Colombo: A Quick Travel Guide to an Urban Jungle in Sri Lanka
Greetings and welcome to Sri Lanka. The commercial capital of the paradise island is Colombo. If you are in the city for a short stay or a long vacation, in and around Colombo is a must. A holiday in Sri Lanka is incomplete without a tour amongst the skyscrapers, the sights of colonial architecture, the blend of a cultural diversity and many more. I’ll be taking you through the best places in Colombo – top things to do, recommended eateries, sights and landmarks, whilst sharing tips and tricks to get through this concrete jungle.
Travel in ColomboBefore anything, sorting your travel arrangements is important! Tuk-tuks and public transport are the best way to travel around the city. Whilst they are not the most convenient, they offer a real Sri Lankan experience.
Tuk-TuksTuk-tuks are just a hailing hand away and you can always stop a tuk-tuk on the road. It’s highly advisable to get a tuk-tuk with a meter so that the driver won’t hike up the rate at the drop location. When in Colombo, for safer travels and tracking, PickMe is a great travel companion. Install the app for free and you can go around the city without a hassle for economical rates. (This is similar to Grab (Malaysia) and Uber (USA)).
BusesBuses are the common means of getting around and the cheapest. However, caution in advance, if you want to be at a place at 10.00 am, leave at least an hour or so early because time is one thing Sri Lankans don’t do on time. Not only that, the buses are often crowded so getting hold of a bus in the first place is a challenge. But, when you start the journey you’ll enjoy the experience from the old folks in political chats, loud Sri Lankan music, food and toy vendors, and also the ridiculously decorated interiors from Buddha statues, multi- colour LED lights to TVs.
TrainsA great way to travel across the country, unless for the experience, trains aren’t really useful to get around in the city. However, for the real train ride, visit one of the famous railway platforms in Colombo for a scenic delight – cross rivers, enjoy the sunsets, the beach and the urban sprawl. So, for your next holiday in Sri Lanka, don’t forget to jump on the train to see a quick glance through the city.
Best Places to Stay in ColomboWhen in Colombo, there are plenty of places for accommodation, with boutique hotels, and B&B hostels springing up like mushrooms. If you are a solo traveler, a backpacker or travelling with friends and family, here are the top 3 places to stay:
- Moss B&B: Secluded in the heart of Colombo, you’ll never find it if you never look for it. Decorated with minimalistic interiors, the cacti spread, and cement floors will grab your attention first. The rooms are spacious, air-conditioned with hot water showers, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Request in advance for breakfast and they’ll prepare a superb meal to start your day.
- Drift B&B: A similar concept to Mosh Colombo, again it’s a difficult place to spot until you really discover it. The psychedelic paintings, cacti pots of all colours and sizes and the old service lift are something you’ll never miss at first sight. Just in case you are travelling with a bunch of friends, there are hostel rooms and bunk beds to share.
- Black Cat: An old mansion turned a café and a B&B hostel; it is run by a couple. The ambience is to die for – old Singer sewing machines as tables, vintage books, a well-thought out menu – not too much with numerous options, but healthy.