Colombo is an organized chaos. It’s the largest and the capital city of the island country, Sri Lanka. The best way to get around it is by tuktuk – if you don’t mind the heat and the dust. If you do, hiring an Uber is cheap so, your $10 can really go a looooong way there.
These are some of the places where I left my footprints in Colombo.
Sri Lanka: Top 9 Things to do and see in Colombo
1. Wander off at the National Museum
Large and sublime, the 19th-century building of National Museum holds the past of Sri Lanka from as far as 1877 to the colonial era and beyond. My favorites in this place were the room 5, which contains the throne of King Wimaladharmasuriya II, and room 2, which has the Bodhisattva Sandals made of bronze. There’s a nice café in the museum also.
Related: 8 Days in Sri Lanka Travel Itinerary
2. Take a respite at the Dutch Hospital
Built in the 1600s, a hospital in the past and a busy shopping precinct in the present, the Dutch Hospital houses some of the most premium cafes that are located in the vibrant complex of the Fort. Taking a pause and having a cold drink here made me feel as if I was in some Buddhist monetary in a Hollywood movie.
3. Go inside the candy-striped Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque
Adorning the center of Pettah, the Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque’s red and white bricks would make you think as if it is made of candy. I did have a chance of peeking inside, but that was before the Friday prayers were to be held. For a historical background, it was built in 1909.
4. Shop at Peetah
Peetah is a huge market of everything – name it and you’ll have it. It is a very crowded place so watch out for your belongings. Wandering around and blending in with the crowd feels like you’re in a different world.
5. Visit the Independence Memorial Museum Park
The Independence Memorial was created as a token of independence by the elected government of Sri Lanka after the British had to leave. It is a nice and spacious architectural complex with a museum in the basement which has display boards, and busts that depict the struggle of the Sri Lankan independence and the political figures involved in it.
6. Contemplate at Asokaramaya Buddhist and Hindu Temple
This temple houses both the Buddha statues and paintings on the inner walls, roof and the passageway of the main temple, and also the Hindu gods in the Outer Shrine that the Buddhists worship, although they are slightly different than what I saw in India. Odd for a temple, there’s a museum here that has the odd dedication of the worshipers in the form of old typewriters, cameras and other rare Buddha statues.
7. Meditate at Seema Malaka Buddhist Temple
A replacement structure constructed in the place of the temple of similar name which sank to the bottom of the Beira Lake, the Seema Malaka Buddhist temple is more of a meditation place than a temple. It has loads of statues in all the three sections and I was quite intrigued by the gilded dedications. Besides the statues, the intricately designed wood carvings where the statues are seated, the serene Bodhi Tree, and the Emerald Buddha gifted by the people of Thailand.
8. Admire the Colourful Trucks of Sri Lanka
Treading along the old markets of Colombo, I was lucky enough to spot one of the bizarre yet colorful trucks of the world. The colors were vivid enough to pierce my eyes yet beautiful enough to make me blurt out “wow”.
9. Eat rice and curry with your hands
Just for a dollar or two, you can have this delectable curry without any shame. It’s not your regular Indian curry. Sri Lankan curry is different and its more delicious than the Indian one. 😀 The best thing about this is that it has 4 to 5 different curries covering the rice completely.
Pro tip: Eat it with your hands and see how it satiates your love for foreign cuisines.
Colombo is ever expanding and ever-evolving. I could see how the content of new has increased over the year in the mixture of old-new Colombo. The above-mentioned attractions and things to do are going to take you by surprise and rejuvenate the very soul that you have.
WHERE TO STAY IN COLOMBO
I stayed at Mahazen by Foozoo Guesthouse. As soon as I entered its door, I was welcomed with open arms and it felt home. And the best thing about the place is the hospitality showed by staff. My room was clean and spacious. They have a small garden at the back of the house and has a pond with koi fish at the entrance. Its clean and lovely.