Our cruise ship was docking in the port of Colombo, Sri Lanka – formerly Ceylon. We had one day and a budget. Here is what we did!
Following Cochin, India was the port town Colombo. As always, we had to hunt down the most affordable Tuk Tuk driver and ask what he was offering in his price. We were told we would visit a beautiful temple, go to the beach and visit a restaurant for a cup of the famous Ceylon Tea. Negotiated price: USD$25 for 4 hours of Colombo, Sri Lanka highlights.
Winding our way in and out of heavy traffic, checking out the city life of Colombo was already interesting. Eventually, after
zipping past a few temples which apparently our Tuk Tuk driver did not see and apparently did not understand when asked to go back, we arrived at the Buddhist Gangaramaya Temple.
The temple is an ecclectic mish mash of culture and architecture and is also a museum; many photo opportunities, some antique autos and a holy place of prayer. Entrance fee: USD$8
Just down the road, on an island connected with a bridge (within walking distance), is the Seema Malaka, a gathering area for the monks. It is wonderfully peaceful and here we saw many locals working to perfect the surrounding area. Watch out for monkey and snake handlers, before you know it there is a snake around your neck or a monkey cuddling up to you and a demand for a huge amount of money!
Next, we headed to the beach area called Galle Face Green. Many stalls lined the beachfront promenade selling treats and juices, school children played on the shores, chasing the waves and a peaceful demonstration against outlawing Tamil bullfighting was being held in the grass area.
We purchased a water for USD$1, a bag of popcorn for $1 and some crunchy fried yucca sticks for $1. The locals sitting around were friendly and curious. These prices seemed budget worthy! Please keep in mind, this is not the kind of beach you swim at; enjoy the views, enjoy the locals and eat some Sri Lanken treats.
Truthfully, I found Colombo, Sri Lanka underwhelming and less exciting than I had hoped for; we decided to head back to the ship without stopping for tea. Perhaps, like India, one needs more than a day to truly appreciate the country and it’s culture. I won’t hurry back.
Total cost: USD$36
Next Stop: Phuket, Thailand
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