For a unique introduction to Negombo, take to the water. Canal and Muthurajawela Marsh tours are offered as either private or group boat rides, with the private option being more expensive. The canal tour is better when done privately but the marsh ride can be fun in large groups. It’s recommended to do both tours in the morning on separate days to avoid the hottest parts of the day.
The first step is to find a driver who will take you on a private boat tour of the canals that crisscross this city. These aquatic roads were built during the 16th and 17th century when the spice trade was booming under Dutch colonisation and a way to transport the produce was needed. Today, the canals are used by fisherman when they’re not at sea and offer visitors a fascinating way to see the town and how the locals live. Pack some sweets to throw to the children who come to run alongside your boat.
On a tour of the marsh, you’ll quickly feel as though you’re hundreds of kilometres away from the city, slowly drifting across the water with green leaves brushing past and trees towering around you. You’re in a natural maze and the best tours have a spotter on board guiding the driver to amazing local wildlife including lizards, monkeys, birds and crocodiles.
When it’s time for some sea, sun, sand and city life, head north into the heart of Negombo by following the main roads from the airport. Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the city’s busy fish market where locals sell, buy and dry their local catch or catch a glimpse of Negombo’s past at historic attractions like the small but proud St. Mary’s Church and the old Dutch Fort. You can also get a real taste of the good life here because Negombo has nightlife and restaurants that are up there with Sir Lanka’s best. Combining an international atmosphere with tropical beachside location, it’s the perfect place to enjoy great seafood and cold drinks.
Ready to go? We have flights to Sri Lanka on a number of airlines. All you have to do is get your ticket then check out the range of Katunayake hotels on offer. You’ll soon find yourself in a place where you can enjoy the three features the Pearl of the Indian Ocean is known for: chilled beachside living; rich history that you can not only see, but also experience; and its amazing natural scenery.
Hotels in Sri Lanka start at AU$16 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.