The commercial capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo is a busy and fast developing city with modern structures and technology as well as hidden charms of a Colonial past, colorful and easy going lifestyle.
Just 31 km from the Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo hosts star class hotels and restaurants as well as budget lodgings for the discerning traveler. English is widely spoken around the city. And while recognized money changes are found in Fort, reputed international bank branches and ATMs are found dotted around Colombo.
Places of interest include Viharamahadevi Park in the center of the city for a stroll in the evening with family, the Colombo National Museum in Colombo 7 (open 9.30 am to 6.30 pm) and the Galle Face Green by the Indian Ocean. There are many quality garment shops around Colombo to stop by and pick your clothing of interest, just ask your tour organizer or hotel: you would be amazed at the high quality and the very affordable price! And as for buying crafts, do stop by Lakmedura, Laksala, Lakpahana, Barefoot and for checking out jewelery, Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Exchange at the World Trade Center in Colombo 1.
And during your stay in Colombo would you be seeking entertainment? The dancing at one of the reputed night clubs, a movie at the cinema, a walk on the Galle Face Green, luncheon at one of the many stylish boutique styled cafés spotted around Colombo or dine and shop at the recently renovated Dutch Hospital food and shopping arena – a chic place to hang out! If you need to taste the locale cuisine, several leading hotels offer Sri Lankan flavours. But if you fancy Japanese, Continental, Mongolian or even a hearty British meal, there are many restaurants in Colombo to indulge yourself at.
In the mood to explore rich mix of religions visiting places of attraction? Ask your tour organizer to take you to Gangaramaya Temple, the Wolvendaal Church or the Sri Kailawasanathar Swami Devasthanam Hindu Temple. Note: these locations are well spaced out, if you take a taxi or three wheeler, it is best you select your place of interest prior to visiting.
Three wheelers or ‘tuk tuks’ are easily available for hire, but keep in mind to flag those with the words ‘metered taxi’. And it is from the Fort bus station or railway station that you can hop on your ride to the out-of-town destination of your choice. If you prefer a private mode of travel, you are spoilt for choice with many a travel and tour operator based in Colombo.