Two monsoon seasons deter travellers from visiting Colombo from May through August and October through December. In general, the best time to book a flight to Colombo is between January and March, when rainfall is at its lowest and temperatures climb toward their highest. Travellers seeking a trip filled with festivals may want to consider braving the monsoon season and travelling in May for the celebration of Buddha’s birth, which sees Colombo covered in lanterns, lights and other decorations. Cheap flights to Colombo can be found outside of the peak travel months of January, February and March when other celebrations take place.
Duruthu Perahera at Kelaniya Temple
Traditionally, the Duruthu Perahera takes place on the pre-full moon day in the month of January. The spectacular procession entices hundreds and thousands of natives and tourists who are keen to witness the cultural heritage and ancient traditions of the nation through the remarkable parades of folk music, rhythmic dance and drum performances outside the Temple Purlieu.
Book a flight to Colombo during February and see the streets of Colombo come alive to celebrate the month’s full moon. The streets are flowing with vibrant and colourful processions with a display of dancers, drummers, traditional folklore, music and Chieftains in traditional attire. The main attraction of the parade is the hundreds of elephants that travel from various parts of the country dressed in shining cloaks. This huge event is located at Gangarama Temple in Colombo and sees more than a million spectators gather annually.
Take a flight to Colombo and see its many historic religious sites against modern skyscrapers, a spread of ethnicities living side by side and extensive green spaces surrounded by the fumes of heavy traffic. History and modernity live side by side in Sri Lanka’s capital city on the ocean shore.
First time visitors taking cheap flights to Colombo may be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people, traffic and activity that fill the streets of Colombo, but with time, the city’s charms begin to win over newcomers. There’s plenty to see, but many visitors choose to start with the stunning temples found throughout Colombo. Of these, the colourful Gangaramaya Temple is a favourite among visitors for its incredible Buddhist statues and museum. Colombo’s past is on full display at sites like The National Museum of Colombo, the Natural History Museum and the Dutch Period Museum, while contemporary and Sri Lankan art greet visitors to the National Art Gallery.
A metropolis Colombo surely is, but there are ample opportunities to escape the urban in favour of a more natural retreat. The wildlife that takes up residence at Viharamahadevi Park adds a lively element to a stroll through this lushly landscaped green space, while the Talangama Wetland just outside the city proper offers lakeside relaxation amongst butterflies and greenery.
After recharging, visitors can head to Galle Face Green, an oceanfront promenade that attracts many for some of the best sunset views in the city.
There are flights from Glasgow, United Kingdom, to Colombo, Sri Lanka, that range from 20h-22h. You can find flights from London to Colombo that are around 11h-19h, while flights from Manchester are around 18h-20h. Flights from Bristol to Colombo range from 20h-22h and flights from Edinburgh are around 20h-22h.
There are direct flights from London to Colombo that are around 11h, making the trip much faster than those with stops. However, finding direct flights from other cities in the United Kingdom are harder to come by. Most major cities in the United Kingdom do offer one-stop flights to Colombo.
Bandaranaike International Airport is the only international airport in Sri Lanka and as such offers multiple transportation options for the many visitors that arrive from all over the world. The Sri Lanka Express Bus HighWay-Bus takes you from the airport to the city of Colombo is around an hour, even including the city’s heavy traffic. The buses depart every half hour from the airport, but stop running after 8:30 p.m.
For a little longer travel time–around 1.5h–the minibus also takes travelers to the city from the airport, and it runs sparingly at night when the Sri Lanka Express Bus line id shut down. However, finding the bus stop at night outside the airport can be difficult.
The most recommended mode of transport, due to comfort and short travel time, is a taxi. It can take you to the city from the airport in around 45m, and taxis run all day, every day, so you can rely on a taxi no matter when your plane lands. Also, instead of being dropped off at the city centre, like you would with the buses, the taxi can take you directly to your destination lodging. You can also book online to avoid extra fees.
Colombo is known for its vibrant and flavorful food. Taking a walking food tour is a great way to sample all the delicacies and unforgettable foods of Sri Lanka. You can even opt for a private street food tour. On this private tour, you’ll get to try 10 distinctive meals and treats of the city.
There are also plenty of day outings where you can grab memorable photos in front of historical sites and beautiful landscapes. Buddhist temples and world-famous gardens are not only beautiful but also a great place to learn about the history of the city and country, as well as the culture it is steeped in. Some of these locations also offer private tours, where you can have a well-versed expert to educate you on the story behind each place.
Citizens traveling from the United Kingdom are required to have a passport for at least six months, as well as a visa. You can apply for a visa online.
Colombo’s streets are filled with three-wheel vehicles known as tuk-tuks, and these motorised for-hire vehicles can be a convenient way to get around the city. Tourists should opt for metered tuk-tuks rather than trying to negotiate a rate with the driver or better yet, seek out a special tourist-friendly fleet operated by the Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority. Taxis are also available, as are public buses and a train system.
Getting to the city
Flights to Colombo land at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), which is about 20 miles north of the city. Depending on how heavy the traffic is, the journey between Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) and Colombo can take between half an hour and one hour. A shuttle runs every 15 minutes to take passengers from the airport terminal to a nearby bus station, where public transportation connects travellers to Colombo. Taxis are also available with fixed rates.