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    #GoHereDoThis: Offbeat Places You Need To Check Out In Colombo

    Aakanksha posted on 05 March

    Sure they’ll tell you to go to go to Independence Square, Galle Face Green and The Dutch Hospital. Of course, you really should as well. But when you’ve seen all the places flocked by regular tourists, hit up these lesser-known spots to get that real feel of Sri Lanka like never before — from authentic Jaffna crab curry to tuk-tuk tours, take the road less taken in Colombo.

    Old Quarter Pettah For Floating Market

    While it is known for the shopping, the market offers imported merchandise you’d get at any other store, and sometimes it’s overpriced. But the reason you want to hit up this floating market is the classic old world charm that Colombo still has. You can pick up local trinkets, keyrings and even electronics, for the fun of it. Some of the stores are on the river itself and have rickety bridges to get to them — an adventurous experience. On the opposite side of the floating market is the grand Fort Colombo Station. In its glorious wooden setup, with colonial style architecture and wrought iron staircases, you can meander here just before the sun sets for some spectacular photos.

    Take A Coastal Train Ride To Mount Lavinia

    Part of Colombo but about 10 kilometres from the main city centre take a coastal train ride to this seaside suburb. Known for its happening nightlife and parties on the beach, the local train will take about 30 minutes to get there, and the journey is fantastic. Try and get a seat on the right side of the train {going southwards} to get clear views of the Indian Ocean throughout. At Mt Lavinia, check out the beach shacks or head off to Loon Tao for a Pan-Asian meal with a distinct hit of Sri Lankan flavours. Arthur’s Pub is another option or keep it local at Barracuda Seafood & Grill which is right on the beach, and you can sit with your feet in the soft sand. Splurging? Check out the glamorous and old-school Mt Lavinia Hotel, that has been around nearly 200 years.

    Skip Ministry Of Crab And Eat At Upali

    OK, we’re not denying that the Ministry Of Crab is an experience in itself. When in Sri Lanka though, do as the Sri Lankans do. Head off to Upali for authentic Sri Lankan food — from the Maalu Olu {fish curry} to the Kottu Roti {sliced flatbread with vegetables and meat}. Don’t leave here without eating the signature dish which is Yapane Kakuluwo, better known as Jaffna crab curry. The crab is marinated and then cooked in Jaffna curry powder — a traditional spicy and aromatic that finds its roots in the north Sri Lanka town of Jaffna. Have it with rice or the local fluffy Idi Appa {string hoppers}. You know what, just get a taste of it all with the Sri Lankan Tasting Plate that comes with string hoppers, kottu, egg hoppers, sambol, curry {fish and chicken} and even some chutney and lentils.

    Island Temple of Seema Malaka

    The Seema Malaka is a temple that is right on the  Beira Lake, hence the name Island Temple. While there isn’t much to do at the temple as it’s mostly used for rest and meditation, it’s worth going to for the Buddha statues, stupas and vast greenery. The gold leaf lotus is also a lovely spot, so save some time to see that. The temple itself is beautiful with a courtyard, raised walkways connecting the platforms and the building made in the old school Kandyan style — with blue tiled roofs, wooden pillars and gorgeous walls, apparently made from spindles and bannisters.

    Check Out The Independence Arcade

    A similar concept to the Dutch Hospital, the Arcade – Independence Square, is the latest of the old colonial buildings to get a revamp and turn into a multifaceted centre. The arcade is a swish shopping centre with international brands such as Charles & Keith and Dockers, plus local souvenir shops to pick up those little presents for the family. There’s a host of restaurants also to pick from — including the fantastic Krishna, a Sri Lankan cuisine restaurant, and Tsukiji Uoichi, a Japanese one. A bit upmarket, it’s perfect to spend an evening post some hectic sightseeing.

    Tuktuk Safari Of Colombo

    Now, this is one thing you simply cannot miss out on — a tuk-tuk safari. Well known for their tuk-tuks, the city of Colombo is best seen on one of these. Get in touch with Tuktuk Safari Sri Lanka for the ride of your life. They have a few options for Colombo including morning safaris, and sunset ones.The morning one begins at 9.30am and takes you on a trip through the chaotic bazaars, sights of the city, local eateries and even cruises along the ocean. They sort you out with coconut water, water and even a few beers sometimes, so it’s really like you’re travelling with your BFF in Colombo. They are happy to take mini detours to suit your bucket list but don’t stray too far. Oh, and the best part? You can take along your own music and drinks {yes, alcoholic beverages too}, and make the ride even more interesting!

    Sri Lanka has a lot more to offer than just beautiful beaches. Now you know what your to-do list needs to have when you pack your bags for that vacation. Besides, with IndiGo starting non-stop flights to Sri Lanka now you have another reason to fly to the beautiful country. Plan your itinerary and book your tickets now!
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