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Over the ages Colombo has attracted many travellers with its charm and character; being located on the east coast of Sri Lanka it has a very enviable position. In more recent years the tourists have tended to divert away from the capital, perhaps using it as a stopover after their long flight. But if you look a little deeper, Colombo has quite a bit to offer of its own…

 

This hot and bustling capital has everything from smart shops and persistent market vendors to local street-food stands and gourmet restaurants. The best and most authentic way to explore the city is by trishaw or tuk-tuk…if you dare! Winding their way seamlessly through the traffic, these three-wheelers are inexpensive, easy to hail and offer a great way to see parts of the city that you may have otherwise missed.  Whether you use them as a taxi-ride to get from one place to the next, or as a way of taking a sightseeing tour of the city, make sure you negotiate a price before you get in! 

 

Colombo is divided into various postal areas, numbered from 1 to15, which local people often refer to when giving addresses.  Whilst it would be difficult to visit all areas, it is definitely worth heading for Fort, also known as Colombo 1 and an old fortified harbour. Here remnants of old Dutch Colonial architecture can still be seen amongst the British constructions and the more modern buildings.  It is also here that you will also find the Lighthouse Clocktower and Jandhipanthi Mandiraya (the President’s official residence).   

 

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Cocktails At Mount Lavinia Hotel

 

 

Cocktails At Mount Lavinia Hotel

Although Colombo is on the coast, the nearest desirable beach is slightly south of the city at Mount Lavinia. Many locals stop here for a spot of sunbathing, swimming or a quick drink after their working day. But one of the best ways to experience everything from a great vantage point whilst sipping a cocktail, is at the old and famous Mount Lavinia Hotel – the swimming pool and terrace here offers wonderful views of the city in the distance and if you’re able to experience this at sunset, you won’t be disappointed!

Indulge In Kothu Roti

 

Indulge In Kothu Roti

Kothu Roti, also known as Kottu, is a traditional Sri Lankan snack, consisting of sliced up roti bread, onions, tomatoes, chillies and eggs; and served with your choice of chicken or beef. This is the number one street food in Sri Lanka and if you’re able to watch it being prepared in front of you, this is definitely a spectacle worth waiting for as each chef has a different way of chopping away and preparing the dish!

 
The Old Dutch Hospital

 

The Old Dutch Hospital

Considered to be one of the oldest buildings in the Fort area of Colombo, the Old Dutch Hospital dates back to Dutch colonial era in the early 1600s. It has now been beautifully restored and houses a great selection of restaurants and cafes – try the special of the day, often served with a free drink or dessert! There are also many small, bespoke shops for you to wander around which are filled with quality clothes and souvenirs.

 
The National Museum

 

 

The National Museum

Built in the late 1800s and containing regalia from the last Sinhalese king and other treasures, a visit to the National Museum is a great way to experience a bit of history and culture without venturing far out of the city or experiencing endless temples in the searing heat. As well as traditional Sri Lankan and Kandyan art there is also a great collection of Dance Masks, each representing 18 ailments, ranging from blindness to speech impediment.

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