The commercial capital of Sri Lanka, this city is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island. It carries a mixture of modernity along with the remnants of buildings and ruins. Within its busy streets and vibrant places, you will see the mark of three different colonial regimes: Portuguese, Dutch and British. The widely varying architecture showcases its heritage, passed down over the centuries- depicting the influence of the colonial legacy alongside the Buddhist, Islamic, Indian and contemporary styles. From towering skyscrapers to historical buildings, Colombo has got it all.
Places of Interest:
1. Galle Face Green: This ocean-side urban park lies in the heart of the city. It was initially used for horse racing, as a golf course and has also served a purpose for other sports. Now, it is the largest open space in Colombo and is the popular destination for people who want to spend some leisure time.
2. Gangaramaya Temple: This mix of modern architecture and cultural essence is one of the most important temples in Colombo. It is close to Beira Lake and has several buildings surrounding it. This place welcomes people of all religions and apart from being the place of worship, it is also the center of learning.
3. Wolvendaal Church: Located in the neighboring confines of Colombo, it is one of the oldest Dutch colonial era buildings in the country. Constructed in Doric style, the walls of this place are covered with mural tablets and the floor is interspersed with engraved tombstones.
4. Colombo Zoological Gardens: A host to a variety of animals and birds, this zoo is home to over 3000 animals and over 350 species. Colorful flowers and water fountains form its beautiful landscape. Visitors can take elephant rides and pony rides to explore the place.
Local Culture: Colombo is the mixing place of various cultures and each one of them brings out a different color of the city. Its most beautiful festival is Vesak, which falls in mid-May and lasts for about a week. Lantern competitions and decorations are the main attraction. Christmas, too, is celebrated with much vigor even the Christian population is thin in the city.
You can also catch the whiff of the local performing arts at the various musicals and theatrical performances. The Museums and art collections detail the history of Sri Lanka.
Dining:You can get a full meal of rice and vegetables in a lunch packet about anywhere in the city. You can get a taste of local Sri Lankan cuisine in cafés, hotels, and restaurants. If you are cricket lover you should visit the Cricket Club café. Get a taste of the local drinks such as Thembili- orange coconut juice.
Things to Keep in Mind: there are few things that have to be laid emphasis on if you want to be safe and want to stay out of trouble.
1. Though it is not a dangerous place, but like any other place you have to be vigilant- especially of the scammers and tricksters. Be on guard and refrain from taking directions from anyone suspicious. Carry a map, just to be sure.
2. Public displays of affection are not culturally acceptable in Sri Lanka, so out of respect for the country refrain from it.
3. Don’t take photographs of sensitive locations. Read your surroundings and act accordingly. Also, don’t turn your back to the statue of Buddha, if you are within the considerable distance. You can take the picture of the statue but you should be facing it.
4. Public nudity is considered illegal there, so drop the ideas of topless sunbathing or skinny dipping, except for a few private beaches or resorts that allow it.