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Popular Destinations near Negombo
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Negombo Hotels

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The Negombo Rundown

Colombo, the vibrant commercial capital and lone metropolis of Sri Lanka, dominates the pace of life on the island state. Over time, the urban orbit of the city has led to pervasive sprawl and the development of escape hatch havens, from New Capital Territory Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte to satellite suburbs like Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia. To this we can add Negombo to the mix. ... Read more »

With a population of 120,000 people, the town 40 km north of Colombo is not insignificant. Negombo Lagoon, a paramount commercial waterway, provides the historic basis for Negombo’s continual existence, even as tourism has come to replace traditional pursuits like fishing and agriculture as the main driver of the local economy.

The reason for Negombo’s growth as a holiday destination is manifest. The town is 7 km from Sri Lanka’s premier transport hub, Bandaranaike International Airport, which makes it a convenient alternative to the beach resorts that dot the country’s Southern Province. Negombo is decidedly more affordable as well, a fact not lost on hordes of budget-conscious tourists to the island nation. The promise of a good beach, decent enough tourism infrastructure, smatterings of local Tamil heritage and close proximity to Colombo make the Western Province town a winner.

Negombo’s Top 10

10. Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is a major shrine in Kelaniya, outside of Colombo, that has a 2,500 year history.

5. Angurukaramulla Temple’s giant Buddha is worth a look. The temple is a short ride from the middle of Negombo.

9. Vijitha Yapa Bookshop is a popular place to browse and shop in Negombo.

4. St Mary’s Church is one of the most conspicuous landmarks in Negombo, with many impressive elements of note.

8. Asgiriya Maha Vihara is the temple home for a vital order of monks, the most senior of whom manage the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

3. The Dutch Fort of Negombo is one of many in Sri Lanka but a worthwhile attraction nonetheless. Impossible to miss, the ruins of the fort reside close to the lagoon.

7. Lagoon Resthouse is a legacy Dutch landmark in Negombo.

2. Negombo Lagoon is the lifeblood of Negombo. Part mangrove avian habitat, rice paddy and coconut plantation ground, the lagoon is a vital waterway that links up with the Lacadive Sea/Indian Ocean.

6. Negombo Fish Market demands visitors summon their inner early-riser to fully appreciate the scale of its pre-dawn action. Well worth the effort, however.

1. Negombo Beach is the top tourist attraction in town and offers a few quiet spots for reflective repose under the sun.

Negombo History

  • Temple of the Tooth - Located just outside of Negombo, this ancient temple is a popular historical attraction for tourists and locals alike.
  • Old Dutch Fort - This 17th-century fort was built by the Dutch and is still part of the local prison system of Negombo.
  • Dutch Canal - This popular Negombo historical attraction shows the heavy influence of the Dutch over the area.
  • Angurukaamulla Temple - Many historical painting and murals line the walls of this famous temple.
  • St Mary’s Church - The architecture and ancient artwork lining the walls of this church make it one of the most popular historical sites.

Negombo Art & Culture

  • Munneswaram - This spectacular Hindu temple is one of the top religious sites in the area.
  • Kelaniya Temple - This temple is known for its Buddhists statues, making it a favourite stop.
  • Royal Botanical Garden - Located just outside of Negombo, this attraction features the unique plant life of the area.
  • Passion Play - This annual performance features puppetry and theatre in the open air.
  • Duwa Island - Just off the coast is this island, which still maintains its ancient culture of boat building and fishing.

Negombo Shopping

  • Sriya and Daya Curio Shop - This unique antique shop is worth the short trip if you are hunting for antiques.
  • Fish Market - This market is the best place in the city to sample the wide variety of seafood in the area.
  • Waruna Antiques - Just a short trip from Negombo, this antique shop features items that are unique to the area.
  • ASDA Supermarket - The best spot to buy imported cigarettes and cigars.
  • Aprpico Super Centre - This Negombo shop sells just about everything you might need and at a reasonable price, making it a very popular shopping destination.

Gay & Lesbian Negombo

  • Rodeo Bar - Gay patrons often flock to this bar, which is open to all types of people and stays open late.
  • Serendip - A Negombo hotspot for gays and lesbians, this bar features DJs and a popular and large dance floor.
  • Aria - The fine cuisine makes this gay-friendly restaurant quite popular among the locals.
  • Dolce Vita - This gay-friendly cafe is a great place to get a good cup of coffee and watch a romantic sunset.
  • Jetwing Blue - The gay and lesbian community comes to this unique breakfast spot for unspoiled views of the beach.

Negombo Outdoor

  • Negombo Beach - This is the largest and most popular beach and a great place to catch some rays.
  • Muthurajawela Marsh - This unique wildlife area is a wonderful place for an outdoor day trip.
  • Negombo Giardini Termali - This popular outdoor spa is a great way to spend a day relaxing in the beautiful weather.
  • Ranwelli Nature Hotel - This Negombo hotel can arrange all of your outdoor adventure activities.
  • Pinawala Elephant Farm - Get up close and personal with the gentle giants of Negombo.

Negombo Sports

  • Hit the links at the Royal Columbo Golf Club near Negombo.
  • Bike along the coast to Dankotuwa, just outside of Negombo.
  • Learn to wakeboard with Negombo experts at Spunky Monkey Wakeboarding.
  • Learn to dive at the Jetwing Watersports Centre in Negombo.
  • Come watch the athletes at Negombo’s Gateway Sports Day.

Negombo Local

Negombo is not fraught with neighbourhood enclaves or districts of interest per se. Life in the small, modest town truly takes place on the fringes of the lagoon and on the beach. As a de facto satellite of Colombo, however, day trips to the big city and its ever-expanding suburbs are always on the table.

Negombo Eat & Drink

Negombo’s restaurant scene has burgeoned in lockstep with the town’s widening popularity as a tourist retreat. The usual fare is on hand at eateries town-wide, from Sri Lankan to Chinese, Indian to Western grub.

Ammehula (286 Lewis Pl) is a good place to grab breakfast, a sarnie at lunch or a reasonable seafood supper.

Pri-Kin Restaurant (10 Porutota Rd) is a popular Chinese local with some Western dishes on the menu.

Lords Restaurant (80B Porutota Rd) earns some of the most consistent raves from Negombo regulars, most notably for its creative cuisine and the effusive hospitality of its British owner.

King Coconut (11 Porutota Rd) has the best beach-side spot in Negombo and serves a decent array of curries and seafood dishes.

Rodeo Pub (35 Porutota Rd) is strictly for the expats and does a swift business catering to homesick cravings for pints and toasted sarnies.

Pearl Restaurant (13 Porutota Rd) is one of the better hotel restaurants in town.

Oysters Restaurant & Bar (94 Porutota Rd) is beloved for its comforting curries, seafood and burgers.Downtown

Honkey Tonkey Two (Sea Street), despite the corny name, is packed nightly in high-season. Veg, meat and seafood curries figure prominently.

Bijou (Porutota Rd) has a lot of seafood items but with a notable fondue menu, leans heavily to Swiss-German.

Black Coral (Jetwing Beach) is an upscale option by Negombo standards, with a varied, à la carte menu.

Negombo Events

The Negombo Fisherman’s Association holds a festival in late July to promote and showcase their wares and trade, which, thanks to industrial commercial trawling, has grown increasingly precarious in recent years.

Intrepid tourists can book excursions deep into the mangroves that proliferate within the deeper recesses of Negombo. A wide range of wildlife flourishes in the swampland, for now.

As an incomparably dense cultural crossroads, Sri Lanka observes a stunning variety of religious holidays, from Buddhist and Hindu to Christian and Muslim. Visitors to Negombo shouldn’t be at all surprised if their visit coincides with a venerable festival of one kind or another.

When To Go

Sri Lanka’s tropical monsoon climate is in full effect in Negombo. The lean periods for rain are December to March and July to September. Nonetheless, the weather is seldom arid on the coast and heavy downpours can come fast and furious at any time.

Still, avoid the months of May, October and November in particular. In Negombo, January and February feature the least amount of rain, on average.

The even tropical heat is a major draw, of course, and indeed, temperatures hold between 72°F (22°C) and 88°F (31°C).

What To Miss

There is no other way around it: Negombo is a cheap beach town. The obvious appeal of this plain-as-day characteristic for scores of frugal travellers is also what makes Negombo a turn-off for others. Restaurants, hotels and other amenities lack the swanky sophistication and spotlessness of other beach resorts in South Asia and Southeast Asia, let alone Europe or the Caribbean. Keeping this in mind and, subsequently, letting go of expectations are keys to enjoying a holiday here.

Above and beyond this, the main traps to avoid in Negombo are the usual gatherings of unscrupulous beach vendors and DIY tour guides, operators and drivers. Come for the beach, arrange accommodations in advance, stick to the main restaurant drag and you’ll be in stellar shape.

Getting Around

Negombo is practically on the doorstep of Sri Lanka’s only international airport, which makes it a rather convenient destination to visit. Taxis and buses abound outside the main terminal and ferry travellers into town throughout the day. Avoid hotel pick ups, which are relatively costly, and take the free shuttle to Katunayake bus stop. From here most hotels are a short trishaw ride away.

From Colombo, private and intercity express buses run almost hourly to Negombo and offer more reliable service than the slower trains. Taxis can always be negotiated from practically any destination and, as always, for the right price.

In Negombo proper, most businesses of note are eminently accessible on foot and, in fact, reside on one street: Porutota Road. The main strip of Negombo runs parallel to the sea.

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The Seven Wonders of Sri Lanka

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Golden Star Beach Hotel
Reviewer score
4.6
out of 51 Reviews
163 Lewis Place Negombo

With an exceptional hospitality and unique services, Golden Star Beach Hotel is a friendly family hotel for a short or... More hotel details

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Club Hotel Dolphin Negombo
Reviewer score
2.4
out of 51 Reviews
Kammala South Waikkal, Negombo

Assuring courteous service and quality amenities, the Club Hotel Dolphin Negombo prides itself as an ideal location fo... More hotel details

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Jetwing Beach Hotel Negombo
Reviewer score
0
out of 50 Reviews
Ethukale Negombo

Set on a scenic beachside location facing the Laccadive Sea in Sri Lanka, Jetwing Beach Hotel Negombo is a luxury acco... More hotel details

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Jetwing Blue Hotel Negombo
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0
out of 50 Reviews
Ethukale Negombo

Jetwing Blue Hotel Negombo welcomes cosmopolitan travellers with genuine Sri Lankan hospitality, stylish accommodation... More hotel details

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Jetwing Sea Hotel Negombo
Reviewer score
4.0
out of 52 Reviews
Palangaturai Kochchikade Negombo

Jetwing Sea Hotel Negombo is a lavish Sri Lankan haven that offers tasteful accommodations and contemporary facilities... More hotel details

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Hotel J Negombo
Reviewer score
0
out of 50 Reviews
331/1 Lewis Place Negombo 94

Hotel J in Negombo, a pioneer amongst Sri Lanka budget hotels. Catering to the budget traveller, Hotel J is a no-frill... More hotel details

Club Palm Bay

4 Stars
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Club Palm Bay
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0
out of 50 Reviews
Thalawila Wella, Thoduwawa, Marawila Sri lanka 1

The state-of-the-art conference facilities at the Club Palm Bay are well complemented by our highly attentive and frie... More hotel details

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Jetwing Lagoon
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0
out of 50 Reviews
Pamunugama Road, Talhena Negombo Sri Lanka 11500

Lying between the vast Indian Ocean and a tranquil lagoon in the town of Negombo, Jetwing Lagoon is a Sri Lanka spa re... More hotel details

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