Whether we like it or not thanks to social media trends dictate how we live. From what we eat, and wear, to how we travel trends keep changing and we keep adapting. Since travelling like a local is all the hype these days we decided to put together a list of local must-dos in Colombo.
As soon as you set foot in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo the first thing you’ll notice are the tuk-tuks. The three-wheeled multi-coloured vehicles come zipping around every corner with smiling drivers, whisking their passengers around the city. Hail one off the streets or via the PickMe or Uber mobile apps and whiz through the roads. In addition to being a joy ride across the city, it is also a perfect way to beat the traffic so let your hair down and have a ball.
Tip: Look for those with a meter to avoid being overcharged.
Hit the beach
The beaches in Colombo are always crowded with locals and tourists alike. You are more likely to witness many a beautiful moment in the shores of the beaches as you are anywhere else in the city. A father holding his toddler while the wave touches his feet for the first time. Two lovers holding hands and discussing their future while walking along the lining of where the waves barely touch their feet. Or how groups of friends meet up in the evening for a bound of beach football debating about who will dive into the waters to fetch the ball. The beaches of Colombo are filled with memories for those living in Colombo. Part take in the beauty of these moments and many more in the beaches of Colombo. While you are there don’t miss the sunset its one hell of a view.
Explore the Local Markets
One of the joys of traveling is visiting local markets. There is nothing better than shopping for the ingredients necessary for a family meal with a local. Markets hold the secrets of the culture, all the little bits and pieces that hold communities together. Two of the local favourites are:
- The Pettah market:
The largest and most famous market in Colombo and Sri Lanka is Pettah Market. Not only a fresh produce market, it consists of street blocks of dealers and whole sellers of all kinds of products. Not surprising for a street market right? The biggest tip for when visiting Pettah Market is to take a tuk-tuk or taxi to the edge of the market and then walk in to discover all the little shops and goodies.
- The Saturday Good market:
In terms of experience the good market gives a vibe that is almost opposite to the one you get at the Pettah market. The Good Market is the place to go for organic products, natural products and more eco/health choices. The large scale market with lots of vendors opens on Saturday mornings in the racecourse parking lot. Already an institution in Colombo the Good Market is a nice way to spend Saturday morning.
Picnics at the Galle Face Green
The Galle Face Green is the public area of choice for most locals in Colombo. Right next to the ocean and close to Colombo Fort, the Galle Face Green is a historical landmark. Children play with kites and inflated balls or other merchandise bought off vendors located around the green itself while the rest of the family spread out a cane mat or sheet of cloth (called a “bedsheet” by the locals) and keep an eye on the children while savouring on spicy achcharus (essentially portions of spiced fruits in a served in a bag), or the all-time local favourite crispy isso wadeys (prawn cakes).
If you are staying for dinner then grab a bite at Nanas they serve curries that will leave your taste buds tingling you can enjoy an entire meal for under $5.
Hoppers (also called aappa or appam) are a Sri Lankan dinner favourite. They’re crispy round pancakes usually served in a batch, that includes some plain and some egg hoppers. You can have them with just a bit of onion and chilli or with a range of curries. Hoppers come in all sorts of varieties, you’re bound to find the hopper for you. We recommend the hoppers from Yatch Cabin at Global Towers which has a little tiki-like hut near the beach that does all kinds of hoppers in the evening. We can’t imagine a better scenario than to watch the sunset hopper in hand.
If there’s ever been a dish that Colombars identify with, it’s kottu. Its popularity is due to its late-night availability. Catering to post-clubbing cravings, this peculiarly Sri Lankan fast food is favoured by locals and visitors alike. Some love it late at night after a stint of partying, others love it for breakfast. The coolest thing about Kottu is the way it’s made, Kottu-making has a rhythmic beat. We recommend checking into Plaza Hotel or Pilawoos after hours for an authentic Sri Lankan kottu experience.
Mentioned above are only some of the many truly Sri Lankan experiences in Colombo. Stay tuned for more authentic and interesting activities and places to visit in Sri Lanka.
Planning your next trip to Colombo? Hit us up we’ll make sure it’s all smooth sailing.