Negombo, Sri Lanka

Negombo is a quiet town in the western coastal area of Sri Lanka, with a tourist strip to the north on Jetwing Beach. Its key attraction is proximity to the international airport. Formerly the haunt of budget travellers, rising hotel rates and luxury resorts (Jetwing) mean it now attracts an elderly European crowd for its yellow, sandy beaches and its relaxing and friendly environment. There are a few other tourist attractions, and decent opportunities for diving and watersports.

The 100 km long canal network running through the city is still used, and outrigger canoes and modern water-craft ply this route daily, for trade and tourist purposes. Remains of colonization include the Dutch fort built in 1672, as well as centuries-old Portuguese and Dutch houses, Administrative buildings, Churches and the ceiling frescoes of St. Mary's cathedral church. Negombo is the centre of Sri-Lanka's Catholic community, and you can expect to see many shrines during a visit.

Negombo is also home to the country's second-largest fish market, the "Lellama", at the north end of the town's lagoon. There are daily fish auctions, which give tourists a chance to meet the area's fishermen and even organise fishing trips into the lagoon and the ocean beyond. Other nearby attractions open to visitors include Muthurajawela marshland, which is part.

Get in

Katunayake International Airport (CMB) is closer to Negombo than the capital Colombo. Most hotels in Negombo arrange pickups. A taxi costs 1500 LKR, although you may need to negotiate to get that price.

There used to be a free shuttle bus from the Arrival Terminal to Katunayake bus stop, but no longer. The bus now goes directly to Colombo. You may try your luck asking driver to drop you off at Katunayake, but he may ask for the full fare to Colombo, anyway. Otherwise, it is 15-min walk to the "Airport" bus terminal.

A regular bus fare to Negombo bus terminal is 22LKR (May 2015, or up to 4x depends on fare collector). Then, bus #905 will take you to Negombo Beach for 12LKR. A trishaw to your hotel in Negombo is for 400 to 800LKR.

Get around

Public transport available for any person at a very low cost to go around and in and out of Negombo city. (Eg. Train service from Colombo, Katunayaka, Buses 24 hours)

Vehicle renting services are available and easiest is the trishaws or "Tuk Tuks" available to travel around. Be sure to negotiate your price ahead of the ride. These days, drivers tends to charge "fixed price" for tourists (Eg. 200 LKR from the Negombo Bus/Train Station to hotels in lewis Place) and especially from Lewis Place it is difficult to catch the passing ones carrying locals if these "stationary" drivers are around.


Canal in Negombo

Negombo being very close to the Katunayake International airport of Sri Lanka, it becomes first place for a traveller comes to Sri Lanka, before travelling around the country, they can have a nice relaxed time with lovely food, relaxation, sea plus hot sun and other entertainments like visiting the city, boat rides, etc. Also similarly just before leaving the county most of the visitors select Negombo to have a peaceful time before they take long journeys back to their mother counties.


Negombo Beach


Negombo was formerly a major producer of cinnamon. While the trade has moved on, you can still find local cinnamon and vanilla for sale at roadside shops.

Negombo has a few souvenir shops selling generic Sri Lankan items:


Local curry houses offer authentic dining for ~200 LKR. Cheaper, local restaurants are inland from the main strip, Porutota Rd. Roti Talk, on Porutota Rd and opposite Jetwing Blue, offers excellent local roti and chutney for 200-300 LKR, and local curry and rice for 700-900-LKR.

A mid-range destination, recommended by locals, is "King Coconut" located on the southern end of Jetwing beach. It offers Sri Lankan curry & rice, but is most recommended for its pizzas. Expect to pay ~1000 LKR for a meal.

Lords, on Porutota Rd opposite Jewting Blue, is somewhat pricey by local standards, and is very much for western visitors. It also showcases local art, and has a cultural show on Wednesdays. Expect to pay ~2000 LKR for a meal.

The three Jetwing resorts dominate the upper end of dining. Expect to pay ~3000 LKR for a meal.

Fine dining is one of the most satisfying factor enjoyed by any visitor who comes to Negombo.


All types of hot/cold drinks and cocktails are available to one's choice. Specially Sri Lankan fresh kind coconut as a drink can be ordered at a very low cost. If you search a bit you will be lucky enough to taste fresh toddy from area.

The local beers are Three Coins and Lion lagers. Locals are generally indifferent, although Three Coins is somewhat more full bodied. Arrack is the local spirit, made from coconut and tasting similar to rum.


There're plenty of hotels (both budget and mid-ranged) and hostels in town, mostly scattered around the beach area.

Stay Safe

The main roads and beach areas of Negombo have their share of touts and tricksters. Expect to be hailed by taxi drivers, souvenir-sellers and beggars. One man walks the beach with a monkey on a rope, trained to grab hold of tourists' legs.

Go next

Airport: Buses leave the main Negombo Bus Stand every 30 mins. The journey costs about 40 LKR.

Colombo: Buses leave the main Negombo Bus Stand every 30 mins. The journey costs 75 LKR and lasts one hour to one and half, depending on the traffic.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, January 15, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.