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Katunayake, Sri Lanka: Home to super Bandaranaike International Airport near Colombo

As you land at Bandaranaike International Airport in Sri Lanka, you might be thinking, “What’s there to do in this small town?” But Katunayake, located just a few kilometers away from the airport, is a treasure trove of culture, history, and adventure waiting to be explored.

Take you on a journey to discover the hidden gems of the place and make the most of your layover or pre-flight time in this charming town.

A Brief History of Katunayake

It has a rich history dating back to the 12th century when it was an important center for Buddhism. The town has been influenced by various cultures, including the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, leaving behind a unique blend of architecture, cuisine, and traditions.

Must-Visit Attractions in Katunayake

  1. Bandaranaike International Airport: While you’re already at the airport, take some time to explore the airport’s facilities and watch planes take off and land.
  2. Katunayake Market: The local market is a great place to pick up some souvenirs, try some street food, and mingle with the locals.
  3. St. Mary’s Church: This beautiful Catholic church is a striking example of colonial-era architecture and offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
  4. Katunayake Railway Station: This historic railway station is a great spot to grab a coffee or snack while taking in the scenery.

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Things to Do

  1. Take a City Tour: Join a guided tour to explore the city’s hidden gems, including its markets, temples, and historical landmarks.
  2. Try Local Cuisine: Indulge in traditional Sri Lankan dishes like rice and curry, hoppers, and string hoppers at one of the many local restaurants.
  3. Relax at a Spa: Treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa treatment at one of the many spas in the area.
  4. Explore Negombo: Just a short drive away, Negombo is known for its beautiful beaches and waterfront promenade.
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Tips for Visiting

  • Arrive early to make the most of your time in the place.
  • Be prepared for crowds at the market and popular attractions.
  • Don’t miss trying some local street food and drinks!
  • Respect local customs and traditions when visiting temples or cultural attractions.
  • Consider joining a guided tour to get a deeper understanding of Katunayake’s history and culture.

Katunayake might seem like just another small town near Sri Lanka’s international airport, but it’s so much more! With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture, Katunayake is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the authentic Sri Lankan way of life.

So next time you’re passing through Katunayake, take some time to explore this charming town and discover its hidden gems. You won’t regret it!


The small town located in the Western Province of Sri Lanka, approximately 35 kilometers (22 miles) north of Colombo, the country’s capital city. Here are some interesting facts about Katunayake:

  1. Airport location: Katunayake is home to the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), also known as Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport, which is Sri Lanka’s primary international airport.
  2. Population: As of 2012, Katunayake has a population of around 13,000 people.
  3. Economy: The main industries in Katunayake include agriculture, manufacturing, and services. The town is also known for its textile and garment manufacturing industries.
  4. Tourism: Katunayake is a popular stopover for tourists traveling to and from Sri Lanka’s international airport. The town has several hotels, restaurants, and shops catering to travelers.
  5. History: Katunayake has a rich history dating back to the 12th century when it was an important center for Buddhism.
  6. Culture: The town is known for its vibrant culture, with many festivals and events taking place throughout the year. The annual Katunayake Esala Perahera festival is a popular event that attracts thousands of visitors.
  7. Food: Katunayake is famous for its traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, including dishes such as rice and curry, hoppers, and string hoppers.
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Katunayake is a charming town that offers a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s rich culture and history. Whether you’re traveling to or from the airport or exploring the surrounding area, Katunayake is definitely worth a visit!

Bandaranaike International Airport, also known as Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport, is the primary international airport serving Sri Lanka. It’s located in Katunayake, approximately 35 kilometers (22 miles) north of Colombo, the country’s capital city. Here are some interesting facts about BIA:

  1. Name: The airport is named after Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike.
  2. Airport Code: The IATA airport code is CMB and the ICAO code is VCBI.
  3. Runways: BIA has two runways: Runway 01/19 (3,300 meters/10,827 feet) and Runway 05/23 (2,740 meters/8,990 feet).
  4. Terminals: The airport has two terminals: the International Terminal and the Domestic Terminal.
  5. Airlines: BIA is served by many international airlines, including Air Arabia, AirAsia, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, and more.
  6. Passenger traffic: In 2020, the airport handled over 7.3 million passengers, making it one of the busiest airports in South Asia.
  7. Facilities: The airport offers a range of facilities, including restaurants, cafes, shops, lounges, and duty-free shopping.
  8. Transportation: The airport is connected to Colombo city center by taxi, bus, and train services.

Tips for traveling to Bandaranaike International Airport:

  • Arrive at least 2 hours before your flight for international departures and 1 hour before for domestic departures.
  • Check-in online and print your boarding pass or download it to your mobile device to save time.
  • Be prepared for security checks and immigration procedures.
  • Exchange currency or withdraw cash from an ATM before heading to the airport.
  • Enjoy the local cuisine at one of the airport’s many restaurants or cafes!
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Bandaranaike International Airport is a modern and efficient airport that provides a comfortable and convenient experience for travelers. Whether you’re heading to Sri Lanka for business or leisure, BIA is the perfect gateway to this beautiful island nation!

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