Colombo Layover - What to do in 7 hours?

I am a huge fan of slow travel, of experiencing everything a local would. The recent Airbnb campaign of 'Don't go to Paris, Live in Paris' really touched a chord with me. However, on a recent trip home, I had a long layover in Colombo. One I couldn't possibly waste. I have flown Srilankan Airlines quite a few times, I have always seen aerial views of the city, but this time, I actually had a chance to explore the city - even if it was for only a few hours.

Avacado with turmeric.


Streetside.

I had never stepped outside the airport in Sri Lanka and I was quite excited. My flight landed at 6:15 am and by 7 I was in a cab towards Colombo city.

Breakfast in Colombo

My first stop was, obviously, for breakfast. After some thought, I decided to go to Cafe Kumbuk. A quiet cafe popular with expats and tourists, this cafe serves delicious food only up to 4:30 pm. I loved the interiors of this place, with earten tiles and tones all over.

Those tiles.

Avacado on turmeric on toast. Love.

Dressed comfortably to walk and shop.

I want this decor in my house.

Postcards and greeting cards on sale here.

Buddhist temples

My next stop was the very famous and important Gangaramaya temple in the heart of Colombo, and it's set above a small lake. It was a very hot and humid day but after I walked into the temple, it was so peaceful and calm I forgot about about the heat.

Buddhism is the main religion in Sri Lanka.

Peace.

Friendly strangers helping with the photo.

Colombo meets blue water - Galle face

I wanted to visit the Galle face, about which almost every person I spoke to had recommended. This is a long stretch of open space, right next to the beautiful sea. Families, couples and kids come here to enjoy an evening out - a luxury if you ask me, in a crowded concrete jungle with waters so blue !

Royal blue.

Make time stand still.

Retail therapy - Dutch Hospital

I couldn't leave without doing some retail therapy. I went to the old Dutch hopital which is now converted to a shopping complex. Since I was a little early, many of the eateries and stores were not yet open. However, I still managed to visit Spa Ceylon and Barefoot. (Much recommended)

Dutch Hospital.

Symmetry.

Red, blue and green tuk tuks.

Perennial problems in countries around the world.

Shopped and dusted.

Details
  • To get a visa to enter Sri Lanka is very simple. You can go to their official website here and apply for one. It costs $20 for a double entry e-visa.
  • It takes about an hour from the airport to city. I comfortably did all of the above in around 6 hours; including 2 hours of travel time.
  • You can withdraw LKR (Sri Lankan Rupees) from any ATM
  • A great local UBER-like app is Pick Me. You can download it before hand. It's very easy to use.
  • There's great, free and fast wifi at the airport.
Tip = I used the free Wifi at the airport to book a cab on Pick Me. And then I called the local driver's number from a helpful stranger.
  • Cafe Kumbuk - website
  • You can ask any local for the Buddhist temple, the Dutch Hospital shopping complex and Galle face.
  • I wanted to visit Pettah Market too (I have a thing with local markets), but I was short of time, so maybe another time.
  • Srilankan Airlines is one of my favourites - lovely fleet, staff, service, food and movie collection and if you are lucky, you will get a long layover.

Hope you guys enjoyed the read. Have you been to Sri Lanka? What other places would you recommend as a must see? Let me know what you think in the comments below. xx

5 comments

  1. Beautiful captures and a perfect guide to spend the layover in Colombo!! :)

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  2. The buddhist temple is beautiful as always. Great photos!

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