Monday, 22 March 2021

7 top things to see and do in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo
View of the restaurant with Beira Lake in the background

1. Relax by Beira Lake

Thanks to its idyllic location on the shores of Beira Lake, Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo makes for a perfect city break. The romantic vibe is highlighted by the hotel’s floating restaurant, members-only The Library bar, and award-winning Balinese Azmaara spa with its extensive range of treatments from Balinese and Swedish massages to express head-and-foot treatments.

Geoffrey Bawa Colombo
The corridor at Geoffrey Bawa’s tour

2. Visit the home of Geoffrey Bawa

The prominent Sri Lankan architect’s house, where he lived between 1960 to 1970, is now open to the public for guided tours. The building, Number 11, is part of a row of four small houses which lay along a short cul-de-sac. It has all his signature touches including plentiful courtyards and verandas, and a stark white palette – definitely a treat for Instagrammers and those who appreciate fine architecture.

Ministry of Crab Colombo
Ministry of Crab serves specialty Sri Lankan dishes

3. Try sought-after local cuisine

Nobody dishes out Sri Lanka’s signature street dish kotthu (roti sliced and tossed up with onions, meat, spices and sometimes cheese) better than Hotel de Pilawoos, which attracts even the rich and famous despite its humble facade. Wash the moist, heavenly dish down with a glass of ice-milo or fresh juice. Or if you’re hankering for a hearty seafood meal, head to Ministry of Crab (above). An ode to the crustacean in all its forms, it dishes up everything from the Sri Lankan curry crab to garlic chilli crab. The restaurant also celebrate other seafood varieties from Sri Lanka; from king prawns found in the rivers running across the island to fresh clams and uysters from the lagoons. Reserve months ahead as it is very popular.

Dilmah Tea Colombo
Dilmah loose tea leaves

4. Pick up some of Sri Lanka’s biggest exports

Be sure to buy tea from Dilmah Tea Shop, the country’s biggest brand of locally produced tea. It has had a long history of staying true to its authenticity dating back to the late 1980s. The family tea business has grown into an international brand and can be found in more than 100 countries. It’s so well-known, it even has exclusive outlets in popular shopping malls such as Odel. While at Odel, don’t forget to shop for souvenirs from local brand Luv SL, including a range of T-shirts and trinkets.

Paradise Road Tintagel Colombo
The Paradise Road Tintagel building

5. Stay in an elegant colonial building

Some of the most attractive heritage buildings in Sri Lanka – which evoke the country’s colonial past – have become elegant hotels. These include Mount Lavinia Hotel, which has a history dating back over two centuries. Just a 30-minute drive from the city, it showcases some of the best colonial architecture of the region. Guest rooms are modestly laid out with wooden antique furniture. Then there’s also luxurious boutique hotel Paradise Road Tintagel, which is set in a mansion made regal with marble pillars, carved wooden banisters and chandeliers. Its 10 individually designed suites are furnished with sumptuous canopy beds and surprisingly contemporary bathrooms with mosaic accent walls and stone tubs.

Galle Face Green Colombo
Aerial view of Galle Face Green. Photo credit:

6. Mingle with the locals at popular gathering spots

Galle Face Green is easily the city’s most recognisable seaside promenade, and used by locals of all ages as a rendezvous spot. Walkers, joggers, couples and happy families jostle for space here, providing plenty of business for snack vendors. If you’d like something a little more upmarket, spend a couple of hours at the modern and leafy Arcade Independence Square. Apart from the food court, there are dozens of cafes and restaurants serving cuisines from all over Asia as well as boutiques and a cineplex.

Barefoot Ceylon Colombo
The sunset from the veranda at Barefoot Ceylon

7. Sip wine over jazz music

Relax with a glass of wine at Barefoot Ceylon Café, which has a laid-back, resort-like atmosphere with outdoor seating facing a garden. What started from humble origins serving lime juice and fish patties over 30 years ago, now boasts daily specials. This popular cafe also hosts occasional live jazz concerts. The space also houses a bookshop, boutique and art gallery.



SEE ALSO: The 6 best seafood restaurants in Colombo

This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings on 18 January 2018 and updated on 22 March 2021.

The post 7 top things to see and do in Colombo, Sri Lanka appeared first on SilverKris.

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