Busy. Chaotic. Humid. Three reasons why many tourists use Colombo only as a pit stop before they head to others parts of Sri Lanka, the sun-kissed island with pristine beaches, and endless tea gardens. Early mornings are when Colombo is at her calmest self with pleasant weather. If you happen to be in Colombo, I recommend you to start your day early as it turns into a scorcher during the day.
For a perfect morning in Colombo:
- Watch the sunrise at Galle Face Green
- Walk to Pettah Market to catch a glimpse of the local life in Sri Lanka
- Eat Breakfast the local way
- Visit Diyatha Uyana Park
Sunrise at Galle Face Green
Wake up early and head to Galle Face Green. Remember, in Colombo, an easy-breezy outfit is a key. Carry a water bottle along with you as you would need to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Situated in the heart of Colombo, Galle Face Green is Colombo’s most popular public park with no entrance fee and has a mesmerizing view of the Indian Ocean. While evenings are when families gather to Galle Face, I prefer going for a walk in the morning to see a majestic sunrise. You would only come across a few middle-aged uncles, and aunties going for a morning jog.
Local’s Tip: Walk to the ramparts for some ‘me’ time away from the crowds in a bustling city.
Pettah is the oh-so-happening corner of Colombo. It’s the city’s most popular market, and the streets are bustled with makeshift stalls, porters, tuk-tuks (trishaws), and people of all kind. Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, popularly known as the Red Mosque, is Pettah’s most iconic landmark. The impeccable design with contrastive colors of red, and white makes it a picture-worthy spot. Roam around freely to get yourself a good idea about the middle-class life in Colombo.
Local’s Tip: At every junction, you would see a few fruit vendors. Have yourself a Thambili (king coconut). King coconuts are orange in color, and native to Sri Lanka. Sweeter than regular coconuts, it is packed with many health benefits. It is also the perfect drink to beat Colombo’s heat.
While many travelers tend to follow all the glossy magazine recommendations, it’s the little places that make Colombo unique. Board the bus (no. 171) from Pettah to Battaramulla and get off the bus at Passport Office Bus Stop. Inside the Ministry of Agriculture premises, you would find a “Hela Bojun Hala.” All workers are women here, and it is my favorite place in Colombo to try the authentic Sri Lankan food. The place is well-known for their healthy, vegetarian food such as Kiribath (milk rice), Indiaappa (string hoppers), and Aappa (hoppers). They also have Sri Lankan pancakes, and Levariya. For about $1, one can have a filling breakfast including a glass of fruit juice.
Local’s Tip: Try their soursop juice and Indiaappa with Kirihodi, and Pol Sambol.
Diyatha Uyana Park
It is another popular public park in Colombo bordering Diyawanna Oya. They also have a few food joints. A boat ride here is a scenic experience before the midday sun. Most visitors come here for the flower market haul which happens during the weekend. I prefer walking along the park or sitting by the lake with a good book.
Local’s Tip: Have a cup of ginger tea with Wandu Appa.
By: Zinara of NatnZin