Day 1: Bandaranaike International Airport is the only International airport of Srilanka, situated approximately 30 kms (kilometers) north of Colombo city. The fastest and easiest way of getting to Colombo from airport is via express way and there are regular buses operating between airport and the city during day time. Since you arrive at Colombo, you can spend the day (or half) exploring the city. You can possibly visit Seema Malakaya temple, Gangaramaya Temple and Viharamahadevi Park in central Colombo during the daylight hours. At the evening you can go gaze at the sunset over Galle Face Green which becomes vibrant with the local crowd after sundown. Also try some of the local delicacies in one of the many street food stalls lined up there. Later to chill out with some beer and music, there is this nice cozy bar, Taproom by RnR located in old dutch hospital complex.Try to stay in central Colombo as all these places are situated around there and can be covered by 10-15 mins walk from Galle Face Green. There are quite a few budget accommodations in central Colombo. We stayed in Back Pack Lanka which offers nice and comfortable dorm stay and is located at about 15 mins walking distance from Galle Face Green.
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
The Gangaramaya Temple was my first stop and lacked any and all instructions and you are also forced to pay donation for keeping your shoes without any prior intimation. There is nothing written in English anywhere so there is no way you can know any history or why what is placed where. I was even yelled at by a local man for taking a picture while there were no signs of 'pictures not allowed'. The Buddhas everywhere were a beautiful sight inspite of the rains but I had no clue what I was looking at. And then there was a room filled with glass cupboards and many things inside them kept shabbily... even a shelf full of watches.. and sunglasses. Again.. dirty, dusty and unexplained.
Independence Square - We then went to Independence Square which is huge place with pillars and exactly opposite this is Independence Arcade with shopping mall inside. The heritage like feeling and high end stores in the mall made the place look very different and endearing.
Galle Face Hotel
We adored this hotel. Absolutely loved it. It was recommended by my old boss and he was chuffed when we came home and told him just how much we enjoyed staying there. He says that based on our description, it really hasn't changed much since he stayed there a few decades ago. Old world charm at its best. The room was amazing, and absolutely huge both times even though we had a suite one time and a normal superiour room the other time. Actually the second room, the superiour one might even have been bigger. It was larger than our entire flat in Nice! The Galle Face Hotel is where the term "sunsetting" was invented. You go to the Veranda bar, look over the sea at the sun setting and have a nice cocktail. So relaxing, so serene. We did it every night and recommend doing it even if you aren't staying there, you don't have to be guest. Funnily enough, the reason we were in Sri Lanka was for a wedding and the first night we were in the Galle Face we bumped into the bride and groom by utter chance!
Cinnamon Grand Colombo
THE LONDON GRILL:As we say, the best is left for the last, so here it is. The next food stop was The London Grill in Hotel Cinnamon Grand. This fine dining restaurant so far has been my best in terms of ambience and decor, very classy and traditional. The walls are so exquisitely done up in an old London fashion and the elegance of the restaurant just overflows from each and every corner of it. Once you are seated, they hand you a classic looking big black leather diary which leaves you utterly confusedas once you open it, you are lost in the world of food and drinks. London Grill serves almost all the best whiskeys to scotch and wines to cocktails. The live salads that they make for you and the extra buttery bread that The Grill serves just makes you sit and wait for your next order. And their food is immensely too delicious and inviting. It completely deports you London in every possible way. If you are in Colombo, this has to be on your list.
Pettah Market - After breakfast we started walking down to Pettah Market. Flower Garden Road – Bags / Shoes. 1st Cross Street – Electrical / Electronic / Phones / Lights. Prince Street – Plastic Items, Dutch Museum (Dutch palace turned into a museum). 2nd Cross Street – Phones / Textile. Keyzar Street – Textile / Sarees. Main Street – Mostly Textile
House of Fashion
House Of Fashion - Our driver Mr. Gamini took us to the fashion store in Colombo. This place is very famous among locals. The entrance of the mall is very tricky. You have to walk through a very small cafe that leads to a small door and after you are in its a huge shopping mall.