Hello Sri Lanka, we’re here! We are so excited to be in a new country after 3 weeks in India. We loved our experiences there, but it is not for the faint of heart and we were ready for a change. The flight to Colombo was delayed and filled with a bunch of rowdy Indians, but I slept through it all to wake up in warm, wonderful Sri Lanka.
Whenever I think of Sri Lanka, M.I.A.’s Sunshowers pops into my head:
I bongo with my lingo and beat it like a wing yo
To congo to Colombo can’t stereotype my thing yo
The sun showers that fall on my troublesSunshowers – M.I.A.
Are over you my baby
And some showers I’ll be aiming at you
‘Cause I’m watching you my baby
Compared to India Colombo is a pretty clean city and there are actually sidewalks to walk on, so it was really refreshing. The city seems to be on a growth spurt – there was construction happening everywhere.
> PRO TIP <
The first thing to do wherever you are in Sri Lanka is to go to the train station and buy tickets. Buy ALL your tickets for every leg of your trip. You can only buy train tickets in cash and in person. There are a million ticket counters and each sells a specific line and class, but pop into the information office and ask where you need to go. Easy peasy. The tickets are really cheap, so if you later can’t use them, it’s not a huge loss. The reason we suggest this is that we learned from our host in Kandy that there is a black market for some of the train routes. Basically on the first day it is released, they’re sold out and scalped for multiples of its price. Weird because we were able to buy our tickets in Colombo!
We spent our afternoon walking around the clock tower, popping into a few shops. We waited out our dinner reservations at t-Lounge by Dilmah (★). Really cozy and colorful and they make a delicious Matcha Green t-Smoothie. Boo for WiFi was not working when we were there though
I really wanted to love Ministry of Crab, which came recommended by guide books and friends. It’s got a trendy vibe to it and I’m a sucker for beautifully branded products, but their food was a letdown. For the prices they charge, everything should be perfect, but the shrimp was overcooked in the Clay Pot Prawn Curry, the Kade Bread is nothing special, and the olive oil used in their Garlic Chili Crab tastes off – perhaps the result of being cooked past its smoking point. Perhaps the Sri Lankan crab is better served with milder flavors, but it was also hard to tell whether the crab meat was actually good! But, it is still a really fun experience taking your time eating dinner, cracking the shell and picking out the succulent crab meat, and enjoying the ambiance.
A lot of luxury hotels are being built in Colombo, but we loved Cinnamon Red Colombo (★★) and would be happy to stay again. They have excellent customer service. Their breakfast buffet is huge and extensive, including freshly made hoppers (crunchy thin bowl-shaped crepes with a runny sunny egg). Their fun rooftop bar also makes a delicious coco colada out of fresh pineapple juice.
A lot of people will tell you to get out of Colombo as fast as possible when you arrive but we think it’s definitely worth staying one night.