Colombo doesn’t have much of a skyline as it’s still in its development stage. You’ll see some high-rise hotels (less than 20 floors, mostly) and the rest of the city is relative flat. It’s quite easy to get around Colombo in a tuk tuk but be warned that the traffic can be a nightmare and peak hours. Another thing that was strange is the between the hours of 2pm and 5pm, 90% of the city restaurants and café’s won’t serve you any alcohol. Something about school being over at 2pm and since it’s after school times, no alcohol will be served.
Colombo as a city, there isn’t much to do other than SHOPPING! Seriously, clothes and house hold wares are cheap. Really cheap! Almost all the big brands out there, are made in Sri Lanka; and you can purchase them here for super cheap prices because there might be a tiny mistake from the original ‘plan’ hence it goes on sale in the local stores. I found Desigual skirts going for Rs. 2700.
Now the dyes used on fabrics at Barefoot don’t run when you wash, and the best part is that they are eco-friendly! Even if you don’t want to purchase anything, the shop is worth a visit as the smell and colours are just soothing. I love the fact that Barefoot is ethical in their production as well as being all green. Skilled craftsmen and woman working in small centres across the country make all their products. Of all the places in Colombo, I love Barefoot. You’ll have to experience it to understand what I mean.
Paradise Road on the other hand is a little different. They have hotels as well as a chain of retail outlets. You can check their website for more details regarding that. This retail outlet carries more ‘arty’ things compared to Barefoot. A lot more earthy colour palates and not all that vibrant yet very elegant and beautiful. I can spend hours in both these stores to be honest (yes I know what you’re thinking… ‘She’s a girl, that’s why’).
Spa Ceylon is a retail outlet you will see often around Sri Lanka. They sell amazing ayurvedic balms and spa essentials that I’m sure a lot of you women out there would go ga-ga over. Its amazing products so do have a look and check out their sleep balm (my favourite). For those who love things that have a Sri Lanka stamp on the front, head down to Odel. It’s the all ‘I love Sri Lanka’ store where wearing one of their t-shirts will instantly letting everyone know where you’ve been.
Now there are more places for you to see in Colombo and shop, and I’m not going to list everything down as to me, the 4 I’ve mentioned are worth the visit.
Food…Now I’ve explored a few places with Romain and I have to say the food is good at almost all the places we’ve been too, also with Jay and Rusty. The Italian down at Cinnamon Grand hotel is pretty good but the Sri Lankan food there is just delicious and the setting is really nice too, so if you fancy splashing out for a night, head over to the Cinnamon Grand Hotel as they have more than 10 restaurants to choose from.
Honestly, Colombo is just like any other city that is developing. So you’ll have abundant good restaurant, hotels and so on. But for sight seeing, you’ll have to get out of Colombo a little as there is not much to ‘see’ within the city. Shop, dine and head to the bars. Colombo is one city where you can relax and have a ball at the same time.
As for me, my last days in Colombo went at warp speed, spending it with friends and having beautiful home cooked meals (talk about being spoilt!). To my wonderful hosts, I thank you and to Colombo, I’ll see you again with a bigger empty suitcase!
Next up: City break, Sydney, Australia!!