Sri Lanka, recently named as the world’s best travel destination for the year 2019 by renowned travel website Lonely Planet is home to diverse landscapes including stunning beaches, breathtaking hill country and bustling urban cities. If you have been planning on a “dream vacation to the tropics” a few other destinations in the world are able to match the natural beauty of the compact island nation. A growing tourist industry has given rise to world-class accommodation, a variety of food and beverages including international cuisine and a whole host of tourist attractions and activities for a memorable vacation.
Negombo, a bustling city that gives any discerning traveler the best of both worlds, dynamic urbanism and numerous secluded beachfront resorts overlooking the serene Indian Ocean. Negombo is the closest city to the Bandaranaike International Airport with myriad resorts, boutique hotels within a highly developed tourist ecosystem. This article serves to guide first-time travelers with great insight on where to stay, food to eat and how to experience an authentic tour of Negombo, in other words, a Negombo City Tour with a “Sri Lankan” touch.
If you’d like to take a step back from the madness of a Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, being the closest to the airport, Negombo would be a perfect choice. Less than an hour away from Colombo by car, Negombo offers a variety of accommodation options from home-stay villas and boutique hotels to luxury beachfront resorts. The closer the hotel is to the beach, the higher the price tag. However, you have some very affordable resorts and hotels a few hundred meters away from the beach.
Negombo Street Food
Negombo is a tourist area which means that most restaurants, pubs and bars have similar pricing with the occasional ten percent service charge. Meals in most resorts and hotels do not suit a backpacker’s budget, what does, is the delectable street food in Negombo. Street food vendors sell what is locally referred to as “short-eats” which are essentially fried or baked snacks such as samosas, pastries, buns, Chinese rolls and the like. They don’t cost much, are very spicy and are pretty good for a quick snack. Another local favorite is Kottu, spices and rottis are sliced and heated over a grill with sauce and meat. This well salted, spicy dish just melts in your mouth, it is certainly a dish worth consuming more than once.
The Negombo Beach
The Negombo beach is one of many beaches in Sri Lanka’s long coastline with golden brown sand and warm, pleasant weather all year round. The beachfront resorts have glistening pools which you could access via a “day ticket”. There is plenty of food and local life around the beach to keep you interested. The warm weather is ideal for a tan, while you sip your favorite drink, relaxing and looking into the turquoise waters. Try some food from beach hawkers if you would like to experiment or go on a scenic boat ride that gives you a glimpse of the marine life in the area.
Food and accommodation is generally affordable unless you decide you want a bit of luxury and hit the four and five-star hotels. Negombo is ideal for a beach holiday where you get a really good idea of local life and a real essence of what it is like living in an outright beach city. The seafood is fresh, delicious and some of the spiciest you’d ever eat. The city has plenty of spots for nightlife and the city is abuzz late into the night, however, bars and pubs are the only places with food that remain open after 10 pm. If you are a really adventurous traveler, we suggest you try your hand at deep sea fishing or surfing. These activities could be arranged by your resort or travel agencies around the area.
In addition to all the beach bliss, the city has a cultural side to it as well, something for everyone. The Dutch Fort in Negombo, for instance, is something that you should not miss. Whenever you travel to Sri Lanka, we suggest you utilize the services of a licensed travel agent. Tour packages from travel agents are usually cost-effective and well planned out. Then again, if you are a backpacker looking for spontaneity, you could explore the city yourself by following our guide. We wish you a warm and pleasant journey to Sri Lanka, the wonder of Asia.