Activities to mix & match for a DIY Colombo trip



If you ever find yourself in Sri Lanka's capital without any itinerary, then read on.

Here are some ideas to pick and tick for a fun Colombo experience.

ATTEND A YOGA SESSION

Cozy rustic vibe welcomes you to Prana Lounge

Since South Asia is the birthplace of yoga, I didn't waste time to experience a session in Prana Lounge. They have special classes every hour; a walk-in sesh would cost 1,000 LKR plus mat rental of 150 LKR. Since I was late for Vinyasa, I took the Hatha class-- and boy was I mesmerized!

Hatha is a slow yoga practice focused on breathing and postures. It was the best way to cool down and set myself into vacation mode.

Can't resist a selfie on their giant mirror

TEA PARTIES

As the country is known for its world-class teas, it would be a waste not to try the best brews out there and have a legit tea party. Visit Tea Avenue or Dilmah T-Lounge and sip on the flavor that tickles your fancy the most.

Say a flavor you can think of. It's prolly here.

HOP ON A TRAIN

I have watched enough Bollywood films to be both scared and excited for a train ride in this part of the continent. Open air wagons, people from all walks of life, and the charming railside views will make you forget your crowded state. If you just want a quick train ride, take the route along Galle Road, get down after 5-6 stations, and then hop in on a train back to the main Colombo station.

Pick a train that passes by Galle for the amazing sea view

DEHIWALA ZOO

They're too close!

If time is tight but you badly want to see Sri Lanka’s wildlife, then Dehiwala National Zoo is your best bet. The rich flora makes walking a breeze. Meanwhile, it’s jam-packed with fauna which was fun at first but when watched closely, some enclosures are too tiny for the animals. Foreigners are also charged higher (like everywhere else in SL) for the same experience at 15 USD compared to 1 USD for locals. Quite unfair.

Seriously, too close!

CHURCH & TEMPLE VISITS

The calming smell of incense and the soft sounds inside the Gangaramaya temple always stir the sleeping spirituality in me. For that, I make sure to schedule a visit every time I’m in Colombo.

Not everyone, even locals, are allowed inside this sacred space and given this special blessing. Honored.

Catholics (as I am) may also hear Mass at St. Mary’s Church. I grabbed this chance, too, since there are no Catholic churches in Maldives where I’m currently based.

Showing some love to the temple's resident good boy

BOOZE NIGHT(SSS)!

Open mic and semi-street party at Dutch Hospital

Another thing that we don’t have easy access in Maldives is booze! That’s why you’d see me with a drink at hand most nights in SL.

Go to Rhythms & Blues for a club vibe and some dancing. Fairway Colombo in Dutch Hospital has an open mic night and street party every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. That was really fun! But my fave is The Station where you can enjoy a chill night by the sea, looking at the stars. You need to cross a railway by foot to get there which adds to the excitement. Galle Face Hotel offers the same beach-side ambiance but at $$$ price.

This galaxy concept by Rhythm & Blues made me expect a Jedi to come and do shots.

Shoes off while drinking? You bet!

GET INKED

Now, by all means, this is optional as the rest of the activities on this list so don't blame me for tattoo regrets (haha!).

I was on a crossroads the first time I was in SL so I decided to get inked to mark a transformation. Drama! Haha. But should you find yourself in the same situation, I highly recommend Adam & Ink. Adam is a known pro. A lot of people told me to just go to tattoo parlors in MC but I wanted a reliable face. Follow Adam on IG! His craft is just inspiring.

Adam the first man... to ink me. 😄

RETAIL THERAPY

Sri Lanka is source of affordable and beautiful fabrics I have seen. The Outlet Store at Colombo 04 is always on sale so I go there for some hefty shopping. Another fave, Beverly Street with 2 outlets at Rajagiriya and Mawatha, also have promotions from time to time. For high end pieces, check out PR Concept Store.

There seemed to be a jewelry store in every corner of Colombo. I haven’t had time (or interest) to visit those but I purchased several earrings and a ring set online from @pearslexclusives. The designs are so me!

Colombo haul!


PEOPLE-WATCH AT GALLE FACE & INDEPENDENCE AVE

Crowd watching is therapeutic. No phones, no conversations, just a quiet hour observing how the environment changes within a short period and watching people go by their day. I found sweet spots at Galle Face Green by the parking area, and on the stairs of the Independence Memorial Museum. Go on evenings!

Just letting time pass by...

I hope I don't look too weird looking at 'em.

CATCH A LIBERTY FLICK

For just 750 LKR, you can enjoy the latest movie at Liberty’s newly-renovated cinemas. The plush seats auto-adjust to your position and you can buy tix online. Make sure to book for Liberty Screen 2 since it’s a smaller theater. You’ll get a more exclusive vibe for the same price.

Six eyes! Am I doing this right?

FOOD TRIP!!

Yes, I know you’ve been waiting for this. Hold on to your seats as this is gonna be a pretty long list.

Various cuisines from all over the world converged in Colombo due to its British colony past, and the present-day influx of immigrants. From oriental to western fares, Colombo has them – while still maintaining its own taste.

My mornings start a little late so I can't give you the best breakfast place. Brunch at French Baguette was perfect, though. The breads were so filling and topped off with French macarons.


Brunch face

If you haven't decided what to eat for lunch, head to the food courts of Crescat, MC, or Excel.

For rush lunch, Colombo is abundant with fast food chains. The lasagna from Dominos caught me off guard with its localized curry-ized sauce. The gravy from KFC & Mcdonald's were also surprisingly reddish, spicy, and with a hint of local flavors. Burger King was at its usual flame-grilled goodness.

New-found appreciation for Domino's

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is conveniently available for a quick and familiar caffeine fix. Should you have more time to spare, Café on the 5th and Java are well-recommended by local friends.

Of course, I would have to add a special paragraph for my fave snack spot - Fresheez (formerly Juiceez). You can find here all the freshest fruits turned to however you like: juice, smoothie, salad, or as it is.

Healthy kid is happy kid

Now, for supper, I'm so elated that Colombo can accommodate to all types of cravings and themes. For Chinese nights, my go-to places are Chinese Dragon for rice meals and Shandong for soups. Nothing beats the experience in Ramen Misoya for that Japanese miso craving. When looking for grilled items, Fairway Colombo in Dutch Hospital has awesome wide range of offerings! Meanwhile, Bavarian Garden at Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is best for chill fusion dinners by the lake.

Arigatou Gozaimasu!

Seafood platter from Fairway

But obviously, a trip to SL wouldn't be complete without trying a traditional Lankan meal. Nelum Kolle got the most mentions among local acquaintances. Indeed, the vibe was uniquely Sri Lankan.

Upali's by Nawaloka offers traditional choices plus it's strategically located in downtown Colombo. This also means you need extra rupees to spend.

Anyway, you'll never go wrong with small-time eateries you see along the road. If there's a long queue, then that place is well-loved. Don't be scared to explore!

Mastering the art of eating by hand, the Lankan way!

Curry of my dreams


Kotthu, egg hoppers, and hot soup from Upali's

The natural rural beauty of Sri Lanka has captured my heart but that doesn't mean the big city doesn't have its own quirks. Enjoy Colombo!







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