Depending on the schedule, attend a cricket match in Colombo. While technically cricket is not Sri Lankaâs national sport (volleyball is), it is by far the most popular, a status helped by the national teamâs upset of Australia in the 1996 Cricket World Cup finals.
Stroll along the edge of the Indian Ocean on the Galle Face Green and arrive at the landmark Victorian Galle Face Hotel. Enjoy cocktails at its beach bar, where Somerset Maugham and Noel Coward once held court.
Visit the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, one of the central places of worship in Sri Lanka. The complex is a vast group of shrines dating from various periods and built in a wide range of architectural styles, which can lend the temple a quirky, patchwork feel. The grounds also contain a bodhi tree said to be grown from a cutting of the one under which the Buddha gained enlightenment, as well as a crystal lotus reputed to contain one of his bones.
See the Jami Ul Alfar mosque in the Pettah neighborhood, whose garish exterior of red and white stripes, checkers, spirals and other patterns makes it one of Colombo's most recognizable religious landmarks.
While at Gangaramaya, see the Seema Malaka Temple, one of Sri Lankaâs most unusual shrines. Built in the 1970s to replace an earlier 19th-century building that was slowly sinking into Beira Lake, Seema Malaka was designed in a serene, minimalist style by renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. Several simple pavilions appear to float on the surface of the lake, connected to each other and the mainland by walkways lined with statues of the Buddha.