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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
Headline for 7 fun things to do in Colombo - Exploring the secrets of a bustling city
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Joanna James Joanna James
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7 fun things to do in Colombo - Exploring the secrets of a bustling city

Colombo is Sri Lanka's commercial capital, and arguably the most fun city in the country. There is a lot to discover here, but these are the must-dos for any first-time traveller.

1

Walk through the streets of Pettah

Pettah is one of the oldest parts of Colombo that has retained most of its original character. The narrow streets, the carts, the busyness, all are quintessential part of the city. Walk through the streets of Pettah absorbing the colonial buildings that have seamlessly blended with the hustle of the modern man.

2

Admire the colonial architecture

As unexpected as the architecture of Pettah is, there are places where the colonial architecture is preserved in pristine condition. Take a map and explore these buildings. Alternatively, sign up for a tour – there are some conducted by Cinnamon Grand Colombo – that will take you to these places and explain the significance of the buildings.

3

Try the street food

One of the best things about Colombo is its food. Make a point to try some of the street food, especially the prawn based fried cake called isso wade and the ever-famous kottu. You should also try achcharau, which is based on fruits and spices.

4

Go for a fine dining experience

On the other spectrum from street food is fine dining, and the many 5 star hotels in Colombo are as good as many international restaurant. As much as you would enjoy the street food, make a point to visit a fine dining place. You can opt for a local meal if you want to make sure that you will have something different to what you may usually have.

5

Go to the beach

Colombo is a coastal town, after all, and has the luxury of a long stretch of beach. You can visit Galle Face, the place where most families end up in most evening to fly a kite or blow bubbles while watching the sunset. Alternatively, you can go to one of the lesser crowded beaches by travelling further south on the coast. Mt. Lavinia and Dehiwala are two good options if you want less crowd. You can even take a dip in the sea in most of the places. Don't forget to watch the train rattle by on the coastal line as you spend time on the beach.

6

Take a tuk-tuk ride

If you have been to Sri Lanka but have not experienced a tuk-tuk ride, your experience is incomplete. The most popular mode of transport in the city, a tuk-tuk is a three-wheeled taxi. Riding one is similar to riding a roller coaster, as it weaves in and out of the Colombo traffic. The vehicle does not come with seat belts, and is open to elements from both sides. Hold on for dear life, and enjoy a ride of a lifetime.

7

Go bar hopping

Colombo has a diverse bar scene that is well worth exploring. From high-end speakeasy bars to dodgy pubs that are located in the basement of dilapidated buildings, bar hopping in Colombo is an adventure that you must try.