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How to Explore Sri Lanka’s Underrated Capital in 1 Day

24 Hours in Colombo

By Amie GinendraPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
Image via Flickr

Most people come to Sri Lanka for the beaches, wildlife and far away escapes, and with reason. Nevertheless, its commercial capital – Colombo possesses its own whimsical charm and plenty of underrated entertainment. Let us explore.

Go for strolls or leisurely car rides along shady avenues

Colombo’s cityscape is dotted with a few shady avenues and intriguing colonial architecture. You can go for walks in the evening or early morning pre-breakfast. Find the path along with the University of Colombo, and then make your way along the shaded streets of Colombo 7. You can stumble upon an occasional antique store and go to Independence Square where the locals go to work out in the morning. If you prefer car rides look for a Sri Lanka car rental company such as Malkey Rent a Car to go for slow-paced car rides. You can grab breakfast at one of the restaurants at racecourse grounds. They have pancakes with syrup, Sri Lankan and western dishes as well as some tea mocktails you can savour.

Admire the colonial architecture

As you wander along the streets of Colombo, admire the remnants of colonial architecture. Some of the buildings near the racecourse grounds, some ancient ancestral homes of the elite of Colombo and the Old Dutch Hospital premises are worth exploring. The Dutch Hospital complex now houses a number of high-end restaurants, a spa, ethnic wear and handloom shops and an endearing, slightly bohemian vibe. Grab yourself Ceylon tea toddy (spiced hot tea) and some exotic dishes to enjoy.

Visit the Gangaramaya Temple

The Gangaramaya Temple is architecturally intriguing as it stands sharp in contrast to the more traditional, unassuming temples with its plethora of décor. The temple complex is also home to a museum and an extensive library. Open daily from 09:00 am to 18:00, the Gangaramaya Temple is a curious mix of Ceylonese, Indian, Chinese and Thai architecture.

Explore the national museum

Colombo’s national museum is an ancient, elegant building located amidst some great, age-old trees. The green park where the museum is testifies to the relatively slow pace of life in Colombo compared to other commercial capitals. You’ll find a treasure trove of exotic warrior regalia, ancient art, statues, weapons and some belongings of the last royal family of the island.

Visit the Petta Market

The market in Pettah is a world away from the slower and refined vibe of the rest of Colombo. At the market, you will find a cacophony of noises from vendors, spices in sackfuls, tropical and seasonal fruit, fresh vegetables and much more. Locals know that they can find anything for a bargain at the Pettah market. All you have to do is find which alleyway sells which item. There are entire streets dedicated to exotic sarees, electronic devices, décor items and even wholesale grocery items.

Catch a sunset at the Mount Lavinia Beach

About 40 minutes away from the main city centre, Mount Lavinia is its own entertainment hub. There is a line of hip restaurants along the beach, facing the wide, turquoise expanse of the sea. You can order a seafood platter and some cocktails or beer and wine for a leisurely evening watching the waves and people. Mount beach is a hotspot of leisure and beach dining. Make sure to agree on a fair price before you purchase anything.

Get your groove on to enjoy nightlife

Colombo’s nightlife lacks the extravaganza of full moon parties. However, it more than makes up for the fact with a sense of intimate and refined fun. You can get a drink at a bar near the Galle face Green or do pre-dinner drinks at a rooftop bar. Then make your way to a ritzy restaurant for a sumptuous dinner. Save club hopping and dancing for the late-night hours.

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About the Creator

Amie Ginendra

Traveller | Writer | Foodie Lover | Blogger

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