Negombo and Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Negombo (Honey Village) is a popular tourist resort located about 40 km from Colombo. It is the fifth largest city in the country and is known as a major fishing center. The Negombo fish market is famous throughout Sri Lanka. But the main attraction of Negombo is a wonderful sandy beach.
Once upon a time, wild cinnamon grew around Negombo, which was called the best in the world. For several centuries, overseas merchants, hungry for spices, anchored in the convenient harbor of Negombo. And until now, cinnamon is one of the main objects of production of the city (along with ceramics and bronze items).
A long picturesque sandy beach is located north of the city center. Many comfortable hotels have been built here and a huge amount of entertainment is offered, both on land and on water: windsurfing, diving and kite surfing. The latter is quite relevant, since the sea here is usually restless and wavy. What else can you do in Negombo? Explore the Dutch Channel, the fort and the church, go to a wonderful mangrove park or visit a bird sanctuary 50 km from the resort.
How to get to Negombo
According to simplyyellowpages, Colombo International Airport is even closer to Negombo than to the capital of Sri Lanka. Therefore, most hotels offer pick-up service to their customers, but at very high prices. Where it will be cheaper to get to the airport bus stop (a free shuttle runs from the building, 5 minutes on the way). And there – take a tuk-tuk to the center of Negombo, which will cost from 400 to 500 LKR.
To get from the main railway station of Negombo to the hotel on a tuk-tuk, you will have to “lay out” about 300 LKR.
An express bus runs directly from Colombo to the resort (regular / air-conditioned 57/100 LKR, on the way from an hour to two, departure every 20 minutes). Trains departing from the railway station of the capital are much slower than buses. You can get to Kandy by bus to the town of Veyangoda (Veyangoda, 153 LKR, 2 hours on the way), where you can transfer to a direct train.
Cuisine and restaurants
The south coast of Negombo is a popular place for lovers of fish and seafood. In the local bay, fishermen catch an incredible amount of lobsters, crabs and shrimps. There are many taverns on the beach, where all these seafood are cooked on an open fire.
Entertainment and attractions of Negombo
Negombo is a well-known center of Catholicism on the island (it is even called “little Rome ”). No wonder there are so many churches and cathedrals in the city, the largest and most picturesque of which is the Cathedral of St. Mary.
In addition, here you can make a real journey through time, seeing the ruins of the Dutch fort built in 1672, the Dutch canal, which served at that time as an alternate route to the Dutch administration, ancient churches and a cemetery, as well as virgin nature, and a colorful fish market.
A new marina was built in Negombo in 2010. From there, inquisitive tourists can take boat trips on the lagoon and enjoy beautiful views, extraordinary flora and fauna and mangroves.
The new marina is located on Custom House Road, near the Hamilton Canal, which, in turn, originates at the source of the Maha Oya River.
The high mountain resort of Nuwara Eliya is located at 1884 meters above sea level at the foot of Mount Pidurutalagala, the highest peak of Sri Lanka. The mild favorable climate, picturesque meadows and valleys, mountain landscapes – all this makes Nuwara Eliya a very popular place among travelers.
The best souvenir brought from Nuwara Eliya will be top quality Ceylon tea. A visit to a tea plantation and a tasting of a fragrant drink is one of the must-have items of the tourist program in this region.
How to get there
There are buses from Colombo and Kandy. By train – from Colombo to the town of Nanu Oya, from there a regular bus or tuk-tuk to the center of Nuwara Eliya.
Entertainment and attractions of Nuwara Eliya
Houses with gabled roofs and dormer windows, an Anglican church, a post office building with a clock tower, old villas and manicured lawns – for this Nuwara Eliya is called “Little England”.
It is also worth taking a walk to one of the waterfalls in the area: Dunhinda, Diyaluma, Baker’s, St. Claire’s, Ravana Ella, Bambarakanda Ella, Aberdeen, Laxapana, The Lovers Leap or Bridal.
It is worth seeing the beautiful Victoria Park with picnic and recreation areas. A hippodrome is open to the south of it, where horse races take place in April. The resort also has an 18-hole golf course, one of the best in Southeast Asia.
More than 150 years ago, the tradition of the “April season” started in Nuwara Eliya, when, fleeing from the heat in Colombo, the British traveled here with their families. Over the years, the trip in April became a tradition and, after the departure of the British, the locals adopted this custom. The city, which does not know nightlife during the rest of the year, comes alive during the season. Hotels organize discos and entertainment programs, flower shows, pony and horse races.