We wouldn’t recommend including Sri Lankan capital Colombo in your itinerary, it’s just a city, and not an appealing tourist destination. Negombo is a nicer place to stay and also closer to the airport. My experience with Colombo wasn’t good…
I arrive to Colombo – the capital of Sri Lanka – around 4.30am, and catch an A/C (Air-Conditioned) bus for 100Rs (~$0.75 USD) just outside the airport to get to the Colombo Fort train station, and then a tuk-tuk to get to the accommodation I had booked in advance on Airbnb.com – one the of the best budget accommodation options in Colombo. After a nap, I still have enough time to explore the city.
Excited about being in new country I set off and straight away notice that everyone is staring at me…(!) It turns out that this is normal, especially as it is monsoon season (low tourist season) and there are not many white people around. Initially I set off towards Galle Fort – the main train station – but a local man I encountered gives me some misleading information about the place, explaining that it’s too dangerous for a solo female and suggests that I catch three wheelers and visit one of the temples. I follow his advice but this ‘temple’ turns out to be a shop selling jewellery and some other stuff that I’m not interested in!
Frustrated, I take another tuk-tuk to go to the bustling market area, with hopes of seeing some interesting attractions. The market area is extremely busy with none-westerners, there are mainly local man, and very few women. Practically everyone is starring at the only white face around… many men are trying to sell me some stuff, making noises to attract my attention, some trying to have a chat… others, such as tuk-tuk drivers, offering to give me a lift etc. Finally, almost running I get out of the market heading towards tall buildings trying to find a restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet guide. After asking a couple of people for directions it seems that the restaurant is closed due to refurbishment. Seems like finding a decent place serving some food is a problem here… partially because of the Full Moon celebration, or so I’m told.
Finally, a tuk-tuk driver takes me to some place with food… it’s completely empty but after looking around and having a glance at the menu I decide it is safe enough to eat. My meal is not too bad – a bit spicy for my Polish taste and a huge portion. Not able to eat it all, I give some to the tuk-tuk driver that brought me here. We have a friendly chat while we eat. Happy after having some food, I decide to see some more sites but it’s getting late, so I ask for a tuk-tuk to take me to see the sunset at Galle Fort. Suddenly the driver starts talking about me taking him back to my hotel room(!). Initially surprised, I pretend not to understand him… but the driver becomes more persistent! A bit stressed out, I reply that I have boyfriend etc. Luckily, the destination is reached and I pay for the ride and very quickly walk away from the tuk-tuk driver to enjoy first views of Indian Ocean.
After a long day I’m very much looking forward to Rich’s arrival, and hope that the rest of the holiday will be better than what I’ve experienced so far!