Negombo situated by the shores of a lagoon by the same name once has been a trading port for Portugese and Dutch and is a ideal place for those who want quick access to and from the airport. Attractions in the city are the old Dutch fort gate built in 1672 now a part of the prison, the Dutch Canal which was then a supply route to the Dutch administration, old churches and fishing villagers. The 100km long canal running through the town is still being used and is an attraction for those who want to see the country from a different perspective.
The stretch of road towards Kotchchikade comes to life at dusk (most shops are open at daytime too) with many handicrafts and curio shops, gem shops, restaurants and internet cafes catering for tourists.
Fine sandy beaches of Negombo has been mostly unexplored but less crowded as most tourists use the town for the first or the last night of their stay in Sri Lanka. That is where the advantage where you have the beach mostly to your self. Nevertheless those who have identified it’s secrets have been visiting the town year after year. Fine beach stretches are superbly maintained by the hotels while some are always busy with fisherman and their equipment. Equipment for water sports such as diving, wind surfing are available at most hotels and private vendors. There are few schools offering reasonable diving courses.
What to see
Other attractions in the area include many old church buildings, their feasts dedicated to various saints if you happen to be around at the correct time and the fisheries port.
Muthurajawela Marsh off Negombo lagoon just south of the town is a unique wetland habitat and the largest marsh in Sri Lanka popular with eco enthusiasts. Day or half day excursions could be arranged to visit tile factories to the north of the town.
The Buddhist temple in the town is an unique structure where beautiful statures depicting various Buddhist events built beneath a giant Buddhist statue. Unfortunately poor maintenance and negligence has taken it’s toll.
The ancient Buddhist temple at Kelaniya believed to have been visited by Buddha about 20km south of the town is a major attraction. A religious cultural pageantry is held in January at the tample. Completely re-built recently, fine wall paintings done in mid 1900s are an attraction.