Colombo Journals

Serendipity Supreme

Best of IgoUgo

A June 1995 trip to Colombo by phileasfogg

Off Galle Face: The Beach Photo, Colombo, Sri Lanka More Photos
Quote: One of South Asia’s most endearing capitals, Colombo lies beside the sea- a city of emerald palms, red-roofed houses, white government buildings, handsome traffic cops mounted on stallions. A city of a thousand surprises- all of them pleasant.

Serendipity Supreme

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

The Town Hall, Colombo Photo, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Quote:
There’s much that’s amazingly charming about Colombo. The `usual’ sights- the crisp white Town Hall and the park which spreads beyond it; Independence Square; the silver-domed church of St Lucia’s, and the beach. But there’s more to Colombo than that; there are the delicious (but very spicy) meals to be eaten at roadside stalls, and at fancy restaurants; there are the evening walks along the long stretch of Galle Face; and there are the many trips which can be made further out of town- to places like Kandy, home to the Temple of the Tooth; and to Welimada, a pretty little town up in the hills. And the highlights are many: watching the baby elephants being bathed at the Pinnewala Elephant Orphan...Read More

YMCA Tourist Hostel

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Quote:
The YMCA Tourist Hostel’s biggest plus is that it’s located in the heart of town- within easy walking distance of Galle Face, Parliament House, the beach, and some of the best markets. It’s a colonial building with wooden floors and staircases. Everything’s big- the rooms, the communal dining room, the lobby- even the excellent painting of Christ on the staircase. Getting to our rooms was a bit of a feat- up two flights of stairs, and then up a very narrow spiral staircase in a very dark shaft. I was sharing a room with a friend, and it was very bare bones- two beds, a bedside table, a luggage rack, a chair, and a small coffee table. No television or stuff like that, although some of the more e...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 7, 2002

YMCA Tourist Hostel
39 Bristol Street
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Laksala

Attraction

Quote:
Laksala is the place to go if you’re keen on buying local handicrafts- it’s run by the Sri Lanka Handicrafts Board, (and they sure know what they’re about), so the range of stuff you’ll find here is the best from across the country. Laksala has more than a dozen outlets in different cities, but the one in the capital is in a class by itself. A large colonial building- wooden floors and staircases- houses the emporium, which has extensive counters selling a vast range of traditional crafts. Check out the fabrics- there’s lovely batik work, both as bolts of cloth and as wall hangings, sarongs, and stuff like that; coir rugs, terracotta, lacquer, brassware and silverware. The jewellery, of course, is stu...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 7, 2002

Laksala
No 60, York Street (fort)
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo: A little bit of everything

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
`Swarnadweep’- the Isle of Gold- is what Sri Lanka was called once upon a time. A Sanskrit word which was eventually adopted by the Arabs, who summarily converted it into sarandib. And that, as any self-respecting etymologist knows, is what led to the Persian fairytale The Three Princes of Serendib- which Horace Walpole later used to coin the word `serendipity’- the `faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for’(according to Merriam-Webster- I haven’t made that up!). Whew. A long way for a word to travel, but that’s how it is- and really, I can think of hardly any other place which qualifies so well as the root for a word as evocative as serendipity. ...Read More

Walking along Galle Face

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Off Galle Face: The Beach Photo, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Quote:
Galle Face is the broad avenue, running along the seashore, which is Colombo’s main promenade. It is also a Colombo institution- a place you’ve got to visit; not because it offers great entertainment, has all the major sights or is even amazingly interesting; but just because it’s there- and everybody in Colombo turns up here every few days. Galle Face stretches along the beach, a neatly-paved expanse which really comes alive at night. We went for a walk here one evening, and discovered a delightfully busy, bustling area. If you walk down Galle Face from Parliament House towards the Mt Lavinia Hotel, the sea will be on your right, with a narrow beach sloping down from the paved area. On your le...Read More

Moving on to Kandy and beyond

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

At the Elephant Orphanage Photo, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Quote:
"Heah- have some!" Two brown hands empty what looks like about half a barrelful of prickly, bright red egg-shaped fruit into our laps. When we look around, somewhat bewildered, at the bright grins and gleaming eyes around us, one of our many Sri Lankan friends deigns to explain: "Rambutans- try some- you’ll like them," and as we Indians start to peel one each- a little hesitantly- adds, "we call them hairy balls!" Uh oh. Wrong place to start. Let’s start at the very beginning- a very good place to start (with due apologies to Oscar Hammerstein). It’s a late morning in Colombo, and long after dawn and a filling breakfast, we’ve set off for Kandy. Sri Lankans and Indians, all of us pil...Read More