With its strong colonial vibes and fast paced city feel, Sri Lanka’s capital is hectic yet charming. Here’s how to spend 2 days in in Colombo.
Day One – where we stayed and our first breakfast
We used booking.com to pre-book all our Sri Lanka hotels due to it being the busy Christmas period and ME Hotel was our first stop. 40 mins from the airport by taxi – approx 2300 LKR for a taxi – we arrived late, checked in and went straight to bed so we were ready to find out how to spend 2 days in Colombo.
We woke up and opened our balcony doors to a very humid morning. The heat just hits you. Tired yet excited to see the city, we walked the 30 minutes to Galle Street and inhaled the chaotic-ness of it all.
The humidity was overwhelming and we easily worked up an appetite. We stopped in a local cafe for an egg rotti and coffee – this cost us 100 LKR. Galle road is impressively long and very busy. It’s a tough walk when you are ladened down with a backpack and the sun is strong.
A top tip to beat the heat!
Our top tip is to pit-stop in the malls to cool off. Their air con is refreshing and the toilets are very clean. We also picked up a fresh juice here too for for the bargain price of 200 LKR.
Walk from Galle Road to Main Street
Our trek down Galle Road was to see the fort. It’s a long walk but worth it as it enables you to take in the city in its entirety. From the fort we arrived at Main Street in Pettah, a hectic yet vibrant strip with a similar feel to busy Bangkok.
We had already hit 20k on our pedometer so it was time for a tut tut. Our advice: Hop in the red ones. They are on the metre and most journeys cost no more than 300 LKR. Our lovely driver whizzed us over to Cinnamon Park which to be honest, by day, was not overly wow. We went past it by night and it was all lit up for Christmas which made it much more impressive.
Our first day had consisted of so much walking and sightseeing we had forgotton to eat and we were getting hungry. We attempted to walk back to the hotel but our legs were saying NO. God love a tut tut.
Dinner time on our first night
Our evening was spent at a local veggie restaurant called Thalis on Park Road where we experienced our first curry of the trip – it was delicious. Don’t be put off my the interior of Sri Lankan food spots as we have found it definitely doesn’t reflect how good the food is!
Our first day was nearly over and our bodies were feeling the effects of jetlag so off to bed it was – remember, we’re not twenty-something backpackers anymore, we need our beauty sleep and 8pm bedtimes are OK when you have been exploring all day!
Day two – a breakfast fail and more wandering
We woke to the cool breeze of the air conditioning and were feeling hungry so thought we’d try out the hotel’s breakfast. That was a mistake. It ended up costing us 1750 LKR each which was SO not worth it. We could have found a local fruit shop and nibbled on fresh produce for a fraction of the price. Matt did get to try egg hoppers though and they were so so tasty, a little bonus to the extortionate price.
Next up was pure meandering. We love photography so were happy snapping some street shots. We walked through shanty towns literally just wandering, soaking up the new culture. It was sweltering but watching the locals go about their business was so fascinating we forgot how sweaty we were.
Talking to locals and getting a dinner recommendation
We got chatting to someone and they recommend a spot for dinner called Dosa King. What a recommendation it was. We tried a veggie dosai, Bombay potatoes and a chilli idly – it was out of this world. Don’t get put off by the look of Dosa King; it’s simple and not a luxurious restaurant, but it is very good food.
Bear in mind: It is a spot for locals. So maybe best to go with a travelling companion, you can never be too careful.
We were again, knackered – another full-on day just walking through the city exploring was tiring. We were due to head to Hikkaduwa the following morning and had read about buying tickets before you are due to travel. We grabbed a tut tut to Colombo railway to reserve our seats.
We booked first class tickets but to be honest, it’s not worth it. The first class tickets claimed to have air con, however, it was just a giant fan circulating the carriage. We ended up hanging around by one of the open doors admiring the view and enjoying the cool breeze as the train whizzed down the coast. It was a moment for the memory bank, that’s for sure.
Our thoughts on Colombo…
Definitely a must-see, especially Main Street in Pettah. However, you only really need a day here. It’s a great way to inject some of that local culture into your stay and to try places that provide menus without a hint of western food.
The whole reason we travel is so soak up other’s way of life and to see a world that is different from ours and the busy streets of Colombo will do just that. We hope this helps when it comes to planning how to spend 2 days in Colombo.
Also, we’d totally recommend this blog post for an in-depth transport guide for travelling through Sri Lanka. We also have a post on our favourite beach in Sri Lanka if you’re after some beach action in this beautiful country.
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