Negombo is one of the main cities on the west coast of Sri Lanka. It is by far the closest beach you can access once you step into the island.
Situated just 10 km from the airport, Negombo is one of the significant coastal tourist hotspots in the country.
Negombo beach is quite famous among travellers.
It has a chilled out vibe to it, and the pubs and restaurants by the beach are often crowded with people wanting to have a relaxing time.
The stretch of hotels by the beach offers good seafood, and it suits all pockets.
Negombo is mostly used as pitstop.
After long hours of flying, many travellers take the short trip to Negombo to relax before they start their vacation.
Some even stay here for a day or two before they leave the country after their vacation.
The city is a stronghold for the Christian in Sri Lanka.
The majority of people are fishermen, and their lives revolve around the beach and tourism. Negombo was captured by the Dutch from the Portuguese in 1640, lost it, and then captured it again in 1644.
The British then took it over in 1796 and made its commercial hub.
Apart from Negombo Beach, the Lagoon play a vital role in the cities economy.
It is famous for its Lobster, Crabs and Prawns and there are few hotels and restaurants built by the lagoon as well.
Negombo took a huge hit during the Easter Attacks on the 21st of April 2019. Tourism fell apart, and the city died.
But, since lately it’s on the rise again, and the foreigners feel safer to stay in the city.
How to get here
If you’re going straight from the airport, it’s just a 10km Uber ride which would cost about LKR1000.
You can also enjoy Tuk-Tuk ride for a pretty lower price.
Taking a bus would be a hassle, but if you are a budget traveller, you can walk towards the Colombo-Puttlam Main road and take any bus that’s going towards Puttlam from the bus stop.
If you’re Travelling from Colombo, there are enough A/C busses which leave hourly from the Pettah bus station.
The trip will cost only LKR150. This is the easiest, most economical and fastest way to get to Negombo Beach.
Things to do in Negombo Sri Lanka
It’s one of the loveliest beaches you can find on the west coast of the island.
The pubs around the beach have a good vibe so you can relax and enjoy a chilled beer.
The seafood is pretty amazing as well.
You get five-star restaurants as well as small food joints, so it suits any pocket. The hotels by the beach vary from five-star to three-star budget hotels.
You can choose any and enjoy good Sri Lankan hospitality.
Locals and tourism agencies offer boat rides in the canal which were made by the Dutch back in the day. It runs through the north side of the city, and many locals use it to transport fish.
These agencies also offer some site seeing options such as a tour in the coir factory.
Birdwatching is also an option, especially in the Muthurajawela wetlands.
A boat ride could be arranged to explore these areas through the tour operators.
The hotels in the beachside offer all sort of water sports. They hire buggy cars, jet-skies, sailboats etc.
Kitesurfing is also quite popular in Negombo. The most favourable time of the year is during January and March. Many experts say there is good downwind from the Waikala area towards Negombo.
The pitstop, Negombo Sri Lanka
Not all beaches are swimming friendly in Negombo. The north side is pretty rough, and it’s not allowed to take a dip unless you don’t mind risking your life.
Despite the tourism flourishing in the area, it is not as devolved as Colombo. You could find a few fancy hotels close to Waikala beach.
When you go further up north, you pass a few majors landmarks. First, you come across Chillaw, which is a rural fishing village. Then you reach Kalpitiya, which is another rural area which is a tourist hotspot for Kitesurfing and Dolphin watching. The Munneswaram Temple is one the shrines you could take a look if you’re heading further north.
Wilpattu National Park
The biggest national park in Sri Lanka. For many years this area had to suffer the wrath of the 30-year long Civil war between the Liberal Tamil Tigers of Eelam and the Sri Lankan Army. It caused a lot of destruction of wildlife.
The park was closed for many years, but it was finally opened to the public after clearing out the mines in 2009. The wildlife is still intact, but it was heavily affected by the war; hence the density of Wild Animals are less compared to Yala national park.
Leopards, Elephants, Birds, Deer and the very rare sloth bear are a few wild animals you could find in the park.
However, the park isn’t that crowded, so there are peace and tranquillity.
A main feature of Wilpattu is its numerous villas.
Across the park, there are many water holes. It gives an open invitation to birds to come and drink water, and that gives the visitors a chance of spotting rare species.
The park is situated approximately 135kms from Negombo, and it will roughly take a two and a half-hour drive if you’re taking an Uber. The Uber ride would cost around LKR 11,000.
Taking a bus would be quite a hassle since there are no direct busses to the entrance.
The historic Book of Ramayana tells us that Munneswaram Kovil was built by King Rama after he won the battle against Rawana.
King Rama, felt huge guilt seeing the carnage he caused during the war against Rawana. While returning to his homeland in his Air chariot, which is called Dandu Monara, he was contemplating on what he did.
He took time to get back to land and reach for a temple to pray. It believed that he was enlightened by two gods Shiva and Parvati, which made him make three temples and asked him to make it shrines for worship with symbols of Shiva. Those three Kovils built in Trincomalee (Koneswaram), Mannar (Thiruketheswaram) and Munneswaram.
The Shrine is situated approximately 50kms from Negombo. It would take a one hour drive to reach there.
This would cost you LKR 4000 in an Uber, or you could take the bus to Chillaw which would be much cheaper.
It would cost you only LKR 250, and a train ride would cost you about LKR 150.
For the train schedules, you can click here, and for the Bus Schedules
All in all, Negombo is a perfect place to start your vacation or to end it.
It is also the perfect pit stop on your way up north if you’re travelling from the south.
The lovely seafood and great hospitality would make you fall in love with the country.
Negombo is a place you should try out during your stay.