48 hours in Colombo: things to do and see in Sri Lanka’s bustling cosmopolitan capital city


They love a bit of blarney in Ireland, but they know what they’re talking about when it comes to having a good time—and this time it’s Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka.

The website Xposé.ie carries a piece by Press Association feature writer Hannah Stephenson which lauds Colombo as being much more than just the urban gateway to Sri Lanka.

She writes: “Visitors to Sri Lanka are often in such a rush to head for beaches, whale-watching tours, tea plantations and elephant safaris, that they don’t stop for a second glance at its commercial capital Colombo. Big mistake.”


“While at first sight, it may seem like a sprawl of a city, with its honking tuk-tuks, corporate skyscrapers and a massive ongoing oceanfront development billed as the next ‘mini Dubai’, Colombo is also a haven for history-lovers and culture vultures.”

“Glitzy new hotels rub shoulders with old colonial architecture, frenetic street markets give a snapshot of the life of old-style trading, while calming Buddhist temples allow a respite of reflection, in this city split into 15 postcode areas to identify specific districts.”

And when it comes to food, she notes the amazing variety that ranges from tasty street-food snack to the best of our peerless seafood served by our renowned Ministry of Crab.


For accommodation, she was torn between the Shangri-La, our latest ultra-luxurious newcomer, and the wonderful old Grand Oriental, redolent with colonial charm and style.

For a morning stroll you can “blow away the cobwebs from the 10½ hour flight with a walk on Galle Face Green, a 500m stretch of lawn separating the Indian Ocean from the financial district”.

And in the evening visit the historic Fort area, where “amazing architecture includes the red-brick Cargills, the country’s first department store built in 1844 – now, sadly, home to a smattering of fast food outlets – and the imposing Red Mosque (Jami Ul-Alfar Masjid), its tall minarets in swirling red and white patterns”.

Read more here.

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