Christmas in Colombo is something every traveller to South-East Asia has to have on their bucket list.
Though it may appear to be a sprawl of a city at first glance, with its tuk-tuks, intimidating skyline and large-scale ongoing oceanfront development informally considered to be a “mini Dubai” in the making, the city is also sanctuary for culture vultures, history enthusiasts and foodies.
Here are a few highlights of the city that every traveller ought to experience even if they are here for just 2 days.
Indulge in Sri Lankan street food
Travellers to the island are often unsure of where to spend Christmas in Sri Lanka and are in a rush to experience the beaches, dolphin watching tours, tea estates and safaris.
As a result, they often forego visiting the country’s commercial capital: from the Dutch Hospital, Independence Square, Colombo City Centre, the bustling Fort are amongst the many that stand out.
On your first day in Colombo, make a pit stop at the unmissable Galle Face Green, a 500-metre stretch of lawn smack dab in the centre of the city. Here, you can enjoy a relaxing stroll along the promenade and its many street vendors selling variants of roti, curries, samosas and “isso vadei” which are lentil cakes infused with shrimp.
A taste of luxury
Colombo is home to a selection of 5-star hotels, some of which are international franchises and others that are home-grown properties.
From luxury ayurveda spas to jaccuzis, plunge pools, personalised service and immaculate Christmas decor in keeping with the season, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to luxury accommodation in the city.
For those looking to taste a more refined take on local cuisine, make reservations for lunch or dinner at “Nuga Gama” in the Cinnamon Grand in Colombo. From hoppers to string hoppers, “ala curry”, young jackfruit curry and the infamous black pork curry, Nuga Gama is a haven for travellers seeking a comfortable ambience, impeccable service and authentic Sri Lankan food.
Shopping in Colombo
No Sri Lanka Christmas holiday is complete without a spot of shopping during the season. A favourite among travellers to Sri Lanka is experiencing the many thrift stores the city has to offer.
From Nugegoda to Pettah, scoring clothing in particular that is heavily discounted yet of good quality is a popular pastime. Towards central Colombo are a selection of upscale malls offering designer wear and other luxury goods, electronics and high-end eateries such Colombo City Center, Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, ODEL and Angsana Spa.
Luxury hotels such as the Cinnamon Grand in Colombo are a popular choice for tourists given it is adjacent the Crescat Boulevard.
Enjoy a boat ride along Beira Lake
When in Colombo, taking a tour around Beira Lake is essential. Luxury hotels in the area include the Cinnamon Lakeside in Colombo that overlooks the Beira Lake and boasts of a floating restaurant upon which guests can enjoy a meal with picturesque panoramic views.
Explore Gangaramaya Temple
For history buffs spending Christmas in Colombo Sri Lanka will prove to be a unique mix of both metropolitan city living and a place steeped in history, culture and tradition.
Much like the Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo 02, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the city, started by the famous scholar monk Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera in the late 19th Century.
Christmas in the City
Celebrating Christmas in Colombo is all about spending time with family and friends. Though the country is a predominantly Buddhist one, people of all faiths unite to celebrate the season together.
So to truly get the best out of your experience in Colombo, make sure you spend at least 2 days in the city during the season.