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About Colombo

For international shopping and restaurants, head for the Fort District in the north of the city and then catch some local colour in the Pettah Bazaar District. This is a warren of streets rich in mosques and Buddhist and Hindu temples and lined with shops selling everything from exquisitely worked gold jewellery (on Sea Street) to herbs for Ayurvedic treatments and bargain-priced CDs and cassettes (Malwatte Avenue).

To the south of the city, you can enjoy lush scenery and watch a cricket match at the lovely seafront park of Galle Face Green, then enjoy a stylish afternoon tea at the historic Galle Face Hotel - after admiring the exquisite hand carved doors at its entrance.

 

Shore excursions in Colombo

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Angampora – The Ancient Martial Art

Activity medium

Duration: 3 hours

Watch an exhilarating demonstration of Angampora and gain an insight into the life of a Sri Lankan warrior!

Take a scenic drive away from the city and make a physical connection with Sri Lanka’s culture and history with a visit to a traditional Angampora training centre.

This ancient martial art is indigenous to Sri Lanka and according to local folklore Angampora’s history goes back 30,000 years. The legends become real when you’re warmly greeted by the Angampora Guru - a direct descendant from the clan of ancient Angampora Warriors.

In the tranquil setting of the ‘Sākya Sanctuary’, your mentors will demonstrate this age-old art through an exhilarating performance. Angampora veterans will engage in a display of combat, showing you different techniques of this martial art – hand-to-hand fighting, use of weapons and sacred rituals – accompanied by beating drums. It’s an experience you won’t forget!

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. This tour is conducted outside, under a partly shaded area. There are approximately 20 steps to negotiate during the tour. Temperatures can be high; passengers are advised to bring a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and water, and to stay hydrated. The journey to the Angampora Training Centre is approximately 1 hour each way.

Buddhism through a Monks Eyes

Activity medium

Duration: 3 hours

Explore Sri Lanka’s mystical Buddhist temples and fascinating sacred artefacts with a devoted Buddhist monk as your guide.

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya is a revered Buddhist Temple located on the lush green banks of the Kelani River. It’s considered by many devotees as one of the few sites sanctified by a visit from the Buddha. You’ll see offerings of lotus flowers at the magnificent white stupa (religious monument). Here, coconut oil lamps are lit and purified water is sprinkled at the foot of the Sacred Bodhi Tree.

You’ll visit Kelaniya Temple, guided by a knowledgeable Buddhist monk who will enlighten you on the practices of this faith. Marvel at the collection of wall and ceiling murals depicting Buddha’s life and Buddhist civilisation which has existed across 2 millennia.

A truly captivating tour that will provide you with a remarkable insight into the spiritual lives of Sri Lankan Buddhists.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately 1 hour of walking on this tour, as well as around 25 steps to negotiate. Please dress conservatively, covering shoulders and knees. Entrance may be refused if dress is deemed inappropriate. Shoes and hats should be removed prior to entering the temple. It is recommended to bring a pair of thick socks as the pavement can be hot. Large bags are not permitted within the temple. The journey to Kelaniya Temple is approximately 45 minutes each way.

Ceylon Tea Experience

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 8½ hours

Discover the production process of Ceylon tea during this fascinating visit to a local tea plantation.

Embark on a scenic drive of around 3 hours to Akuressa, a lush region boasting ideal conditions for growing tea. Tea production is one of the main industries in Sri Lanka and Ceylon is considered to be one of the finest teas in the world. During this tour, you’ll discover the history of tea and its unique journey from the tree to your cup.

The Galaboda Tea Factory was established in 1935 and has a long history of tea making which has been passed down from generation to generation. The estate is spread over an area of 39 acres, which includes an organic tea nursery. During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to observe the tea being handpicked at the estate before heading to the tea factory. Here, you’ll be able to watch the handpicked tea crop being graded, before going through the many different stages involved in quality tea production. You’ll also learn about green tea, where the leaves are picked and immediately sent to be dried or steamed to prevent fermentation, whereas black tea and other types are left to ferment once they are picked.

After your fascinating insight into tea production, relax and enjoy a light snack and sample the distinct flavours of a refreshing cup of pure Ceylon tea.

Essential information

This tour will operate by coach and on foot. A comfort stop will be made during the journey each way. A light snack is included, however it is recommended to have a hearty breakfast. There are around 20 steps at the tea factory and 4 steps at the tasting area. This tour involves around 1½ hours of walking over varying terrain, which includes some slight inclines. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended.

Colombo Highlights

Activity medium

Duration: 3¾ hours

Combine a tour around the main sights of Colombo with a visit to a Buddhist Temple and the National Museum.

Embark on a drive around Colombo, Sri Lanka’s vibrant capital. Although Colombo is a fast growing city its old world charm is still evident as you pass the 100-year-old clock tower, several British built, colonial buildings and the colourful bazaar of the Pettah. Continuing on through the Fort area, which houses the Government and Mercantile Offices, you’ll notice the buildings are newer.

Your journey will take you past ornate Muslim Mosques, Hindu Temples, Christian Churches and Buddhist Temples. A stop will be made at the Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple. At over 100 years old, it is known for its spectacular murals of early 20th century Buddhist art. After your temple visit, you’ll commence a drive around the residential areas where the stately homes of the affluent, the Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference and University of Colombo are located. A stop will be made at Independence Square for photos.

Before returning to the port, you’ll visit the Colombo National Museum. Housed in a grand colonial building, the National Museum is the custodian of Sri Lanka's cultural heritage. Among its exhibits are a vast collection of books, more than 4,000 archaic palm leaf manuscripts, rock sculptures from the ancient cities, royal weapons of Sri Lankan kings and an excellent collection of antique demon masks. The most interesting among the exhibits are the regalia of the Kandian Kings dating back to the 17th century.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. Please refer to the ‘Important Information’ for this port. Approximately 30 minutes is spent inside the museum and there is a fee to photograph (US$3) or video (US$10). There are around 5 steps at the temple and 20 steps at the museum. Please carry US$ for any additional purchases.

Discover Galle

Activity highMeal includedShopping

Duration: 9¾ hours

Discover the charming fortified city of Galle, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Upon arrival in Galle, you’ll visit the local fish market for an opportunity to mix with the locals as they purchase local produce.

Afterwards, head to Galle Fort. Built in 1588, it is the centrepiece of the town and has earned UNESCO World Heritage status. Spanning over 36 hectares, this impressive structure is the largest remaining fortress in Asia, and within its encircling walls you will find an astounding collection of structures and landmarks – snapshots of life here across the centuries. First built by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century onwards, today even after 423 years, Galle Fort maintains a polished appearance, due to extensive reconstruction work carried out by the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka.

Step back in time, as your knowledgeable guide brings the colourful history of the fort to life, during a guided walking tour. As you weave your way along the narrow lanes, you’ll visit the Dutch Church with its baroque façade. You’ll also pass through the courtyard to the Dutch Hospital shopping complex, before viewing the Lighthouse, Clock Tower and the Ramparts.

Enjoy a little free time to explore further or perhaps purchase a souvenir of your visit, before a delicious buffet-style late lunch, served at a local restaurant.

Complete your tour with a visit to the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum, which pays tribute to one of Sri Lanka’s most famous writers.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey to Galle is approximately 2 hours each way. There is approximately 3 hours of walking required on this tour. Modest dress is required for the visit to the Dutch Church.

 

A selection of cruises to Colombo

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