Through The Local Lens: What To Do & Where To Go In Colombo, Sri Lanka

Natasha Patel , 13 Mar 2020
At the Mövenpick Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka

To say that I love to travel would be an understatement. Even if it’s to the most remote and unknown spots, if there’s a plane ticket with my name on it, Imma be there! And newly added to my wish-list of places to visit, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Now here’s a little history lesson—Sri Lanka (known as Ceylon until 1972) was under the British rule until its independence in 1948. Although from the year 1983 to 2009, a brutal civil war broke out between the government and it’s people. But through the rubble and dust came the city of Colombo, stronger and more beautiful than ever. Seven-years doesn’t seem like a long time, right? But if you look at the before-and-after shots, you’ll be in awe of how the city has changed, how industrialised it has become, and how Sri Lankan it’s managed to remain at its core.

In the more recent years (maybe a year), Sri Lanka has opened its doors far and wide to tourists. And making it one step easier for Indian citizens, there’s now a visa-on-arrival pass that makes planning the trip a whole lot less stressful. That being said, Riaan George (a famous luxury and lifestyle influencer) fell in love with the city of Colombo years ago. And so, he took that love and turned it into a way that we can all #LoveColombo but from a local’s point of view.

Here’s everything I did, and everything you need to know about the city of Colombo:

Where I stayed in Sri Lanka:

The Mövenpick Hotel in Colombo wasn’t just the epitome of luxury and finesse. To me, it was like a home away from home. The people and staff were warm and friendly, the view was spectacular, and with an infinity pool and rooftop bar, what more could you want in a hotel? Well, I’ll tell you that unsurprisingly enough the Mövenpick Hotel had the best suites I’ve ever stayed in. I mean, think of your ideal bedroom-come-bathtub with a view… and double that x10!

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Also, with a prime location, there’s no touristy place too far or too wide from the hotel. The famous Galle Road, the Old Dutch Hospital Complex with a bevvy of bars, eateries and shops, and the National Museum and Gangaramaya Temple too.

The food I ate in Sri Lanka:

Where do I even begin? The food was next level delicious! From exotic curries to hoppers to fish and some gooood coffee, listed below are a couple of places you need to visit and eat at!

  • Breakfast at Ayu: A traditional Sri Lankan breakfast at the hotel is the best way to kickstart a holiday in Colombo. The chefs at the Mövenpick Hotel really cooked up a mouth-watering meal. With string hoppers, egg hoppers, curries accompanied with authentic Sri Lankan chutneys like the famous pol sambol, breakfast is a must at this hotel and I truly recommend you try it.
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  • Black Cat Cafe: Offering up more than just a great cup of coffee, the BCC is one of the prettiest cafes I’ve ever been to. No jokes, it’s definitely a place that you can work from, have a meal and even end up lodged there for a couple of days if need be
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  • Carnival Ice Cream Shop: Located walking distance away from the hotel. This is a must for all you ice cream and dessert lovers out there. This place has been a local hotspot for years and I can definitely see why.
  • The Robata Grill: Located in the Mövenpick Hotel itself. This restaurant is famous for its teppanyaki. Hosted by Colombo’s TV Personality Danu Innasithamby, we thoroughly enjoyed our surf and turf meal. Which included a lot of mouth-watering beef, butter grilled prawns, egg fried garlic rice, healthy portions of greens and dessert that basically sent me into an official food coma!
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Where I shopped in Sri Lanka:

  • Pendi: Owned by one of the sweetest locals I’ve met, Natalie Pendigrast opened the doors to her quaint and warm lifestyle store. A space dedicated to promoting designers from Sri Lanka, this store is everything you will want for your house—guaranteed! They house a variety of homeware, beauty, wellness products that are created by a great selection of local artist, designers and tradesmen. What started as a small business, Pendi has grown exponentially and now has most of their products coming from female designers and entrepreneurs. To me, what really stood out the most, is how the artists express their personalities through their work—giving each piece a unique and bespoke quality.
    A must-visit hotspot while shopping in Sri Lanka that’s so true to their work and enthusiastic about building a space that’s both creative and also ever-evolving. Truly my best-discovered lifestyle store.

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  • Buddhi Batiks: Also, owned by a local, this brand takes to back to old-school batik artwork and blends it with contemporary designs of today.
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The places I explored:

  • The Gangaramaya Temple
  • Park Street at night
  • The National Museum
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All-in-all, Colombo, Sri Lanka has my heart and I could not be more grateful for this experience. And the best part is, it’s a great gateway city to spend a couple of days to unwind. If you know anyone tag them in the comments. And if you happen to check out The Mövenpick Hotel or any of the places above, tag them and me!

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