Colombo is the buzzing capital city of Sri Lanka. With a population of around 5.6 million it’s no shock that the roads are congested and Rickshaws (aka Tuk Tuks) are the main source of transport for locals and tourists alike. If you are like my partner and I, the first thing you want to do is escape the busy capital cities and explore the quieter hinterland and beach towns. I urge you to stay in Colombo at least one full day and explore the many sites it has to offer. Below is a short list of must do’s while in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple
Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most iconic temples in Colombo. It is made up of many different buildings, all completely different from the other. Aside from being a popular tourist site, this Temple is used by the local people as a museum, Buddhist education facility and a place of worship. It is open from 8am to 8pm so it makes a great ‘fill in’ if you haven’t completely filled your entire day. This Temple is famous for the elephant that lives inside, we didn’t get to see him as we arrived quite late but I heard it is quite the site to see.
To get there ask your Tuk Tuk driver to take you to the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple (61 Sri Jinarathana Rd, Colombo) and he will know the way, do not pay more than a few dollars for this trip if you are staying in the city centre. Entry costs around 100 LKR and you must take off your shoes to before entering. The man at the door has a little box for you to leave you shoes while you explore the temple. I didn’t take a picture of the Giant Buddha inside the main hall as it is a place of worship and considered disrespectful, instead I took some of the smaller ones outside to show you.
Shop at Barefoot
If you want authentic, good quality Sri Lankan garments and gifts this is the place to go. All of the products in Barefoot are specifically made by local arts and craftsmen in their homes, no factory workers or production lines here. When you enter Barefoot you will see the love and care that goes into every single product. They sell just about everything, from the vivid textiles that are draped throughout this shop to the smaller hand carved objects, this is the perfect place to pick up souvenirs to decorate your house or a gift to bring back to a loved one.
In the calm waters of Beira Lake, the modern Seema Malaka sits elegantly connected to land only by a small wooden bridge. This Temple was something else, it was different others I have seen before and I would easily dub it my favourite Temple in Sri Lanka. If you plan on visiting the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple I suggest taking a short walk down the street and visiting the Seema Malaka Temple as well, it is well worth the stroll.
City Tour in a Tuk Tuk
Wave down a Tuk Tuk and ask him for ‘City Tour’. This shouldn’t cost too much, make sure you negotiate before jumping in. There is plenty to see, make a list and get on your way. Some places to start are the Dutch Hospital, Parliament of Sri Lanka, Independence Memorial Museum and square.
Let me know what you think of this post 🙂 Have you been to Colombo or are you planning on visiting?