A train ride through the mountains from Kandy to Colombo, was one of the highlights of the trip with spectacular views over the valley – mountains, villages, farms and trees ruffling elegantly as the train goes past. I arrived in Colombo 3 hours later, a dramatic change of scenery was somewhat different, from the lush countryside to hustle and bustle of the big city. Colombo has so much to offer, and becoming one of the fastest growing cities in the world with heavy investments on infrastructure – power, transport, communication. One of the exciting infrastructure projects invested by the Chinese, is the soon-to-be Colombo Port City, making Colombo a global competitive city alongside Singapore, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Dubai and Mumbai.
Where to stay:
I stayed at the chic new modern hotel OZO Colombo, a 2 nights stay, courtesy of the OZO Colombo. The award-winning hotel is located within the suburban district of Marine Drive, a couple minutes from the famous Galle Road, Wellawatta Beach and the city-centre. Stunning views overlooking the Indian Ocean and railway tracks across the road. Opened since 2014, OZO Colombo boasts 158 cosy rooms, a gym, a rooftop pool and ON14 lounge. Like all OZO hotels, there’s technologically-advance modern service – iPad fast track check-in system at the reception, free wifi, a cool interactive web bar ”Lectern”, features city guides, weather forecast and other information on digital touch screens. Breakfast bar offers energising and healthy delights and Boost juice to you buzzing in the morning. Ready yourself for a day of sightseeing with a quick bite, like mini pack lunch, from EAT2GO Grab and Go station, the and for the evening with doze-off treats with herbal teas and other warm drinks help you to get a good night’s sleep. OZO focuses on sleep, energy and connectivity, and there’s one motto; ‘sleep tight and wake bright.’ Oh yes please.
View from my hotel room overlooking the Indian Ocean. In awe of the golden Sri Lankan sunset. What a pleasant treat.
OZO Colombo – 36-38 Clifford Place, Colombo.
Bambalapitiya Kathiresan Hall is a stone throw away from OZO Colombo. This was my first time visit to a Hindu temple, it was fascinating. The temple is dedicated to the War of God Skanda or Marugan, as well as a place for reflections, unity and diversity. I was amazed by the tall vertical structure of stacked colourful statues of gods and deities from Hindu mythology, it’s a distinctive style of Hindu temple with Dravidian architecture, known as Kovil or Koil, in Tamil language. I was surprised how friendly and welcome the people and worshippers at the temple, it was a very humbling experience.
Bambalapitiya Kathiresan Hall, 339 Galle Road, Colombo.
Built in the 1800s, Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple is one of the most important place of worships in Colombo. As you enter the temple, you would notice the temple’s style of architecture – interesting mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture. The temple has lots of lovely things to look at, collection of eclectic objects (mostly bric-a-bracs) donated by the public, big buddha statues, museum of Buddhist relics from around the world, prayer hall, and the famous ancient Bodhi tree in the courtyard, where worshippers meditate around and pray to the tree.
Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, 61 Jinarathana Road, Colombo.
Pettah Market is an open air market, is the most hectic and chaotic shopping district in Colombo. Pettah Market is divided into different sections crammed with stalls and stores – you’d find fresh produce at the fruit and vegetable market, variety of spices and herbs, dried food, electronics, clothing, textiles and trimmings, jewellery, the list goes on and on. Colourful Ashok Leyland lorries unloading sacks of goods onto the carts, deliver their goods as fast as possible. The market reminded me of Sham Shui Po market in Hong Kong.
Tuk Tuk is the best, cheapest and fastest form of transportation in Sri Lanka, cruising in between traffic, no sense of order to the road system, it sounds thrilling and fun but at the same time fearing for your life. This young family all crammed tight in one tuk tuk, they looked comfortable. One of the normal ways to travel around, the locals don’t bat an eye, unlike the tourists, staring with mouth agape in amazement.
Along the seafront facing the Indian Ocean is the famous open space in Colombo, Galle Face Green. The 5 hectare strip of green space, a popular public place for children, picnickers, food vendors, lovers, family and kite flyers, to a fun filled leisure during the evening. It’s one of the most amazing places to marvel the coastal sunset skies.
SERIOUSLY. THIS SUNSET!
Kit Lee was a guest of OZO Colombo and ONYX Hospitality Group.
For more snap shots of my trip to Sri Lanka, check out my Instagram account @styleslicker and enter the hashtag #kitleexsrilanka in the search box.