We didn’t plan a return to Colombo very soon, but our travel plans during the journey through Sri Lanka changed already so many times and, since traveling in this country is made so easy by the cheap and convenient transportation options, we’ve been more spontaneous with our decisions.
We spent a full week traveling as a small group, after meeting with Miriam’s cousin and her fiancé in Batticaloa and, due to their limited time in the country, we joined them on the trip back to Colombo, from where they flew back home. We opted for a faster and more comfortable transportation method this time and hired a private driver, that drove us to Colombo straight from the east coast, on a journey which lasted around 10 hours.
The short time that we spent in Colombo was sufficient to explore the city. We started our sightseeing early in the following morning, after breakfast at the accommodation. The first stop on our list was the Gangaramaya Temple, one of the best known in the city and quite different from the many others we’ve seen in the country. It felt more like visiting a museum of antiquities, where thousands of Buddha statues and other artifacts of all sizes populate the temple. Hindu elements were also present, all giving the impression of a collection of cultural and religious essence. It serves as a worship place for Buddhists but also welcomes people of all religions.
Paying the fee of 300 Srilankan rupees gives visitors access also to the smaller Seema Malakaya temple, placed on the side of the Gangaramaya Park’s lake, featuring several statues of Buddha and shrines.
Our walked continued along the seaside, where we visited the old fortification walls of the city and later got lost on the streets of the most popular area in Colombo, the Colombo Fort, which marks also the center of the city and its main connection point for transportation methods.
The easy way to explore Colombo is by booking a tuk-tuk tour, which can be organized and negotiated with most drivers. 10 USD per person is more than enough for a half-day tour, but the same price can be also negotiated for a small group of 2 to 3 people together. Know the prices by checking them with mobile apps like PickMe or Uber, which work very well in Colombo.
On the following day, we returned to Colombo Fort to board the train to a new destination, Galle, on the southern coast, from where we continued the journey by bus, till Mirissa. The train ride along the coast was almost as impressive as the one from Kandy to Ella. Although we managed to buy only standard 2nd class tickets, what we enjoyed the most about the trip was the low number of people traveling in the early morning, which made the experience better than previous rides.