Situated 56 kilometres north of Colombo city and minutes away from Sri Lanka’s airport, Negombo is a bustling coastal town known for its Colonial-style buildings, churches and beach that boasts of luxury accommodation like Club Hotel Dolphin. Blessed with a sea and lagoon, Negombo has been a thriving fishing port since Colonial times and today, is home to Sri Lanka’s second largest fish market.
Located on the northern-end of the lagoon near the 17th century Dutch Fort Gate, the Negombo Fish Market is where tourists and locals brave the noise and stench to buy the freshest fish at reasonable prices. Step out of your Beach Hotel Negombo and watch fishing boats return from a night at sea. The Negombo Fish Market opens with a daily auction attended by fish traders who make their bulk-purchases before making room for other shoppers to make their purchases. Open six days a week, the market’s 300 stalls sell many varieties of fish including seer, shark, skipjacks, pomfrets and amber-jacks. From dawn to dusk, the Negombo Fish Market is the image of a typical Sri Lankan fish market with muddy paths leading to vendors who call out to shoppers drawing their attention to the baskets filled with shrimps and prawns fished from the lagoon alongside whole fish and fish-cuts.
Even on Sundays when the market is closed and its majority Catholic members attend church, a few fishermen can be seen along the beach behind the market selling their catch, tending their boats and fishing nets and drying fish. Fisher-folk can be seen preparing Maldive fish by cutting pieces of tuna, mackerel and shark, sprinkling with salt (to prevent them being eaten by hungry birds) and laying them on mats to dry along the beach for several hours. Admire the colourful fishing boats and the beautiful Negombo beach in the cool shade of a beachside restaurant that serves delectable seafood and savour the local favourite prawn vadai sourced from the lagoon in Negombo’s backyard.
Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+