Everything you Need to Know about Negombo - Sri Lanka

The town of Negombo is situated on the shore of a lagoon which is also called Negombo. It has been an important trading port for both the Dutch and the Portuguese in the years past. It is a beautiful sea side resort on the western part of the island of Sri Lanka.

The best part is that it is just a short drive from Colombo and offers an amazing coastline lined with palms to its visitors. The natural beauty of the beach is truly breathtaking, besides it is not as busy as crowded as the capital.

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Negombo Attractions

The Dutch influence is hard to miss in the little town of Negombo. While the old Dutch Fort is still alive with a number of people living in the area, the city feels like a blast from the past. The market is not much to write home about, but you may get a good bargain if you scout around. The beach road shops are a good place to hang out.

The Old Dutch Fort

The old Dutch Fort and the Dutch Canal would have to be Negombo's two main attractions. The Dutch Fort is now part of the local prison. Built in 1672 and located near Munnakkaraya Bridge, you can easily walk from the Negombo bus station or hotel area to reach the fort.

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The Dutch Canal

The old Dutch Fort and the Dutch Canal would have to be Negombo's two main attractions. The Dutch Fort is now part of the local prison. Built in 1672 and located near Munnakkaraya Bridge, you can easily walk from the Negombo bus station or hotel area to reach the fort.

The Angurukaamulla Temple

Most Buddhist tourists would appreciate visiting the Angurukaamulla temple. Located near Harishchandra College, the temple boasts a giant Buddha image. There are also a number of old paintings and murals available for your perusal. In case you are interested in the kings of Sri Lanka from a bygone era, you will get a lot of information about them at this temple.

St. Mary's Church

This is one of the larger cathedrals in Sri Lanka. Considering that the population of Negombo is 99% Roman Catholic it comes as no surprise that it is quite an important building in the city. The architecture is majestic and the church has some nice paintings. It is known as Mahaweediya Palliya in the Sinhala language and is quite easy to find.

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Negombo Activities

It is the beach which is the center of most of the action. Although if you enjoy sailing, you can take a ride in a boat along the old Dutch style canal as well. The delta also offers another activity in a boat. It may be some what orchestrated but you will enjoy the ride and the side shows that the locals put up for you.

Boat Trip

Take a boat trip from the delta area of the river. It will last about three hours and will include sightseeing through the rainforest, mangroves and a local farm. There is even a coconut picking display where the locals will shimmy up a tree and come back with the refreshing spoils for you. You can also try the local brandy known as Arak, (at your own risk). The boat will take between two to six people and you'll need to bargain to get the best cost.

Negombo Beach

Relax on the beach or take an early morning walk as you watch the boats set off from the beach for a day’s fishing. Come back later to see the day’s catch or head onwards to buy some from the fish market close by. 

The fish market has a lot of blood and an overpowering smell about it so make sure your tummy can take the experience before you decide to try it out, otherwise stick to the cleaner parts of the beach. It can get really sunny so make sure that you use a lot of sunscreen. The sunset is absolutely amazing and is a must see if you are spending the day at the beach.

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Canal Sailing

Sail along the canal. There are boats available for hire if you wish to sail along the Dutch canal and it can be quite a surprise to see a European-style canal in Negombo. There are guides who will point out the salient features of the city and take you along the beach to the harbour. It can be interesting when you imagine that the Dutch used the same route so many centuries ago, and it is still in existence.


Negombo Restaurants and Nightlife

Negombo has passed through the hands of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British in colonial times. Also a number of descendants of the Arabic traders still live here. The influences of all thesecultures can be seen in the cuisine and the town physically even today. So you can eat regular continental food, Arabic food, Turkish food or the local sea food. Pick whatever tickles your fancy.

Definitely not the place for a wild and crazy night out, Negombo offers a few bars located on the Beach Road.

Catamaran Dining

While the regular nightlife is to be found in the hotel bars, you might enjoy hiring a catamaran and heading out on the water for a sail and a barbeque meal. It can be the experience of a lifetime. A crew of three will man the boat and you can imagine living the life of the rich and the famous by pretending it's your private yacht!

Oasis Beach Hotel Restaurant

This restaurant serves up some outstanding seafood. The seer fish with vegetables in an onion sauce is excellent and the crab curry is also good. It is somewhat expensive but the ambiance is good, with a spacious interior overlooking a quiet road. It is located in the north of Negombo opposite the Beach Hotel.

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Another good eatery is Amerhula located on beach road or Lewis Place. It is quite close to Sunflower and Browns Hotels and is bang opposite Camelot Hotel. The name of the restaurant is old Dutch slang for “forget it” or “go to hell”. The staff is friendly, the food is great if you are fond of curry dishes and the price is just right. They have a good reputation and tend to live up to it.

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In case you are a little tired of Sri Lankan cuisine and want to try out some Arabic or Turkish food, head over to Salwa restaurant. Located adjacent to Super K Mall on the main Colombo road in Negombo, the place has huge servings and is really cheap. You can even order beforehand and collect the food as a takeaway.


Negombo Shopping

While the regular shopping items such as clothes, tea and knick-knacks are available you can also pick up some interesting jewelry in Negombo. The handmade pieces are often charming and there is something for every budget. You can pick up stuff for as little as a couple of dollars and go up to a couple of hundred dollars. A good place to visit is Cartier Jewels located on Lewis Place or Beach Road. They don’t hard sell and the staff is friendly and helpful.

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