At a glance
A hidden gem, Sri Lanka isn’t the first holiday destination that comes to mind for many people but in fact, it is perhaps amongst the most beautiful islands on the Indian Ocean. It is also fondly known to many for its tangy Ceylonese tea. One of the top exporters of tea, Sri Lanka’s busy capital is Colombo – found on the southern portion of the resplendent island.
Colombo is a fusion of both traditionally complex old structures and the straight modern lines of Colombo’s skyscrapers. One such example is the World Trade Centre which stands tall above the main city centre of Colombo known as the Fort. The fort is where you’ll find the pulse of the city, with luxury hotels to one side and the architecturally unique old building to another.
If you think that Colombo has very little to offer, think again. The city brings forth the true Sri Lankan’s culture, not only through its food, historical places and sidewalk cafes but also through the busy bazaar streets of Pettah and Kotahena. Swing by the red and white Jami Ul Affar Mosque in Pettah for a dose of multiculturalism in this stronghold of Buddhism. There’s also the Galle Face Green, a picturesque promenade where the locals hang out and enjoy the beautiful day outside while playing cricket and flying kites.
A short distance away from the city and you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful white beaches in the vicinities of Arugam Bay, Midigama and Hikkaduwa. The beach front is a popular destination for visitors who are looking to chill out or get adventurous by trying the many sea activities offered like surfing, diving, snorkeling and even boating. If you prefer to stay dry then make your way to the National Parks which are found around Colombo such as the Bundala National Park and the Yala National park for some wildlife watching – in particular deers, elephant and if you’re lucky – the leopard.
No trip to Colombo is complete if you do not visit the UNESCO sites found here. There are seven UNESCO sites in Sri Lanka which range from the Sacred City of Anuradhapura to the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, the Sacred City of Kandy, the Ancient City of Sigiriya, the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, the Golden Temple of Dambulla and the Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications. A trip to Colombo just for the UNESCO sites if anything else, will surely be worth every penny.
You can expect Colombo to be like nothing you’ve ever experience before - it’s rich and unique heritage and natural beauty will surely capture your heart.