Visit Columbo on an MSC World Cruise. Perfectly located between Asia and Europe, it’s Sri Lanka’s largest city, and valued by traders for more than 2,000 years. Before independence in 1948, the country’s been under Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. That heritage is reflected in the city’s architecture, where colonial buildings mix with sky scrapers and shopping malls.
MSC Cruises excursions offer plenty of exciting things to see including:
• Colombo highlights
• Madu Ganga
• Cinnamon and rubber plantations
Look for the 100-year-old Colombo clocktower that used to double as a light house until it became dwarfed by high-rise buildings.
Another clocktower built by the Khan family marks the open market in Pettah, where vendors sell everything from fresh vegetables, meats and seafood to jewellery, clothing and electronic goods.
With an MSC excursion you will visit the city’s iconic buildings: The Columbo or National museum displaying art, carvings and statues from Sri Lanka’s past, the Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall (a gift from the People's Republic of China),The Old Parliament Square that housed the island's legislature for over 50 years, Independence Memorial Hall built to commemorate independence and the Royal College, a leading public school known as Sri Lanka’s Eton.
Take an MSC excursion and explore the Madu Ganga River by boat. It’s part of a World Heritage site that’s one of the last wetlands to contain pristine mangrove forest. Here there’s wild boar, monkeys, eagles, kingfishers and over 50 kinds of butterflies.
The Buddhist Temple on the tiny islet of Kothduwa temple is believed to have once sheltered the sacred relic of the tooth of the Buddha.
On another MSC excursion you’ll also see a sacred Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment. In addition, visit a cinnamon plantation to see it made and learn how production methods have changed over the centuries. Sri Lanka still produces about 70% of the world’s cinnamon. It’s a profitable crop now, but in ancient times the spice was as valuable as gold.
Plus explore a small rubber plantation to find out about another of Sri Lanka’s leading, export-earning crops.