Travel Recap: Colombo

It's Ramadan in Dubai and we have a week left before I could happily gulp a cold soothing beverage while I'm out in the open. Where we are, it's unlawful to be seen eating and drinking in public. Being in a 49 degree Celsius ( 120 degree F) weather, we spend most of our time indoors in the confines of air conditioning. At the end of Ramadan, we look forward to having a 2-3 day non-working holiday in August for the festive season called Eid

 Gangaramaya Temple

Around the same time a couple of years ago, our Eid holidays allowed us to have a total of 5 days off because it fell next to a weekend. I was supposed to travel to Spain with friends in an arranged tour since my husband didn't want to go anywhere. At the last minute, the whole tour package was cancelled because everyone in the tour backed out. I still wanted to go,but the overall expense for traveling solo was double than what I have personally budgeted for. I was extremely disappointed. 

Surprise Surprise
My husband decided to book a trip to Sri Lanka for us instead from the Travel Fund. He made all of the arrangements.  It was a trip of comfort this time around, not our usual backpacking ride-on-top-of-a-jeepney kind of trip. It was one of those rare moments where the accommodation was booked in advance and (gasp)  in a five star hotel. 


On the night of our departure, I was surprised to find an Emirates Airline Pickup Service at our front porch.  To my disbelief, he got us Business Class tickets. When we reached the dedicated Business Class drop off area of Dubai Airport Terminal 3, we were both in for a treat at the check-in counter when we were sent to First Class instead. It was one of those really unbelievable moments where we were both amazed and felt really lucky!


Colombo

Clockwise L-R:  Galle Face Green overlooking the Indian Ocean ,  Old Dutch inspired Architecture at the heart of the city
Galle Face Green

It was raining when we arrived. Humid and tropical, Colombo was pretty tranquil, contrary to what we have expected. Our first day was spent lounging at the pool after a three and a half hour flight.

We walked around the Diplomat area the next day and ran into someone who claimed to be a staff of the hotel we were staying at, on his day off.  We are normally very cautious, but this person followed us across the street and was trying to charm his way while offering to give us a tour.

We hailed a rickshaw to avoid him and to our surprise, he hopped on the same vehicle.We asked him to leave us and he quickly explained that he was going in the same direction as the driver sped.  In a nutshell, he ended up touring us around.

Gangaramaya Temple

Scammed.  Apart from the tourist attractions, he took us to different shops with an impressive sales pitch of why I should buy emerald and jewelry. To his misfortune, I am not fond of buying souvenirs during trips so it was a failed attempt. At the end of the tour, the rickshaw driver charged us three times the expected day tour fare that we would expect in an expensive city.  We were arguing in the middle of the street, until we realized the driver and this man were working together and it seems there were others involved.  To avoid getting into trouble, we paid the fare and left. That same day, we both saw the driver and the man together around the area. We were on the lookout for tourists to warn them in case they find another target.  We found out later that he was clearly not a hotel staff after reporting the incident.

On a lighter note, it was relaxing in Sri Lanka especially if you stay in a resort in Bentota where a former colleague of mine spent her holiday.

Tourist attractions in Colombo include:  Beira Lake, Town Hall in Colombo, Galle Face Green, Gangaramaya Temple, National Museum of Colombo, Seema Malaka Temple, Dutch Museum, Old Churches (St. Anthony's Church), Royal Golf Club of Colombo, Green Path, etc.

SpicyMake sure to have a full glass of water next to your plate when trying out Sri Lankan cuisine.  Visiting each country of course is not complete without trying their local beer- Lion Lager.


A visit to a Tea Plantation and an Elephant Orphanage was the highlight of our trip.  To be continued..

Have a great weekend everyone!
Love and light,
Arni

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8 comments

  1. sounds like you've been to heaven, Arni :)
    The ramadan rules in Muslim countries always scared me a bit, but I'd still love to visit Dubai and similar places.

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  2. oh nooo, so sorry to hear about the scam! but otherwise, what a lovely time! looking forward to the next post!

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  3. Hi Arni! Glad to see you stopping by my blog again. Thank you for the sweet comment. How are you doing after the Blog every day in May challenge? I gave myself a well deserved break. So excited about your Colombo post. I visited Sri Lanka with my work a couple of years ago and LOVED IT. It was so different to what I expected. I thought it was going to be more similar to India. The non-crowded peaceful side of Colombo really surprised me.

    Happy Traveling! Hugs Bella
    www.shoebox-living.com

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  4. What a lovely surprise trip from your husband, Arni! It looks really beautiful but pity about the scam. I have never found myself in such as situation - I haven't been outside Western Europe yet and I mostly travel with local friends - but I guess it might be really annoying.

    Looking forward to reading more about your trip to Sri Lanka, the Elephant Orphanage sounds really interesting :)

    And wow, 49ºC, you're so brave to stand up to such a hot summer in the middle of Ramadan. We've also had a heatwave in the Netherlands. Three sunny weeks with temeratures near 30ºC and I was already complaining! But this morning we had a mighty thunderstorm and the weather has cooled a bit.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Arni.
    xoxo Irene

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  5. The scam story aside, and I'm sorry for that btw, it sounds like it was a lovely trip. Married couples need these getaways to reconnect and rekindle. Sounds like you two are experts at it. And that is a good thing.

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  6. great post! loving all these photos!

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  7. this trip sounds exciting.. except the scammed thing! that's awkward situation!!! the rest are beautiful travel though and Sri Lanka is really beautiful with many interesting culture and tradition.

    take care and hope you had wonderful weekend!!!! lots of love.
    xoxo,Meg of Sweet Gala's

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  8. How is it possible that you have been to every country that I have been dying to go to! Sri Lanka is one of the ones on top of my list! And so so so jealous that you got to go First Class. I can't believe you got scammed though, even though you knew it was happening! How annoying - that kind of thing drives me nuts!

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