journey back to your hotel in Colombo at approximately 1930 hrs. En-route, you will stop at Ambepussa (restaurant of your choice) and have dinner.

Bentota Water Sports and Galle City Tour from Colombo

4. Bentota Water Sports and Galle City Tour from Colombo

Bentota is situated along the southwest coast of the country, 65 Km south of Colombo. Take a jet ski out on the ocean at super high speeds. Have a great view of the ocean and the beach as you speed through the waves. After, jump onto a tube or banana boat for more thrilling rides. Discover Galle, a city also on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. It is known for Galle Fort, the fortified city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th-century. Stone sea walls, expanded by the Dutch, encircle car-free streets with architecture reflecting the Portuguese, Dutch, and British rule. Notable buildings include the 18th-century Dutch Reformed Church. See Galle lighthouse standing on the fort’s southeast tip.

From Negombo: Full-Day UNESCO City of Anuradhapura Trip

5. From Negombo: Full-Day UNESCO City of Anuradhapura Trip

Declared by UNESCO as a world heritage city, Anuradhapura is regarded as Sri Lanka’s first known kingdom and the capital of the island for many centuries. Being well known for its cultural and religious value, the city attracts many local and foreign visitors who want to explore the ancient history of Sri Lanka.  See the remains of the Brazen Palace, which was once 9 stories high, and the Sri Maha Bodhi a Bo Tree, which is over 2000 years old and grew from the branch of the very tree beneath which the Buddha attained enlightenment. Visit the ruins of the Ruwanweliseya Dagaba and see the 2nd-century BC shrine, containing the Buddha’s collarbone relic. Explore the Abhayagiriya temple and the Jetawanaramaya dagobas.

From Colombo: Handungoda, Galle, Ahangama, & Kosgoda Tour

6. From Colombo: Handungoda, Galle, Ahangama, & Kosgoda Tour

Spend a day exploring Handungoda, Ahangama, Galle, and Kosgoda in Sri Lanka on this guided tour. Visit a local tea factory in Handungoda, meet stilt fishermen in Ahangama, tour the coastal city of Galle, and interact with sea turtles at the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery. Start by getting picked up from your hotel in Colombo by your chauffeur. Ensure that you bring a packed breakfast with you if you did not have a meal at the hotel. First, stop at Handunugoda Tea Factory, a factory known to create some of the most luxurious teas in the world. While Sri Lanka has many sought-after teas, this tea factory is famous for a different reason. The factory has reawakened the ancient Chinese tradition of creating virgin white tea that is untouched by human hands during the manufacturing process. During your tour of the factory, see how this mysterious process takes place. Next, travel to Ahangama to meet with stilt fishermen, one of the most iconic figures of Sri Lanka. Watch them fish and learn about the process from the fishermen themselves. Later, get free time for an optional lunch break at a place of your choice. After, head to the coastal city of Galle. After withstanding three foreign invasions, Galle grew from a bustling port to a fortified yet scenic city with many monuments that have withstood the ravages of time. Marvel at Galle Fort, a World Heritage Site. See the Galle Lighthouse, National Maritime Museum, the picturesque cobblestoned streets, and many more colonial remnants. At the end of your city tour in Galle, head to the final stop on the itinerary: the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery. Learn about the five types of sea turtles that visit Sri Lanka for nesting and how the nests are protected. Interact with baby turtles and see some of the fully grown turtles that are getting treated for injuries here. After spending time with your new turtle friends, get a return transfer back to your hotel in Colombo.

From Colombo: Galle and Bentota Full-Day All-Inclusive Tour

7. From Colombo: Galle and Bentota Full-Day All-Inclusive Tour

You'll be picked up from your hotel in Negombo, Colombo, or Mount Lavinia at 7:30 AM to drive to Galle and visit the Dutch fort. The fort is a historical, archaeological, and architectural heritage monument. Even after more than 400 years, it remains intact and well maintained thanks to the extensive reconstruction work done by Sri Lanka's archaeological department. Next, you'll visit Ambalangoda, known for its exquisite collection of native masks. Many generations of artisans have carved these beautiful artifacts. Afterwards, drive on to Balaptiva for lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, you'll take a boat trip on the Madu Ganga River. Discover the unspoiled beauty of the Madu Ganga estuary, a wetland ecosystem that opens to the Indian Ocean. Finally, you'll visit a turtle hatchery in Kosgoda before heading back to your hotel. Visitors can see the newborn turtles and even be a part of the process of releasing them into the sea!  

From Colombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Full-Day Private Tour

8. From Colombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Full-Day Private Tour

Explore two of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO-listed highlights on a privately guided day trip to Dambulla and the Sigiriya Rock from Colombo. Start with an early morning pickup from your hotel in Colombo. Make your first stop at the Dambulla Cave Temple. View Sri Lanka’s countryside and villages as you journey to the atmospheric Dambulla Cave Temple, a Cliffside cave complex packed with Buddha images and frescoes. Enter the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, dating back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Gautama Buddha. Look at the hundreds of figurines of Buddha and other deities scattered throughout the five main caves. Visit the Cave of the Divine King, Cave of the Great King, and the Great New Monastery. See the giant golden Buddha Statue just a little distance outside the cave complex. Go to Sigiriya to visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Climb the 5th century AD rock fortress, Sigiriya, where King Kassapa ruled. Walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion that is quite appropriate for its name, the Lion Rock. View the beautiful unfading murals that brought Sigiriya its fame. Climb the steep staircase to see the terraced gardens and still-working cisterns. Go through the tunnels leading to the palace as you get a feel for times long past.

Wilpattu National Park Safari Tour from Colombo

9. Wilpattu National Park Safari Tour from Colombo

Benefit from pickup at your hotel in Colombo, and then relax in air-conditioned comfort on the 4-hour journey to Wilpattu National Park, located on the northwest coast of Sri Lanka's lowland dry zone. Enter the vast nature reserve, declared a national park in 1938, and discover the unique willus water basins that fill with rainwater. Look for native wildlife, including herds of elephants in their natural habitat. Keep a look out for elusive leopards, along with spotted deer, sambar deer, barking deer, wild boar, wild buffalo, sloth bear, mongoose, crocodiles, and peacocks. Get some free time to enjoy a local lunch at the nearby Puttalam Hotel, at your own expense. Then, relax on the journey back to Colombo and get dropped off at your hotel on arrival.

Day Trip to the Ancient Capital of Polonnaruwa From Colombo

10. Day Trip to the Ancient Capital of Polonnaruwa From Colombo

Polonnaruwa is one of the most important archaeological sites in Sri Lanka. Most of the monuments in Polonnaruwa are closely related to either Buddhism or Hinduism.  The eastern corner of the Cultural Triangle was the Silver Capital of Polonnaruwa, which followed Anuradhapura. Though it lasted only a few decades over two centuries the colossal works of art and architecture, both Buddhist and Hindu, include stupendous image shrines. Marvel at the stone carved Buddha icons of the Galvihara. 

Frequently asked questions about Colombo Day Trips

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Other Sightseeing Options in Colombo

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What people are saying about Colombo

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 12 reviews

Really good experience! At one of the attractions we should have visited, there was a really long queue and too many people, so our guide was good at coming up with a lot of other options we could see if we wanted. All the experiences were quite exciting! Our guide also found some great eateries along the way with really nice views each time. He was good at assessing when he was needed as a guide and when it was better for us to be alone and she stayed close by (eg at the restaurants). On the slightly long drive, he was also good at explaining what we saw when we looked out the windows and in general what Sri Lanka was like.

I highly recommend using apple vacations agency when you visit Sri Lanka! They offer a wide range of tours and packages to fit a variety of budgets. Our guide Niraveen and driver were on time and accommodating. This full day tour was lovely and enjoyable! Loved visiting the turtle hatchery center, the boat ride through the mangrove, and the place they took us for lunch was superb! Really trustworthy company!

The guide showed up on time in the morning and he was very polite and informing. They took us to a very nice restaurant for lunch near the ocean and the food was delicious. Whole tour was satisfying with very nice views, herbal garden visit and boat tour on Madu River.

The driver (Kenneth) was very accommodative and managed our tight schedule very well. He even went the extra mile and helped us to see more than what we had initially agreed — with his help we were able to visit the Ranweli spice garden, which was the cherry on top.

Incredible Safari, saw lots of animals including leopards, elephants, bear, crocodiles, monkeys and more! Comfortable ride to and from Colombo.