Negombo Travel information: Visa, how to get there, and what to do

One of Sri Lanka’s main commercial hubs and administrative capital of the Negombo Division, the city of Negombo attracts Sri Lankan and international visitors thanks to its enchanting lagoon with its sandy beaches and traditional community of fishermen, delicious food and heritage colonial architecture.

Being very close to the capital Colombo, it’s also an easy destination to include in one’s Sri Lankan holiday itinerary.

Sri Lanka is seeing an increase in international tourism: surfers, animal and nature lovers, foodies and beach goers all fall in love with this small nation in the Indian Ocean.

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • Practical information about Negombo, including how to get there
  • Things to do in Negombo and the history of the city
  • Necessary documents to visit and more travel advice for foreigners

How to get to Negombo, Sri Lanka

Negombo sits on the West coast of Sri Lanka, at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon. It’s very conveniently located for international tourism as it’s the nearest town to Bandaranaike International Airport, the main international airport in the country.

Bandaranaike International Airport (also known as Katunayake Airport by locals) is reachable with a short 10-15 minutes drive from Negombo. Taxis will only charge you $3-5, or you can order an Uber for even less.

If you wish to drive, there are several A and B-grade roads connecting Negombo to other major Sri Lankan centers like Colombo, Jaffna, Trincomalee, and more.

Here is a list of bus routes calling at Negombo:

  • Negombo – Kaduwela (A/C Through Ganemulla)
  • Negombo – Maharagama (A/C Through Ganemulla)
  • Negombo – Giriulla – Narammala – Kurunegala. A/C and Normal
  • Negombo – Horana A/C
  • Negombo- Kalutara A/C
  • Negombo – Kegalle – Kandy – Theldeniya
  • Negombo – Ratnapura – Embilipitiya – Kataragama
  • Negombo – Aluthgama (Through Ganemulla, Kadawatha and Expressway)
  • Negombo – Galle (A/C Through Southern Expressway)
  • Negombo – Matara (A/CThrough Southern Expressway)
  • Negombo – Ratnapura – Balangoda
  • Negombo – Urapola – Kithulgala – Hatton
  • Negombo – Gampola – Nuwara-Eliya – Welimada
  • Negombo – Puttalam – Anuradhapura – Medawachchiya – Mannar
  • Negombo – Kalutara – Galle – Matara – Tangalle
  • Negombo – Kandy – Mahiyanganaya – Ampara – Akkaraipatthu
  • Negombo – Dambulla – Kekirawa
  • Negombo – Kurunegala – Polonnaruwa – Batticaloa – Katthankudi – Kalmunai
  • Negombo – Palaviya – Thalawila – Kalpitiya
  • Negombo – Ruwanwella – Deraniyagala – Avissawella
  • Negombo – Horana – Mathugama – Hiniduma – Udugama
  • Negombo – Udubaddawa – Kuliyapitiya

For those preferring to travel by train, there are 4 railway stations in town — Kurana, Negombo Downtown, Kattuwa and Kochchikade.

How far is Negombo from Colombo?

The distance between Negombo and Colombo as the bird fly is only 31 km.

Opened in 2013, the Airport Express (E03) connected Colombo with Negombo and the Katunayake Interchange, reducing the travel distance between the two cities to only 20 to 30 minutes.

The route is also served by buses leaving from the Negombo Bus Terminal.

What is there to do in Negombo Sri Lanka?

In the past, Negombo was an important trading port for both the Portuguese and the Dutch. Today, it offers a relaxing and picturesque holiday destination just a stone’s throw from the capital Colombo. Tourists can soak in the local atmosphere, made of a lifestyle deeply connected with the water and the lagoon and the legacy of the city’s colonial past.

One of all travelers’ favourite experiences in Negombo is visiting the fishing village and seeing first-hand what the backbone of life in Negombo is made of. The view will be colorful and unique so remember to bring your camera with you.

Make sure to take the time to explore the Negombo canals on a boat tour. Some of the rides will also include an experienced guide who will explain to you the history of the canals, used during the colonial period to ship goods and now offering a stunning and romantic view for everyone looking.

The idyllic Negombo beach is definitely worth a visit if you enjoy spending hours on golden sand and maybe having fresh fish, lobster, or crabs for lunch. Early birds will enjoy the fishing boat leaving in the morning, while the beautiful sunset will reward those who decide to stay until late.

What documents do I need to visit Negombo?

Planning to travel to Negombo Sri Lanka has recently become much easier than it used to be thanks to the implementation of the Sri Lankan electronic visa waiver system. Obtaining a visa for Negombo can now be done entirely online in minutes.

All you need in order to apply for an electronic visa for Sri Lanka and Negombo is access to a reliable internet connection, the required supporting documents, and a debit or credit card to pay for the visa fee.

During the online application, you will be asked to provide:

  • The application form completed in all its parts. You will need to five details of your passport, personal, and contact information
  • A current email address where to receive communication regarding your application
  • The application fee.

You will receive your approved visa via email. Remember to print the eVisa and take it with you to the Sri Lankan border and Negombo.


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