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Home » Destination » Colombo
   
About Colombo ...  
     

About Colombo...

Colombo is the business and commercial center and the new capital is Sri Jayawardhanapura Kotte, which is only a few miles away. Colombo was only a small seaport, which came into prominence in the 16th Century with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1505 and the development of it as a major Harbour during the British period and became the capital in 1815 after Kandy was ceded to the British. The remains of the buildings during the period and the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule are found in every area of the city. None of the Portuguese Dutch fortifications are found today but some of their buildings and churches could be seen in the Fort Pettah areas. Visit Fort, the former British administrative center and military garrison, Sea Street - the Goldsmith's quarters in the heart of Pettah, the Bazaar area where there is also a Hindu Temple with elaborate stone carvings, the Kaymans Gate with the Belfry at the original gate to enter the Fort, the Dutch Church of Wolfendhaal dating back to 1749, Kelaniya Buddhist Temple, Davatagaha Mosque, Colombo Museum and the Natural History Museum are some of the sites to be visited. Also visit the BMICH (Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall), see the replica of Avukana Buddha and the Independence Square.

Things to Do....
If you did not know, some of the best diving sites in Asia are located just a bit off Colombo's coast, and are popular among those who want to explore forgotten underwater shipwrecks. If you are diving off the West Coast, take a look at an exhilarating WWII plane at the seabed! Nearby Mount Lavinia and Nilaveli are excellent spots for everything that breathes sun and sand. Nilaveli is the hub for water sports, so head here if you want to try water skiing, fishing or snorkelling.

Surfing on the beach is another popular activity among tourists. The East Coast beaches are excellent during April and September, while the West Coast is a good bet from November to April. Arugam Bay has good winds for those who want to try kiting. Beaches like Hikkaduwa, Midigama and Polhenna make for good day tours to explore, sunbathe and relax.

Places to Eat...

Despite its richness, Sri Lankan food commands lesser fame than it should. National favourites like String Hoppers, Green Prawn Curry, Rotis and Coconut Toffee are like mundane delights. Toddy, served chilled, is the way to beat the heat in summer. If you want to get a taste of the best local cuisine, head to one of the traditional spots like Curry Leaf, expensive but worth it.

The Siam House is an all-time favourite that serves excellent Thai cuisine. A local favourite is the Cricket Club on Queens Road, decked with cricket memorabilia and great for watching sports on its large screen.

The Gallery Cafe is one of the most popular haunts in Colombo. With temple trees, coloured walls, and a large pond with the striking purple nil manel, Sri Lanka's national flower, the café is an epitome of self-expression. Sri Lanka's best designers and artists sipping coffee is not an uncommon sight here.The Thambapani restaurant right near the famous Gallery cafe is a hidden gem that serves authentic Sri Lankan food. With a lovely alfresco as well as private ambience, it is a great stop for those looking for a quiet evening out.

Nightlife...

Sri Lanka's nightlife is slowly getting trendier & opening doors for curious tourists. There are plenty of places where you could enjoy a drink and shake a leg. The Glow Barat Sir Mohamed Macan Markar Mawatha is known to be the trendiest bar in the city with its modern, minimalist interiors and incredible cocktails. If you love that occasional love ballad and long to shed the stress with some melodic rhythm and blues, then head toRhythm & Blues. This classic pub has a great bar and a snooker table for you to completely relax. A few other watering holes are Prive Colombo, Blue Leopard and White Horse.

For those who want to try their hand at luck, there are a few casinos around town as well. Stardust Casino and the Bellagio are popular haunts.

Shopping...

Colombo is a great place to buy antiques, wooden furniture, tea and handicrafts. If you are looking to buy clothing, there are many stores that sell European and American brands for throwaway prices! Paradise Road is the best outlet where you can find good bargains. They are known for good antiques and home decor as well. Beverley Street is the best bet for fashions'.
For those who are looking to buy gems like cat's eye, sapphire and moonstone, it is best not to buy it as an investment unless you are knowledgeable about gems. The Sri Lankan Gem and Jewellery Exchange in Colombo has a gem-testing laboratory for use but be aware that you are not led into buying anything you are sceptical about. Buy ceramic drinking gourds, batik or ceremonial masks. They make exceptional keepsakes. To get a good pack of Ceylonese tea, try the Tea Tang or Miesna Tea stores at the Colombo airport. You will not be disappointed. A tip before buying the tea in bulk - ask for a tasting.

  

 
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