Last weekend my sister and I had to show a group of four what Colombo had in store in terms of sightseeing and excursion activities. Two of them came from Malaysia while the other two from Australia. If I were to be completely honest, Colombo barely has anything to offer in comparison to cities out of Colombo. However, if you happen to have a close relationship with local families in the area, you’re bound to get spoilt with loving hospitality as you’d be invited into their homes and offered fresh home cooked meals and driven around aimless loafs with plenty of company. In this instance, my sister had already made plans to meet the Malaysian siblings for breakfast at a cafe called White & Co. The moment this plan came to my parents ears it was dismissed immediately as they suggested they come home for a proper Sri Lankan breakfast.
That morning the table was filled with all kinds of local dishes such as hoppers, kiri bath aka milk rice, roti, string hoppers, pani pol aka honey wrapped around pancakes and all kinds of curries on the side to accompany the main dishes. During breakfast, the question of what exactly can one do in Colombo arose, and my sister and I were in deep thought as to where we could take them specially when they were on a tight budget. So we just decided to stick to spontaneity.
We started our excursion by first driving up to Mount Lavania Beach Hotel to pick up two sisters who live in Australia. They too started to feel the drag of their holiday for not having much to do in Colombo other than just eating at restaurants and staying at their hotel… So we thought we’d at least try and show them a good time on their last day. Hence, we ended up at ODEL which is Colombo’s most popular shopping mall which was refurbished recently with a few additions, such as the Promenade- a courtyard with a variety of food stalls. We took them to the Elephant House stall to try out the hot dogs as it’s unique to only Sri Lanka, and got a few Il gelato ice cream cones to go as we walked over to the Vihara Maha Devi Park to see if there was anything interesting to do there.
This park tends to have a lot going on, on weekends, from good market stalls , circuses, pony rides, aquarium, paddle boating etc. Paddle boating caught our interest so we decided to paddle for a good half hour till the sun started to get scorching hot.
Once that was over we headed over to Lakpahana- another shopping store that only holds authentic Sri Lankan retail and merchandise ( perfect for souvenirs you’d like to take back home)
The day started to get a little exhausting, especially with the endless walking and scorching heat. Thus we decided to walk one more time towards the Arcade, another shopping mall with restaurants, branded retail stores, electronic stores,cinema,cocktail bar etc. Because this day was all about exploring Sri Lanka, we took a quick break at the Dilmah Tea Lounge. This lounge specialises in all sorts of tea beverages, varying from traditional Ceylonese Tea and tea’s with an added twist such as tea mocktails and iced tea’s. Apart from thirst, hunger too started to set in, so we ended up ordering a Pol Sambal crepe with extra cheese, roast chicken crepe and a club sandwich.
Happiness started to sink in once we were fed, and were fuelled up to start our next excursion. By this time the skies were less sunny and more cloudy- mother nature’s way of telling us to prepare to witness the sunset. But before we headed towards Galle Face, we took a brief walk around the Beira Lake and hung around the peer. Once that was over we headed over to Galle Face which was our final destination for the day.
HEADS UP, if you ever get a chance to go to Galle Face, you HAVE to try the local street food. there are plenty of street food venders on the side of the pavement having various types of local snacks, paratas, and the most famous ISSO wade and CRAB wade. It’s a form of sri lankan dhal patty with a topping of prawns or crabs. Completely unhealthy, but isn’t that what holiday binges are all about?
Seated on the pavement, overlooking the ocean whilst waiting for the sunset, is the most perfect way to end the day in my opinion.
Hence, though Colombo may not have as much in store, you’d still be able to make the most of your day if you’re willing to travel around a bit. The good part is – walking around and passing by is the most budget friendly way of touring around Colombo.