Sri Lanka’s Capital Colombo, a port city, with a rich colonial heritage, on the Western coast is a potpourri of races, religions and cultures. Colombo displays the best and worst the country has to offer. The city is a contrast itself, with mansions, lush gardens, fine dining options, shopping malls packed with expensive designer brands standing next to urban slums; diesel fumed congested roads and street markets.
Despite its small size just 37.31 km² Colombo offers a varying selection of experience ranging from taking a tuktuk ride, a visit to Pettah market and eating Kottu to playing a round of golf and having high tea at one of the colonial style hotels overlooking the Indian Ocean.
With many boutiques filled with international brands and local art and fabrics Colombo is the best place to do the last minute shopping and then it’s best to retire to Galle face, Colombo;s playground for some Kottu or Wade.
1.Play A Round Of Golf At The Royal Colombo Golf Club
The immaculately manicured greens of the Royal Colombo Golf Club have attracted golfers for 129 years, a slice of golfing history. Visitors welcome. www.rcgcsl.com
2.Enjoy A City Tour
Hop on board the exciting open deck double decker of the Colombo City Tour to witness the charm of Colombo www.colombocitytours.com
3.Eat Some Seafood On Mt Lavinia Beach
Mt Lavinia is one of Colombo’s more laidback suburbs filled with great seafood restaurants on the golden beach and is named after Lovinia, the gypsy dancing girl who had a secret romance with one of Sri Lanka’s governors.
4.Do Some Last Minute Shopping
One of Sri Lanka’s best kept secrets is the shopping opportunities in Colombo –sleek department stores and cool shopping malls are filled with designer clothing, shoes and handbags, plus handicrafts, home furnishings and more.
5.Indulge In A Massage At One Of Colombo’s Spas
Featuring serene surroundings and expert masseurs trained in everything from Swedish to Shiatsu.
6.Take In Some Art
The Colombo National Museum has some terrific examples of ancient paintings, sculptures and sketches dating back to the 4th century BC, while if it’s something contemporary you want, the city has a thriving arts scene, with many creative painters exhibiting in local galleries.
7.Visit A Temple
The Gangarama Vihara is one of the most venerable temples in the country, decorated with wonderful brass work, stone carvings, and other Buddhist art. Also a place of learning, it houses a museum, complete with residential hall.
8.Visit Dehiwala Zoological Garden
Beautifully landscaped 30 acres in which a rich collection of mammals, birds, reptiles and fishes live in harmony with Nature.
9.Get Wet And Wild At Leisure World
Sri Lanka’s first amusement and water park features log flumes, roller coasters, and many other thrilling rides for kids and adults. www.leisureworld.lk
10.Sample The Nightlife
Colombo has a buzzing scene, with chill-out bars, casinos if you want to try your hand at roulette or baccarat, or cool clubs where you can party until dawn.
11.Eat Some Kothu Rotti
The quintessential Sri Lankan snack consists of sliced-up bits of rotti, expertly blended with your choice of chicken, beef, egg, onions, tomatoes and green chillies. Unmissable.
12.Go For A Ride In A Trishaw
These motorised three-wheeled chariots are the backbone of Sri Lankan transport – just remember to hang on for dear life!