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Negombo

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Suriya Arana Hotel
Suriya Arana Hotel - dream vacation

92 St Joseph MwEtthukala Negombo

Lodge 19
Lodge 19 - dream vacation

19 Ave Mariya Road, Lewis Place BeachNegombo

Topaz Beach Hotel
Topaz Beach Hotel - dream vacation

No 21, Poratota RoadNegombo

The Cove Beach Villa
The Cove Beach Villa - dream vacation

193 Porutota Road, KochchikadeNegombo

Hotel Lagoon Paradise Negombo
Hotel Lagoon Paradise Negombo - dream vacation

Rajawatte, Pamunugama, DungalpitiyaNegombo

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Negombo is a quiet town in the western coastal area of Sri Lanka, with a tourist strip to the north on Jetwing Beach. Its key attraction is proximity to the international airport. Formerly the haunt of budget travellers, rising hotel rates and luxury resorts mean it now attracts tourists for its yellow, sandy beaches and its relaxing and friendly environment. There are a few other tourist attractions, and decent opportunities for diving and watersports.

The 100-km-long canal network running through the city is still used, and outrigger canoes and modern water-craft ply this route daily, for trade and tourist purposes. Remains of colonization include the Dutch fort built in 1672, as well as centuries-old Portuguese and Dutch houses, administrative buildings, churches and the ceiling frescoes of St. Mary's cathedral church. Negombo is the centre of Sri Lanka's Catholic community, and you can expect to see many churches during a visit.

Negombo is also home to the country's second-largest fish market, the "Lellama", at the north end of the town's lagoon. There are daily fish auctions, which give tourists a chance to meet the area's fishermen and even organise fishing trips into the lagoon and the ocean beyond. Other nearby attractions open to visitors include Muthurajawela marshland, which is part.

Get in

By plane

1 Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB IATA also known as Katunayake Airport), ☏ +94 11 225 2861. Closer to Negombo than the capital Colombo.  

Getting there: Taxi costs Rs 1500 which can be booked at taxi counters in the departure hall. A trishaw will cost Rs 400 - 800. Besides, most hotels in Negombo can arrange pickups, but usually it's a pricey option: Rs 1500 to 2500.

There used to be a free shuttle bus from the Arrival Terminal to Katunayake bus stop, but it's no longer available. This bus now goes to Colombo. You may try your luck asking driver to drop you off at Katunayake, but he may ask for the full fare to Colombo, anyway.

Otherwise, it is 15-min walk to the "Airport" bus terminal. A regular bus fare to Negombo bus terminal is Rs 22 (May 2015). Then take bus #905 to Negombo Beach for Rs 12.

By bus

Buses leave the main Negombo Bus Stand to Colombo every 30 mins. The journey costs Rs 75 and lasts one hour to one and half, depending on the traffic.

To Kandy: buses depart every 30 minutes from the main bus terminal, Rs 220, 3-4 hours.

To Sigiriya/Polonnaruwa: one bus daily at 14:00 from the main bus terminal. Trip lasts 4 hours to Sigiriya and 6 hours to Polonnaruwa.

To Anuradhapura: buses depart from Periyam Mulla junction bus stop in Negombo, journey takes more than 5 hours.

By taxi or trishaw

To reach Kandy, 100 km east of Negombo, one can take a tuk-tuk to Veyangoda and then get a 2-3 hours train ride.

Get around

Trishaws or "tuk tuks" available to travel around. Be sure to negotiate your price ahead of the ride. These days, drivers tends to charge "fixed price" for tourists (e.g. Rs 200 from the Negombo Bus/Train Station to hotels in lewis Place Street) and especially from Lewis Place it is difficult to catch the passing ones carrying locals if these "stationary" drivers are around.

Renting a vehicle. You can find international companies at the airport or local one in Negombo streets, where you can easily rent tuk-tuks, Vans, 4x4 or motorbikes, providing you have an international driving license.

See

Negombo is the area in which most travellers will begin and end their time in Sri Lanka, owing to its proximity to the airport. Negombo is a holiday destination itself, with its beautiful beach being its main attraction. Other things to see include:

  • Negombo Dutch fort built in 1672.
  • The canals
  • St. Mary's church. 
  • Katuwapitiya Church, Katuwapitiya Rd. Dedicated to the city's patron saint, St. Sebastian. Modeled on the Reims Cathedral in France. Built in 1990s. 
  • Sea street church. 
  • Grand Street Church. 
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, intersection of Ave Maria street and Old Chilaw street. 
  • Negombo Grand Jumma Masjid. 
  • Agurukaramulla Raja maha viharaya Buddhist temple, Temple rd. 
  • Abhayasekararamaya temple. 
  • Sri Sudarshanaramaya Buddhist temple. 
  • Asapuwa Buddhist temple. 
  • Dutugamunu viharaya Buddhist temples. 

Do

  • Boat rides in shallow waters of the Negombo lagoon.
  • Laze on the wide sandy beaches
  • Handicraft and other gift shopping.
  • Diving. There are two diving centers along the main strip, with boats departing from the beach, and roughly 30 dive sites.

Buy

Negombo was formerly a major producer of cinnamon. While the trade has moved on, you can still find local cinnamon and vanilla for sale at roadside shops.

Souvenir shops sell Sri Lankan handicrafts such as jewellery with local gems, Batik, etc.

Eat

Local curry houses offer authentic dining for Rs 200. Cheaper, local restaurants are inland from the main strip, Porutota Rd. Roti Talk, on Porutota Rd and opposite Jetwing Blue, offers excellent local roti and chutney for 200-300 LKR, and local curry and rice for Rs 700-900.

A mid-range destination, recommended by locals, is "King Coconut" located on the southern end of Jetwing beach. It offers Sri Lankan curry & rice, but is most recommended for its pizzas. Expect to pay about Rs 1000 for a meal.

Lords, on Porutota Rd opposite Jewting Blue, is somewhat pricey by local standards, and is very much for western visitors. It also showcases local art, and has a cultural show on Wednesdays. Expect to pay about Rs 2000 for a meal.

The three Jetwing resorts dominate the upper end of dining. Expect to pay about Rs 3000 for a meal.

Fine dining is one of the most satisfying factor enjoyed by any visitor who comes to Negombo.

  • Finest sea food can be tasted in Negombo. Fresh fish, Lobsters, crabs, prawns and shellfish can be ordered in many restaurants. Crabs are sourced from the local lagoons. The fish markets are worth a visit.
  • Also any juicy tropical fruits can be purchased at Negombo food markets.

Drink

Specially Sri Lankan fresh king coconut is cheap and ubiquitous. If you search a bit you will be lucky enough to taste fresh toddy from area.

The local beers are Three Coins and Lion lagers. Locals are generally indifferent, although Three Coins is somewhat more full bodied. Arrack is the local spirit, made from coconut and tasting similar to rum.

Sleep

There are plenty of hotels (both budget and mid-ranged) and hostels in town, mostly scattered around the beach area.

  • Woodside Villa, St Sebastian Place, Ethukala, ☏ +94 77 748 4549. Check-in: 11AM, check-out: 11AM. Guesthouse just a short walk from the beach. The rooms are all spacious, clean and equipped with AC. There is a large garden and lounge areas with wifi throughout. Rooms have AC. The staff are fantastic and can cook breakfasts. from Rs 3,000. (updated Aug 2016)
  • Dion's Guest House, 137 Lewis Place, ☏ +94 31 22 37373. Check-in: 11AM, check-out: 11AM. Has a nice large lawn and a spacious dining area. Rooms are equipped with flat screen TV, air-conditioning and in-room free WiFi. Can arrange pick-up drop from airport, bus or railway station. Rs 4,000. (updated Jul 2015)
  • 1 Hostel First Colombo Airport, No 477 Negombo Road (follow the road away from the airport until it crosses with Negombo Road; turn right and follow Negombo Road until you see the hostel's sign on the left), ☏ +94 76 728 6788, colombo@hostelfirst.com. Offers spacious accommodation, 24-hour front desk service, free WiFi and parking, and airport transfers and tours can be arranged upon request at a surcharge. Dorm US$10, private rooms $25-40. (updated Jan 2016)
  • Marine Tourist Guest House, 118 Lewis Place (1 km from the city center), ☏ +94 71 564 1827. Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. 1,500. 
  • Mr Silal Fernando Homestay, Just outside Negombo, ☏ +94 77 957 2711. Mr Fernando is an amicable gentleman who runs this small homestay. He offers airport pickups for 800 rupees. Meals available. Single Rs 1000, Double Rs 1500 With A/C Rs 2500. 
  • 2 Prince Residence, 91, Lewis Place (next to Ice Bear on Beach Road), ☏ +94 77 736 0021, PrinceToursLanka@GMail.com. Check-in: Noon, check-out: Noon. Very clean accommodation next to the beach, with A/C, TV, mini-fridge and 24 hours hot water. Rp 3164. (updated May 2015)
  • St. Lachlan Hotel & Suites, St. Lachlans Beach Villa, St. Anthony's Lane, Ettukala, ☏ +94 312 275 000. The hotel comprises 16 guest rooms and suites, all of which have LED TV, DVD player, mini-bar, and tea/coffee making facilities. Some of its amenities are a pool bar, swimming pool, and a gift/souvenir Shop. Rates on official website start at USD 176. 
  • 3 Star Beach Hotel, 83/3 Lewis Place (beside Golden Star Beach Hotel, opposite Ocean View Tourist Guest House), ☏ +94 312 222 606. Non-air conditioned room ground floor Rs 800, worn and old rooms. Air conditioned rooms first floor Rs 1600. 
  • 4 Club Hotel Dolphin, Kammala South Waikkal, ☏ +94 314 877 100, serendibleisure.antyra@gmail.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Comprehensive range of modern facilities (updated Jan 2020)

Stay safe

The main roads and beach areas of Negombo have their share of touts and tricksters. Expect to be hailed by taxi drivers, souvenir-sellers and beggars. One man walks the beach with a monkey on a rope, trained to grab hold of tourists' legs.

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