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Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka had been a country we'd been wanting to visit for some time. It's a perfect next stop after visiting the Maldives being just a 1.5 hour flight away. We flew into the capital, Colombo in the evening and stayed in a guest house in Colpetty 'Colombo 3' which was a pretty good location. It's a bustling city of around 800,000 people and due to it being an important port for ancient east-west trade routes, there's a great mix of architecture comprising of colonial buildings with high-rises and shopping malls.

Like all capital cities, there's a whole range of things to see and do. We had 5 days to explore which is probably enough to see the major sights, however we were struck down with some gastro following a cocktail of questionable chicken, water and a beer! This wiped out 1 of the 5 days.

Still, we had a great time in Colombo and managed to squeeze in quite a lot. Getting around is best done on foot or with a Tuk-Tuk. They're reasonably priced, take you exactly where you want to go and can even be hired for a set number of hours.

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Sights in Colombo

There were some great highlights including:

  • Galle Face Green - Right by the beach, this urban park is is bustling with families, people playing and sitting down to one of the many eateries. It's also famous for sunsets of the Indian ocean. We arrived and enjoyed a beer with some great food at Nana's King and thought we'd miss out on the sunset due to the cloud. Next minute the whole sky started to light up in a magical orange/pink colour that completed stunned us! Without doubt, one of the most incredible sunsets we've seen.
  • Pettah Market & Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque - Teeming with people, the bustling Petta Market has everything from food, to electronics and homewares. It's a great way to sample Colombo's vibrancy. Plus, whilst you're there, check out the impressive red Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque.
  • Gangaramaya Temple & Biera Lake - An important temple in Colombo over Bere Lake.
  • National Museum of Colombo - Although we got there a little late, this large museum has loads of info about Sri Lanka. It's a great way to learn about some of the historical areas in the north, especially if you're heading in that direction.
  • Viharamahadevi Park & the Colombo Municipal Council - We wandered through Viharamahadevi Park on the weekend and it was filled with locals relaxing, having picnics and enjoying themselves. It's well worth a visit, plus you can check out the Buddha, that's facing the Town Hall.
  • Old Parliament Building - You won't be able to go inside, however is well worth checking out, if you're walking south towards Galle Face Green, or north into the Fort area.
  • Slave Island - Is well worth exploring with interesting architecture, shops and laneways to explore.
  • Cinnamon Red Hotel - Head up to the bar at the top of Cinnamon Red for drink and enjoy an incredible view with the option to use the swimming pool.
  • Colombo Lotus Tower - It was still under construction, however having a view from 350m high is sure to be an experience worth doing.

You can explore beyond Colombo by train, bus or get yourself a driver who can either take you to the next city and drop you off, or stay with you and take you around the whole country. Drivers are more expensive, however they greatly reduce travel time, offer some helpful tips along the way and are much more comfortable than the public buses. We used a combination of each.

Our next stop was Anuradhapura, which we went to by train.

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Posted by TheNomadWay.com 17:00 Archived in Sri Lanka

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