A seaside city with a flourishing culinary scene and a budding love for its heritage arts and culture, Colombo makes for a perfect start to any Sri Lankan holiday. This Sri Lankan capital was built on and around wetlands, and now houses a handful of colonial-era buildings that carry the legacies of the city’s past. Add to this the pockets of multicultural neighbourhoods teeming with temples, mosques, churches and buzzing markets with fresh produce. A city that seems to constantly transform, parts of Colombo’s historical neighbourhoods are now rapidly gentrifying with new builds such as upscale shopping hubs, high-rise developments and a swanky port city. But dive right into the city’s heart and you’ll find that the charm and character of the island is still much alive in the night markets, where the distant clank of metal-on-metal in a kottu roti stand – Sri Lanka’s go-to street food – can still be heard.
When to go
Expect bright, sunny skies from November to May. But even when it rains, monsoon downpours often only last for an hour or two, making Colombo a yearlong destination if you don’t mind the tropical humidity.
How to get around
The city has an extensive, open-door bus system, but they are often crowded and not air-conditioned, which doesn’t make for a pleasant journey. App-based taxis like Uber and PickMe are popular and affordable.