Formerly known as “the garden city of the East”, Sri Lanka’s capital city, Colombo, has seen several transformations over the past two centuries. It transformed from lush garden city in the 19th Century to a busy, sprawling city in the 20th, where it was not a place in which to linger, merely a city tourists passed through on their way to the beautiful beaches in the south. Today, you will be rewarded on your trip to Colombo with delightful sights and experiences. Colombo is packed with incredible architecture, museums and galleries which promise to leave you dazed and delighted. Over the past century, the city has managed to preserve monuments from each era in a truly multicultural celebration of its heritage. It is this acceptance of the past and enthusiasm for the future which makes it the wonderful city it is today: Colombo’s colonial botanical roots are still evident in shady, peaceful boulevards. Stunning landmarks, which speak of another era, have been restored in recent years for tourists to admire. Shiny new complexes serve as a portent for the city’s upward trend, elevating it from a city to pass through, to one which cannot be missed.
|Flight||Airline Name||Price||Type||Trip Dates||Search Time|
|MAN to CMB flight||Qatar Airways||£569||Round-Trip||28 October to 31 January||11 May 08:14|
|TUN to CMB flight||Alitalia||£1705||Round-Trip||03 August to 19 September||12 June 12:12|
Direct Flights to Colombo will bring you to Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), about 18 miles south of the city itself.
Colombo is warm all year, with monsoon season between April and September, and humidity rising in November and December. Temperatures rarely drop, however, so if you don’t mind the occasional downpour, you can take a trip to Colombo at any time of year. For cheap flights to Colombo, plan to take your trip in May, at the beginning of monsoon season, but before the school holidays. At this time of year, you will be able to take advantage of good deals on hotels, sunny weather and fewer tourists.
Due to its varied past, Colombo is home to a host of beautiful temples and churches, which celebrate a range of religions. The Buddhist Gangaramaya temple is a bustling hub of worship. Built in the 19th Century, the temple is a stunning example of traditional architecture of its time, with a bit of Chinese and Thai influence thrown in for good measure. Today, it is half temple, half tourist attraction. Despite its stalls and vibrancy, you are sure to find peace in the temple complex, among the robe-clad monks and beautiful iconography. At night, the temple is beautifully illuminated, its quirky charm reflected in the Beira Lake. It is also worth going to Pettah to see the Wolvendaal Church, Sri Lanka’s oldest Protestant church, built in 1749 by Dutch colonists. Why not complete your whistle-stop tour of Sri Lanka’s varied religions with a trip to Jami-Ul-Alfar, with its striking red and white façade; a visit to one of the many kovils, built by the Hindus to appease the war gods; and St Lucia’s Cathedral, a Catholic creation whose design was inspired by St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican? For a fuller insight into the times and trials of Sri Lanka, visit the National Museum of Colombo, which was established in the late 19th Century, when Sri Lanka was a British Colony. After being greeted by a vast 1200-year-old Buddha, you will be able to explore the ancient and modern history of Sri Lanka, including the magnificent throne made in 1693 for King Wimaladharma, and a rare and priceless collection of palm-leaf manuscripts. The Dutch Period Museum was originally built for the Dutch Governor in the 17th Century. In the ensuing 400 years, it has taken on several guises, from seminary to police station, but in 1977 the building was restored and today tells the story of the Dutch’s arrival to Sri Lanka in the 1600s. There is so much cultural variety and history in Colombo that it is virtually impossible to take it all in. For a greater insight into the architectural and cultural influences that has helped to shape this beautiful city, take a walking tour, where a guide will point out to you the many modern and contemporary delights that the city has got to offer.
As with many Eastern countries, the shopping in Colombo is about more than buying stuff; it is an experience. Not for the faint-hearted, Pettah is a bustling suburb of Colombo, which offers a delightful, colourful cacophony of sights and sounds. Here, you can buy anything from exquisite fabrics, to food and electronics. You can feast your eyes on a dazzling array of saris, and even get a suit, made to measure, in a couple of hours. Be ready to haggle and brace yourself against the delightful chaos, of which Pettah’s inhabitants are so proud. For a bit of shopping without a conscience, make your way to Colony 7 on a Sunday morning when, aside from row upon row of boutiques, you will find the kala pola (art market). Here, you can buy pieces created by local artists; a fantastic memento of your trip to Sri Lanka. Alternatively, take a trip to Good Market, at Water’s Edge Park, held every Thursday from 12 noon – 20.00 pm, where you can shop for fair trade toys, food and craft, safe in the knowledge that your purchases are making a difference.
Colombo’s food, like its architecture and religion, sources its flavours from a range of cultures. As the port city between India and Southeast Asia, Colombo’s cuisine is a delightful mix of Indian, Chinese and Thai flavours. Seafood is plentiful, fresh and delicious, cooked in an intoxicating mix of spices and coconut milk. As one might expect, street food vendors are prolific, and a great way of sampling as many traditional dishes as possible! One must-have dish is the kottu roti, a dish of stir-fried meats, vegetables, egg and slices of roti which are chopped on a hot plate. Locals tend to enjoy a kottu roti after a night out, but once you have tasted the dish, you may well want it for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Wash it down with a delicious flavoured Ceylon tea, the delicate brew for which Colombo is famous. If you are planning your dream trip, let Travangelo help you to find cheap flights to Colombo