Things to do in Negombo Beach? Don't Expect Much

21st August 2016

You probably came across this post because you’re looking for things to do in Negombo beach. Or maybe you’re deciding weather to visit the resort since it’s so close to the international airport. We spent a couple of nights there after landing in Sri Lanka so keep reading for our honest account.

Our Negombo Beach Arrival

It’s always fun to have a good old argument with the first local you interact with after entering a new country. Yeah, good times! I hope you can hear the sarcasm in my voice. Having not travelled for a while, we didn’t think to give the full address of our Negombo beach accommodation to the taxi driver. He’d already agreed to drive us there for 800 rupees but once we were on our way and he found our guesthouse to be slightly out of the centre, he then suddenly bumped the price up to 1200 rupees.

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Looking for things to do in Negombo beach? We stayed at the resort after landing in Sri Lanka so read this honest account if you're planning on visiting.

We know an extra 400 rupees isn’t much when converted to GBP but we knew it was a scam. He most likely played this game with many other unsuspecting tourists. We feel it’s important to stand your ground on occasions like this. Because if nobody did and everyone agreed to pay whatever costs are quoted, then they’ll keep on doing it. In the long run this will raise prices for locals too where the majority cannot afford it.

Anyway, after a bit of back and forth we agreed to compromise at 1000R (£5). Still expensive considering he was not a licensed taxi. Tuk Tuks doing the same 15 minute journey to Negombo beach would charge around 600R (£3). And a licensed air conditioned taxi would a maximum of 1500R (£7.50). 

Negombo Beach, Sri Lanka. Things to do in Negombo Beach? Don't Expect Much.

Negombo Beach

Things to do in Negombo Beach? There’s Not a Lot to Recommend

We’d read that Negombo isn’t real Sri Lanka. That it’s just a transit town that tourists stay at for a night or two after arriving in Sri Lanka. A good place to acclimatise to the country before heading off for more interesting cities, cultural sights and beaches. We understood why as Negombo is nothing more than a strip of tourist accommodation, restaurants, bars and shops, which runs along side the town’s wide but somewhat polluted beach. If you’re looking for things to do in Negombo Beach then you may struggle as we did. 

Kites on the beach. Things to do in Negombo Beach? Don't Expect Much.

Kites on the beach

The beach makes for a pleasant enough walk but is not the sort of beach you’d want to stay at for long. There are far better beaches dotted all over Sri Lanka’s coastline. Some which we hope to be visiting. However, Negombo beach is popular with Sri Lankan tourists. On the day we took a stroll we came across hundreds of locals enjoying their time on the sand. Many of them taking advantage of the strong sea winds by filling the skies with home made kites. It was an awesome sight!

Local kids with their homemade kite. Negombo, Sri Lanka. Things to do in Negombo Beach? Don't Expect Much.

Local kids with their homemade kite

Real Sri Lankan Food in Negombo is Difficult to Find.

Most of the restaurants all serve very similar menus which consist of mostly boring western dishes and some token Sri Lankan curries. The prices at each establishment are also very similar with most mains coming in at around 1000 rupees (£5). Pretty cheap you might say but not by Sri Lankan standards.

If you want to eat like a local then we’d recommend Mr Burger. Burger by name but not by menu. Instead the very friendly and chatty owner, who has family living in Luton, serves up just two traditional Sri Lankan dishes. The first being Kottu, which consists of shredded roti, egg, vegetables, chicken or beef and stir fried together. The second being Hoppers which consists of a fried egg inside a bowl made from coconut milk and rice flour. The edible bowl was sweet from the coconut which really worked when eaten with the egg. Delicious! The whole meal for both of us and a local ginger beer came to just over 500R (£2.50)! If we were to create a list of things to do in Negombo beach then Mr Burger would be on it. 

Me trying a local Ginger Beer, Negombo, Sri Lanka. Things to do in Negombo Beach? Don't Expect Much.

Me trying a local Ginger Beer

An egg hopper. Things to do in Negombo Beach? Don't Expect Much.

An egg hopper

Other Restaurants and Cafes we Eat/Drank at Include

Honky Tonky Two, a touristy restaurant but slightly cheaper than all the rest. Cafe J, a modern cafe which could not be further from traditional Sri Lanka but serves those with a sweet tooth ice cream, smoothies, shakes and cakes plus a small selection of very cheap savoury pastries and sandwiches. And Dolce Vita for a hit of real coffee in the form of most western favourites including Latte, Cappuccino, Mocha and Americano! Being a coffee lover I enjoyed a foamy Latte and Shelley opted for a Mocha which came with a mountain of whipped cream on top! I may have eaten a lot of the cream for her 🙂

We Stayed at D-Villa Negombo

A modern guesthouse which had great reviews online. It wasn’t anything special but it did the job for the budget we had of 3000R (£15) a night. This bought us a fan room which we instantly regretted for our first two nights in a country that consistently reaches 30c everyday. Looking back, we maybe should have paid for air conditioning but it’s not a luxury that budget backpackers can regularly afford. We thought we’d go hardcore right from the outset! I’m sure we’ll treat ourselves to air-con soon.

D-Villa Negombo, Sri Lanka. Things to do in Negombo Beach? Don't Expect Much.

Our accommodation D-Villa Negombo

The biggest selling point of D-Villa Negombo was not being greeted by our first cockroach of the trip or finding Sri Lanka’s noisiest room fan. It was the owner who made us feel very welcome and lovingly made us our free breakfast each morning in the spacious garden. Breakfast consisted of tea/coffee, fruit salad, eggs and bread. More than enough to keep us going until lunch.

Shelley enjoying tea in the garden of D-Villa Negombo. Things to do in Negombo Beach? Don't Expect Much.

Shelley enjoying tea in the garden of D-Villa Negombo

Fresh fruit for breakfast at D-Villa Negombo, Sri Lanka. Things to do in Negombo Beach? Don't Expect Much.

Fresh fruit for breakfast

There may not be many things to do in Negombo beach and not be a particularly nice place but after an 11 hour overnight flight, we preferred to realise we need to shower 6 times a day here than in the hectic and in your face capital city of Colombo. Besides, our next stop is Sri Lanka’s second city, Kandy, which we’ll be reaching via the crazy local buses. Wish us luck!

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Looking for things to do in Negombo beach? We stayed at the resort after landing in Sri Lanka so read this honest account if you're planning on visiting.


15 thoughts on "Things to do in Negombo Beach? Don’t Expect Much"

  • Paul says:

    Shelly, don’t let Darren steal your food! As with your taxi ride, if you just let him do it he’ll think he can get away with it all the time!

  • Mary Mills says:

    Good luck to you both have a wonderful time very envious

  • Kasun says:

    Happy to bring our beauty.

  • Heather says:

    Hey there,
    Since you just traveled in this area I hope you can help me. I will be traveling between India and Sri Lanka in February. Once in Sri Lanka I will do a tour but I have 5 days to kill before the tour starts. Your depiction of Negombo doesn’t make me too enthused…Do you have any suggestions for a 4 day trip somewhere off the beaten path?

    • FindingBeyond says:

      Hi Heather. Where is your tour taking you? We think there are better ways to spend 5 days than in Negombo but it isn’t a lot of time to get out and come back before your tour starts. You could head up the West coast North of Negombo. It’s a less travelled part of the country but not an area we explored. There are buses which head in that direction. 4 or 5 days would be enough time to visit a couple of places and come back again. Or you could take the scenic train from nearby Colombo to Ella. It’s supposed to be a beautiful ride and I imagine would not be included on your tour. We took the train from Kandy to Ella and that was beautiful.

  • Heather says:

    Thanks for the reply! We will be taking a train from Kandy to Ella on the tour so I am glad to hear you liked it. The tour does a big circle(Negombo-Sigirya-Kandy-Ella-Udawalawe Reserve-Hikkaduwa-Colombo). There is one day in Galle, but not a lot of time on the coast…were there any beach towns that you’d recommend that we could do in the 5 day period?

    • FindingBeyond says:

      The beach towns between Colombo and Galle are supposed to be very nice and not too hard to get to from Negombo/Colombo. If it’s beaches you’d like to see then I’d recommend heading down there. You could easily head to the beach and back in that time. It was monsoon season in the West when we were there so only visited the East coast beaches. That means I can’t recommend a specific West coast beach for you first hand. Sorry! I hear the West is more developed and busy. The East coast was very chilled.

  • Cedric says:

    Awesome read. Thank you for the advice.

  • Isuru says:

    Hi, I’m a Sri lankan and just found this blog. Read it full. Yes I agree the information about the taxi trip. There are many frauds who called themselves as taxi drivers and thief foreigners. I’m sorry for the bad experience you had on behalf of my country. We have uber available in Sri Lanka. If Uber is expensive, you can always go for the app called ‘PickMe’. You can download it from appstore or Google Play store. There you have many varieties of cabs which cannot be lied to you. Normally their service is fair. As Sri Lankans we use ‘PickMe’ and can recommend for you guys.

    If you find hotels in Negombo, why don’t you try Jetwing Blue? Just try it once and you will say Negombo is lovely.

    Yes I agree Negambo is not Sri lanka. Visit Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Down south (Galle, Matara, Koggala), Yala, Kataragama, You will find Sri Lanka.

    Further, try a buffet high tea at out any of the five-star hotel just for 2000 LKR. I recommend hotel Kingsbury in Colombo.

    Just have my tips next time you visit Sri Lanka.

    Happy Travelling!

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