Colombo is a city of paradox, where elegant shopping malls settle side by side with tiny local kades, where the air is either hot, glutinous and flavoured with spices or – when the wind blows – fresh and fragrant with the salty sea breeze. It is a place that teems with chaos but where tranquility can be found on the broad tree-lined streets of Cinnamon Gardens, on the Galle Face Green facing out to the Indian Ocean, or in the many serene temples, both Hindu and Buddhist, that hide shyly down quiet streets. It is a city where modern design is contrasted with ancient architecture, and where the avant-garde almost always comes served with a slice of history. And when it comes to history, Colombo has it all, with a scattering of beautifully restored buildings and crumbling ruins that lay as testament to its colorful past. In the weeks that lead up to Vesak festival, Colombo is truly at its most beautiful. The entire city sparkles with colour and watching the twinkling Vesak lanterns swing in the moonlight breeze over the dark waters of Beira Lake is an experience you’ll never forget.
Have lunch at the renowned Gallery Café, a stylish bungalow in the heart of the city that has being serving up a decadent range of well-acclaimed food for over a decade. In the evening, take a long stroll along the Galle Face green to watch children flying kites and lovers taking leisurely strolls alongside the Indian Ocean, before settling down to sip on a cocktail at sunset at the Galle Face Hotel. From there skip dinner and head straight into the heart of the lantern display at Beria Lake and the Gangaramaya Temple where you will be offered food as part of the festivities.
Take some time to visit some of Colombo’s many fascinating markets: the plant sales, the organic ‘good market’, or – if you can handle it – the chaotic Pettah markets. Finish up the day with a walk around the Fort area with a historian before tucking into a crab curry in the unique setting of a restored 16th century Dutch hospital at Ministry of Crab.
Spend the morning gliding through Colombo’s newly renovated bike paths and parks on a Segway tour of the city. Finish up the day by shopping for hand loomed fabrics in Barefoot and try a smoothie or Ceylon tea in the shady courtyard café.
How to book?
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– Have you booked your flights?
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– What are your nationalities and ages?
– Is this a honeymoon or a special occasion?
– Do you have a budget for your holiday?
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