The UK’s Independent newspaper is hot on the trail in Colombo, the latest of the world’s top media to highlight the fact that Sri Lanka is one of the hottest and fastest-growing holiday destinations.

It notes that “many travellers to Sri Lanka skip the capital and head straight for the coast or Hill Country – but they’re missing out on some incredible food, history and culture”.

It hails our capital city as “rapidly emerging as a destination in its own right”, and “no longer just the sprawling city you have to endure on your way to the beaches and tea country”.

Moreover, “it’s a cosmopolitan city that will get the adrenaline pumping from the minute you hop in a tuk-tuk or push through the crowds of people in the bazaars”.

The rapid growth in tourism, and a government now keenly focused on capitalizing on Sri Lanka’s new-found popularity, means that a boost in hotel construction offers more choice for travellers.

Meanwhile, the report features a city walk, starting at the historic Old Dutch Hospital, “a complex of teak beams and courtyards that dates back to the early 1600s but has been lavishly restored to house shops, cafés and restaurants”.

With a nod to the fact that Duran Duran’s ‘Hungry Like the Wolf’ music video was filmed here, we stroll past the 95ft-high Clock Tower and the old General Post Office, before our thoughts turn to lunch.

“For cheap, tasty eats, it’s hard to beat Colombo’s street food. Pick up a lunch packet (rice and curry packs sold from carts in the city for about 150 rupees (80p)) or hoppers, bowl-shaped pancakes served with seeni sambal (a spicy chilli dip).”

And for shoppers, “locals go to Pettah. Each street has its speciality (for example, 1st Cross Street for electrical items and 2nd Cross Street for jewellery). Don’t miss Federation of Self Employees Market which stretches along 5th Cross Street.”

After all that, of course, a quick reviver: “The west-facing seafront is the place to be come sunset. Treat yourself to a G&T at the Travellers’ Bar in Galle Face Hotel, with its comfy sofas and spectacular Indian Ocean sunset views.”

Read the full report here.


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