Shehan (27) is a web designer and owner of www.backpacktosrilanka.com . This is where you’ll find the best off the beaten track tips. Sheshan is born in Colombo and knows best where to go when visiting Sri Lanka’s capital.
Where should you definitely go when visiting Colombo?
Colombo has a not to miss wine & dine scene. Visit Barefoot café in Colombo four. It’s a chilled out place with a nice gallery and a shop with sustainable products. Only a short walk from here is Paradise Road, it’s a fancy street full of fine bars and restaurants to have lunch or dinner. If you want a good night out go to 41 Sugar, it’s Colombo’s newest hotspot. It’s a club and restaurant with a nice ambience. On Friday and Saturday night you’ll find all of the young and especially hip Colombo crowd at 41 Sugar next to the Colombo racecourse.
Where did you have a great dinner recently?
I recently had a very good rice and curry with friends at Upalis in townhal. They have great Sri Lankan food. Definately worth a visit.For the Dutch, Lump rice, is definitely a must to try. During the war time this was the food the soldiers used to eat. It is egg, rice and chicken wrapped in a banana leaf and baked. Go to the Dutch Burger Union in district four to give it a try.
Where do you go for drinks?
Before we go off to party I often go with friends to The White Horse and Mintage. Both are a bit dodgy bars, but they do sell cheap fine drinks.
What would you do with friends from out of town who come over for a weekend to Colombo?
Early morning I would first take them to Gangarama, it’s more a collection of curiosities, the owner is probably a hoarder. This makes the temple a bit chaotic but even though worth a visit. If my visitors are up for another temple we would go to the forest temple, which is a bit authentic. After we go to the Saskia Fernando Gallery, she exhibits contemporary and modern art from local artists. Of course I have to let my guests try out a proper Sri Lankan tea at Dilma tealounge or at The Heladiv Tea club, both are at the Dutch Hospital. We stay in the hospital for cocktails and a great seafood dinner at The Ministry of Crab. If everyone has still energy left to go out, we go for a dance to Clique at midnight.
Where would you recommend friends from another city to sleep?
For a hostel I would recommend Colombo City Hostel or Clock Inn, both are good situated in the city center. If you are on a tighter budget try Airbnb. The city is full of cheap options to rent for a night or longer.
Where do you meet your friends for coffee?
At Hansa Coffee you can get proper Sri Lankan Coffee. It’s a nice very small coffee shop with an authentic Sri Lankan atmosphere.
What would you miss if you were to leave Colombo?
If you want to start a business it’s quit easy here. The taxes are super low, there are not so much regulations and competition yet. You can launch a new business in a day, even if you are a foreigner. That would really be a difference if I were to live somewhere else.