Despite being ravaged by the tsunami in 2004 or the island’s long protracted civil war, Sri Lanka has always held a spell on nature enthusiasts and travel aficionados. Thankfully its roaring business once again in Sri Lanka as the entire island is now bustling with tourists – safe for all and accessible in every part. As the entry point of almost every tourist attraction in Sri Lanka, it is worth exploring Colombo for its amazing art and culture and natural life. Here are some of the leading must-dos as you touch down in Colombo:
1. The enthralling Gangaramaya Temple
Even if temples are not your thing, visit this one Temple and you will not be sorry. A thriving area of worship filled with a blend of Thai, Sri Lanka and other world architecture, the Gangaramaya Temple is worth visiting to marvel at the structure and to experience a truly divine spiritual feeling. The temple also holds a massive collection of sculptured masterpieces which is a sight to behold.
2. Sink into Kottu Rotti
Colombo’s finest and most favourite fast food is its Kottu Rotti – expertly chopped flat bread grilled on iron skillets and blended with local vegetables, meats of your choice and eggs along with local spices. As you sink into just one bite of the buttery rapture of Kottu Rotti, you will realise why the locals around you are wolfing down platefuls of the same. A number of local coffee houses and grungy cafes around the capital serve the authentic Kottu Rotti for its city’s young and sleepless.
3. Laze around in Negombo
A captivating fishing village that has an old worldly charm to it, the lazy town side of Negombo is a beautiful place that not only holds a ruined fort but also a Dutch port. Negombo means “village of honey” in Sinhalese and it first got the attention of the Dutch and Portuguese for its thriving cinnamon business. You can spend an entire day at Negombo and watch the Technicolor sunset unfold right in front of your eyes.
4. Soak in the culture at the National Museum
Established in 1877 by the British when Sri Lanka was still a British colony, the National Museum of Colombo holds priceless ancient Buddhist artefacts as well as the splendid golden throne of the King of Kandy. In addition you will also discover a collection of rare palm leaf manuscripts preserved meticulously. Visit the museum if you are in the mood for nostalgia.
5. Tea, tea and more tea
There is no place around the world like Sri Lanka for teas. Whatever your imagination you will find flavoured tea suited just for your palate. Fancy a tea that tastes like brandy? Or perhaps banana flavoured tea? You will find it here. Apart from its famed Ceylon tea, Colombo also offers the widest selection of fine gourmet teas and more. Try the local supermarket chains for its tea collection as well as souvenirs.
6. Shop at Pettah
Considered to be one of the busiest and most colourful markets in Sri Lanka, Pettah is the place to be if you are in the mood for spending and splurging. Here you will find the greatest number of knick-knacks available up for grabs, ranging from spices, bags, electronics, fruits, clothes and of course tea. If you do not mind the crowd and the hustle bustle involved in bargaining, Pettah is definitely worth a visit and you will be mesmerised by the infinite spray of sounds, sights and bright colours all around you.