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  1. Muthurajawela wetland
    ©BT Image
  2. Kelaniya Duruthu Perahera
    ©BT Images

Five awesome day trips from Colombo

Vibrant Colombo has plenty to offer the visitors – from beautiful beaches to delectable cuisine to exciting shopping opportunities, absorbing entertainment and a buzzing night life.

Written by
Swetha Rathnajothiee
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It is also a convenient gateway that lets you travel to other parts of the tropical island for a day of adventure before heading back to the city.

Below we have compiled a list of places within reach of Colombo where you can explore the island life amidst wildlife and stunning natural scenery.

1. Muthurajawela Wetlands
©BT Image

1. Muthurajawela Wetlands

What is it?

A large saline wetland at the southern end of the Negombo lagoon. Teems with wildlife and several species of mangroves.

Why go?

The wetland contains different species of mangroves and provide a habitat for fish to lay their eggs. Visitors can also enjoy spotting numerous species of birds including purple herons, Brahminy kites, red-wattled lapwings, herons, cormorants, kingfishers, as well as monitor lizards and saltwater crocodiles.

Don’t miss

A year-round destination, the area is home to migratory birds from December to April. A boat ride through Hamilton Canal is the best way to explore the wetland.

2. Thalangama Tank
©BT Image

2. Thalangama Tank

What is it?

The Thalangama wetland and the Tank is home to several bird species and other wildlife within the Colombo city limits.

Why go?

Despite its proximity to an urban corner of Colombo, the area around the tank is calm and serene, and is perfect to enjoy wildlife while staying in busy Colombo. From kingfishers perched on tree branches, on the alert for fish to jacanas, pond herons, little grebes as well as yellow-billed babblers.

Don’t miss

Conveniently located within an hour’s drive away from Colombo, Thalangama and its wetlands are a wonderful way to experience the wildlife in the city.

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3. Kalutara
© BT Images

3. Kalutara

What is it?

Sitting on the bank of the Kalu Ganga (River), Kalutara is a bustling town and the gateway to the golden beaches of the south coast.

Why go?

From the gleaming Gangatilaka Viharaya (popularly referred to as the Kalutara Bodhi due to the Bo tree on the lower terrace, to the 19th century Richmond Castle, Kalido Beach to beautiful Roman Catholic churches, country fields and toddy tappers, Kalutara has plenty to offer visitors. Visitors can also take a boat ride along the Kalu Ganga and enjoy the landscape.

Don’t miss

Just 40km south of Colombo, Kalutara is an ideal destination to explore a different part of the country on a day trip from Colombo.

Kalutara

4. Ratnapura
©BT Images

4. Ratnapura

What is it?

Famed for the glittering gems discovered in the area, mining and trading of gems is an integral part of Ratnapura.

Why go?

One of the biggest attractions of Ratnapura is the Sabaragamu Maha Saman Devalaya, dedicated to God Sumana Saman. Visitors can also climb 469 steps to reach the Pothgul Viharaya in Karangoda. A gem museum is ideal to admire stunning precious and semi-precious stones. The Ehelepola Walawwa has been converted to a museum, displaying ancient artefacts discovered from the area.

Don’t miss

The road to Ratnapura takes you through winding and narrow roads that offer panoramic vistas. The area also has several beautiful waterfalls such as Bopath Ella.

Ratnapura, Ratnapura National MuseumSinharaja Forest Reserve and Saparagamu Maha Saman Devalaya 

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5. Kelaniya
©BT Image

5. Kelaniya

What is it?

Kelaniya is famously known as a site where the Buddha gave a sermon on his third and final visit to the country.

Why go?

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya is built on the location where the Buddha is said to have visited. The beautiful temple art within the temple premises dates back to the Kandyan era and the early 20th century. With its spiritual aura, the temple is venerated by devotees and attracts visitors from different faiths.

Don’t miss

In January, the temple holds its annual Duruthu Perahera, a grand pageant that travels through the streets of the town.

Kelaniya Raja Maha ViharaResplendent Duruthu Perahera

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