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Sri Lanka trip for all travelers begins in Colombo. This is the largest city in the country with the only international airport on the entire island. Tourists travel from here south to the ocean or to the center of the island to watch the mountains and other natural wonders. Nevertheless, it is worth spending at least a few days in the capital of Sri Lanka, because doesn't look like other typical capitals around the world.
This is not just the main airport of the capital of Sri Lanka, butthe only international airport on the entire island. It is located 35 km from the capital and is currently able to cope with 7 million passengers a year. As Sri Lanka began to develop comprehensively only in recent decades, it is not worth waiting for something supernatural from the local airport. And moreover, there is no reason to linger here.
Interesting fact: Bandaranaike Airport sells household appliances without fees. Since there are generally huge taxes on any equipment in Sri Lanka, the locals came up with such an interesting way to shop cheaper. But the flow of locals to the airport for purchases became so large that the service company began to take money for entry. So now you can leave the airport for free, and enter the arrivals area only for money.
Bus number 187 leaves the airport every 15-30 minutes. You can find it at the exit from the arrivals area. The trip will cost 70 cents, and it can take up to an hour if you have to stand in traffic jams along the way. And by bus number 240 you can get to Colombo train station in just 30 cents.
There are a lot of interesting activities in Colombo, but many people see only the point of arrival and departure in this city. Too bad of course. After all, Colombo is not just a noisy capital. This city has its own rich colonial heritage, the best restaurants in the country, incredible architecture. All this can be easily found if you know where to look.
Cricket for Sri Lanka is the same as baseball for Americans or soccer for Spaniards. The players have a bat and a ball, a lot of people are on the field at the same time. You will have to watch cricket a couple of time to understand what is happening. But even if you don’t know anything about cricket, you need to visit at least one game in Colombo. This game has long been part of the cultural code of the Sri Lankans.
The first thing that attracts the Colombo National Museum is the white mansion in which it is located. But outward beauty is only the beginning. Once inside, two floors of the exhibition will be available for you. The museum boasts hundreds of artifacts that reflect the country's transition in time from the beginning of the existence of civilization in this place to Sri Lanka today.
Cinnamon Gardens is considered as the most beautiful area of Colombo. It is worth spending time. Cinnamon plantations grew in this area during the colonial period. Now there are embassies, luxurious houses, a couple of galleries and museums. Start at Independence Square and move in any direction until you get hungry. Then head over to one of the charming cafes nearby to enjoy delicious Sri Lankan food.
This mosque is one of the most visible buildings in the background of the rest of Colombo. Considering that the mosque is located among a bunch of lurid shops, its splendor stands out even more. A white building with reddish-brown stripes (or perhaps brown with white stripes?) is crowned with bulbous domes. It captivates from the outside, but inside there is something to see. If you are going to take a walk inside the mosque, do not forget to cover your knees and shoulders with clothing in advance.
The neighborhood of Fort Colombo is a mixture of old and new buildings. Modern buildings appeared here among the houses of the colonial period, not caring too much about a single style. If you were looking for where to take beautiful pictures for Instagram, then Fort Colombo is perfect for this. Pay attention to the old Dutch hospital and parliament, as well as St. Peter's Church, which is the oldest surviving in Colombo to this day.
Many are advised to visit this gigantic market as an authentic attraction. But don't romanticize it too much. You will not find anything authentic here — almost all Sri Lankan souvenirs are made in China. Only vegetables and fruits still remain local. In addition, it is rather dirty, noisy and difficult to navigate because of crowds of people, tuk-tuks and cows. But this is the best place in the whole city to see life in Colombo the way it really is. Have a bite of street food, watch people, listen to their emotional quick speech. The main thing is to put on clothes and shoes that you will not be sorry to stain.
Like a hundred years ago, today people in Sri Lanka eat the same dish every day: rice with curry. Wherever you are — in a trendy restaurant or street eatery — you will find rice and curry on the menu everywhere. Asking to make this dish less spicy is pointless, so if you do not like the abundance of pepper, it is better to go around rice with curry side.
One of the most popular Sri Lankan breakfasts are string hoppers. This is a kind of pancakes made from rice noodles. Curry, meat or seafood can be placed on top of fried crepes. It may be incredibly hot as everything on the island.
Samosas are a type of Sri Lankan pies that are sold at every turn. It is better not to even think about the amount of fat in this snack. Traditionally, the hot stuffing is wrapped in a thin dough and dipped in boiling oil until the pie becomes crispy and rosy.
For dessert, try “vatalappan”: a cream of coconut milk with nutmeg and cardamon, sweetened with concentrated wood juice, served almost everywhere in Colombo. This dessert came with Muslim culture, so especially many portions of dessert are prepared during Ramadan.